FaaS Security

FaaS Security: Serverless Security and Mitigation Techniques

FaaS Security is now a crucial aspect of the cloud computing landscape. Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) is a specific type of cloud computing that empowers developers to swiftly create, run, test, and deploy application packages. With FaaS, developers can sidestep the burden of managing their own infrastructure, requiring only a stable internet connection and their coding skills to kickstart their development process

Let’s pause here and guide you through the upcoming sections. In this article, we will address key questions to help you grasp the essential concepts of FaaS (Function-as-a-Service) security:

● What do we mean by FaaS security?

● What are the most critical issues related to FaaS security?

● What is the main benefit of FaaS?

● What problems can aggravate the drawbacks of such services?

● What are the best practices to secure these services at the desired level?

What is serverless security

Enhancing FaaS Security: Serverless Security Best Practices and Risk Mitigation Techniques

FaaS, an event-driven and instant execution model operating within containers, offers developers powerful capabilities. It abstracts away the need for server management, enabling easy application deployment. Nevertheless, neglecting security considerations can undermine these benefits.

Security Considerations in Serverless Services

The primary advantage of serverless computing is that the cloud provider assumes responsibility for robust security, allowing developers to code and maintain applications without security worries. However, like on-premise servers, serverless environments also face common security challenges, which include the following issues:

Increased Attack Surface

Serverless computing integrates numerous inputs and event sources, such as APIs, IoT devices, and cloud storage. 

These diverse inputs inherently expand the potential attack surface, demanding a heightened level of control and security measures.

Reduced System Visibility

Unlike traditional on-premise infrastructures, monitoring and visualizing traffic and inputs/outputs in serverless environments can be more complex. 

Insufficient visibility can lead to data breaches. Fortunately, recent advancements have addressed these visibility challenges and can now be seamlessly integrated into cloud environments.

Less System Control

Utilizing FaaS products means entrusting the entire infrastructure to a third-party provider, which can introduce challenges. 

Understanding and maintaining the entire system can become complex, potentially leading to increased testing and debugging efforts when implementing FaaS products.

Essential Knowledge of FaaS Security

Unlocking the true potential of Function as a Service (FaaS) in a rapidly evolving digital ecosystem necessitates a profound grasp of FaaS security. In a world where technology seamlessly integrates into every facet of our lives, securing serverless architectures has become an imperative. By arming developers, system administrators, and organizations with this indispensable and necessary knowledge of security, we embark on a quest to fortify our applications, protect sensitive data, and navigate the ever-shifting currents of regulatory compliance.

Security requirements in serverless share similarities with SaaS security measures, as they both address similar concerns.

For further insights, you can also explore topics related to cloud computing services, such as:

PaaS security

IaaS security

When dealing with serverless platforms and FaaS services, it’s crucial to understand how to maintain high levels of security. This involves familiarizing with the primary vulnerabilities and implementing best practices to mitigate them effectively.

Common FaaS Security Vulnerabilities

Vendor Lock-in

One prevalent issue in FaaS security is vendor lock-in, which occurs when users are compelled to stick with a product or service due to technical and inherent barriers preventing a switch. In the FaaS ecosystem, this dependency can be particularly challenging.

To mitigate this concern, leveraging open-source products allows you to write and deploy functions that are both more scalable and adaptable across various environments, reducing the risk of vendor lock-in.

Insecure Serverless Deployment Configurations

Insecure serverless configurations can significantly heighten the vulnerability of serverless applications, providing entry points for hackers.

Common threats include denial of service attacks and issues tied to misconfigured timeout settings.

Broken Authentication

Broken authentication or credential loss can pose serious threats to serverless applications. 

Given that serverless apps rely on microservices, a compromised authentication can serve as a gateway for hackers to access one function and potentially infiltrate the entire system.

Sensitive Data Exposure

Sensitive data encompasses information that must remain confidential and protected from unauthorized access or malicious intent. 

In the FaaS environment, sensitive data ranges from personally identifiable information to login credentials. Vulnerabilities leading to exposure can arise from issues like unsecured databases and misconfigured cloud storage.

XML External Entities

Attackers can manipulate an application’s XML data processing through XML external entities (XXE) attacks. 

Such attacks enable malicious actors to access files on the application server’s file system and potentially interact with any backend systems the application has access to.

Broken Access Control

Access control is typically managed and monitored by administrators, but at times, access control issues can emerge and escalate into FaaS security concerns. 

These issues manifest as broken access control vulnerabilities, allowing certain users to access resources and perform actions they are not authorized for.

Cross-Site Scripting

Cross-site scripting (XSS) poses a significant challenge in FaaS security, requiring robust mitigation methods. 

XSS occurs when an attacker injects malicious code into a victim’s browser by attaching it to a legitimate website.

Insecure Deserialization

Insecure deserialization happens when a website or attacker processes user-controlled data, enabling attackers to manipulate serialized data objects and potentially execute harmful functions and code. 

In the context of FaaS, insecure deserialization occurs when untrusted data is utilized to exploit the application’s logic.

Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities

The primary cause of this issue often lies with developers themselves, particularly when they use insecure components or create vulnerable code fragments unintentionally. 

These vulnerabilities can result in various problems depending on the compromised component. Utilizing reputable sources for downloading software development components can help mitigate many issues related to this.

Unauthorized Access and Data Exposure

Unauthorized access occurs when someone who is not permitted gains entry to organizational data. 

Attackers exploit this access to perform various actions, with data copying and theft from the database being one of the most common.

Injection Attacks and Code Dependencies

Dependency vulnerabilities represent a potential method for infiltrating a system or function, including within the FaaS ecosystem. 

Code dependency vulnerabilities can critically undermine FaaS security, often stemming from additional dependencies integrated into the application.

Best Practices for FaaS Security

Security Authentication and Authorization Mechanisms

A secure authentication process involves confirming a user’s identity and determining their authorized actions within an application. While a basic username and password setup is common, it has significant limitations. 

Nowadays, online platforms employ advanced security practices like Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), and Single Sign-On (SSO) for comprehensive platform security.

Data Security in Function-based Apps

In function-based applications, data security encompasses various practices. A reliable approach involves developers encrypting data using established methods. 

This ensures that data, when transferred or stored, is in a protected format. Even if attackers gain access to the data, they cannot exploit the application or the platform effectively.

Security Insights and Log Monitoring

Log monitoring and analytics are vital for FaaS security and can be facilitated through user-friendly tools. 

Modern cloud platforms often offer built-in application security insights, easily accessible for users to set up and employ within minutes. 

Log monitoring involves the collection, analysis, and action on data from diverse sources.

Implementing Proper Identity and Access Management (IAM)

Nearly all organizations are turning toward advanced Identity and Access Management (IAM) practices. 

In today’s digitally connected world, where various cyber threats abound, maintaining both consistency and security necessitates the implementation of strong IAM systems to manage and safeguard all aspects.

IAM solutions typically provide a comprehensive suite, addressing numerous trustworthy FaaS security requirements within a single package.

Encrypting Data in Transit and at Rest, and Using Secure Key Manager

Securing data not only involves encrypting and protecting it at rest but also ensuring its security during transit. 

Encrypting data in transit is not an optional feature on cloud platforms; it’s an absolute necessity. 

Developers can enhance data transfer security and maintain its safety through the use of secure key manager tools.

Mitigation Techniques for FaaS Vulnerabilities

Due to their inherent characteristics, FaaS platforms are susceptible to security vulnerabilities, affecting both the service provider and the user. 

To effectively mitigate these vulnerabilities, a comprehensive strategy is essential. In the following section, we’ll provide valuable and potent techniques to achieve the desired level of FaaS security:

Serverless Security Tools and Services

Similar to on-premise infrastructures, serverless platforms offer a range of security tools and services tailored to businesses of various sizes. 

These tools encompass serverless monitoring and log analytics tools. Additionally, you have the option to integrate container security checkers into your projects to effectively assess and monitor the security of your applications.

Isolation and Containerization

Isolation is a paramount security concern in container technology. 

Linux containers employ multiple mechanisms to ensure isolation, allowing you to customize the level of isolation as needed. 

Certain isolation techniques provide an extra layer of security to thwart potentially malicious functions within containers. Advanced techniques can and should enhance container isolation without compromising productivity.

Input Validation and Sanitization

Input validation is a crucial process that ensures user inputs conform to expected standards.

Sanitization involves checking and removing any potentially harmful or unwanted characters from these inputs. 

These unwanted characters can lead to various issues, such as enabling malicious actors to execute SQL commands and scripts through website input fields.

Stateless Key Management

It’s as vital as using robust cryptographic algorithms for securing keys. Even though highly reliable keys are extremely hard to crack, it’s essential not to overlook their protection. 

If hackers gain access to an encryption key, it can take mere minutes for them to reach your functions and potentially disrupt your entire business.

Data Protected at Point of Ingestion

There are various practices to safeguard data during ingestion and transit. 

One effective solution is using secure protocols and channels. Secure protocols inherently offer essential safety features, including authentication, authorization, integrity, and confidentiality. 

Nowadays, a range of secure channels and protocols are available, such as HTTPS, SSL/TLS, SSH, and SFTP.

Compliance and Regulatory Considerations

Regulatory compliance involves an organization’s adherence to rules, guidelines, and laws, with violations leading to penalties and adverse consequences. 

In the context of FaaS security, a reliable regulatory framework offers peace of mind and helps mitigate cybersecurity concerns.

FaaS Security in the Context of Data Privacy Regulations

FaaS security entails the expertise and practice of adhering to industry-specific regulatory standards. 

Compliance has gained greater significance in FaaS security due to the evolving threat landscape characterized by sophisticated cyberattacks targeting FaaS products.

Auditing and Compliance Monitoring

Third-party audits conducted by cybersecurity service providers are a crucial step, as they help identify and report related issues through comprehensive assessments. 

Additionally, software tools for compliance monitoring ensure your business consistently adheres to these regulatory frameworks.

Trending Topics in FaaS Security

Serverless computing is simplifying developers’ coding efforts, but the pursuit of improved speed and faster server resources remains a hot trend. 

Real-time monitoring tools and integrated AI solutions within serverless computing have garnered significant attention in recent online searches.

Innovations in FaaS and DevOps Security

Implementing FaaS security innovations helps maximize the benefits of FaaS adoption and makes a secure landscape.

There are a lot of innovations in FaaS security, and here are some of the popular ones:

● Serverless monitoring and log analyses

● Hybrid and multi-cloud environment

● Zero-trust practices

Anticipating Emerging Threats

Planning for emerging threats may require significant time and effort, but it yields long-term benefits. 

Any effective cybersecurity strategy should prioritize anticipating these emerging threats, which can potentially impact an organization’s growth and development


FaaS and DevOps security aim to provide essential protection for function-based services in cloud computing environments. 

While FaaS products can expand the attack surface and reduce system visibility, users and organizations can still reap substantial benefits from these platforms. 

Opting for a hybrid model may be the ideal choice to maximize efficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main security challenges in Function-as-a-Service?

● Injection is a critical security challenge in FaaS. It occurs when functions are exposed to potentially malicious data or disguised as trusted input. This vulnerability enables malicious actors to insert functions as if they were data, effectively running them as commands.

How can I protect sensitive data in a serverless environment?

● In a serverless environment, it’s essential to manage privileged users, enforce access control practices, and establish continuous monitoring. An effective cybersecurity strategy should encompass all these aspects in a unified approach.

What are the best practices for securing serverless applications?

● One straightforward approach to enhance the security of serverless applications is by minimizing privileges through the use of IAM roles. Cybersecurity teams can achieve this by separating accounts and assigning distinct functions to different accounts for improved security.

Are there any specific security considerations for multi-cloud serverless?

● To ensure the security of multi-cloud services, a well-defined policy control and management strategy is essential. Policies play a central role in providing comprehensive security, enhancing the overall security structure for both the service provider and the user organization.

What is the main benefit of FaaS?

● Highly secure FaaS enables developers to write and update code components on the fly, which can then be executed and deployed seamlessly. This characteristic makes function-based services an exceptionally scalable and cost-effective approach for implementing microservices.

Meta Description: Discover essential steps to secure serverless applications. Learn about FaaS security best practices to protect function-based architectures.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *