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Businesses rapidly turn to cloud-based services to store and process their data. As of 2024, 94% of all organizations use cloud computing, even though 48% of all data is vulnerable. As innovations enter the digital landscape and require optimization of all processes, companies implement the infrastructure as code (IaC) approach in the IT sphere.
The IaC methodology is a revolution in the world of managing cloud resources. For decades, controlling and provisioning data centers was tedious work for data engineers. Nowadays, though, this scope of work can be substituted by leveraging computer-readable scripts and files for infrastructure configuration.
With great power comes great responsibility, hence infrastructure as code security must be taken seriously. Let’s explore the evolution of IaC security in the age of the cloud.
The Rise of IaC
Infrastructure as code is a method of managing IT infrastructure. Its main feature is that it is transformed into code instead of manually provisioning the company’s infrastructure resources. It makes it possible to edit and manage the infrastructure quicker and more efficiently. IaC techniques are also useful for automation purposes. Once the configuration files are set, there is no need to manage infrastructure elements whenever a team builds software.
The emergence of IaC is caused by the need to regulate “environment drifts”. Since developers create various environments during app development and release, usually divided according to the development stages, they need to be synchronized to provide a seamless user experience. Without IaC, synchronization and managing those resources are done manually.
Environment drift can happen when the change is not deployed to all the environments when there are spikes in traffic or any other bugs. Discovering and fixing the issue may take a vast amount of time, which doesn’t positively influence the user experience and results in revenue loss. IaC enables looking at an IT infrastructure more comprehensively and holistically.
How to Secure IaC
Since IaC deals with managing all the resources, ensuring the security aspect is highly important. That is how the IaC security concept has appeared.
It is wrong to state that the IaC itself needs to be secure. Rather, the configuration files should be created by taking into account all the potential risks. From one point of view, IaC methods mitigate the risk of human error. If the infrastructure is a holistic system, there is no need to worry that an engineer will forget to set security settings in one of the environments.
On the other hand, IaC can endanger the IT infrastructure in other ways. For example, if there is an error in one of the configuration files, it will spread to all the resources. Following the IaC security concept is essential to reducing security risks.
The Role of IaC in Cloud Security
On top of being a powerful method to streamline infrastructure processes, IaC can also play a significant role in cloud security. The following are examples of how it helps to make the infrastructure resistant to security risks.
- Ensuring compliance with all regulations. Businesses store and use a huge amount of data. Those processes have to be compliant with data security regulations. With IaC, it is possible to code the whole infrastructure so that security settings are applied in all environments. This practice is also useful for auditing when reviewing security standards.
- Providing a quick incident response. When an incident happens, IaC allows the problem to be fixed rapidly. The affected servers can be disabled and exchanged for new ones by writing new scripts. This can save organizations a lot of money.
- Implementing security protocols automatically. Before IaC’s emergence, security protocols were set manually. This couldn’t guarantee an error-free process. So, IaC offers codifying security protocols. Thus, security standards can be automatically applied in case of new deployments.
Modern Best IaC Security Practices
These practices help to create a safe cloud environment with the help of IaC:
- IaC script scanning. The key element of IaC is a template. The templates are likely to be vulnerable and have misconfigurations. Reviewing IaC templates makes it possible to discover security issues before the software reaches the production stage.
- Determining and fixing environment drifts. The gap in security can appear when there are misconfigurations between the environments. Those “drifts” often happen when implementing new changes. Even though monitoring and fixing such issues can be unprofitable for businesses, neglecting that practice can lead to serious security risks.
- Activating alerting. Setting automatic alerts is the best advice for organizations. The team should be able to receive notifications of potential threats immediately to protect software from malicious attacks.
- Securing without complexity. Security is not the place for complicated actions. When the incident happens, the team members have to be able to act quickly, not work on resolving puzzles. By treating infrastructure security elements altogether, attackers have fewer chances to access the data.
Final Say: The Importance of Proactive IaC Security
Setting a proactive position in IaC security ensures your IT infrastructure is stable and protected. IaC methods offer multiple possibilities for streamlining infrastructure management processes.
However, its integrity should be enforced with security measures like script scanning, not hard-coding sensitive information, environment drift fixing or setting security policies for DevOps tools. So, when implementing IaC methods, it is crucial to ensure cloud security.
🔒 Strengthen Your Online Privacy and Infrastructure Security
In the ever-evolving landscape of cloud-based services and Infrastructure as Code (IaC), safeguarding your online presence is paramount. With businesses rapidly turning to cloud-based solutions for data storage and processing, the need to address security vulnerabilities has never been more urgent.
Consider enrolling in Tesseract Academy’s GDPR, Data Privacy, and Cybersecurity course for Small Businesses. This comprehensive program equips you with essential strategies for fortifying your defense against online threats, including those posed by the adoption of IaC methodologies in IT infrastructure management.
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