Kubernetes is the leading container orchestration platform and has developed into the backbone technology for many organizations’ modern applications and infrastructure. As an open source project, “K8s” is also one of the largest success stories to ever emanate from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).
In short, Kubernetes has revolutionized the way organizations deploy, manage, and scale applications.
However, the dynamic, complex and abstract nature of Kubernetes environments also introduces new challenges, particularly when it comes to security. We’ve seen evidence that some of the largest companies in the world are running unprotected K8s clusters. To address these challenges effectively, integrating security into your observability strategy around Kubernetes becomes critical.
Let’s explore the significance of incorporating security as a fundamental component of your observability strategy for Kubernetes, and how this approach enhances the overall resilience of your containerized applications.
Understanding Kubernetes Observability and Security
Observability in the context of Kubernetes refers to the ability to monitor, collect, and analyze data about the state and behavior of your containerized applications and the underlying infrastructure.
This data-driven approach empowers DevOps and security teams to gain insights into system health, performance, and potential issues. Security, on the other hand, involves safeguarding these applications and infrastructure from threats, vulnerabilities, and attacks. On top of these indicators, organizations must invoke dedicated steps to safeguard against threats.
Industry research shows the prevalence of Kubernetes security and monitoring challenges. Logz.io’s recent 2023 DevOps Pulse Report, based on 500 survey responses from your developer, SRE, DevOps and C-suite peers, included several questions about Kubernetes.
Almost 50% of respondents cited Kubernetes as their main challenge to gaining full observability into their environment. Roughly the same indicated Kubernetes security is the most difficult component of running the technology in production.
This comes at a time when organizations are increasingly working to bring their observability and security processes together. In the Pulse survey, 80% of respondents said they either currently maintain or plan to implement a unified model for observability and security monitoring.
The Synergy: Why Security is Crucial in Kubernetes Observability
Kubernetes environments are dynamic, with containers spinning up and down rapidly. Security threats can exploit these changes, making early detection crucial.
Integrating security measures into your observability strategy allows you to identify anomalous behaviors that might indicate a security breach, helping you take proactive measures before potential threats escalate.
Let’s look at some of the security components you need to consider for Kubernetes observability:
Holistic visibility. Effective security monitoring requires a deep understanding of the activities taking place in your Kubernetes cluster. Combining security practices with observability tools grants you comprehensive visibility into system performance and potential security vulnerabilities. You’ll be able to identify both operational and security issues simultaneously.
Enhanced incident response. In the event of a security incident, quick and precise responses are required to minimize any impacts. An observability strategy enhanced by security practices offers the ability to trace the origin and impact of an incident, making incident response more efficient and effective.
Regulatory compliance. Organizations often need to adhere to industry-specific regulations that demand robust security measures. Integrating security practices into observability aids in generating audit trails, ensuring compliance with requirements.
Cultural collaboration. Integrating security within observability nurtures a culture of collaboration between development, operations and security teams—which often find themselves at odds due to different needs and incentive structures. In other cases these responsibilities may fall upon the shoulders of a single group, or individual. For all of these reasons, fostering a shared perspective on security and observability leads to better communication, streamlined processes and a stronger overall approach to maintaining both system health and security.
Best Practices for Infusing Security into Kubernetes Observability
You can choose observability tools for that work alongside security features or can work harmoniously with security solutions for Kubernetes—there is no shortage of options. Centralizing your monitoring and security efforts simplifies management and enhances overall effectiveness.
Let’s look at some best practices for keeping your Kubernetes observability and security practices closely tied together.
Automated threat detection. Employ automation to continuously monitor Kubernetes data for security threats. Automated alerts ensure that potential vulnerabilities are identified and addressed promptly, minimizing the window of exposure.
Real-time correlation. Integrate security event data with observability data in real time to identify correlations between security incidents and performance anomalies. This provides a holistic view of potential issues and accelerates incident response.
Kubernetes-native security. Leverage Kubernetes-native security solutions, such as network policies, pod security policies, and role-based access control (RBAC). Integrating these measures enhances the security of your environment and complements your observability efforts.
Scalability preparedness. Ensure that your observability and security solutions can scale as your Kubernetes environment grows. As containerized applications expand, your tools must accommodate increased data volumes without compromising performance.
Security Context for Kubernetes Security through Logz.io Kubernetes 360
Here at Logz.io, we’re continuously engaging with our customers to understand their evolving observability needs, and Kubernetes security often comes up. As a result we launched Kubernetes 360, unifying the best of open source logging, metrics and traces in a single platform purpose-built for applications deployed in Kubernetes environments.
A few months after launching Kubernetes 360, we added a unique security and vulnerability scanning component to the feature. Through seamless integration with Aqua Security’s Aqua Trivy vulnerability and misconfiguration scanning solution, Logz.io Open 360™ platform users can now swiftly identify and address potential security concerns that might have entered their Kubernetes environments.
Aqua Trivy, in particular, specializes in scrutinizing problematic open source software packages, dependencies, infrastructural misconfigurations, and Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs). By infusing critical security and compliance context into Kubernetes 360, we look to empower monitoring and observability teams to promptly spot emerging vulnerabilities within their applications and infrastructure.
Our feature was cited as a strength of the Open 360 platform when Logz.io was named a Visionary in the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Application Performance Monitoring and Observability.
This newfound awareness will serve as a foundation for implementing necessary remediation steps for those looking to tighten the links between their Kubernetes security and observability environments.
In the realm of Kubernetes, security has undoubtedly taken the spotlight as a pivotal topic and a compelling sales proposition. This spotlight is well-deserved, considering the rapid evolution of best practices for harnessing the potential of Kubernetes.
We’re confident that the addition of security scanning to our observability platform not only aligns with this trend but also takes it a step further. It offers a more comprehensive, unified, and practical approach that we believe will resonate with you.