As organizations shift their workloads and data to the cloud, the desire to keep applications running continuously and seamlessly has driven enterprises to rely on containers and their dependencies.

In fact, there’s a massive rise in the percentage of organizations that have containerized half of their applications. Recent research also shows that by 2023 70% of global organizations will be running over 2 containerized applications.

This widespread adoption will likely continue since containers allow organizations to isolate and package all elements required to uniformly run an application irrespective of its runtime environment.

This ensures an Agile DevOps environment, reduces costs, and amplifies portability with public clouds, on-premises infrastructure, and hybrid clouds

Despite the benefits of using containers a lot can go wrong, especially with security

This is why security is the top containerization concern for organizations.

This isn’t to say that containerization isn’t worth it. The simple fact is, just as with any new technology or tool, containers come with security considerations enterprises must be aware of.

We’ll take a look at 4 of the most common of these security challenges below and what organizations can do to mitigate them.

1. Overexposing Your Container

Ensuring the content of a container is secure is vital, as the internal state of the container can compromise its security.

Since a container is a running process that is “contained”, it naturally has the same space as its host. Even though containers offer numerous benefits over traditional deployment environments, they are open to different forms of attack vectors that enterprises must understand.

Containers do not introduce any specific new vulnerabilities, but they do offer extra attack vectors, especially when they are overexposed. A container is overexposed when it gives services access to all other services so they can interact with each other without any form of authentication.

Further, when developers fail to adequately manage their containers this can lead to compromised containers, which act as a gateway for further attacks. Developers must inspect all aspects of each container and not unnecessarily expose services to each other. Services should always be set up to require authentication to access one another.

With this in mind, it’s vital that whatever container technology your enterprise deploys offers security protection and coverage from such attack vectors, including those from overexposure.

2. Poor Container Visibility

The lack of container visibility is a frequent container security mistake and can obscure vulnerabilities.

In every containerized environment, images are continuously being added to the enterprise’s private hub or registry, and the containers running these images get spun up and taken down.

This means that containers or images that aren’t being used during a scan will be difficult to identify. Therefore, it’s crucial to perform scans at various stages of the build, deployment, and running process to ensure that nothing is left out and vulnerabilities are identified.

Thankfully, there are tools today like KloudGaze’s Rapide that enable organizations to discover and act upon container vulnerabilities via application dependency mapping technology. Using such tools gives enterprises high visibility of their containers.

3. No Proactive Monitoring for Compliance Adherence

Achieving compliance in containers is a complex task, not to mention continuing to maintain it. This is because containers are constantly replaced for reasons such as fixing vulnerabilities and adding new functions.

Such an ephemeral nature makes it tough to keep track of what was updated by who and why. Without this knowledge, containers are left vulnerable to the security threats proper compliance adherence should naturally handle—in addition to penalties from auditors.

Organizations simply must take more proactive steps to ensure ongoing compliance adherence. Instead of thinking of compliance as a one-off task, your enterprise must view compliance as a continuous process.

However, it’s not feasible to expect developers to know all of the controls that should be implemented, which means that fresh compliance processes should be introduced into bigger DevOps processes. Compliance teams should be able to define controls that developers can implement programmatically.

Currently, most auditors aren’t aware of the chain of controls that must be present when containerized applications are deployed in production environments—but it’s just a matter of time before they get up to speed to the fact that containerized applications get updated frequently. Once they do, they’ll begin asking enterprises to document when and how those updates happened.

Lack of proper monitoring may, therefore, lead to fines that can hurt your organization as well as open up your containers to security threats that compliance adherence normally takes care of. 

4. Failure to Ensure Container Isolation

The immutable nature of containers, their limited functionality, and their short life span provide numerous security benefits. However, as alluded to previously, containers can be attack vectors for their underlying hosts. For example, containers with the privilege flag are vulnerable to such risk as, not being isolated, they give attackers unrestricted access to the host.

Ignoring container isolation allows containers to access all running processes on the host, which puts the host processes at risk of shut down or manipulation.

How KloudGaze’s Dependency Mapping Technology With Built-in Compliance Can Help You Minimize Container Security Risks

Running an in-depth assessment of the impact that the slightest modification can have on your IT infrastructure is an extremely draining task, particularly if it must be manually done by developers.

That said, neglecting this results in huge security risks, as modifications can cause new vulnerabilities in your organization’s IT infrastructure.

For instance, your enterprise’s engineer may miss security holes in a network during an access rights management process in the organization’s database. You may then only become aware of the vulnerability when it’s too late—after an attack.

However, with an application dependency mapping tool, you can mitigate this and many other security challenges by dramatically increasing knowledge of how any changes will affect your systems.

Besides being aware of the impact of changes, effective security practices only come from a complete knowledge of all assets in your organization’s ecosystem. Application dependency technology offers a total overview of all resources in an environment including the method and column, becoming an indispensable tool for planning your security controls. Such a tool can also be useful for analyzing code that has caused security vulnerabilities in the past, thus preventing it from happening again.

In short, the knowledge you gain from mapping dependencies is extremely powerful in identifying vulnerabilities and the steps needed to eliminate them.

KloudGaze offers enterprises this solution via Rapide, the industry’s first agentless Application Dependency Mapping (ADM) platform that uses smart APIs to eliminate the need for manual work and minimize human error.

Find out more about how KloudGaze can help assess your code-level risk by requesting a free trial of our platform. If you have questions about how KloudGaze can revolutionize your security, help your IT governance, and ensure compliance, contact us here.

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Containers are powerful tools, but as with any new technology, there are security risks you need to be aware of. Get to know these 4 container security mistakes that jeopardize your IT infrastructure and how to mitigate them.

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Keep your enterprise’s containers secure by getting to know these 4 common container security mistakes and how to mitigate them.