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How to Secure Kubernetes Workloads

Apr 19, 2023 by Adam Frank

Securing Kubernetes workloads is a critical part of Kubernetes deployments. Kubernetes workloads themselves are not inherently secure or insecure. The security of a Kubernetes workload depends on various factors, including how the workload is designed, configured, and deployed.

However, Kubernetes does provide several security features that can help protect your Kubernetes clusters and resources from malicious attacks or unauthorized access. 

Here are some key ways to secure Kubernetes workloads:

1. Use kubectl for authentication and authorization: kubectl is the Kubernetes command-line tool used to manage Kubernetes clusters. It provides a secure way of authenticating with Kubernetes clusters and authorizing kubectl commands against Kubernetes resources.

2. Protect your Kubernetes control plane: the Kubernetes control plane is the core component of Kubernetes that manages Kubernetes clusters. You can secure Kubernetes control plane resources by creating kubectl users, enabling authentication and authorization mechanisms, deploying firewalls and other security features, and using trusted certificate authorities for server-side TLS.

3. Implement network security: Kubernetes uses network plugins to provide secure network connectivity between Kubernetes clusters and workloads running in Kubernetes. When configuring these plugins, you should configure secure protocols, enable authentication mechanisms such as TLS, and define access control lists (ACLs) that limit who can interact with Kubernetes resources.

4. Monitor and secure Kubernetes workloads: Kubernetes provides capabilities to monitor Kubernetes clusters, nodes, and workloads for potential security threats. With Kubernetes operations tools like kube-bench, you can audit Kubernetes resources to ensure they are secure and compliant with best practices. Additionally, Kubernetes provides security capabilities such as isolating Kubernetes namespaces, running Kubernetes workloads in dedicated clusters, and configuring resource limits to prevent malicious actors from overloading Kubernetes resources.

5. Implement a continuous deployment solution that enables cross-environment orchestration. By enabling cross-environment orchestration you can leverage automation you have in place, or new automation that you create as you mature – automations like integration tests and security scanning. You can also put constraints in place that prevent the deployment from being promoted until the constraints are met in the current environment. Example: do not promote to production until your infosec environment passes all security scanning or require manual approvals to promote to certain environments.

By utilizing the various Kubernetes security features available and a continuous deployment solution that enables cross-environment orchestration, you can secure Kubernetes clusters and workloads from malicious actors and unauthorized access, while securing your applications and deployments at runtime. With Armory, you can confidently manage Kubernetes deployments with the assurance that your Kubernetes environment is secure. Try CD-as-a-Service today and keep your environments safe and your deployments continuous!

This blog has been written to provide educational information related to Kubernetes and how to secure Kubernetes workloads. Please keep in mind that these measures are only a starting point for Kubernetes security and should not be used as the exclusive means of protecting Kubernetes workloads.  For more comprehensive Kubernetes security measures, please consult a Kubernetes security expert. 

 In addition, Kubernetes workloads may also require additional security measures depending on the context and environment of the deployment. With Armory and Kubernetes, however, you can feel confident that your Kubernetes deployments are secure and protected from malicious attackers. 

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