Adopting containers is a simple way to easily deploy applications to cloud. Although, more than 78% of enterprises are adopting DevOps , security challenges continue to haunt the deployment process. Containers are isolated by security of operating system. They are not customized for each application. However, they are secured by using additional security technologies when compared to other platforms. As security is now the key focus of companies, it is essential for the developers and operators to follow few standard methods like the following.

  • Pick the right image: There are several images available in the public repository but not all are secured. According to the study of security vulnerability on Docker Hub, 85% of the images currently available were vulnerable with high severity. In order to pick the right image, companies should focus on the components responsible in making up the image and test for vulnerabilities periodically which can be easily automated.
  • Use container-focused operating system: Quicker DevOps adoption and implementation is essential in today’s competitive market but it also comes with price-risks. Manual errors and misconfigurations are common as we move fast with DevOps. We can reduce this by using operating systems that are focusing on containers as the host. This helps in reducing the number of codes sent for security check.
  • Use secret vault: Yet another key factor of the development process is to preserve data. We need to control API keys and save credentials from any leakage. Keeping these confidential data away from containers is important as containers move around with multiple hosts and tend to spill data. We can avoid such leakages by using secret vault and services. This aids in sharing these data by moving it to the required workplace without any alterations or leakages.
  • Patch bug quickly: No matter how careful the team is, few bugs will always find its way into the production environment. Hunting and fixing these bugs will be a perfect antidote for vulnerability. Failing to do so will affect the quality, scalability and might even lead to breakage in the system.

Companies adopt these methods to obtain solution for security related issues. This solution supports the lifecycle from scanning images to hardening containers to securing the systems. Therefore, it gained almost 30% penetrations in a short span of time with DevOps across multiple environments. However, to maintain consistency, container security should be agile enough to meet the pace of container creation. According to a defense report, organizations should take necessary steps in order to move security to the next level. To do so, we need to consider two essential factors- Threat detection and Prioritization based on context.

Threat detection: Container security helps in detecting threats and alerts on future abnormality.

Context-based priority: It is critical to prioritize risky deployment in accordance with the information from the container orchestrator. This enables the team to prioritize on what we need to do first.

These factors or capabilities are essential for the protection of containerized environment. Besides, companies should foster alignment and collaboration between DevOps and security teams to reap the whole benefits of DevOps container security.

In future, security process should seamlessly fuse with DevOps practice, CI/CD integration tools, deployment tools, registries and security tools. Organizations should enable scalable security and ensure security policy knowledge transition across DevOps and security team. This will improve application development, operational efficiency and transformative ideas.

 

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Dhanwandhi Panneerselvam

Executive Research Analyst at Aspire Systems
She holds a Master degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering with specialization in Power Electronics and Drives. She is a passionate and an ardent writer who has earlier worked on write ups and several copies related to media. She spends her leisure time reading philosophical books and loves exploring new places & cuisines.