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Everything you ever wanted to know about security policy management, and much more. Categories

March 2024 by Rony Moshkovich, Algosec

As your organization adopts a hybrid IT infrastructure, there are more ways for hackers to steal your sensitive data. This is why cloud application security is a critical part of data protection. It allows you to secure your cloud-based applications from cyber threats while ensuring your data is safe.

This post will walk you through cloud application security, including its importance. We will also discuss the main cloud application security threats and how to mitigate them.

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What is Cloud Application Security

Cloud application security refers to the security measures taken to protect cloud-based assets throughout their development lifecycle. These security measures are a framework of policies, tools, and controls that protect your cloud against cyber threats.
Here is a list of security measures that cloud application security may involve:

Compliance with industry standards such as CIS benchmarks to prevent data breaches.
Identity management and access controls to prevent unauthorized access to your cloud-based apps.
Data encryption and tokenization to protect sensitive data.
Vulnerability management through vulnerability scanning and penetration testing.
Network perimeter security, such as firewalls, to prevent unwanted access.

The following are some of the assets that cloud security affects:

Third-party cloud providers like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google GCP.
Collaborative applications like Slack and Microsoft Teams.
Data Servers.
Computer Networks.

Why is Cloud Application Security Important

Cloud application security is becoming more relevant as businesses migrated their data to the cloud in recent years.

This is especially true for companies with a multi-cloud environment. These types of environments create a larger attack surface for hackers to exploit.

According to IBM, the cost of a data breach in 2022 was $4.35 million. And this represents an increase of 2.6% from the previous year.
The report also revealed that it took an average of 287 days to find and stop a data breach in a cloud environment. This time is enough for hackers to steal sensitive data and really damage your assets.

Here are more things that can go wrong if organizations don’t pay attention to cloud security:

Brand image damage:

A security breach may cause a brand’s reputation to suffer and a decline in client confidence.

During a breach, your company’s servers may be down for days or weeks. This means customers who paid for your services will not get access in that time.

They may end up destroying your brand’s image through word of mouth.

Lost consumer trust:

Consumer confidence is tough to restore after being lost due to a security breach. Customers could migrate to rivals they believe to be more secure.

Organizational disruption:

A security breach may cause system failures preventing employees from working. This, in turn, could affect their productivity. You may also have to fire employees tasked with ensuring cloud security.

Data loss:

You may lose sensitive data, such as client information, resulting in legal penalties. Trade secrets theft may also affect the survival of your organization. Your competitors may steal your only leverage in the industry.

Compliance violations:

You may be fined for failing to comply with industry regulations such as GDPR. You may also face legal consequences for failing to protect consumer data.
What are the Major Cloud Application Security Threats

The following is a list of the major cloud application security threats:


Misconfigurations are errors made when setting up cloud-based applications. They can occur due to human errors, lack of expertise, or mismanagement of cloud resources.

Examples include weak passwords, unsecured storage baskets, and unsecured ports. Hackers may use these misconfigurations to access critical data in your public cloud.

Insecure data sharing:

This is the unauthorized or unintended sharing of sensitive data between users. Insecure data sharing can happen due to a misconfiguration or inappropriate access controls.

It can lead to data loss, breaches, and non-compliance with regulatory standards.

Limited visibility into network operations:

This is the inability to monitor and control your cloud infrastructure and its apps. Limited network visibility prevents you from quickly identifying and responding to cyber threats.

Many vulnerabilities may go undetected for a long time. Cybercriminals may exploit these weak points in your network security and gain access to sensitive data.

Account hijacking:

This is a situation where a hacker gains unauthorized access to a legitimate user’s cloud account.

The attackers may use various social engineering tactics to steal login credentials. Examples include phishing attacks, password spraying, and brute-force attacks.

Once they access the user’s cloud account, they can steal data or damage assets from within.

Employee negligence and inadequately trained personnel:

This threat occurs when employees are not adequately trained to recognize, report and prevent cyber risks.

It can also happen when employees unintentionally or intentionally engage in risky behavior. For example, they could share login credentials with unauthorized users or set weak passwords.

Weak passwords enable attackers to gain entry into your public cloud. Rogue employees can also intentionally give away your sensitive data.

Compliance risks:

Your organization faces cloud computing risks when non-compliant with industry regulations such as GDPR, PCI-DSS, and HIPAA.

Some of these cloud computing risks include data breaches and exposure of sensitive information. This, in turn, may result in fines, legal repercussions, and reputational harm.

Data loss:

Data loss is a severe security risk for cloud applications. It may happen for several causes, including hardware malfunction, natural calamities, or cyber-attacks.

Some of the consequences of data loss may be the loss of customer trust and legal penalties.

Outdated security software:

SaaS vendors always release updates to address new vulnerabilities and threats. Failing to update your security software on a regular basis may leave your system vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Hackers may exploit the flaws in your outdated SaaS apps to gain access to your cloud.

Insecure APIs:

APIs are a crucial part of cloud services but can pose a severe security risk if improperly secured.

Insecure APIs and other endpoint infrastructure may cause many severe system breaches. They can lead to a complete system takeover by hackers and elevated privileged access.
How to Mitigate Cloud Application Security Risks

The following is a list of measures to mitigate cloud app security risks:

Conduct a thorough risk analysis:

This entails identifying possible security risks and assessing their potential effects. You then prioritize correcting the risks depending on their level of severity.

By conducting risk analysis on a regular basis, you can keep your cloud environment secure. You’ll quickly understand your security posture and select the right security policies.

Implement a firm access control policy:

Access control policies ensure that only authorized users gain access to your data. They also outline the level of access to sensitive data based on your employees’ roles.

A robust access control policy comprises features such as:

Multi-factor authentication
Role-based access control
Least Privilege Access
Strong password policies.

Use encryption:

Encryption is a crucial security measure that protects sensitive data in transit and at rest. This way, if an attacker intercepts data in transit, it will only be useful if they have a decryption key.

Some of the cloud encryption solutions you can implement include:

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
Rivest -Shamir-Addleman (RSA)
Transport Layer Security (TSL)

Set up data backup and disaster recovery policies:

A data backup policy ensures data is completely recovered in case of breaches. You can always recover the lost data from your data backup files.

Data backup systems also help reduce the impact of cyberattacks as you will restore normal operations quickly.

Disaster recovery policies focus on establishing protocols and procedures to restore critical systems during a major disaster. This way, your data security will stay intact even when disaster strikes.

Keep a constant watch over cloud environments:

Security issues in cloud settings can only be spotted through continuous monitoring. Cloud security posture management tools like Prevasio can help you monitor your cloud for such issues.

With its layer analysis feature, you’ll know the exact area in your cloud and how to fix it.

Test and audit cloud security controls regularly:

Security controls help you detect and mitigate potential security threats in your cloud. Examples of security controls include firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and database encryption.

Auditing these security controls helps to identify gaps they may have. And then you take corrective actions to restore their effectiveness.

Regularly evaluating your security controls will reduce the risk of security incidents in your cloud.

Implement a security awareness training program:

Security awareness training helps educate employees on cloud best practices. When employees learn commonly overlooked security protocols, they reduce the risks of data breaches due to human error.

Organize regular assessment tests with your employees to determine their weak points. This way, you’ll reduce chances of hackers gaining access to your cloud through tactics such as phishing and ransomware attacks

Use the security tools and services that cloud service providers offer:

Cloud service providers like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offer security tools and services such as:

Web application firewalls (WAF),
Runtime application self-protection (RASP),
Intrusion detection and prevention systems
Identity and access management (IAM) controls

You can strengthen the security of your cloud environments by utilizing these tools. However, you should not rely solely on these features to ensure a secure cloud. You also need to implement your own cloud security best practices.

Implement an incident response strategy:

A security incident response strategy describes the measures to take during a cyber attack. It provides the procedures and protocols to bring the system back to normal in case of a breach.

Designing incident response plans helps to reduce downtime. It also minimizes the impact of the damages due to cyber attacks.

Apply the Paved Road Security Approach in DevSecOps Processes:

DevSecOps environments require security to be integrated into development workflows and tools. This way, cloud security becomes integral to an app development process.

The paved road security approach provides a secure baseline that DevSecOps can use for continuous monitoring and automated remediation.
Automate your cloud application security practices

Using on-premise security practices such as manual compliance checks to mitigate cloud application security threats can be tiring. Your security team may also need help to keep up with the updates as your cloud needs grow.

Cloud vendors that can automate all the necessary processes to maintain a secure cloud. They have cloud security tools to help you achieve and maintain compliance with industry standards.

You can improve your visibility into your cloud infrastructures by utilizing these solutions. They also spot real-time security challenges and offer remediations.

For example, Prevasio’s cloud security solutions monitor cloud environments continually from the cloud. They can spot possible security threats and vulnerabilities using AI and machine learning.
What Are Cloud Application Security Solutions?

Cloud application security solutions are designed to protect apps and other assets in the cloud.

Unlike point devices, cloud application security solutions are deployed from the cloud. This ensures you get a comprehensive cybersecurity approach for your IT infrastructure.

These solutions are designed to protect the entire system instead of a single point of vulnerability. This makes managing your cybersecurity strategy easier.

Here are some examples of cloud security application solutions:

1. Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM):

CSPM tools enable monitoring and analysis of cloud settings for security risks and vulnerabilities.

They locate incorrect setups, resources that aren’t compliant, and other security concerns that might endanger cloud infrastructures.

2. The Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP):

This cloud application security solution provides real-time protection for workloads in cloud environments. It does this by detecting and mitigating real-time threats regardless of where they are deployed.

CWPP solutions offer various security features, such as

Network segmentation
File integrity monitoring
Vulnerability scanning.

Using CWPP products will help you optimize your cloud application security strategy.

3. Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB):

CASB products give users visibility into and control over the data and apps they access in the cloud.

These solutions help businesses enforce security guidelines and monitor user behavior in cloud settings. The danger of data loss, leakage, and unauthorized access is lowered in the process. CASB products also help with malware detection.

4. Runtime Application Self Protection (RASP):

This solution addresses security issues that may arise while a program is working. It identifies potential threats and vulnerabilities during runtime and thwarts them immediately.

Some of the RASP solutions include:

Input validation
Runtime hardening
Dynamic Application Security testing

5. Web Application and API protection (WAAP):

These products are designed to protect your organization’s Web applications and APIs. They monitor outgoing and incoming web apps and API traffic to detect malicious activity.

WAAP products can block any unauthorized access attempts. They can also protect against cyber threats like SQL injection and Cross-site scripting.

6. Data Loss Prevention (DLP):

DLP products are intended to stop the loss or leaking of private information in cloud settings.

These technologies keep track of sensitive data in use and at rest. They can also enforce rules to stop unauthorized people from losing or accessing it.

7. Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems:

SIEM systems track and analyze real-time security incidents and events in cloud settings.

The effect of security breaches is decreased thanks to these solutions. They help firms in detecting and responding to security issues rapidly.
Cloud Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP)

The CNAPP, which Prevasio created, raises the bar for cloud security. It combines CSPM, CIEM, IAM, CWPP, and more in one tool.

A CNAPP delivers a complete security solution with sophisticated threat detection and mitigation capabilities for packaged workloads, microservices, and cloud-native applications.

The CNAPP can find and eliminate security issues in your cloud systems before hackers can exploit them.

With its layer analysis feature, you can quickly fix any potential vulnerabilities in your cloud. It pinpoints the exact layer of code where there are errors, saving you time and effort.

CNAPP also offers a visual dynamic analysis of your cloud environment. This lets you grasp the state of your cloud security at a glance. In the process, saving you time as you know exactly where to go.

CNAPP is also a scalable cloud security solution. The cloud-native design of Prevasio’s CNAPP enables it to expand dynamically and offer real-time protection against new threats.
Let Prevasio Solve Your Cloud Application Security Needs

Cloud security is paramount to protecting sensitive data and upholding a company’s reputation in the modern digital age.

To be agile to the constantly changing security issues in cloud settings, Prevasio’s Cloud Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP) offers an all-inclusive solution.

From layer analysis to visual dynamic analysis, CNAPP gives you the tools you need to keep your cloud secure.

You can rely on Prevasio to properly manage your cloud application security needs.

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