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Kubernetes Won't Get Secure Just Sitting There

Let's delve into containers.

Larry Loeb

July 30, 2019

3 Min Read

StackRox wants you to be thinking about containers. Since they secure containers and Kubernetes environments at scale, this is not surprising. But its report of how 392 respondents reacted to a survey on the state of containers may have some insight for everyone.

One insight they evoke is that "In just six months, the percentage of respondents using Kubernetes has grown from 57% to 86%, a 50% increase... Just six months ago, close to half of respondents (43%) were not using Kubernetes in any of its forms. In our survey today, only 14% are not using Kubernetes."

They also say that more than half (51%) of the respondents who use Kubernetes said they self-manage at least some of their Kubernetes clusters, while 21% use nothing but self-managed Kubernetes. Not only that, nearly a third (31%) of all respondents who use Kubernetes say that they use nothing but a single managed service, while 17% of respondents who say that they running Kubernetes will use it in a managed form across two or more managed services. That 17% also has a zero unmanaged count.

Growth has continued unabated. The percentage of organizations with more than 50% of their containers running in production has increased according to the report from 13% to 22%, which is a growth rate of 70%. In the same six months, those running less than 10% of their containers in production has fallen from 52% to 39%.

The report also says that two thirds of respondents will manage at least some of their own clusters as well as using a managed cloud service or a managed distribution.

Somewhat surprisingly, 40% of respondents are managing all of their clusters themselves. Only 20% of all respondents manage their clusters using just their cloud provider's managed service, while only 6% of respondents use only a standalone distribution for management.

It may well be that the organization is running native Kubernetes rather than a cloud provider's managed instance to maintain a consistency in managing all their Kubernetes clusters across their multiple environments.

That kind of consistency is needed in a multiple-venue environment. The instantiation may be composed of secured code, yet it also requires work flows, processes and security tooling to create and enable integration across groups.

Mark Bouchard of the AimPoint Group also had this to say in the report: "Three findings from this survey really stand out to me. One, organizations are adopting containers and Kubernetes without having mapped out how they'll secure the infrastructure. Two, whatever security approach they adopt must effectively protect that infrastructure in hybrid deployments. Three, effective security approaches must deliver rich capabilities across a broad array of features. Organizations should feel a tremendous sense of urgency to test and deploy container security solutions that will effectively protect their cloud-native apps."

While a company like StackRox that provides these kinds of security solutions is sure to emphasize their need, they still have a basically valid point. Organizations have adopted containers and cloud orchestral systems rather willy-nilly. It's past time for that organization to have all the needed supporting infrastructure present in their deployment to cover the everyday security problems that they will face.

— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.

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About the Author(s)

Larry Loeb

Blogger, Informationweek

Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek. He has written a book on the Secure Electronic Transaction Internet protocol. His latest book has the commercially obligatory title of Hack Proofing XML. He's been online since uucp "bang" addressing (where the world existed relative to !decvax), serving as editor of the Macintosh Exchange on BIX and the VARBusiness Exchange. His first Mac had 128 KB of memory, which was a big step up from his first 1130, which had 4 KB, as did his first 1401. You can e-mail him at [email protected].

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