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Security of the serverless: How to leverage Prisma Cloud to protect your serverless apps

Prisma Cloud is one of the cutting-edge tools that can help protect all aspects of a cloud operation

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Cloud security is a key part of any business IT planning, as they migrate from on-premises or operate as cloud-native. Even serverless solutions, while sounding safer, require full security, and Prisma Cloud is one of the cutting-edge tools that can help protect all aspects of a cloud operation. 

Responsibility for cloud security lies across both the business and the cloud provider. Amazon’s shared responsibility model highlights the roles and that all parties can and should play when it comes to cloud security. 

As the customer, you need to take a proactive role with the right compliance, auditing, and training methods. All users must be trained to ensure the use of strong passwords, limiting access rights to only valid users, while the firm must operate suitable encryption and client-side security, to protect your network traffic. 

According to Gartner, some 99% of cloud security failures out to 2025 will be the responsibility of the customer and not the provider. Serverless services might simplify a growing range of cloud activity but there will always remain a strong requirement to protect each instance and service, no matter how small or trivial its purpose might seem. 

Threats to cloud and serverless 

Many of the same risks for serverless systems are those that threaten cloud productivity or cloud storage service. Applications created with microservices just as high a level of standards and compliance to defend the applications from attack. Internal attacks (east-west) are the primary vector for microservices, with 99% of risky activity happening within the business.

As well as traditional protection tools, businesses should monitor firewalls for increases in microservice data trying to move beyond the firewall. This indicates unusual activity, especially as more containers and microservices take root in production environments. Businesses should also be cautious about other areas of their cloud footprint. 

Configuration 

A misconfigured server, data lake or another resource can easily be accessed . Human error is much more likely to expose data in documents or files rather than a concerted or random attack. In the case of containers, serverless tools or APIs, misconfigured applications are at risk of being maliciously deleted or manipulated.

Impacts: Any business faces reputational and operational damage from misconfigured cloud services. And if the worst does happen, it may never be able to recover its data. 

Permissions and Authentication

When new workers start onboarding, many are given access to a wide range of office and business systems to get them productive from day one. However, without proper security training and strong authentication systems, they can create accounts that can easily be accessed. 

And when people leave the businesses, IT staff in smaller firms are often too busy with other tasks to remove their accounts promptly, creating further access risks. 

Impacts: Without strong passwords and account monitoring, rules against account sharing and using unapproved tools, any business can find itself at risk of a breach and subsequent damage, without any obvious signs of an attack. 

Function monitoring and checking logs

IT service logs are often left unchecked because they are boring and complex, and easily forgotten about. However, they can indicate a breach and other risks, acting as a key part of your business defenses, even if they are not as obvious as dashboards and alerts. 

Impacts: Using automated tools helps firms monitor their services and process logs, which helps identify risks or breaches. Not doing so adds to business risk and means IT may be missing signs of malicious activity. 

Serverless-specific threats

Serverless tools sound like a simple solution to business problems. But their simplicity does not reduce the risk. Third-party access via software packages, open source libraries, remote web services all create routes to a breach or misuse. 

Impacts: As businesses get smart with the cloud, containers and serverless approaches, it is important to ensure that the right security measures and features are in place to prevent an increase in risks. 

How Prisma Cloud helps protect the business

Cost savings

Cloud security can get complex and costly, but services like Prisma Cloud provide a broad range of protection across cloud infrastructure, applications, data, and accounts over large or small clouds. All at a low cost compared to monolithic services. In a recent study, Forrester estimates that a firm could save up to 276% with Prisma Cloud.

Keeps projects alive

Responding fast to an issue or breach helps a business keep its operations running and minimizing the impact. With live scanning of infrastructure-as-code (IaC) templates, container images, serverless functions and other applications, it provides full-stack runtime protection, reducing the management overheads for IT.

Avoids reputational damage 

Every business trades on its reputation and if a company experiences a breach or is known to lack strong security, customers will look elsewhere for products and services. Using strong defensive tools that highlight the proactive nature of a business will help maintain a positive profile and help it win customers. 

Value and benefits:

Palo Alto’s Prisma Cloud helps protect microservices and serverless applications through the use of analytics, compliance and monitoring. Additionally, a post-incident tool provides rapid understanding for the business through a single console, so they can provide a fast reaction to and analysis of any out-of-the-ordinary events.

Prisma allows the creation of monitoring and standards from scratch if required, with plenty of automation and ready-to-use compliance features. This provides a near out-of-the-box experience for customers who are more focused on running their business than getting involved in the minutiae of protecting their cloud and serverless operations. 

As the majority of firms continue or start their migrations to the cloud, the business of IT evolves to new techniques like serverless and other ways to improve how processes and services operate. At no point will security stop being the top issue for business leaders and IT teams, keeping workers and customers, and their data, safe.

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Palo Alto
Palo Alto