What happens to security vulnerabilities when you move to the cloud? It may be “a little” better to say that “traditional vulnerabilities are no longer an issue,” depending on your implementation model and modernization level. However, the overall cloud vulnerability risk perspective is better in the cloud environment, so make a move and enjoy the security advantages!
As many firms are shifting to the cloud environment, the ownership of vulnerabilities is impacted more or less than operations commitments and ownership change. The responsibility model shows the differences whether your data center is on-premise or not by using Infrastructure-as-a-Service in a managed data center and by using Platform-as-a-Service for serverless functions and capabilities, or Software-as-a-Service. Vulnerabilities can be noticed and must be mitigated in everything you are responsible for and manage. Vulnerabilities Do Not Disappear When Moving to the Cloud.
Vulnerability management tools and processes
There are essentially two ways to “move” to the cloud. Cloud Vulnerability management tools and processes are impacted by how you migrate to the cloud. Moving your existing data center systems from a physical/virtual environment to a public cloud infrastructure provider is the fastest way to get started. Using a “Lift and Shift” strategy, some businesses will move all their legacy data center systems at once.
The hybrid method is another, more time-consuming approach to migration. When used in the data center, Lift and Shift has a significant impact on all assets, applications, and teams. With a hybrid approach, an organization controls what goes where, when, and how it’s stored in the cloud. The majority of businesses still use On-premise data centers because they’re cheaper than cloud computing and can seamlessly mitigate the cloud vulnerabilities.
Lift and Shift Approach
Cloud migration with older, traditional legacy operating systems is the easiest way to Lift and Shift. When others manage networking, storage, and bare-metal servers, cloud vulnerabilities may be reduced at the infrastructure layer. Verify strong security with the provider by reading the SOC2 and ensuring you have strong contracts and patching. Some businesses will spend more time and resources to update and patch their operating systems, removing their legacy systems and moving all of their current applications to those systems. This method will eliminate the existing risk, but the ongoing system and vulnerability lifecycle management are necessary to keep the risk minimum.
Patch management is critical when migrating to IaaS because your security issues will be moved to a different part of the board without it. Blue/Green servers will assist companies in reducing patching process risks as their IaaS approaches mature. The baseline server is patched and has vulnerabilities remedied in a Blue/Green mode so that it can be used as a Golden Image by all servers. These servers are rebuilt on a regular basis using Infrastructure-as-Code to create a new pool of server infrastructure free of vulnerabilities that are swapped in to replace the existing servers in that workload. Systems can be patched and rebooted without affecting service or requiring downtime.
Mitigating Traditional Vulnerabilities with Application Modernization
PaaS’ traditional legacy vulnerability landscape disappears as workloads mature due to the modernization of the applications. Server operating systems and middleware components on Windows and Linux no longer require patching. Great! However, this does not mean that attackers’ vulnerabilities and threat perceptions are gone. Vulnerability management has been shifted to the left in favor of more Agile or DevOps terminology. The configuration and management of services are now more critical than ever before.
APIs in Serverless Environments
APIs are the new digital currency in the serverless environment, and it is crucial to safeguard them against vulnerabilities caused by faulty configuration or operations. Implementing new tools in security and configuration compliance within the Cloud Management Platform and API Management solutions spaces will serve to minimize vulnerabilities in serverless environments. The supply chain for 3rd party code is another way exploitable vulnerabilities are shifted left. Using provenance verification tools and code security can reduce the risk of injected malware or code vulnerabilities infecting your organization.
Eliminate Servers and Provide Data Protection
The cloud SaaS provider’s responsibility is to protect the infrastructure and manage the application when a business decides to use one. Vulnerabilities discovered by traditional vulnerability scanners do not apply in this case. The customer is still in charge of managing their own identities and access rights in this situation. The traditional Cloud Access can give an additional identity, authorization, access control, and data transfer protection mechanisms.
Vulnerabilities in the Cloud Provider Infrastructure
Vulnerabilities in the cloud infrastructure of cloud service providers are extremely rare occurrences. Additionally, the major cloud infrastructure providers have matured and are quick to patch their infrastructure. As you may be aware, cloud infrastructure platforms include various custom and commercially available software and hardware components. Intruders who know what software or hardware is being used in a cloud architecture could exploit well-known security flaws to gain administrative privileges or access data shared among tenants. Although security researchers have shown that this is a possibility, exploiting it is difficult.
Unless you’re working on highly sensitive projects for the government or military, securing these areas isn’t a high priority or a high-risk today. Most cloud migration strategies reduce your environment’s overall vulnerabilities as a side effect. Moving to the cloud can help mitigate the number, exploitability, and consequences of vulnerabilities if you’ve been working hard to find and fix them all. Go for it!