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

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