Application Infrastructure, Application Storage
Article | July 19, 2023
Containers have emerged as a choice for deploying and scaling applications, owing to their lightweight, isolated, and portable nature. However, the absence of robust security measures may expose containers to diverse threats, thereby compromising the confidentiality and integrity of data and apps.
2 IaaS Container Security Techniques
2.1 Container Image Security
2.2 Host Security
2.3 Network Security
2.4 Data Security
2.5 Identity and Access Management (IAM)
2.6 Runtime Container Security
2.7 Compliance and Auditing
Infrastructure as a Service has become an increasingly popular way of deploying and managing applications, and containerization has emerged as a leading technology for packaging and deploying these applications. Containers are software packages that include all the necessary components to operate in any environment. While containers offer numerous benefits, such as portability, scalability, and speed, they also introduce new security challenges that must be addressed.
Implementing adequate IaaS container security requires a comprehensive approach encompassing multiple layers and techniques. This blog explores the critical components of IaaS container security. It provides an overview of the techniques and best practices for implementing security measures that ensure the confidentiality and integrity of containerized applications. By following these, organizations can leverage the benefits of IaaS and containerization while mitigating the security risks that come along.
2. IaaS Container Security Techniques
The increasing IAAS security risks and security issues associated with IAAS these days are leading to a massive data breach. Thus, IAAS security concerns are taken into consideration, and seven best techniques are drafted below.
2.1. Container Image Security:
Container images are the building blocks of containerized applications. Ensuring the security of these images is essential to prevent security threats. The following measures are used for container image security:
Using secure registries: The registry is the location where container images are stored and distributed. Usage of centrally managed registries on campus, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) can scan them for security issues and system managers may simply assess package gaps, etc.
Signing images: Container images can be signed using digital signatures to ensure their authenticity. Signed images can be verified before being deployed to ensure they have not been tampered with.
Scanning images: Although standard AppSec tools such as Software Composition Analysis (SCA) can check container images for vulnerabilities in software packages and dependencies, extra dependencies can be introduced during the development process or even at runtime.
2.2. Host Security:
Host security is a collection of capabilities that provide a framework for implementing a variety of security solutions on hosts to prevent attacks. The underlying host infrastructure where containers are deployed must be secured. The following measures are used for host security:
Using secure operating systems: The host operating system must be safe and up-to-date with the latest high severity security patches within 7 days of release, and others, within 30 days to prevent vulnerabilities and security issues.
Applying security patches: Security patches must be applied to the host operating system and other software packages to fix vulnerabilities and prevent security threats.
Hardening the host environment: The host environment must be hardened by disabling unnecessary services, limiting access to the host, and applying security policies to prevent unauthorized access.
2.3. Network Security:
Network security involves securing the network traffic between containers and the outside world. The following measures are used for network security:
Using Microsegmentation and firewalls: Microsegmentation tools with next-gen firewalls provide container network security. Microsegmentation software leverages network virtualization to build extremely granular security zones in data centers and cloud applications to isolate and safeguard each workload.
Encryption: Encryption can protect network traffic and prevent eavesdropping and interception of data.
Access control measures: Access control measures can restrict access to containerized applications based on user roles and responsibilities.
2.4. Data Security:
Data stored in containers must be secured to ensure its confidentiality and integrity. The following measures are used for data security:
Using encryption: Data stored in containers can be encrypted, using Transport Layer Security protocol version 1.1. (TLS 1.1) or higher, to protect it from unauthorized access and prevent data leaks. All outbound traffic from private cloud should be encrypted at the transport layer.
Access control measures: Access control measures can restrict access to sensitive data in containers based on user roles and responsibilities.
Not storing sensitive data in clear text: Sensitive data must not be stored in clear text within containers to prevent unauthorized access and data breaches. Backup app data, atleast weekly.
2.5. Identity and Access Management (IAM):
IAM involves managing access to the container infrastructure and resources based on the roles and responsibilities of the users. The following measures are used for IAM:
Implementing identity and access management solutions: IAM solutions can manage user identities, assign user roles and responsibilities, authenticate and provide access control policies.
Multi-factor authentication: Multi-factor authentication can add an extra layer of security to the login process.
Auditing capabilities: Auditing capabilities can monitor user activity and detect potential security threats.
2.6. Runtime Container Security:
To keep its containers safe, businesses should employ a defense-in-depth strategy, as part of runtime protection.
Malicious processes, files, and network activity that deviates from a baseline can be detected and blocked via runtime container security.
Container runtime protection can give an extra layer of defense against malicious code on top of the network security provided by containerized next-generation firewalls.
In addition, HTTP layer 7 based threats like the OWASP Top 10, denial of service (DoS), and bots can be prevented with embedded web application and API security.
2.7. Compliance and Auditing:
Compliance and auditing ensure that the container infrastructure complies with relevant regulatory and industry standards. The following measures are used for compliance and auditing:
Monitoring and auditing capabilities: Monitoring and auditing capabilities can detect and report cloud security incidents and violations.
Compliance frameworks: Compliance frameworks can be used to ensure that the container infrastructure complies with relevant regulatory and industry standards, such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, and GDPR.
Enabling data access logs on AWS S3 buckets containing high-risk Confidential Data is one such example.
IaaS container security is critical for organizations that rely on containerization technology for deploying and managing their applications. There is likely to be an increased focus on the increased use of AI and ML to detect and respond to security incidents in real-time, the adoption of more advanced encryption techniques to protect data, and the integration of security measures into the entire application development lifecycle.
In order to stay ahead of the challenges and ensure the continued security of containerized applications, the ongoing process of IaaS container security requires continuous attention and improvement. By prioritizing security and implementing effective measures, organizations can confidently leverage the benefits of containerization while maintaining the confidentiality and integrity of their applications and data.
Article | October 10, 2023
The cloud has dispelled many myths and self-made barriers during the past ten years. The utilization of cloud infrastructure keeps proving the innovators right. The cloud has experienced tremendous adoption, leading to the development of our most pervasive - and disorderly - IT infrastructure systems. This move calls for a new level of infrastructure orchestration to manage the complexity of changing hybrid systems.
There are many challenges involved in moving from an on-premises-only architecture to a cloud environment. IT operations teams must manage a considerably more complex overall environment due to this hybrid IT approach. Because of the variable nature of the cloud, IT directors have discovered fast that what worked to manage on-premises infrastructures may not always be applicable.
Utilize Infrastructure as Code Tools to Provide Cloud Infrastructure as a Service
IT has traditionally managed infrastructure orchestration and automation for business tools and platforms. Service orchestration and automation platforms (SOAPs) let non-IT workers turn on and off cloud infrastructure while IT maintains control. End-users are empowered with automated workflows that spin up infrastructure on-demand instead of opening a ticket for every request and waiting on the helpdesk or cloud service team. Automation benefits both end-users and ITOps. Users gain speed, and IT decides which cloud provider and how much cloud infrastructure is used.
Give End Users Access to Code, Low Code, or No Code
Modern SOAP lets citizen automators access workflow automation by preference or competence. SOAPs allow end-users to utilize code or no-code, depending on their preference. SOAPs let end-users access automation through Microsoft Teams, Slack, and ServiceNow. Developers and technical team members can access the platform's scripts and code.
As enterprises outgrow their legacy systems, infrastructure orchestration solutions become essential. Using a service orchestration and automation platform is one way to manage complicated infrastructures. SOAPs are built for hybrid IT environments and will help organizations master multi-cloud and on-premises tools.
Hyper-Converged Infrastructure, Windows Systems and Network
Article | July 11, 2023
What Is IT Infrastructure Security?
If you are reading this blog, we would like to assume that you are either an aspiring cybersecurity professional or a business owner looking for ways to improve their network security. A business IT infrastructure includes networks, software, hardware, equipment, and other facilities that make up an IT network. These networks are applied to establish, monitor, test, manage, deliver, and support IT services.
So, IT infrastructure security describes the process of safeguarding the core networking infrastructure, and it is typically applied to enterprise IT environments. You can improve IT infrastructure security by installing protective solutions to block unauthorized access, theft, deletion, and data modification.
Article | October 10, 2023
Building trust through HCI by unveiling strategies to ensure the long-term reliability of technology partnerships, cementing lasting collaborations in a dynamic business landscape through vendor stability.
2. How HCI Overcomes Infrastructural Challenges
3. Evaluation Criteria for Enterprise HCI
3.1. Distributed Storage Layer
3.2. Data Security
3.3. Data Reduction
4. Assessing Vendor Stability: Ensuring Long-Term Reliability of Partners
4.1. Vendor Track Record
4.2. Financial Stability
4.3. Customer Base and References
4.4. Product Roadmap and Innovation
4.5. Support and Maintenance
4.6. Partnerships and Ecosystem
4.7. Industry Recognition and Analyst Reports
4.8. Contracts and SLAs
5. Final Takeaway
When collaborating with a vendor, it is essential to evaluate their financial stability. This ensures that they are able to fulfil their obligations and deliver the promised services or goods. Prior to making contractual commitments, it is necessary to conduct due diligence to determine a vendor's financial health. This article examines when a vendor's financial viability must be evaluated, why to do so, and how vendor and contract management software can assist businesses.
IT organizations of all sizes face numerous infrastructure difficulties. On one hand, they frequently receive urgent demands from the business to keep their organization agile and proactive while implementing new digital transformation initiatives. They also struggle to keep their budget under control, provide new resources swiftly, and manage the increasing complexity while maintaining a reasonable level of efficiency. For many organizations, a cloud-only IT strategy is not a viable option; as a result, there is a growing interest in hybrid scenarios that offer the best of both realms. By combining cloud and traditional IT infrastructures, there is a real danger of creating silos, going in the incorrect direction, and further complicating the overall infrastructure, thereby introducing inefficiencies.
2. How HCI Overcomes Infrastructural Challenges
Hyper-converged infrastructures (HCI) surpass conventional infrastructures in terms of simplicity and adaptability. HCI enables organizations to conceal the complexity of their IT infrastructure while reaping the benefits of a cloud-like environment. HCI simplifies operations and facilitates the migration of on-premises data and applications to the cloud. HCI is a software-defined solution that abstracts and organizes CPU, memory, networking, and storage devices as resource pools, typically utilizing commodity x86-based hardware and virtualization software. It enables the administrator to rapidly combine and provision these resources as virtual machines and, more recently, as independent storage resources such as network-attached storage (NAS) filers and object stores. Management operations are also simplified, allowing for an increase in infrastructure productivity while reducing the number of operators and system administrators per virtual machine managed.
HCI market and itssolutions can be categorized into three groups:
They have an extensive feature set, high scalability, core-to-cloud integrations, and tools that extend beyond traditional virtualization platform management and up the application stack.
Small/Medium Enterprise Solutions
Comparable to the previous category, but simplified and more affordable. The emphasis remains on simplifying the IT infrastructure for virtualized environments, with limited core-to-cloud integrations and a limited ecosystem of solutions.
Designed for particular use cases or vertical markets, they are highly competitive in edge-cloud or edge-core deployments, but typically have a limited ecosystem of solutions. These solutions incorporate open-source hypervisors, such as KVM, to provide end-to-end support at lower costs. They are typically not very scalable, but they are efficient from a resource consumption standpoint.
3. Evaluation Criteria for Enterprise HCI
3.1 Distributed Storage Layer
The distributed storage layer provides primary data storage service for virtual machines and is a crucial component of every HCI solution. Depending on the exposed protocol, they are typically presented as a virtual network-attached storage (NAS) or storage area network (SAN) and contain all of the data.
There are three distributed storage layer approaches for HCI:
Virtual storage appliance (VSA): A virtual machine administered by the same hypervisor as the other virtual machines in the node. A VSA is more flexible and can typically support multiple hypervisors, but this method may result in increased latency.
Integrated within the hypervisor or the Operating System (OS): The storage layer is an extension of the hypervisor and does not require the preceding approach's components (VM and guest OS). The tight integration boosts overall performance, enhances workload telemetry, and fully exploits hypervisor characteristics, but the storage layer is not portable.
Specialized storage nodes: The distributed storage layer is comprised of specialized nodes in order to achieve optimal performance consistency and scalability for both internal and external storage consumption. This strategy, which is typically more expensive than the alternatives for lesser configurations, is utilized.
3.2 Data Security
Currently, all vendors offer sophisticated data protection against multiple failures, such as full node, single, and multiple-component issues. Distributed erasure coding safeguards information by balancing performance and data footprint efficiency. This equilibrium is made possible by modern CPUs with sophisticated instruction sets, new hardware such as NVMe and storage-class memory (SCM) devices, and data path optimizations.
In addition, the evolution of storage technologies has played a pivotal role in enhancing data protection strategies. The introduction of high-capacity SSDs (Solid-State Drives) and advancements in storage virtualization have further strengthened the ability to withstand failures and ensure uninterrupted data availability. These technological innovations, combined with the relentless pursuit of redundancy and fault tolerance, have elevated the resilience of modern data storage systems.
Furthermore, for data protection and security, compliance with rules, regulations, and laws is paramount. Governments and regulatory bodies across the globe have established stringent frameworks to safeguard sensitive information and ensure privacy. Adherence to laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States, and various industry-specific regulations is non-negotiable. Organizations must fortify their data against technical vulnerabilities and align their practices with legal requirements to prevent costly fines, legal repercussions, and reputational damage.
3.3 Data Reduction
Optimization of the data footprint is a crucial aspect of hyper-converged infrastructures. Deduplication, compression, and other techniques, such as thin provisioning, can significantly improve capacity utilization in virtualized environments, particularly for Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) use cases. Moreover, in order to optimize rack space utilization and achieve server balance, the number of storage devices that can be deployed on a single HCI node is restricted.
4. Assessing Vendor Stability: Ensuring Long-Term Reliability of Partners
Here are some key factors that contribute to ensuring long-term reliability:
4.1 Vendor Track Record
Assessing the vendor's track record and reputation in the industry is crucial. Look for established vendors with a history of delivering reliable products and services. A vendor that has been operating in the market for a significant period of time and has a strong customer base indicates stability.
4.2 Financial Stability
Consider factors such as the vendor's profitability, revenue growth, and ability to invest in research and development. Financial stability ensures the vendor's ability to support their products and services over the long term.
4.3 Customer Base and References
Look at the size and diversity of the vendor's customer base. A large and satisfied customer base indicates that the vendor's solutions have been adopted successfully by organizations. Request references from existing customers to get insights into their experience with the vendor's stability and support.
4.4 Product Roadmap and Innovation
Assess the vendor's product roadmap and commitment to ongoing innovation. A vendor that actively invests in research and development, regularly updates their products, and introduces new features and enhancements demonstrates a long-term commitment to their solution's reliability and advancement.
4.5 Support and Maintenance
Evaluate the vendor's support and maintenance services. Look for comprehensive support offerings, including timely bug fixes, security patches, and firmware updates. Understand the vendor's service-level agreements (SLAs), response times, and availability of technical support to ensure they can address any issues that may arise.
4.6 Partnerships and Ecosystem
Consider the vendor's partnerships and ecosystem. A strong network of partners, including technology alliances and integrations with other industry-leading vendors, can contribute to long-term reliability. Partnerships demonstrate collaboration, interoperability, and a wider ecosystem that enhances the vendor's solution.
4.7 Industry Recognition and Analyst Reports
Assess the vendor's industry recognition and performance in analyst reports. Look for accolades, awards, and positive evaluations from reputable industry analysts. These assessments provide independent validation of the vendor's stability and the reliability of their HCI solution.
4.8 Contracts and SLAs
Review the vendor's contracts, service-level agreements, and warranties carefully. Ensure they provide appropriate guarantees for support, maintenance, and ongoing product updates throughout the expected lifecycle of the HCI solution.
5. Final Takeaway
Evaluating a vendor's financial stability is crucial before entering into contractual commitments to ensure their ability to fulfill obligations. Hyper-converged infrastructure overcomes infrastructural challenges by simplifying operations, enabling cloud-like environments, and facilitating data and application migration. The HCI market offers enterprise, small/medium enterprise, and vertical solutions, each catering to different needs and requirements.
Analysing enterprise HCI solutions requires careful consideration of various criteria. Each approach has its own advantages and considerations related to flexibility, performance, and cost.
The mentioned techniques can significantly reduce the data footprint, particularly in use cases like VDI, while maintaining performance and efficiency. Organizations take decisions that align with their specific storage, security, and efficiency requirements by considering the evaluation criteria for enterprise HCI solutions.
By considering these factors, organizations can make informed decisions and choose a vendor with a strong foundation of reliability, stability, and long-term commitment, ensuring the durability of their HCI infrastructure and minimizing risks associated with vendor instability.