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SECURE NETWORK ACCESS

Chris ScheelsMarch 10, 2022

Cloud Protection: Build a Secure Cloud Network Using Zero Trust

Cloud adoption is nearly universal, as 94% of organizations report moderate to extensive use of public clouds. However, cloud protection isn't as clear cut, especially as hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments complicate network security. Zero Trust security can reduce risk and deliver dynamic, unified access policies across any cloud architecture to create a secure cloud network.

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As organizations move applications and workloads to the cloud, they’re finding that traditional security approaches are ineffective and introduce business impacting complexity.

Amid IT complexity, an increase in data breaches and shared responsibility of security in the cloud, Zero Trust security can simplify cloud protection and alleviate some of the administrative burden. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the roadblocks and how Zero Trust can help build a secure cloud network and reinforce cloud protection.

Cloud protection challenges during migration

Just like a Zero Trust journey can’t happen all at once, neither can a cloud migration. Building a secure cloud network becomes complex as some workloads shift into elastic cloud environments and others remain on-premises. Regardless of location users require secure access to these environments and ensuring a Zero Trust posture should be top-of-mind as it relates to a cloud protection strategy.

Proactively building a secure cloud network

Cloud protection can’t be an afterthought of the migration process. According to ESG’s Technology Spending Intentions Survey, 47% of respondents found challenges in maintaining cloud security consistently across data centers and public cloud environments where resources were deployed. Another 40% said that using multiple cybersecurity controls increased cost and complexity.

Cloud providers’ built-in security concepts are insufficient for a secure cloud network because there is no interoperability between regions, cloud vendors, on-premises or Kubernetes infrastructures. Adopting a Zero Trust Network Access solution with a unified policy model gives security practitioners more cloud protection and significantly reduces the complexity of ensuring secure access to, from and within cloud architectures.

Cloud protection challenges from misconfiguration

Any errors or defects in a cloud environment—misconfigurations—open you up to risk, like publicly exposed assets or third-party mismanagement. According to Fugue’s most recent State of Cloud Security report, misconfigurations are the top cause of cloud data breaches. Nearly half of respondents (49%) in their survey experience 50 or more cloud misconfigurations per day and 72% of respondents believe that over the next year cloud misconfiguration will either stay the same or get worse.

Building a secure cloud network the customer’s responsibility

Gartner says that, through 2025, a staggering 99% of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault. This is often due to knowledge gaps in securing cloud environments, complexity that introduces human error and the prioritization of moving fast over ensuring a secure cloud network. Zero Trust for the cloud limits the risk of human error and misconfigurations by rendering cloud resources invisible and controls access with identity-centric microperimeters.

Cloud protection challenges from a multi-cloud, multi-provider environment

If you have resources in multiple cloud providers like Azure, AWS and Google, you have to manage different tools and policies for each provider. This introduces complexity to your cloud protection journey.

For example, a transit gateway in AWS doesn’t translate to Azure’s version of a transit gateway (Vnet Gateway), and there is no direct equivalent in Google’s Cloud Platform, all of which will be configured differently. All three need to be maintained and include overhead costs. Juggling three different providers (and their tools) that often have their own policy and entitlement frameworks could lead to granting excess privileges when least privilege access is the objective.

How Zero Trust security provides cloud protection

To build a secure cloud network, you need to own your part of the puzzle. Cloud security is a shared responsibility and while the cloud infrastructure itself is secured by the provider, it’s on you to provide cloud protection for your network, data, workloads and microservices. With Zero Trust security, you can have a solution that meets your needs of speed and scale.

Here are a few of the benefits of using Zero Trust for cloud protection:

  • Secure access: Zero Trust flips the “trust, then verify” model on its head. Using Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) rather than an antiquated virtual private network (VPN) or disparate transit gateways provides a simple, fast and secure connection between users and data or applications. ZTNA renders all protected resources invisible until identity, risk and context have been extensively verified which is a critical aspect of a true Zero Trust security posture. Furthermore, ZTNA can create simultaneous connections across traditional infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), cloud-native microservices and even legacy on-premises infrastructure.
  • Reduced cost and complexity: Build consistent secure access policies and controls across disparate cloud providers or environments. A unified policy engine for all users and devices accessing multi-cloud, hybrid cloud, microservices, on-premises and legacy resources simplifies administration. And the API integration capabilities of a Zero Trust Network Access solution introduce automation efficiencies via integrations with existing IT, security and business systems.
  • Consistent experience: A unified policy model delivers fast, secure and concurrent connections from any user to multiple resources. It also assists DevOps teams with seamless and consistent access that won’t hinder their productivity, accelerating the power and agility of your Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/DI) pipeline.
  • Microsegmentation: Fine-grained access to and between cloud workloads and microservices limits lateral movement and supports DevSecOps agility for improved cloud protection.


A secure cloud network with Appgate SDP

To ensure the best cloud protection, you need a platform that enforces Zero Trust security principles across all assets and users in on-premises, private cloud and public cloud settings. By eliminating redundancies, you can have the most efficient security operation while saving costs that would otherwise be spent on excessive tooling.

Appgate SDP, an industry-leading ZTNA solution, uses single-packet authorization (SPA) to cloak your entire infrastructure so only verified users and assets can see what they are connecting to when they are granted access through entitlements. This allows the Appgate SDP gateway to distinguish authorized and unauthorized connection attempts, and ultimately reduce your attack surface for a secure cloud network.

A secure cloud network with Appgate SDP has a proven track record in providing secure dynamic Zero Trust access to solve complex enterprise cloud protection problems. It delivers secure Zero Trust user-to-resource and resource-to-resource access for traditional and cloud-native workloads, regardless of location, with a unified policy model. Learn more about cloud protection with Appgate SDP by signing up for a weekly demo, available live each Wednesday.

Additional cloud protection resources:

Webinar: Unleash and Secure the Cloud with Zero Trust Network Access
Zero Trust Thirty Podcast: Crawl, Walk, Run: Zero Trust for Cloud
Press Release: Appgate Announces Cloud-Native Zero Trust Functionality to Protect Kubernetes Workloads

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