Why Observability Is the Next Big Thing in Security

Observability for Application Security Is a Must-have

It’s not easy to tell modern security stories to users of legacy security solutions still attached to squeezing some fading security value from network-based perimeter walls. Organizations and their application security teams still find it hard to justify the obvious need for true operational change in application development and deployment (cloud adoption sits at 46%), even as software — now in the form of complex, high-velocity, and distributed cloud architectures — continues to rapidly become the only known way to effectively grow a modern business.

Still, the fact is software developers and cross-functional teams will not wait and have simply taken application security away from SecOps because a new paradigm of observability for security purposes has emerged as a core requirement for effective protection of modern applications in the cloud. Today’s complex, distributed, and ephemeral challenges brought forward by next-generation cloud adoption are the new critical roadblocks that enterprises must solve to achieve rapid business grow: either adopt a technology stack that delivers observability for security or lack the ability to effectively secure your cloud applications.

Appsec in Today’s Modern, Multi-Tier Software World

Transformation to more granular and multi-tier infrastructures increases application security benefits gained from a DevSecOps operational approach. This shifting of security into development and extended into operations creates a valuable, context-rich, single-source-of-truth, and unified holistic view across your entire software development life cycle (SDLC).

“Without pre-existing observability of your application security, any cloud transformation and especially moves into cloud native environments can be significantly more challenging.”

The business value from using DevOps-integrated security designed to “shift left” for earlier software remediations is already outstanding. And this integration pays forward significant cost savings in multitier operational models that build and deploy more frequently. There is also the additional benefit of embedded security that “extends right” into runtimes as autonomous protection and fail-safe support, perfect for high-velocity application delivery—essentially acting as a final compensating control for defense in depth and a zero-trust safety net.

But the world continues to quickly change and these changes are even accelerating. Distributed cloud-native scale, container deployments, and ephemeral Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) provisioning are now supported by major cloud providers (AWS, Azure, GCP, and more) and there is enticing business reason for everyone to retool and join this cloud transformation. For instance, there are significant benefits from adopting a continuous integration and continuous delivery model paired with this next-generation, pay-as-you-go, auto-scaling cloud infrastructure to make it a top business priority.

However, when everything suddenly (even the infrastructure) is ephemeral or abstracted away, true value may be reserved for enterprises who strongly focus on retaining all their previously adopted multitier operational benefits. Without preexisting observability of your application security, any cloud transformation and especially moves into cloud-native environments can be significantly more challenging.

Expanding Cloud-Native Surfaces at Ephemeral Velocity

Complexity and velocity in distributed cloud environments requires teams to adopt a closed-loop automation solution with continuous reporting back to development and AppSec teams. This observability ensures integrity across build, deploy, and run operations for overall reduced security risk and lower operating costs. For instance, the number of cloud breaches happening today due to human error reveals how successfully enterprises are at transforming without adopting observability in their operations. The more complex and event-driven an environment is, the more likely there is value to be derived from observable security.

“The more complex and event-driven an environment is, the more likely there is value to be derived from observable security.”

So, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated cloud adoptions, a required re-tooling to cloud-native protection that supports observability across the development life cycle still lags behind or is even completely missing in the rush to cloud adoption. Questions that organizations should ask themselves include:

  • Is your DevOps team ready to effectively manage customer demands for seamless event-driven application experiences and accelerated time to market for new customer features?
  • How can you ensure protection in a high-velocity, expanded, and ephemeral, cloud-native world?
  • Is your organization still looking at DevOps as a cost center instead of the innovation center driving your business growth?

Cloud-native infrastructures and security observability are purposefully designed to remove the security speed bumps that slow innovation down, and instead, leverage a security guardrails approach that supports even faster software integration and delivery. Developers may then focus on serving the customer when they have tailored observability available—driven by automated security feedback cycles—so teams can quickly learn from mistakes and rapidly deliver value and innovation to customers.

Optimizing customer experiences on the fly, for example, is just one cloud-native advantage made possible by event-driven architectures (EDAs). DevOps teams are now smartly requiring embedded security context across the development life cycle in order to understand what is going on and to help automate security of their cloud-delivered applications.

Automated Observability From Code to Cloud

Any migration into application programming interface (API) and event-driven architectures like cloud-native environments can enjoy the benefits paid forward from preexisting, automated, observable security deployed across your application development life cycle. You can even observe your own customized benchmarks for enhanced security governance using observability so your development teams have prioritized continuous views of what really matters to your organization and what urgently needs improvement in your specific environment.

One single, harmonized, holistic, source of truth for your security using correlated telemetry from monitored applications (metrics, runtime events, logs, root-cause tracing) gives you a definite operational competitive advantage. It is hard for developers to reject highly contextualized and customized guidance, all delivered within a single, integrated security view.

Also remember that cloud providers will only monitor their own services, so observability of all your security workloads (on-premises, hybrid, and cloud) requires you to either create your own solution internally or find a security vendor to support a single source of truth for observability of your security across the entire SDLC.

“Be prepared, start now, and make observability for security a key principle of your cloud transformation.”

For instance, earlier on before cloud migrations even start, AppSec teams can partner with a vendor to integrate observable security solutions into their DevOps process. This advanced preparation ensures your team will already have available contextualized, prioritized, code-level security guidance delivered to DevOps with visualized, clickable flow maps of all connections—in short, everything today’s developer needs to rapidly trace root-cause and event details for actionable security remediation, especially for accelerated cloud transformations.

Going forward, automated observability across the entire development life cycle (from code to cloud) is positioned to be the key capability for securing your cloud applications throughout the build, deploy, and run development phases. So why not be prepared, start now, and make observability for security a key principle of your cloud transformation?

Accelerate Your Cloud Transformation

The next big thing in security is automated observability. It is already an essential cloud-transformation security requirement that removes a lot of challenges and operational pains. Organizations looking to future-proof and modernize their application security to ensure their readiness for cloud deployments or cloud-native environments (like serverless computing) can significantly move ahead of their competition by adopting automated observability for security before any cloud transformation attempt.

DevOps and AppSec teams can deliver on accelerated cloud security outcomes with continuous, accurate discovery and observed verification of application issues. And development teams can immediately benefit from automated root-cause analysis while triggering precise self-protection and optimizing actions across the SDLC.

Make no mistake, accurate detection of real cloud application and function risk—meaning that the risk is verifiable and holistically observed with root-cause tracing—provides your development and security teams with an advantage of unified contextual visibility to securely build, deploy, and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments.

In other words, enterprises who accurately know and communicate what “true normal” looks like for their applications using continuous instrumented observability across their development life cycle have a competitive advantage to gain rapid growth and resilient, manageable, cloud application security.

This UrIoTNews article is syndicated fromDzone