Cloud Application Security

What Is Cloud Application Security?

Cloud application security refers to a set of rules, processes, controls, and technology that regulate all data transactions in collaborative cloud settings.
If you or your workers often store and exchange data in cloud services, a cloud application “safety net” should be included to your zero trust security infrastructure immediately.

Developing and using applications in a cloud environment is not necessarily a more complicated process than doing so in a traditional computing environment. However, development flaws that might carry limited risk in a traditional environment carry far greater risk in the cloud. For example, a buffer-overflow vulnerability in a desktop program reflects an error, but it is not much of an issue in traditional computing because access to the application is limited to the user. However, in the always-available world of cloud computing, such a vulnerability could be exploited by any remote user. Further, exploiting that vulnerability in turn could allow an attacker to gain access to an entire virtual machine or cloud environment of an organization. It is even conceivable that such an attack could compromise an entire data center of a cloud services provider.

Also, traditional applications carry with them inherent (or at least implied) controls. If an administrator installs an application on a user’s computer, the implication is the user is authorized to use it. Traditionally, we have restricted access to certain apps by controlling whether or not they are installed on a computer. However, in the cloud, such physical controls don’t exist. Similar to data security in the cloud, cloud-based applications must rely on a strong identity and access management (IAM) controls to ensure that the right users are accessing the right applications.

Further, some applications are difficult to port to a cloud environment because they lack cryptographic or other components necessary for ensuring confidentiality and integrity in the shared world of cloud computing. Even availability can be an issue for some applications that can’t tolerate the occasional latency experienced in access to cloud resources.

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