How to Manage Passwords in a Cloud Native Environment

Source: Internet
Author: User
Keywords cloud computing data centers cloud services
Cloud computing has completely changed the way we process valuable data. What was previously locked in safes is now stored in public or private servers and virtual data centers. According to analysts at Goldman Sachs, as of 2020, approximately 23% of all IT workloads are processed in the cloud. By 2023, this number may be as high as 43%.

Cloud services play an important role in many of the company's projects. We use various cloud services ourselves, and provide customers with cloud development and maintenance services. When using cloud technology, ensuring the security of sensitive and valuable data is a top priority.

What we used to protect with iron locks is now password protected. We use secrets in the form of user credentials, passwords, encryption keys, configuration files, and API tokens every day. Considering their importance, secure passwords should be managed responsibly. Poorly protected secrets can lead to damaging data leakage and financial and reputation losses. Consider the recent situation with Facebook, when the personal data of nearly 30 million users was exposed due to the theft of access tokens.

Based on our experience, here to share relevant insights on how to manage passwords in the cloud, how to use which tools, and what challenges to prepare for.

Manage passwords in the cloud

The scope of responsibility of the service provider (CSP) depends entirely on the type of cloud we use. The cloud can be private, hybrid or public. In public or hybrid clouds, critical data security responsibilities are distributed between cloud hosts and users. However, it is up to you (the user) to make the most of the content provided by CSP. Moreover, if your CSP's native confidentiality management solutions cannot meet your needs, you are responsible for finding more suitable equipment and fully protecting your critical data. Also, make sure to evaluate the configuration of all confidential management tools you use, as the default settings may not always be beneficial to you.

Consider the current tasks, plan your password management strategy in advance, and then choose the solution that best meets your needs.

What challenges do you encounter when managing passwords

Whether you are using secrets in different cloud services or specific cloud-based applications, properly managing secrets can bring you many benefits:

1. Granular data access.

2. Secure password transmission.

3. Automatic credential scrolling.

4. Easy confidential management in microservices.

5. A single storage for multi-environment deployment artifacts.

However, to build a confidential management strategy, you need to make many choices. This is where everything becomes more difficult. One thing you need to pay attention to is data encryption. According to experience, all critical data should be encrypted. However, distinguishing the types of data that must be encrypted can be challenging.

First, protect the data that is critical to your application or infrastructure. Also, don’t confuse secrets (keys and passwords) with identifiers (usernames), because losing the latter is less harmful than losing the former.

Given that verifying user identities is critical, make sure to implement appropriate identity management mechanisms. In addition, by defining multiple roles with different data access levels and adding these roles to your password management solution, ensure that only a few people can access restricted data.

Finally, you need to deal with implementation overhead. A basic solution with few configuration options may be sufficient for small projects. However, if you plan to expand your project in the future, it is wise to start adopting sophisticated confidential management methods as early as possible. This way, you don’t have to waste resources to reconfigure the entire system when major improvements are needed.
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