Zero Trust Securing Communication Between Workloads In The Cloud

Zero Trust Securing Communication Between Workloads In The Cloud

If your business hosts applications in the cloud, you need to ensure that your applications’ online communications are secure between the applications themselves and between the application and the data center. But today’s multi-cloud environments can turn to manage secure access to workloads into a massive undertaking. Between complex connections and strict security requirements, this area needs to be simplified. Based on Zero Trust approaches, new solutions for cloud workloads emerge as the best solution.

When workloads are moved to the cloud, they need to be accessed differently. In the multi-cloud scenarios prevalent in enterprises today, this fact is at the heart of the debate over complexity and security. Three communication relationships are required for most applications hosted in the public cloud. The workload, which consists of the application and associated data, must be accessible by IT for administrative purposes; it must also communicate with other applications over the Internet and be connected to the data center. If the required access rights in these directions are not configured correctly, the company can increase its vulnerability to attacks.

Confusion And Mess In Workload Communication

The increase in public cloud workloads over the past two years has thrown many organizations into a complex system of connections. This complexity results from different routing requirements for data traffic destined for the cloud application, communication between the cloud-based applications, and communication from the application to the data center. Factors such as required levels of service availability in different regions and Availability Zones, or even redundant applications, contribute to burdening communication paths.

Depending on the volume of data – and with speeds dedicated to synchronizing terabyte-scale workloads enterprises are forced to use fiber optic technology or direct connections to hyperscalers (the substantial providers such as Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure). Dedicated point-to-point links meet the communication requirement of the workload to the data center.

In this type of complex cloud scenario, who is responsible for securing cloud workloads and all the associated infrastructure is often overlooked. Although responsibilities may have been clearly defined when applications were hosted on the network (with the application team, the network team, and the security department all playing their part), the cloud blurs these traditional lines of responsibility. It is tacitly understood that the responsibility for cloud workload security rests with the cloud application owners. However, developer skills often reside in application development; they may not be experts in network infrastructure and security, leading to gaps in the security configuration.

Zero Trust Simplifying Workload Security Via The Cloud

In recent years, the Zero Trust approach has grown in popularity. It is seen as a way to secure application data traffic over the Internet and as a way to block remote access to applications in data centers or cloud environments. With this approach, secure communication occurs based on defined policies and access rights, following the principle of least privilege. A security platform acts as an intermediate security layer to enforce these policies. These security services operate between the Internet, applications, and users to monitor secure communication. A cloud-based approach is ideal in this scenario because it allows scaling flexibility and requires little management intervention.

This concept of Zero Trust can also be applied for structuring and monitoring relationships between workloads in the cloud., which helps reduce the complexity of these scenarios. Policies are used to grant access rights to required applications; these rights are controlled via a cloud platform. This approach makes network connections obsolete and favors granular associations at the level of individual applications. An intermediary in the cloud monitors traffic through an encapsulated connection to ensure that only authorized communication relationships are established. The cloud security platform implements access rights and manages other security functions to monitor data traffic, such as scanning SSL-encrypted traffic for codes of hidden malware.

Stop Making Cloud Workloads A Gateway For Attacks

This approach has a double effect: it reduces complexity while decreasing the vulnerability of cloud workloads to attacks that can take place over the Internet. Because communications between applications are encapsulated, the applications themselves are not visible online, preventing unauthorized parties from gaining access.

This method also enables micro-segmentation: using defined access rights policies, the system determines which servers can communicate with other servers and under what circumstances, without routing traffic data through external networks to enforce firewall rules. This approach works on different clouds, thus thwarting the decentralized methodology of hyperscalers.

It also restores the traditional division of application, network, and security responsibilities. The application developer is only responsible for setting up the application’s path to the cloud security platform; the responsibility for cloud infrastructure security is transferred to the security team once the policies are established. As applications are no longer exposed online for communication purposes, the company also reduces its vulnerability to attacks.

It is then appropriate that the connections of workloads in the public cloud should be just as secure as the connections through which individual users access their cloud-based applications. The application of the Zero Trust principle thus allows companies to ensure safe and straightforward communication while reducing their exposure to attacks on the Internet. This approach reduces complexity by re-engineering data flows while strengthening security defenses, making it the perfect solution for today’s cloud-first enterprise.


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