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Kubernetes is an open-source platform that allows you to manage workloads that are in a container. This enables you to have a clear understanding of the Kubernetes cluster state and how it can make changes to configuration to manage elements such as automated rollbacks and rollouts, load balancing, self-healing, and more.

This post covers how to deploy Kubernetes and ensure that the clusters remain secure. 

Deploying Kubernetes

There are a few methods to consider when it comes to deploying Kubernetes that include the public cloud, on-premise, and on bare metal deployment. Kubernetes was created to be easily portable so that you can make hassle-free switches while having workloads migrated. 

With Kubernetes being used more and more, organizations are finding that providers of public cloud systems are providing a specific Kubernetes management service. This makes it easier for your Kubernetes Control Plane to be updated frequently. 

Having said that, this can be a costly option as users are often billed for the service every hour. It also means that you have less overall control over specific elements of your Kubernetes. 

This may be a major downside for some because of how flexible Kubernetes is. It’s a system designed to work with a wide range of customizable features. This is also one of the elements that make it more of a security risk as you have to make sure to secure your cluster.

Therefore, any engineers must be made aware of any attack points and areas that are more vulnerable so that they can deploy your Kubernetes more securely. 

Securing Kubernetes Clusters

Due to how there are so many elements to keep an eye on when it comes to the clusters, you must make sure that you know how they should be configured when coming into contact with each other. This is where users can easily slip up and leave areas too exposed to attacks. 

With so many configuration aspects, there’s more room for misconfigurations and vulnerabilities. This is an area of deploying Kubernetes security that has come to light more recently due to how more people are using it. 

On the flip side, the open system means that users can take total control over all aspects and get a deeper understanding of how everything works when it comes to configurations. The main issue arises when IT engineers are provided with this technology to deploy without having that deeper level of understanding which creates more risks. 

Updating Your Software

One of the main factors to consider is how often you update your software for clusters that are running. Attackers often find ways of penetrating vulnerable areas due to outdated versions of software being used on active clusters. 

So, an easy step to prevent this problem is to stay on top of updates. This also means making sure that Kubernetes is up to date too as they often release updates. It may feel like a tiresome task due to how many customizable features Kubernetes has to offer but you can create automated processes within the CI/CD pipeline when it comes to aspects like patching.

When it comes to deploying with cloud providers, you may find that these software updates are already done for you. Not all cloud providers offer this service, so, be sure to check whether your chosen provider takes care of this as well as how often updates are carried out.   

Active Container Applications

When container applications are being run with the cluster, it can provide attackers with opportunities to access vulnerable areas within the applications. Therefore, you should use a container registry when it comes to creating containers in CI/CD pipelines. This is a method that carries out scans to identify vulnerable areas.  

To prevent vulnerable containers from being automatically deployed, make sure that your policies are created within the CI/CD pipeline. This lets you make the necessary patches to container applications before deploying them with vulnerabilities.

Controlling Configurations

API requests are what’s used to control Kubernetes and it acts as the first barrier that attackers have to overcome to gain access. Therefore, you must take control over who can have access to your Kubernetes platform.

To take it a step further, you can also set configurations for certain users to only be able to carry out certain actions. 

Namespaces

You can separate your applications more by using namespaces. These namespaces enable you to create more separation between the different applications that are running. As a result, you can use different policies that work specifically for the various applications that are active to boost their security. 

Transport Layer Security

Transport layer security (TLS) can be used to manage communication within clusters for different services. TLS is great for keeping all traffic encrypted as a default setting. 

Enabling TSL before you deploy Kubernetes clusters is crucial to boosting its security during transit and when it’s active. 

Pod & Network Security Policies

Pod security policies put a limitation on service accounts and users when it comes to integrating security settings. This helps to stop unauthorized users running containers in privilege or root modes where they’re more open for attackers to reach the host volume.

Therefore, it’s recommended to create your applications in a way where they can be run by users in a mode that isn’t rooted. Security policies allow administrators of clusters to set these rules in place. 

You can have network policies integrated with namespaces and enable administrators of clusters to restrict the amount of traffic present between applications. This system works like a firewall that’s put up in between your containers. 

When network policies are integrated into namespaces, all traffic coming in is denied by default. This lets you take more control over the type of traffic coming in as you can manually enable the traffic that happens between your applications.  

Network policies are best to use when it comes to cloud platforms as it ensures that access to your containers and data is limited. 

Conclusion

Now that you know more about the potential risk and mistakes that are commonly made when deploying and securing Kubernetes clusters, you can avoid the issues altogether. You can implement the various tips mentioned in this post and apply them in a way that suits your specific applications.