Five Security Best Practices For Kubernetes Deployments

Portshift introduces five security best practices for Kubernetes Deployments. Portshift is a pioneer in any kind of identity-based workload protection for cloud-native applications. The company has come out with five security best practices for DevOps and development experts who manage Kubernetes deployments across the globe. The key focus of these practices stays on integrating these security solutions into the CI/CD pipeline. This will help organizations in the identification and mitigation of security issues earlier in the development stage. That, in turn, will allow faster and shorter iterations. At the same time, it assures safe and secure deployments. All this is bound to save a lot in the investment of time, resources, and money. Portshift supports a large number of organizations in securing K8 clusters by adopting industry-proven techniques and strategies.

The adoption and popularity of containers are on the rise across the globe in enterprise environments. That, in turn, is increasing the necessity of ways to manage and orchestrate them. We are well aware that Kubernetes (K8s) has evolved as a market leader in containers orchestration for cloud-native environments. As Kubernetes has a critical role in the management of who and what could be done with the containerized workloads, security takes precedence over everything else. Hence, it becomes important to understand it well and then manage it accordingly. That is why using the right deployment architecture and security best practices for all deployments matters a lot in all such cases.

Now, as Kubernetes comprises of a large number of components like Kubernetes' master and notes, the container runtime used Kubernetes, the server that hosts Kubernetes, networking layers within the cluster, and the applications that run inside containers that are hosted on Kubernetes, and so on. With so many components in place, securing Kubernetes involves DevOps/developers in order to take care of the security challenges connected to each of these components.

In order to tackle these challenges, here are the five security best practices to overcome K8's security challenge:

  1. Authorization: There are various authorization methods offered by Kubernetes. These are not mutually exclusive. RBAC is recommended for authorization policies to control how the Kubernetes API is accessed and using which permissions. ABAC provides an additional layer of the authorization mechanism. It enables powerful and fine-grained policies. But, it is more complex. Also, it has a few operational constraints like every time you make changes in permission, the API server needs to be restarted.

  2. Pod Security: As each pod has a set of one or more containers, it is of utmost importance to manage their deployment configurations. Kubernetes Pod Security Policies are cluster-level resources. These policies allow users to deploy their pods in a secure manner by means of controlling their privileges, volumes access, and classical Linux security options like seccomp and SELinux profiles.

  3. Security of the Production Environment: As organizations shift more deployments into production, the movement increases the count of vulnerable workloads at runtime. This can easily be overcome by means of the solutions mentioned above. It is always important to ensure to maintain a healthy DevOps/DecSecOps environment.

  4. Securing CI/CD Pipelines on Kubernets: CI/CD is run to build-out, test, and deploy workloads prior to their deployment in K8's clusters. Imbibing security at the CI/CD process so that developers can quickly discover and mitigate key vulnerabilities and misconfigurations. If this is not managed well, these loopholes in the system allow attackers to gain access when these images are deployed in K8 clusters. The exploitation of these vulnerabilities in K8 production environments invites serious risks and severe repercussions. That is why inspecting the code of images and deployment configurations at the CI/CD stage are very critical.

  5. Add Service Mesh to the Network Security Layer: The purpose of the service mesh is to address common tasks that are associated with microservices in a unified and agnostic manner. The role of a service mesh is to automatically balance inter-service traffic based on the policies. It also provides security, reliability, and observability benefits to manage cluster traffic and thus enhance network stability. It works on a 'zero-trust' security model.

The service mesh is a powerful complement to K8's security infrastructure. It helps in securing a cloud-native environment by automatically controlling service discovery and connection so that both developers and individual microservices are taken care of. The service mesh is used in conjunction with Kubernetes to enhance applied security at the service level and not just at the network level. To enable the highest level of security, it is suggested to use service mesh in conjunction with identity-based workload protection to ensure optimum security of containers and microservices. 

Ran Ilany, CEO and Co-Founder, Portshift says. “As the leading orchestration platform, Kubernetes is in active use at AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Azure. With the right and holistic security infrastructure in place, it is set to change the way applications are deployed in the cloud with unprecedented efficiency and agility. Portshift delivers an intuitive and centralized way to govern Kubernetes microservices to make this a reality.“

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