Kubernetes Security Posture Management (KSPM)

According to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), Kubernetes (K8s) adoption is nearing 100% in the cloud native community. Those numbers make it clear that K8s is a staple of cloud native software. As a result, Kubernetes inherently becomes a significant enterprise attack surface. A single misconfiguration or unpatched vulnerability in a Kubernetes cluster can lead to a major breach. 

Kubernetes Security Posture Management (KSPM) helps enterprises automate Kubernetes security and compliance to mitigate the security threats posed by human error and oversight across K8s clusters without hampering scalability.

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Kubernetes Security Posture Management (KSPM)

What Is Kubernetes Security Posture Management (KSPM)?

Kubernetes Security Posture Management, is a set of tools and practices to automate security and compliance across K8s clusters. In many ways, KSPM is similar to Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM). While CSPM deals with all of an enterprise’s cloud infrastructure, KSPM focuses on K8s security

Specifically, KSPM helps enterprises:

  • Automate security scans across K8s clusters. 
  • Detect Kubernetes misconfigurations.
  • Define security policies. 
  • Assess and categorize threats.

Importantly, KSPM delivers these benefits while integrating into CI\CD pipelines and limiting friction. This is important for DevSecOps teams looking to shift left and integrate security throughout the SDLC.

Why KSPM Is Essential to Cloud Native Security

Container workloads are a cornerstone of modern cloud native software. That makes workload protection and container security key aspects of overall enterprise security posture. And with K8s clusters being the de-facto standard for orchestrating container workloads, enterprises that value a strong security posture must ensure their K8s deployments are secure.

By automating most aspects of K8s security, Kubernetes posture management helps enterprises drastically reduce the risk of misconfigurations and human error that can lead to a breach. KSPM can dynamically enforce security policies and detect threats at a speed and scale that simply isn’t possible without automation. 

Scale is an important point when it comes to KSPM as well. As cloud native software scales, it becomes more complex. Container workloads may be distributed across multiple regions in a multi-cloud environment, and microservices architectures can grow to be very complex. By integrating and automating security throughout cluster lifecycles, KSPM gives enterprises a mechanism to limit the risk of misconfiguration or oversight that comes with this complexity. This is particularly important on teams where there are few — or no — dedicated Kubernetes security professionals. 

Here are some specific examples of where KSPM can improve Kubernetes security: 

  • Identify issues with Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): RBAC misconfigurations can violate the principle of least privilege and act as an entry point for an exploit. KSPM helps enterprises detect and mitigate RBAC configuration issues. 
  • Detect deviations from network security policies: Network access is one of the biggest drivers of overall attack surface. Policies that enforce granular network isolation help ensure only authorized users and workloads access Kubernetes resources. 
  • Flag compliance issues: Standards like HIPAA, SOX, and ISO/IEC 27001 come with specific compliance requirements. KSPM tooling can codify requirements and scan to detect potential compliance issues.
  • Recommend or automate remediation: When KSPM tools detect an issue, they can often suggest remediation steps or even automatically respond to mitigate the threat.

How Does KSPM Work?

Different Kubernetes Security Posture Management solutions implement KSPM in different ways, but some general steps apply to most KSPM tooling. 

First, enterprises must define the security policies the KSPM tooling will enforce. In many cases, Kubernetes posture management tools will provide baseline templates to streamline the policy creation process. 

Once the policies are defined, KSPM tools scan Kubernetes infrastructure for deviations from the policies. What happens when a policy violation is detected varies depending on the tooling, configuration, and severity of the violation. Responses can range from simply logging a message to raising an alert to automated remediation. 

For example, a KSPM policy may define Kubernetes network policies to ensure that only select workloads have Internet access. If a policy violation is detected, an alert can be raised, and the deviating configuration can be corrected. Without KSPM, the same network misconfiguration may have led to a pod being unnecessarily exposed to the Internet.

What Resources You Need for KSPM

Effective implementations of KSPM start with the right tooling and the right policies. Without a strong baseline of policies, a KSPM platform doesn’t have a baseline for detecting and responding to potential issues. Fortunately, advanced KSPM tools have template policies and built-in intelligence to help streamline the process.

However, KSPM alone cannot solve all potential container security issues. Enterprises also need to follow best practices for workload protection and container security such as ensuring all their container deployments start with secure images.

Kubernetes Security Posture Management with CloudGuard

The Check Point CloudGuard platform provides enterprises with a holistic Kubernetes Security Posture Management solution. With CloudGuard, enterprises can automate security and compliance oversight across all their K8s clusters. 

To try it out for yourself, you can sign up for a free trial to see how CloudGuard helps you:

  • Secure all your container workloads. 
  • Achieve zero trust security.
  • Protect workloads across all clouds.
  • Automate security and threat detection from deployment through runtime.

If you’d like to learn more about Kubernetes and container security, download the Guide to Container and Kubernetes Security Guide. In the guide, you’ll learn about modern security approaches for microservices and K8s, best practices to address critical security issues, and how to automate security across microservices.

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