To protect your privacy in a cloud-native environment, choose the right CSP, have an automated, centralized system that can store all types of secrets.
Most of our data are uploaded or backed up on the cloud. It is a safe, secured and reliable system. Other than just storing data, cloud computing has revolutionized all sorts of technology and development sectors.
To enable cloud computing or use the cloud, you have to verify yourself by putting in certain credentials like passwords and usernames. These credentials are called secrets, and if these data fall into the wrong hands, then your organization may face some serious troubles.
This is why you need to manage your secrets, primarily when they are used on cloud platforms.
What Are Secrets?
As we mentioned, secrets are passwords, user names, configuration keys, or API tokens. They are any type of credentials set by us or assigned to us that lets us authorize ourselves.
Without the proper credentials, we would not be able to enter that site or platform. Your secrets need to be protected on both offline and online platforms. You can create your own secret management system or use secret management services from CloudEnv.
What Is a Cloud Native Environment?
The term cloud-native can be defined differently based on objectives. Sometimes it can be referred to as just anything that is stored and run on the cloud. And some just think it is another version of DevOps.
However, a cloud-native environment can be defined more as an IT strategy where software and application are continuously developed and delivered.
It is an API-driven platform that connects infrastructure to distribute those applications. These infrastructures also change rapidly because the components, nodes, and containers are constantly evolving.
A lot of modern software and app development is done in cloud-native environments. These applications are created and then distributed using the cloud-native model. Secrets play a big part in this since every developer has a unique credential that only they should hold.
Ways To Protect Secrets On The Cloud
If you do not manage and protect your organization’s secrets in cloud-native environments, then disastrous data breaches may occur that can cause reputational and financial loss.
Here are some ways you can protect your secrets in cloud-native environments
1. Choose The Right CSP
There are private clouds and hybrid clouds. In both cases, it is both the cloud host or service provider’s (CSP) and the user’s responsibility to manage data security. However, depending on the type of cloud, some CSPs will provide additional reinforcements.
Every CSP will provide you with a secret management solution, but it is your responsibility to evaluate their services and analyze if they meet all your safety requirements.
The most common secret or key management services are Google Cloud’s Secret Manager, Amazon’s Web Management Service, or Microsoft’s Key Vault. These are native solutions and have specific features for specific cloud types. However, they are not limited to one specific cloud and can be used in multi-cloud platforms.
If you still do not find it suitable, you should find a secret management tool that will help organize, track, encrypt, and protect your critical data. Be sure to evaluate the settings of those tools as well.
2. Automated Secret Management
If you are protecting your organization’s secrets in a static environment, it is pretty easy to keep track of your secrets.
You do not need to worry about hostnames and addresses since they are static and there are only a few API keys. The majority of your secrets are just passwords, and managing them is not that much of a hassle once you have an audit logbook to track them and have an access control list.
But in cloud-native environments, it is not that simple. For starters, the number of secrets is far too many to manage single-handedly. Since the infrastructure and components change all the time, their secrets also need to be updated and revised.
This is why you need an automated secret management system. Doing everything manually will only cause secret scrawl (when secrets are distributed unintentionally across multiple platforms.)
Cloud-native environments have hundreds of containers, dozens of microservices in their services. If you have an automated system, you can configure the policies to allow it to store and share secrets automatically.
3. Centralize Your Secrets
Cloud-native environments are just clusters of several infrastructures. The entire architecture is designed in a way that makes it challenging to keep track of your secrets across several applications, components, and infrastructures.
Your cloud secret management system should be centralized so you can store all the secrets of your organization in one place. This makes it easier to increase security and ensure best practices. You can also oversee and track your secrets to make sure attackers do not get access to it.
4. Manage All Types Of Secrets
For static cases, you can simply use key management services or password managers to safeguard your keys. But in cloud-native environments, things like API tokens and encryption keys play a far more critical role.
And other than humans, applications and software are also logging in the cloud using these API tokens. There are several different types of secrets that are all used to authenticate or authorize access.
This is why you need to choose a secret management tool or service provider that can store all types of secrets in a centralized location. There are some popular stand-alone solutions for the cloud-native environment capable of storing all kinds of secrets. HashiCorp Vault, Kubernetes secret management container, and docker secret management container are capable of doing so.
Secrets should be kept secured and monitored at all times. If you do not have a proper secrets management system while using cloud-native environments, there will likely be a data breach. You will have to evaluate your CSP and even compare amongst different secret management systems for cloud-native environments. Overall, you must have a centralized, automated system that can store and protect all types of secrets.