Serverless Security Best Practices to Know

Serverless Security

As we penetrate new depths of the digital economy, cloud migration is a warranted entity of any business for its survival and not a good-to-have technology. Gartner expects nearly 95% of all new digital workloads to be deployed on the cloud by 2025. 

As enterprises flock in large numbers to the cloud, serverless application development is fast becoming one of the most popular approaches to building cloud-native apps. Lower cost, faster time to market for applications, improved flexibility, and agility are putting the odds in favor of serverless architecture against most traditional app development philosophies. 

With competition growing, enterprises are keen to launch their digital services faster at lower costs and with greater support for innovation, making serverless the preferred choice.

The Security Front

All considered, the rush to serverless should never be at the cost of compromised security. The digital wave witnessed in nearly every sector is also one of the hotbeds of new-age threats arising from vulnerabilities not caught during app development. 

We all know that in a serverless model, much of the core backend logic and computation of an application or digital service is handled by a cloud provider. There are SLAs in place, which also mandates a fair degree of security checks and compliance from the vendor. 

Nevertheless, at the end of the day, a business is responsible for the security of data shared with them by their customers. Any breach or violation of data protection will attract heavy penalties, and there will be no considerations given even if the application follows a serverless architecture. 

Also, the fact that more enterprises are leveraging serverless functions for data-heavy initiatives like analytics makes it even more critical to secure the end-to-end operations of the business.

On this note, let us explore some of the top serverless security best practices that every enterprise must know today:

Follow the Least Privilege Principle in Operations

A modern digital service may leverage hundreds or thousands of serverless functions provisioned by different vendors. Opening the core enterprise technology landscape to all these functions can be a very high-risk scenario. 

To avoid security lapses, it is essential to follow least privilege principles, wherein 3rd party functions are given minimal or supervised access to core enterprise systems and user data. Global access privileges, unsupervised super-user privileges, and open libraries will be severely restricted. Dedicated user policies, data framework manifests, and access protocols must be set up to eliminate risky access privileges for malicious actors that exploit vulnerabilities in serverless functions.

Practice Safe Coding of Interfaces

It should be a practice to eliminate using the interface code or environment variables as a medium to store highly sensitive data. If there is a security lapse, such data could fall into the wrong hands as they could be easily extracted from the deployed application code. This will lead to severe repercussions. 

As a best practice, enterprises must leverage some form of secret or discreet and isolated storage provision for sensitive data. This storage must be capable of offering runtime access to functions through secure encryption key-based access permissions. Key rotation and rehashing must be continuously done to prevent any threats on that front as well.

Leverage API Gateways

This is the easiest way to add an additional layer of security while dealing with 3rd party serverless functions. Rather than allowing direct access to core data storage, enterprises need to leverage an API gateway of the serverless function provider to exchange data and insights. 

The API will be a buffer zone with its own set of security checkpoints and firewalls. The approach will eliminate any open path between end-user app interfaces and the backend serverless functions provided by 3rd party vendors. Standard encryption, key management, storage policies, etc., will safeguard the API gateway transactions and make the overall serverless experience secure.

Protect Data in Transit

We have seen ways to prevent attacks on data residing inside the core business systems by threats arising from 3rd party serverless functions. The next thing to do is to safeguard the data when it is in transit between the application and multiple serverless functions on demand. 

While encryption is a basic mandate, there is a need to go beyond encryption to enable a seamless data transfer experience without risks. Care should be taken to use only HTTPS communications between function APIs and the app. Additionally, all responses and requests from 3rd party services should be entertained in a zero-trust approach to eliminate any biased decision that may lead to security compromise.


Studies estimate the global serverless architecture market to be worth over $36.84 billion by 2028. The migration to the cloud and adoption of serverless functions is imminent in almost all digital business channels. In this journey, security must be considered one of the key pillars of sustainable growth. 

After all, protecting your customers’ valuable data and ensuring a safer experience at every digital touch point is of paramount importance in driving loyalty and customer satisfaction in the digital economy.

Get in touch with us to explore how your technology landscape can leverage the best of serverless while remaining compliant with security best practices.

This article first appeared at

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