There are a variety of potential benefits for organizations that migrate to the cloud and adopt container technologies—agility, scalability, operational efficiency, cost savings. As with anything involving technology, though, the benefits and advantages also come with a hefty side of unique issues and security concerns. The challenge is to implement the security processes and tools necessary to enable you to experience the benefits while mitigating your exposure to the possible consequences.
Managing and Security a Cloud Environment
Container environments are typically dynamic and volatile. The number of active containers can spike or shrink exponentially in the blink of an eye as demand shifts. The challenge—from an IT or application security perspective—is how to effectively monitor and protect such a rapidly changing ecosystem without significantly impacting performance at the same time. Traditional approaches to vulnerability management or network IDS (intrusion detection systems) are not equipped to handle containers, and many of the approaches designed specifically for containers trade the features and benefits of using containers in the first place in exchange for security.
I wanted to get a better understanding of the issues with container security and how they’re being addressed in the real world and what the organizational implications might be, so I spoke with Al Ghous—a senior director of product cyber security with GE Digital. Al has nearly 20 years of experience evaluating and addressing challenges like these.
Addressing Container Security Concerns
Al explained that he is dealing with a heterogenous infrastructure and running a variety of different workloads in containers. As they looked at how to effectively secure and manage containers across the environment, they decided to run on Kubernetes and they chose Layered Insight to provide container-native security.
Al needed container management and security solutions that provide visibility into how containers are being built, configured and deployed. There are plenty of options out there for both container orchestration and container security. Many of the platforms and technologies also have built-in features and services to address some of the concerns with managing and securing containers. The native features and open source tools available may work fine for some organizations, but they won’t be sufficient for all scenarios.