Keith Worfolk
Keith Worfolk

Cloud environments share the same fundamental security issues as on-prem ones. Major areas include:

Identity and Access Management (IAM)

Network perimeter and behaviors

Data protection

Configuration management

Internal system access

However, the infrastructure, solutions, and implementations that address these issues change with the radically different operating realities of the cloud.

In this blog, we examine 3 strategic capabilities of mature CloudSecOps architectures, and how they address the needs of the cloud security paradigm.


Adaptive, agile cybersecurity architectures

Virtual cloud environments provide unparalleled flexibility, with infrastructure and services (servers, computation, storage, network components, and security mechanisms) housed on a Cloud Service Provider (CSP) platform.

But cloud cost and production efficiencies come at a price. Cloud enterprises are subject to constant changes to infrastructure state, business needs, consumption trends, and technology. The movement of vital data from on-prem centers to cloud servers also presents a host of new potential entry points such as APIs, third-party services, and container workloads.

Major challenges for cloud security architectures include:

Mapping and securing undefined, fluid security perimeters

Tracking, storing, classifying, and moving high volumes of data across the cloud ecosystem securely

Integrating and optimizing security architectures of evolving microservices, applications, and solutions

Managing such a dynamic security footprint requires an overhaul of not just cloud security, but also how general cloud expansion is managed.


A security-first growth strategy

Leading cloud solutions development without thorough and early CloudSecOps involvement is unsustainable in the long-term. Growing operational and security requirements will slow growth while security rushes to catch up.

CloudSecOps should instead lead cloud growth by translating strategic business objectives and target solutions into the competencies needed to secure them. Said competencies form a framework of needed infrastructure and services to guide solutions development.

Proactively integrating cloud operations and security enables both solutions development that matches evolving security needs, and accurate projections of emerging requirements. Crucial points to synergize approaches include:

Cloud model composition (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS)

Ratio of developed infrastructure to third-party CSP services

Solution portfolio and topography specifications:

Target solution types

Solution evolutionary pathways

Operational synergies, dependencies, and interactions:

Configurable microservices

Microservice APIs

Shared and developed code

Elastic resource scaling

Automated interactions

Different configurations of cloud models, platforms, and solutions will affect the activities and skills needed to build, secure, and maintain your footprint. Your CloudSecOps approach should focus on your precise target configuration to stay efficient and effective.


Layered defenses-in-depth

A layered, defense-in-depth approach to cloud security is best-suited to execute continuous adaptation and proactive integration, for the following reasons:

Defenses-in-depth compensate for gaps. The scale and evolving state of cloud enterprises inevitably expose points of entry. Layered defenses force attackers to bypass all defense levels to access vital data, preventing a breach from compromising the whole system.

Proactive security architecture upgrades can be executed in-flight. Multiple security layers make modifying a single defense level possible without halting solutions development.

On-prem and cloud environments also benefit from the same layered defense practices, such as:

Perimeter IAM Defenses

Active password management with frequent rotations and password composition best practices

Endpoint monitoring to map and regulate connected devices and network access points

Advanced Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) incorporating device registration, timing components, biometrics, and geofencing

Internal Defenses

Zero Trust approach: constant authentication pressure at internal directory and network access points

Context-driven monitoring of network user and workload behaviors

User credential classification for AD forest access

Standardized network navigation SOPs for end-users

Mature CloudSecOps configurations can deploy a central security management platform to govern multiple control layers, with the following capabilities:

Continuous monitoring of potential risks introduced by new and updated cloud assets, servers, and containers

Alerting solution and resource owners, developers, and administrators of detected threats in real-time

Providing diagnostics to assist the resolution of potential and discovered issues

Quarantining of suspicious workloads to shrink attack surfaces

Automated remediation of routine bugs and errors


Fundamental shifts in mindset and operation are needed for businesses to implement a security-first cloud expansion strategy:

Continuous optimization as security goes Agile. Defined perimeters and static defenses cannot keep up with ever-expanding threat surfaces.

Acceptance of third-party provider capabilities. Resorting to mass migrated IaaS setups to “retain autonomy” will only rob you of cloud advantages.

Adoption of new security technologies. Synergies between Zero Trust, enhanced MFA, multi-cloud oversight tools, and other technologies must be established in line with strategic cloud objectives.

Such changes encompass every aspect of an organization’s expanding cloud footprint, and are difficult to plan and execute alone. Consult expert advisory for best results in adopting a security-first approach to cloud growth.

Talk to a Wavestone expert for help adopting a security-first approach to cloud development and long-term cloud growth.


Keith Worfolk
Director - Digital & Cloud Strategy

Keith is a client-focused IT executive, innovation expert, and trusted industry advisor with a consistent record of delivering visionary enterprise and Cloud solutions, platforms (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS), and BI/analytics and AI/ML solutions via secure, scalable architectures for growing organizations.

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