Code to Cloud Security: Best Practices

Code to Cloud Security is a security approach that turns security into an integral part of development. By doing so, applications are more protected, developer productivity increases and silos between AppSec and development teams are bridged. In this blog post, we explain how organizations can apply Code to Cloud security practices effectively while overcoming common pitfalls. After reading this blog, you will be able to build a Code to Cloud Security plan and work with AppSec and development teams to implement it.

What is Code to Cloud Security?

Code to Cloud Security is an integrated approach to securing the entire lifecycle of applications, starting from development and all the way to deployment in cloud environments. It emphasizes the implementation of security measures at every stage of the software development process, as opposed to treating security as an afterthought. The goal is to ensure that applications are secure by design. This reduces vulnerabilities and minimizes the risk of security breaches, while also eliminating friction between engineering and security teams.

Code to Cloud Security as Part of the Development Lifecycle

Code to Cloud Security integrates security practices across the SDLC and into the cloud, throughout:


  • Design
  • Development (coding)
  • Build
  • Test
  • Deploy
  • Runtime

In the cloud:

  • Monitoring
  • Feedback

 Leading practices include:

  • Secure Coding Practices – Writing secure code from the start, while adhering to best practices and guidelines that help prevent common security issues like SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), buffer overflows and others.
  • Testing – Testing of developed code to identify exploitable vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Tools like Static Application Security Testing (SAST) can be integrated into development environments to scan code in real-time. Penetration testing is another tool that can help.
  • Dependency Management – Monitoring and managing third-party dependencies to ensure they don’t introduce vulnerabilities into the application. This includes using tools to automatically detect and fix insecure open-source libraries or frameworks that could introduce malicious packages.
  • Container Security – Scanning container images for vulnerabilities before deployment.
  • CI/CD Security – Integrating security tools and practices into the CI/CD pipeline to automatically test and validate code for security issues before it is deployed. This can involve solutions like DAST, IAST and SCA.
  • Configuration Management – Ensuring that environments and services are configured securely, following the principle of least privilege and other security best practices.
  • IaC Security – Leveraging tools to scan infrastructure as code templates for misconfigurations that could expose environments and resources to risks.
  • Runtime Protection – Monitoring applications in production to detect and respond to threats in real-time. This might involve the use of WAFs, IDS, CWPP, CSPM and other security and cloud environment monitoring tools, as well as the ability to incorporate runtime information and correlate it with earlier stages of the SDLC.
  • Threat Detection and Response – Post-deployment tools that monitor and detect potential security incidents, like SIEM or EDR solutions.
  • Access Control and Identity Management – Ensuring only authorized users can access resources is key to protecting cloud environments. This includes using IAM systems and enforcing strong authentication methods.
  • Incident Response and Recovery – Establishing processes and tools to quickly respond to security incidents, mitigate damage and recover operations. This includes having a plan for patch management and updates to address vulnerabilities.

In addition, information about vulnerabilities, attacks, and other security incidents is continuously fed back into the development process, allowing for rapid iteration and improvement of security postures.

How Code to Cloud Helps Address Organizational Security Challenges

Applying Code to Cloud can help you reach cloud nine. But the journey there requires avoiding a few pitfalls. The main ones are:

  • Organizational Silos Between AppSec and Developers –  In a code to cloud AppSec setup, devs and AppSec need to collaborate to spot and fix issues at all development stages. Ideally, this teamwork and insight into the SDLC can increase the security posture. However, differences in priorities, modes of work and even technical jargons create miscommunication and can delay the implementation of fixes.

These silos can be bridged through ongoing communication, workshops, assigning champions, thoughtful processes and a user-friendly technological solution.

  • Security Tools Complexity –  Numerous security tools are used for different SDLC phases, which makes the process difficult to manage. Poor integrations further complace the process. This disjointed toolset can slow down development, as AppSec and devs try to align and fix issues without a unified view and results correlation capabilities.

Make sure to consolidate vendors as much as possible and emphasize the user experience in your selection.

  • Incorrect Prioritization – Finally, there’s a risk of fixing the wrong vulnerabilities, which can eradicate trust when implementing a code to cloud security program.

Choose a tool that prioritizes exploitable vulnerabilities only.

Benefits of Code to Cloud Security

Software development is evolving, as are cyber threats. Code and applications are more prone to bugs and vulnerabilities, and attackers have more tools to exploit them. A Code to Cloud approach to AppSec helps protect against vulnerabilities that can be exploited at any stage of the software development lifecycle. These include source code, third-party components, deployment pipelines and cloud environments.

Code to Cloud security requires a shift in the organizational culture, since it requires involving security in the development processes. However, the ROI is high. Main benefits include:

  • Cost Efficiency – Addressing security issues early in the development process is far less expensive than fixing them after an application has been deployed. Early detection and mitigation of security vulnerabilities saves costs associated with remediation and reduces the risk of costly breaches.
  • Improved Security Posture – Adopting a Code to Cloud security approach enhances an organization’s overall security posture. By integrating security from the initial stages of development, vulnerabilities can be identified and mitigated early. This proactive approach reduces the risk of significant security issues arising later in the development cycle or after deployment, when they are typically more difficult and costly to address.
  • Development Productivity – Code to Cloud security promotes the integration of security practices into the development workflow seamlessly. This means developers can incorporate security measures as a natural part of their development process, rather than as an afterthought. This leads to more secure outcomes without compromising development speed.
  • Developing a Security Culture – By embedding security into the DNA of the development process, organizations can develop a culture of security awareness and preparedness. This makes them better equipped to deal with emerging threats.
  • Compliance Assurance – With regulatory requirements becoming increasingly stringent, Code to Cloud security helps ensure that applications are compliant from the start. Organizations can automatically enforce compliance policies, reducing the risk of penalties.
  • Automation and DevSecOps Enablement – Code to Cloud security often leverages automation to enforce security policies, scan for vulnerabilities, and ensure secure configurations throughout the CI/CD pipeline. This automation supports the DevSecOps model, where security is integrated into the operations of development and deployment, facilitating faster, more secure releases.
  • Scalability – Implementing automated security makes processes scalable. As the application or infrastructure scales, the security measures scale alongside them. This ensures that security grows with the business, regardless of the size or complexity of the deployment.

Code to Cloud Security Best Practices

Now that you know the code to cloud meaning, what to do and what not to do, it’s time to understand how to do it. Follow these best practices to get you started:

1. Map Existing Security Gaps in the SDLC

Identify the different development phases and map out which security tools and practices are used today. Pinpoint the existing gaps, where AppSec needs to be emphasized.

List the practices and tools you still need, like SAST or SCA for open-source and third-party components, which will help you identify and mitigate risks early.

2. Integrate Security into Developer Workflows

Make security actionable within the developers’ existing tools and workflows by integrating security findings and remediation guidance into IDEs and SCM systems. Leverage tools like pull request decorations and feedback tool integrations for seamless security awareness and response. 

3. Automate Security Practices

Wherever possible, incorporate automation. This will enhance developer cooperation, reduce the risk of errors and allow for governance of when security tools are run. Use CI to maintain seamless development workflows and implement tools that support automation.

4. Establish Preventive Policies

Create and enforce policies to prevent the introduction of malicious code, vulnerabilities, or misconfigurations into production environments from the outset.

5. Simulate Real-World Threats

Leverage DAST and implement container security and IaC security guardrails to address potential attack vectors and misconfigurations.

6. Promote Continuous Monitoring and Threat Detection

Ensure the implementation of real-time monitoring and dynamic threat detection mechanisms during runtime to actively identify and respond to emerging threats.

7. Foster Developer and Security Team Collaboration

Align developers with Application Security teams to cultivate a security-centric culture from the start of the development process, thereby enhancing security, reducing incidents, and saving costs.

8. Integrate Feedback

Integrate feedback back to developers’ workflows. Use bug ticketing systems like JIRA and collaboration like Slack.

The Checkmarx Code to Cloud Approach

Checkmarx One is a unified platform that consolidates AppSec and development tools into a single solution. This provides visibility, enhances security and makes teams more efficient with vulnerability identification, prioritization and remediation. As a result, trust is built across teams, enabling them to develop a more secure and effective SDLC that aligns with the dynamic nature of cloud-native applications. Secure every stage of the SDLC with Checkmarx One. Learn more.

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