A 2023 Guide to Secure Cloud Deployment for Improved Application Security

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Authentication/authorization, data integrity and storage protection; these three pillars correspond to the current major challenges in application security and are essential to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data stored in the cloud.

Through the strategies and best practices outlined in this guide, organizations can safeguard their cloud deployments against potential security breaches and protect their applications from unauthorized access and data theft.


Cloud deployment of applications introduces unique challenges to security since the infrastructure is shared among multiple tenants and accessible over the internet.

Moreover, applications are the weakest security link, so it is crucial to establish strict controls over who can access the system and how they access it. This is where identity and access management (IAM) comes in, as it allows you to manage user identities, control access to resources and enforce security policies across the entire infrastructure.

The following are some best practices to follow:

  • Identify the specific tasks and resources users need to access to perform their jobs effectively.
  • Create IAM roles that grant access only to the specific tasks and resources needed for each role.
  • Use groups to organize users with similar job functions and assign the appropriate roles to each group.
  • Regularly review and update roles to ensure they meet users’ needs while maintaining the principle of least privilege.

In any case, IAM cannot be viewed as a standalone security measure, as it needs to be integrated with other enterprise security processes to be effective.

For one, IAM can be integrated with security information and event management (SIEM) systems to provide real-time monitoring and alerting of security events across the entire infrastructure. This helps identify and respond to potential security incidents before they can cause harm.

Data Integrity

According to a report released last year by Tripwire, 44% of organizations reported their biggest application security concern as protecting data. One of the ways breaches happen in application security is through data leakage, which can happen in a number of ways.

For example, an attacker could access the API endpoint and extract sensitive information. Alternatively, an attacker could intercept network traffic and capture sensitive data in transit.

Cloud deployments are often subject to constant change, with new services and APIs being frequently added or modified. This can make it difficult to maintain security controls and ensure all APIs are properly secured. In 2022, a report by Salt identified a 117% rise in malicious API traffic over the previous year.

In addition, regarding data integrity, according to IBM, WS-Security can protect against tampering or unauthorized modification of SOAP messages transmitted between web service providers and consumers. It achieves this through digital signatures, which are created using cryptographic algorithms that ensure the authenticity and integrity of the message.

Storage Protection

There are various ways of protecting data storage platforms.

To start with, by using homomorphic encryption, cloud applications can ensure that sensitive data is protected at all times, including when it is being processed or analyzed in the cloud.

As such, it helps to reduce the risk of data breaches and other security incidents that can occur when sensitive data is stored in the cloud. This is because homomorphic encryption allows computations to be performed on the encrypted data without revealing the underlying plaintext, which prevents tampering with the data.

In addition, when it comes to cloud deployments, secure enclaves protect the storage of critical data, such as encryption keys, digital certificates and other sensitive information that unauthorized users can access and manipulate. Notably, Apple’s latest devices use secure enclaves integrated into their system on chips (SoCs).

By isolating the storage and execution of such data and operations within a secure enclave, the risk of exposure to external threats is significantly reduced, making it much harder for attackers to access and compromise the data.


Secure cloud deployment is critical to protect applications and data stored in the cloud. By following the best practices outlined in this guide, businesses can mitigate security risks and safeguard against threats such as data breaches, unauthorized access and cyber-attacks.

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