Microservices Architecture Visibility for Security

Microservices Architecture Visibility for Security

Why is Microservice architecture critical for visibility into security?

Microservices architecture takes care of the difficulties of productivity and speed by breaking down software applications into flexible services that are quicker to implement and develop. It allows multiple groups of developers to work on various segments of the application concurrently.
Apart from the productivity and effectiveness resulting from microservice architecture when developing an application, it is mandatory to focus on its security. In this article, we will be looking at how the microservice architecture and the security measurements are linked.

What are the existing security threats of the microservice architecture?

1. Distributed nature of microservices

An application that uses the microservice architecture is distributed across multiple data centers, cloud providers, and host machines. Developing infrastructure over multiple cloud environments heightens the risk of losing control of the deployments. In addition, it is difficult to keep a track of the visibility logs of the application components.
Even though the microservices are functioning independently, the application modules are dependent on multiple microservices. For this task, various communication channels are used to transmit data over multiple infrastructure tiers. The appearance of security vulnerabilities within cross-service communication is high as it is skipped and difficult to test during the testing phase
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2. Administration, access control, and data management

The microservices architecture reveals the entry points to local and global users. Unless the accessing tasks are regulated properly, there is a high chance of data getting leaked. In addition, it welcomes cybercriminals to try attacks. For that reason, it is mandatory to add an administrative interface to control users, applications, groups, devices, and APIs from one center. This will give us a clear picture of what’s happening in environments.
Data created within a microservices architecture are continuously modified and interacted with the end-user. Since the data are used for various tasks and stored in various locations, it is difficult to make sure that the data flows are secured and there are no gateways for attackers to enter.

3. The continuous application modifications

Most of the applications and their codebases are changing throughout the software development life cycle due to the appearance of bugs and requirement changes. Hence we cannot guarantee that the modifications applied will not disclose the software application to the new vulnerabilities and attacks.

4. Isolation

Microservices function and work without depending on one another. In addition, each microservice has its own data store if it has to deal with any data. In other words, multiple microservices do not use the same database. When there are many microservices, it is difficult to make sure that all the connections such as API and database are secured. To get rid of this issue, proper security management is needed.

How does the microservices architecture overcome security hurdles?

1. Security portals can be easily implemented

An application using the microservice architecture divides its functionality and tasks into categories and lets microservices perform the tasks. For that reason, the number of tasks and the functionality of each microservice is limited. Therefore each service owns a well-restricted interface.
With this, the security experts are aware of the number of interfaces that they need to take care of and the exact places where the security portal should be implemented. This task is complicated when it comes to a monolithic application as it includes all the functionalities and software components together.

Frequently Asked Questions

A Microservice is the breaking up of traditionally tightly coupled application components into small specialized services that communicate through HTTPS REST and HTTPS API interfaces.
Since Microservices are small specialized services, they can be quickly and efficiently rearranged to accommodate future capabilities unknown at the present time.
Microservices are independent and modular which allows for significant flexibility in communications patterns and often prevent cascading failure.
DevOps is the combination of development and operations into a single function of software development and infrastructure management. The main priority of DevOps is the reduction of barriers to speed of delivery.
DevSecOps empowers everyone in the development process using a security focused tool set to address timely security decisions at speed and scale of each development stage. The main priority of DevSecOps is risk reduction through DevOps security accountability and governance.
Security automation in DevSecOps increases speed of code releases while reducing the risk using static application security testing (SAST), dynamic application security testing (DAST), and code dependency checking.
High business value is realized from quick and efficient response to market opportunities and challenges, optimization for innovation, and reduction of technical debt all lead to superior competitive advantage.
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2. Ability to deploy security patches instantly

As discussed in the first section, each microservice has its restricted interface and this makes it easy for the security experts to implement security portals at the exact locations. Once the security portals are established, the experts maintain a record of each security portal and its details. Due to this reason, it makes them easier to deploy security patches instantly when there is a possibility to breach the security.
Furthermore, if a security breach occurs in one of the interfaces, the application will not stop performing as the other services will continue to perform their functions. At the same time, the possibility of that attack being a threat to the entire application and the other services is extremely low.

3. Arrangement of uncomplicated codebases

The software applications with legacy systems include many sets of code sections without a proper structure. This arrangement makes it difficult for a developer to recognize code partitions individually. As a result, if a security error occurs, the possibility of it affecting the entire application is extremely high. In addition, this makes it difficult to figure out the exact reason and place where the error occurs.
The above issue is solved in the microservices architecture. Since the code base is structured properly and divided into distinct executables, the possibility of a security error affecting the entire application is low. The threat will be only linked with the associated module. This will also help to identify the exact reason and place where the error occurs as the codebase structure of microservices architecture helps to track the root cause of the issue.

4. Ability to integrate each service with Tokenization

The microservice architecture of a software application consists of multiple services which give a unique set of features or functionalities to the application. So each service can be integrated with tokenization to enhance security. In other words, tokenization can be integrated with each service and get rid of transmitting personal data.
But if consider a monolithic system, then we can only make use of tokenization once for the entire application. By any chance, if an attacker manages to decode the token of a monolithic system, the entire application is in danger. But this concern can be avoided with the microservice architecture by integrating each service with tokenization.

Microservices Architecture Visibility for Security gives us the opportunity to modularize software applications and make them less complex. Apart from the enhanced productivity of the application and the ability to choose technologies as suited, the ability to overcome the security issues is a significant benefit of the microservices architecture. Security professionals must identify the existing threats of the microservices architecture and overcome them easily.

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