Kubernetes Zero Trust Architecture

Kubernetes Zero Trust Architecture

It is generally agreed upon that the internet and networking capabilities have changed how we live more than any other development over the past few decades. It has opened up new ways of doing business, new frontiers for different cultures and societies to interact, and revolutionized how we see the world.

Most companies today utilize the internet and networking to make their operations more efficient and streamline communication. This naturally presents its fair share of challenges too. Malevolent parties are always lurking in the shadows trying to find vulnerabilities in corporate networks.

As such network security has been of increasing concern to businesses. Almost all businesses have some sort of internal network that employees use to coordinate tasks. These networks hold a wealth of corporate resources, including some of the most sensitive information produced by the organization.

Security protocols exist to prevent this information from getting into the wrong hands. Of course, for any security protocol to remain effective, it must stay abreast with the developments in the security landscape.

With cloud computing, IoT, and big data offering incredible competitive advantages to organizations, it is no surprise that everyone wants to implement these technologies. Unfortunately, the open nature of these technologies means that they are incompatible with existing network security practices.

So, what are companies doing to circumvent the issue? Well, a highly promising solution already exists and is being touted as the future of enterprise network security – zero trust architecture. Let’s take a look at the zero architecture, its most interesting features, and the benefits it promises for organizations.

What is Kubernetes Zero Trust Architecture?

To understand zero trust, one must understand why its development was inevitable. One need only glance at the current technological landscape to observe that there is an astonishing number of devices in the world. It’s not just that there are too many devices, it’s also that they all have networking capabilities and interact with each other in complex and dynamic ways.

This isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. The ability of these devices to interact with each other allows for incredible efficiencies to be harnessed. However, they also raise an important issue for enterprise networks. Enterprise networks normally protect themselves by differentiating between trusted and untrusted devices.

This principle of security has some obvious limitations. For instance, if a user is able to breach the security of the enterprise network once and is accidentally classified as a trusted user, they will find movement within the network practically unhindered. Furthermore, with the nature of work evolving, it is difficult to maintain a closed network. This point is best illustrated when we look at the increase in remote work over the past two years.

Employees working from home are not within the organization’s secure network and often use personal devices to access enterprise resources. These devices can be used as vectors for hackers.

Zero Trust network architecture resolves the limitations of perimeter-based security. The way it does this is in the name – zero trust. This network architecture operates fundamentally on the assumption that no device on the network can be implicitly trusted. In fact, it is actively suspicious of every device and assumes that the network could be under attack at any given moment.

It limits the lateral movement of users on a network through micro-segmentation. This process essentially involves setting up lots of perimeters such that the device or user has to be authorized multiple times. It also creates a scale of privileges that are granted to the user requesting access. That means that just because the device meets the required security standards, it will still only be given just enough access to get the job done.

Foundational Principles and Benefits of Zero-Trust Architecture

Let’s look at the fundamentals upon which zero-trust is based and how they add up to provide improved security.

  1. Everything on the network is a resource: This ensures that access to anything is not treated lightly, and a protocol exists if someone tries to interact with the asset.
  2. Communication is always secured: Unlike conventional network security infrastructures, zero-trust does not trust a device just because it is located within the network. Despite its location within the perimeter, the security risks are significantly reduced by treating it as hostile.
  3. Session-based access: There is no such thing as permanent access. All devices are given access to certain resources upon authentication and authorization, but the access does not continue beyond that session, ensuring any security loophole.
  4. Contextual security: Zero-trust architecture can observe behavior in real-time and hence decide whether the activity is unusual and can actively limit such users and devices. This allows for dynamic security, ensuring that it is mitigated and detected quicker than on conventional networks, even if damage does occur.
  5. Constant evolution: The architecture is strengthened by collecting information about the behavior of devices, users, assets, resources, and their interactions to constantly improve its own protocols. This makes it a smarter security architecture than previous ones.
  6. No Implied Trust: This is the most basic principle of zero-trust architecture. There is no device that is above reproach or suspicion. All devices must meet the same rigorous security standards, and the status of each device is verified and monitored proactively.

Final Word

This is what a Kubernetes zero trust architecture network is all about and why organizations are rushing to adopt it. In a world where cloud computing and IoT are revolutionizing what devices on a network can do, it is important to have reliable network security protocols so your organization can utilize the benefits of these without worrying about the security risks.

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