The Impact of Security by Design

As public cloud deployments continue to outnumber the on-premises workloads, there is a dire need to improve the security of cloud environments. A recent Gartner survey forecasts that by 2022, the investment in the public cloud globally will exceed US$ 480 billion. Moreover, 98% organizations are witnessed to be hit by minimum one security breach, according to IDC. In order to automate security controls and design the infrastructure to build security as part of the management, security by design is a feasible approach for organizations.

The implications of security by design include

  • Implementing security at the start of cloud shift
  • Designing systems to be protected from the outset
  • Reducing risks that possibly compromise the information security

Ensuring the Security-First Approach for Cloud Architecture

With organizations adopting the cloud, their architecture based on public, private, or multi-cloud is often exposed to cyberthreats. Therefore, it is imperative that they ensure following the security-first approach, with SecOps or DevSecOps integrated with the architecture and development lifecycle. Building a security-first architecture involves a robust framework of security by design as part of the key performance indicators of workloads.

Steps to design the framework of security by design include

  1. Building and governing records of threats and risks
  2. Assessing current security policies, remediating management, and adhering to routine tasks
  3. Maintaining a robust, structures, and measurable roadmap for security
  4. Assessing and measuring the security policies continuously

Key Phases of Implementing Security by Design

A 4-phase approach is recommended by Amazon Web Services (AWS) for building security & compliance.

  1. Phase 1: begin with understanding the organization’s requirements, outlining security policies, and documenting controls that are inherited from AWS. Moving ahead, controls that the organization owns and operates in its AWS environment must be documented, before deciding on rules to be enforced.
  2. Phase 2: A secure environment must be built, which suits the said requirements and the framework’s implementation. Necessary configurations that draw upon AWS configuration values should be defined. These configuration values may include encryption, resource permissions, authorization of essential compute images, and deciding the type of logging to be enabled. Several configuration options are provided by AWS along with templates that help align the cloud environment with security controls. These templates allow enforcinga comprehensive set of rules systematically as well as conform to different security frameworks.
  3. Phase 3: The use of security templates must be enforced, which is facilitated by AWS Service Catalog. This ensures security in every new environment created while preventing non-adherence to security rules. Moreover, this helps organizations prepare the remaining configurations of controls for the audit.
  4. Phase 4: The last step is to perform validation procedures. While deploying using secure environment templates and Service Catalog enables creating an audit-ready system, rules defined in templates can be leveraged as an audit guide. Capturing the current state of cloud environments is expedited by AWS Config, which are used to compare with the secure environment rules. Enabling audit automation for collecting evidences can be achieved with the secure read access permissions, which come with unique scripts.

Building Security into DevOps

One of the best practices for security by design is security-as-code, which simplify establishing standards, necessary protocols, and governance. With this, any changes in compliance or regulations will impact a single place, eliminating the need for multiple moving components in security by design. The security-as-code engulfs every essential protocol for multiple applications, which must be implemented before designing the system.

This not only ensures that the entire infrastructure has tight security but also protects every component when integrated into DevOps. May it be an external or internal facing application, security-as-code is essential. The key components of security-as-code are

  • Testing
  • Scanning vulnerabilities
  • Accessing policy controls and restrictions

To Conclude

As a system expands and develops, it becomes challenges to add security, which is a primary reason why security by design is indispensable. Moreover, it makes it easy to deal with pathing the existing vulnerabilities in real-time. In this rapidly evolving world of modern business, security by design continues to gain high traction vis-à-vis the internet of things. Hence, as IoT proliferates, it is crucial that a robust security is put in place by following an effective approach like security by design.

Quality Tips for Application Reliability Centered on AWS Well-Architected Framework

With increased internet connectivity, the demand for reliable mobile applications has increased. Application reliability has a significant impact on user experience. For example, Amazon saw a substantial crash in 2018 due to peak loads. This shows that reliability is vital whether it’s an eCommerce website or web app. 
According to Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime is $5600 per minute. However, it can go as high as $540,000 per hour for some businesses. So, application reliability is vital for not only a good customer experience but cost optimization too. One possible solution is the usage of high-end cloud-native architecture. Cloud adoption has increased due to flexibility, scalability, and cost optimization.  However, without a well-architected framework, maintaining application reliability can be difficult.

Reliability Architecture: Why Do You Need a Well-Architected Framework?

Planned cloud adoptions can lead to higher reliability and optimized operations. However, not every cloud adopter is well-versed with the best practices to optimize cloud applications. Fortunately, major cloud service providers provide a well-architected framework. As a result, cloud architects can leverage different best practices, tools, and modules to improve cloud app performance.  

For example, AWS Well-Architected Framework enables businesses to have clarity on different aspects of cloud app development. The framework solutions have several principles and best practices. These principles allow you to design the architecture for the five pillars of app performance.

The six key pillars of AWS Well-Architected Framework are:

  • Performance efficiency
  • Reliability
  • Security
  • Operational excellence
  • Cost optimization
  • Sustainability

Following are the top 10 tips for higher application reliability for your cloud applications.

  1. Recovery automation

Application reliability is essential for higher availability, and that is where instant recovery comes into play. If there is an app failure, an automatic recovery feature can help maintain availability. 

So, how to configure recovery automatically for failures?

The best way to do it is by monitoring key performance indicators and defining a threshold. Next, create a function for automatic recovery from failure when specific values reach the pre-defined threshold. AWS cloud services provide many monitoring, logging, and triggering automatic recovery features. 

  1. Expose failure pathways

In an on-premise environment testing, the workloads for different scenarios become challenging. Apart from the testing workloads, conventional infrastructure also makes recovery testing hard. Cloud-based services allow you to test workloads across multiple scenarios and allow extensive recovery testing. Specifically, you can use simulations for comprehensive testing of workloads and ensure higher application reliability.

  1. Horizontal scaling

Having centralized resource management may look efficient but comes with issues like a single point of failure. It can impact application reliability, and that is where you can use the microservice approach. Replacing the single massive resource with several smaller units that can be scaled horizontally helps with higher reliability. Further, you can distribute the workloads across multiple resource units to reduce a single point of failure.

  1. Capacity planning

Workload capacity planning becomes quintessential for application reliability. In an on-premise environment, a lack of capacity planning can overwhelm the system due to higher resource demand. However, in the cloud, you can monitor all the workloads and infrastructure and even automate the addition of resources. With a trigger function like Lambda, you can automate the addition of resources to avoid over-provisioning. 

  1. Strong Foundations

The foundation of your application needs to be in sync with the reliability aspect. Therefore, before you design the system’s architecture, It is important to have foundational requirements in place. For example, If you are to plan an architecture for social media application, infrastructure capabilities and scaling on-demand are essential. Having the correct fundamental requirements in place will allow you to build an architecture that provides higher application reliability.

  1. Service Quotas

One of the critical aspects of application architecture is deciding how many resources will be sufficient for each service request. Often referred to as the “service limits,” service quotas allow you to restrict additional resources provisioning than what is needed for an API operation. It can be anything from restricting physical storage to a threshold or preventing additional network packets to an idle service. In addition, optimal resource allocations can mean better application reliability for your systems.

  1. Network configurations 

Cloud-based applications often have workloads across environments. This is critical to the reliability of the system. Whether it is multi-cloud, hybrid, or on-premise deployment, network configurations help with reliable operations. One way to optimize network configurations is by considering different aspects like

  • Public and private IP address management
  • Domain name resolutions
  • Intra and inter-system connectivity
  • Node management
  • Data packet management

These considerations will help you design the architecture and create configurations for optimal network reliability.

  1. Service interactions

In a distributed system with several smaller units of the system interacting with each other, you need to optimize communication. The interaction between services needs to be seamless and reliable. Optimal service interactions can reduce the mean time between failures (MTBF) and improve the mean time to recovery (MTTR).

  1. Fault isolation

A failure can spread like wildfire across workloads without fault isolation. Therefore, the best practice is to set isolated fault boundaries that restrict the effects of failure across workload components. This will allow you to improve reliability by reducing the impact of failures on workloads.

  1. Planned DR

One of the essential best practices that AWS Well-Architected Framework suggests is appropriate disaster recovery planning. Apart from testing your workloads for resilience, it becomes vital to isolate faults, detect sources and make changes quickly. Another critical aspect of planning the DR is defining the recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO). Further, you need to monitor your systems according to the definition for assessing workload and recovery performance.


Like the other pillars of AWS Well-Architected Framework, reliability is key to enhanced user experience and business success. However, maintaining the application reliability is not that easy without testing and planning failure recovery, workload deployments, network configurations, etc. These best practices will help you achieve higher application reliability and improve availability. So, start planning and executing your reliability plan for enhanced application performance.

Recommended Read:

  1. Quality Tips to Improve Operational Excellence and Performance of Application
  2. Quality Tips for Cost Optimization of Applications
  3. Quality Tips for Application Security

Quality Tips to Improve Operational Excellence & Performance of Applications Centered on AWS Well-Architected Framework

AWS lays down the Well-Architected Framework, a critical enabler in helping cloud engineers develop resilient and agile applications. It is a secure, efficient, high-performing infrastructure, initially developed as a white paper. It primarily consists of six pillars that lay down the best practices relating to different aspects of app development.

Here are the six key pillars –

  • Operational excellence
  • Security
  • Reliability
  • Performance efficiency
  • Cost optimization
  • Sustainability

The Operational Excellence pillar primarily focuses on support development, insight generation pertaining to operations, running workloads effectively, and improving ancillary processes and procedures to continually achieve the necessary value quotient. This article discusses the top 10 tips suggested by AWS Well-Architected Framework that would help app developers achieve operational excellence and improve application performance.

Well-Architected Framework – Operational Excellence Pillar?

The Operational Excellence Pillar and the Security Pillar are the core of the AWS Well-Architected Framework. It comprises four key areas –

  • Organization
  • Prepare
  • Operate
  • Evolve

These key areas focus on organizing the workflow pertaining to the app development, and the best practices ensure continuous monitoring for improved workflow by implementing beneficial changes and automating repetitive processes.

The 6 pillars of AWS Well-Architected Framework are critical enablers in helping architects develop a consistent approach to evaluate architectures and implement scalable designs with ease. In addition to describing key concepts, design principles, and architectural best practices for designing apps in the cloud, here are a few tips that can help you establish operational excellence and supercharge your performance.

Tips that can help improve operational excellence and application performance based on Well-Architected Framework –

Evaluating and Understand internal Customer Needs

The road to improving application performance involves vital internal stakeholders with diverse needs, such as operations, development, and business teams. So, it is imperative for your application developers to understand the key points to focus on when it comes to internal customer needs.

It will enable you to have a thorough understanding of the support the application will need to achieve business outcomes, such as improving workload performance, automating tasks, improving monitoring, and more. Understand that these priorities change, and you will have to update your efforts to remain in sync continually.

Evaluate Governance Requirements

For the execution to excel, your workforce must be aware of the obligations and guidelines mandated by the organization. The organization also emphasizes specific areas and evaluates internal factors that would enable the team to ensure they adhere to organization policy, standards, and requirements. In addition, there is a need to validate mechanisms continually to identify and understand changes to compliance requirements.

Evaluate Compliance Requirements

Operational excellence can only be achieved when the entire team is aware of guidelines or obligations requiring specific focus. These compliances can often be burdened by external factors, such as prevailing industry standards and more. The development team must validate these mechanisms to identify changes to governance. In case governance is missing, ensure that the team practices due diligence to determine the compliances to be met.

Ensure that Team Members Understand their Responsibility

For the team to work cohesively, it is crucial for each member to understand their roles. It would allow them to contribute to business outcomes with greater efficiency and understand the priority of the tasks assigned to them. In addition, it would also enable them to recognize the importance of their role and respond to each task accordingly.

Ensure Timely and Actionable Communication

Every organization has set mechanisms to prepare the team for known risks and planned events. Every manager has the responsibility to provide the much-needed context, details, and other details to their workforce to help them decide if they need to undertake any action, what action is necessary, and when to execute them.

Implement Application Telemetry

If you want your application to achieve operational excellence, you have to push its code to imbibe the ability to push out regular information about its internal state, status, and the business achievements to achieve. Information like queue depth and response times will enable the team to determine if they need to respond to the incoming decision.

Implement Dependency Telemetry

To optimize application performance, design and configure your workload to emit dependency information status. It will include internal information like response time, which it depends on. In addition, there can be several external dependencies, such as network connectivity and DNS, which can help the team determine when a response is required.

Implement Transaction Traceability

Another vital tip for improving application performance is implementing and configuring a series of components that would keep track of the flow of transactions. It would enable the team to determine the instances when a response is required and identify the factors contributing to a persisting issue.

Undertake Frequent Reversible Changes

It is crucial for an app ecosystem to not remain idle in a place for too long. For this, the team must make frequent, small, and reversible changes that give the team a glimpse into the app dynamics and enable them to resolve issues faster.

Use Parallel Environments

Instead of directly deploying newer changes to the main app, the team must develop a parallel app to implement changes and then transition to the main environment. It would help figure out potential issues before rolling out the changes to the world and also make rollback easier, thereby reducing recovery time.

Wrapping Up

With Well-Architected Framework, Amazon has tried and provided a framework for the world to develop apps for the future. This framework offers an exciting reference point enabling the engineers to work on improving the operational excellence and performance of their applications. If you have issues attaining the same for your app, Cloudlytics is here to help.

With Cloudlytics, you can develop superior compliance, asset monitoring, and security analytics for your application. It would enable you to create versatile frameworks capable of catering to the changing demands of the current ecosystem. 

Click here to see how Cloudlytics can support your security and compliance objectives

Recommended Read:

  1. Quality Tips for Application Reliability
  2. Quality Tips for Cost Optimization of Applications
  3. Quality Tips for Application Security

Quality Tips for Cost Optimization of Applications Centered on AWS Well-Architected Framework

Amazon Web Services is a phenomenal platform. It offers a wide range of benefits such as dynamic resource allocation, enhanced application security, advanced computing capabilities, and 24/7 uptime. For instance, if January and July are peak business months for your company, AWS gives you the ability to scale up your cloud infrastructure and its application security measures to handle increased instances and interactions.

Cloud computing is a cost-effective and time-efficient alternative to traditional IT infrastructures. The AWS Well-Architected Review (AWS WAR) is a helpful tool for maximizing the benefits of AWS Cloud. AWS WAR is based on the AWS Well-Architected Framework, time-tested guidelines to design and optimize your cloud infrastructure. This blog will look at a few actionable ways to optimize cost for your application as per AWS Well-Architected Framework.

AWS Well-Architected Framework

The AWS Well-Architected Framework is a benchmark assessment method for any cloud architecture. It helps businesses understand the best practices of cloud computing and successfully deploys reliable, cost-effective, resource-efficient, and secure applications in the cloud. It is a decision-making knowledge resource that informs you of the pros and cons of infrastructural decisions. The framework is intended to help CTOs, architects, developers, and application security professionals.

The AWS Well-Architected Framework is based on six core concepts, operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency, cost optimization, and sustainability. As a decision-maker, you must establish accountability and pay special attention to your decisions’ cost and benefits matrix.

AWS Well-Architected Framework: Cost Optimization Pillar

The cost optimization pillar focuses on reducing the cost of business while ensuring maximum results, and it is an important core concept of the AWS Well-Architected Framework. Let’s look at the best practices for cost optimization in the cloud.

AWS provides many tools such as Cost Explorer, Amazon Athena, and Amazon Quick Sight with the Cost and Usage Report to enable your teams with cost and usage-related information. You can use these tools to identify and allocate resources based on the cost they incur and the potential benefits to your business.

Here are 10 tips to optimize the cost of your application while maintaining high standards of application security.

  • Practice Dedicated Cloud Financial Management: Start by practicing dedicated cloud financial management, a proactive approach to implementing cloud-based processes by aligning your organization to a common objective. The idea is to ensure that your cloud computing technologies are utilized to their fullest extent once implemented. 
  • Establish Governance Policies: In today’s hyper-competitive markets, your teams and employees must have the right set of tools at the right time. You must establish an active governance policy to dynamically identify, allocate, and manage cloud resources.
  • Allocate Resources Judiciously: Develop hyper-personalized policies for resource life cycles by analyzing cost aspects, workloads, and results during the allocation’s life cycle. 
  • Establish Clear Budgets and Targets: Define transparent budgets and utility targets for all your resources. Your teams must understand the impact of their resources. 
  • Create Groups and Roles: Categorize groups and roles such as development, testing, and deployment. It helps identify the cost of each aspect.
  • Implement IAM Policies: Implement strong IAM policies such as controlled access to resources based on region, seniority, and other aspects. This will help optimize your resource allocation costs and minimize the under-utilization of your cloud infra. 
  • Analyze Costs Regularly: Perform cost analysis at regular intervals; some features benefit only after optimum workloads. A timely cost analysis will give you actionable insights on when to add or remove features and resources. 
  • Prioritize Licenses: Prioritize the aspects that require licensed products; these should directly affect the outputs and utility. Filter out arbitrary license attributes such as CPUs. 
  • Select Suitable Pricing Models: Select the pricing model that suits your needs. An excellent first step is determining if the resources will be used for a long time. This can help you get commitment discounts, and the AWS Cost Explorer helps do this. 
  • Balance Spends with Performance: Manage the demand and supply of your cloud infrastructure by balancing your workload requirements with spending and performance. Avoid underutilizing resources at all costs. Configure time-based scheduling and auto-scaling to your cloud infrastructure. 

The cloud is all about leveraging the agility and ability of off-site infrastructures. You need to pick and choose the right tools and features. We hope these tips help you gain a bird’s eye view of your existing cloud infra. Use the information you find to reduce the cost of your cloud apps and bring them down.

You can quickly bring your cost down from the existing billables with this information. At Cloudlytics, we are all about exploring the immense potential of cloud-based IT for organizations of all sizes.

Recommended Read:

  1. Quality Tips for Application Reliability
  2. Quality Tips to Improve Operational Excellence and Performance of Application
  3. Quality Tips for Application Security

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