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Securing Cloud-Based Applications: Threats, Mitigations, and Security Design Patterns

Cloud-based applications have become integral to modern business operations, but with their increasing prominence comes a growing concern for security. In this article, we will explore the major threats to cloud-based application security, effective mitigation strategies, and essential security design patterns for robust protection.

Major Threats to Cloud-Based Application Security

1. Unmanaged Attack Surface

Every workload contributes to the attack surface, and without meticulous management, infrastructure vulnerabilities may remain undiscovered until exploited by attackers¹.

2. Human Error

Inadequate identity and credential management, insecure APIs, and lax registration systems can result in data breaches¹⁴.

3. Misconfiguration

Misconfiguration poses a significant threat in public clouds, potentially leading to unauthorized access and data breaches⁴.

4. Data Breaches

Data breaches can compromise data confidentiality, availability, and integrity, leading to data theft or loss⁴.

5. Malware Attacks

Malware attacks, such as Trojans and ransomware, can disrupt business operations, steal sensitive information, and hold data hostage⁹.

6. Account Takeovers (ATO)

Attackers gaining unauthorized access to user accounts by obtaining login credentials pose a constant threat⁹.

Mitigation Strategies

1. Regular Updates and Patches

Ensure all cloud technology software, including underlying systems, receives timely updates with the latest security patches⁹.

2. Anti-Malware Software

Leverage anti-malware software to detect and remove malware from servers and systems immediately⁹.

3. Data Backup

Regularly back up data in the cloud and maintain an offline repository for cost-effective data restoration⁹.

4. Multi-Factor Authentication

Implement multi-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security to user access[^10^].

5. Data Access Governance

Control data access through the implementation of data access governance mechanisms[^10^].

6. Configuration Auditing

Regularly audit configurations against established baselines to detect and rectify any deviations[^10^].

7. Web Application Firewall

Utilize a web application firewall to identify and block anomalous traffic¹¹.

Security Design Patterns

1. Ambassador Pattern

Encapsulate and manage network communications by offloading cross-cutting tasks related to network communication⁶.

2. Backends for Frontends Pattern

Create separate services exclusive to specific frontend interfaces, individualizing the service layer⁶.

3. Bulkhead Pattern

Introduce intentional segmentation between components to isolate malfunctions and limit their impact⁶.

4. Claim Check Pattern

Separate data from the messaging flow, providing a way to retrieve data related to a message separately⁶.

5. Federated Identity Pattern

Delegate trust to an external identity provider for managing users and providing authentication⁶.

It’s essential to note that these are high-level guidelines, and specific threats and mitigations may vary based on the unique characteristics of each cloud-based application and its operating environment. Consultation with cybersecurity experts during the design and implementation phases is strongly recommended.


  1. CrowdStrike – 12 Cloud Security Issues
  2. EC-Council – Top 5 Cloud Computing Security Issues & Challenges
  3. Checkpoint – Top 15 Cloud Security Issues, Threats and Concerns
  4. IT Security Wire – Cloud Security Threats & Strategies
  5. Netwrix – Top 6 Cloud Security Threats and How to Mitigate Them
  6. CompTIA – Cloud Security Mitigation
  7. Microsoft Azure – Cloud design patterns that support security
  8. Aqua – Cloud Application Security: Top 10 Threats and How to Stop Them
  9. Cloud Academy – 7 Key Cybersecurity Threats to Cloud Computing
  10. Microsoft Learn – Cloud design patterns
  11. Kroll – How to Build a Strong Cloud Computing Security Architecture
  12. SentinelOne – 7 Practical Solutions for Modern Businesses Combating Cloud-Based Attacks

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