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What is Cloud Native?

Cloud native refers to the process of developing and deploying applications that make use of the distributed computing capabilities provided by the cloud delivery model. With the aid of this technology, businesses can develop and operate scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments including public, private, and hybrid clouds.

Cloud native also promotes speed and agility. Business systems have become more complex with increasing consumer demands such as: shorter turnaround times, cutting-edge features, and zero downtime. Performance issues, recurring errors, and a slow response time are no longer acceptable. In contrast, cloud native systems are designed to thrive in dynamic, large-scale environments, as they are resilient and effortlessly adapt to change.

The Difference Between Cloud Native, Cloud-Enabled, and Cloud-Based

Born in the cloud, cloud native applications can deliver consistent user experience across private, public, and hybrid clouds. Applications native to the cloud have emerged as a pivotal tool for enhancing productivity. Structured to run on a public cloud like GoogleAWS or Azure, these cloud technologies provide accessibility as well as scalability and make it simpler and more convenient for developers to continually announce new services.

Moreover, cloud native applications are designed to overcome any failure domains. These applications are composed of microservices that operate in containers and are divided into separate components that can each be updated separately, allowing for quicker maintenance, and eliminating any downtime. In turn, this is a more inexpensive approach as enterprises would only have to pay for licensing and storage charges with the cloud provider, ultimately, providing quicker implementation because there is no hardware or software to deploy.

In contrast, applications that have been traditionally constructed and later migrated to the cloud are categorized as cloud-enabled. These applications rely on local hardware and resources during this process since they were designed in a monolithic fashion. During the migration of the application to the cloud, the application is refactored to employ virtual resources, however, the underlying architecture remains the same. Because of this, the application cannot take advantage of shared services or resource pools and lacks the capability to scale and be as resilient as cloud native applications.

Between cloud native and cloud-enabled, cloud-based represents the middle ground. This can be a strategy to take into consideration if you want to make use of some cloud features like greater availability and scalability but don’t want to entirely restructure your application to use cloud services. Users would have a cloud-based application if they moved their internal web application to AWS or Azure servers. Once the application is transferred to a cloud provider, users no longer need to maintain the software’s resources, regulate servers or be concerned about backups. The ability for an application to immediately scale to satisfy demand spikes and improve application availability is one of the significant advantages of transitioning to the cloud.

Why do Organizations Need Cloud Native Applications?

The COVID-19 pandemic, digitalization of the workforce, globalization of organizations, and extended supply chains have accelerated the need for organizations to adopt cloud-native applications as organizations realized how the cloud could support the challenges faced with remote work, operations and communications.

There are several reasons why organizations should embrace these applications:

  • Less development cost: As cloud native applications are composed of microservices which operate in containers, this allows developers to reuse the components developed from previous projects. Since these components have been tested before, implementation can be carried out quickly.
  • Business continuity: Cloud native architecture improves business continuity for it reduces the downtime of services. In the case of a disruption, a resilient cloud-native application would allow users to continue using its service while issues are being resolved.
  • Agility and speed: Cloud native applications are designed to thrive in dynamic, large-scale environments that allow organizations to respond quickly to any sudden changes. This means that the applications are resilient and effortlessly adapt to change, which is important when seizing the change in market demands and responding to them promptly.
  • Improves collaboration within an organization: Organizations that deploy cloud native applications for their core business functions may often find collaboration a seamless process. With a cloud-native application platform, applications and services are organized at one place. This allows users to find the resources they need easily and encourages cross-department communication in the organization.

Given that cloud native is a technology which enables organizations to develop and deploy applications quickly in modern and dynamic environments, more organizations are leveraging on the cloud with the shift to digital transformation.

Benefits

Cloud-native applications provide a lot of advantages to enterprises. Their architecture enables the development of cloud-native applications that are independent of one another. Meaning you may manage and deploy them autonomously. Even in the case of a disruption in the infrastructure, a well-designed cloud-native application may continue to operate and remain online. Because they are smaller than traditional applications and offer various network deployment alternatives, it makes them easier to design, deploy and update, ultimately, improving business agility. These applications also leverage automation capabilities to enable continuous delivery and deployment of software changes without any disruption to the user.

How can Organizations Ensure Data Security within Cloud Native Applications?

While cloud native applications offer numerous advantages, they also come with certain challenges that organizations need to address. Cloud-native architectures introduce additional complexity compared to traditional monolithic applications. The distributed nature of microservices and the need for container orchestration require a thorough understanding of containerization, networking, service discovery, and other related technologies. In addition, the use of various cloud services increases the attack surface and introduces new security considerations. Organizations need to implement strong security measures, such as access control, encryption, vulnerability management, and secure container configurations, to protect their applications and data.

Addressing these challenges requires a combination of technical expertise, proper planning, and adopting best practices. This begs the question; how can organizations ensure data security within cloud-native applications?

Ensuring data security within cloud-native applications involves implementing various measures to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access, leakage, or manipulation. Here are some best practices to enhance data security within these applications:

  • Access Controls: Implement strong access controls to limit data access to authorized users or services. Organizations can leverage on Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC) and enforce least privilege access principles to limit access rights based on user roles and responsibilities. Strong access controls ensure that only authorized individuals can access sensitive data.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): Implement DLP measures to prevent accidental or intentional data leakage. Organizations can use techniques such as data classification, and data loss prevention tools to detect and prevent unauthorized data exfiltration. By applying data masking or segregation techniques, sensitive data can be obfuscated.
  • Secure Logging: Organizations should ensure that logs generated by their cloud-native application, including those that contain potentially sensitive data, are handled securely by authorized users. The logs should be reviewed on a regular basis for potential security incidents or anomalies. To do so, a centralized logging solution can be implemented to provide secure transmission and storage of logs.

By implementing these measures, organizations can significantly enhance data security within their cloud-native applications. It’s important to regularly assess and update data security controls as the application evolves and new threats emerge.

For more information on how to safeguard data in your cloud, please visit our product page.