Containers play a huge part in our development process and offer many benefits ranging from speeding up application delivery to providing an isolated environment for testing. While they have established themselves as a favorite amongst IT teams, they can also become a thorn in the side of the security team.
Many developers will set up containers and forget about them, leaving them vulnerable to exploits. When assets are ignored or, even worse, the security team doesn’t know they exist, you’ll need to have extra security measures in place to prevent disaster.
These are our top five tips for quickly securing Kubernetes containers:
1. Automate VM Scanners
Use the tools you have to your advantage. Make sure your VM scanners are automatically pointed at the CI/CD pipeline to catch risks early in the container’s life. Something like image scanning could be helpful for watching the build process of containers to point out vulnerabilities, as well as host scanning for checking the components for runtime vulnerabilities.
2. Set Up Real-time Monitoring
Many containers allow you to log activity in real-time and create an alerting system if anything seems abnormal. Set some time aside in your security strategy to work with the broader IT teams to research your options for monitoring, logging, and alerting. Then designate points of contact to pick up alerts and mitigate risks.
3. Establish Container Best Practices
Having stringent security policies and standards of procedure can sometimes be all you need. Set precedence that the container API cannot be internet-facing and that IPs are private. Network policies for pods and clusters should be set to define rules for communication. Nodes should also be on a private network and not publicly accessible. Continuously stay up to date on the latest security recommendations and update policies accordingly.
4. Implement and Enforce Role-Based Access Controls
Containers should have specific parameters around who has access and what is allowed inside. Role-based access controls are an important part of maintaining security posture and keeping track of changes. Only allow users to have the level of access they need to get their job done and nothing more. Have a sole administrator that is responsible for maintaining the roles to minimize risk.
5. Emphasize Regular Reporting Schedules
Push for IT teams to regularly report on new, retired, and active containers. Projects are constantly being spun up and shut down. As leaders in an organization, it’s important to have high-level insights into project status through dashboards and strategic planning sessions.
In addition to the above, be sure to update to the latest versions of Kubernetes and make sure all your internet facing assets are accounted for. While the world of containers is complex and often requires a certain level of expertise, securing containers can be quite simple with the right security infrastructure and policies in place.
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