Security in Kubernetes Environments for SaaS

Aelius Venture
4 min readSep 12, 2022
In Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) situations, where the platform is used by numerous users, security is extremely important since consumers need to feel confident that their data is handled securely and kept secret from other users. Containers on your SaaS deployment running in Kubernetes settings, like Red Hat OpenShift, are affected by these security issues.

Security Controls and Practices for SaaS

SaaS Security must be integrated across the whole life cycle of planning, development, operations, and maintenance in contemporary organizational environments. For transactions to be dependable and high-performing as well as to meet compliance and regulatory requirements, good security controls and practices are essential. Every layer of SaaS security must be addressed because any flaw in one layer could be used to compromise others. Both Kubernetes and OpenShift provide security features and controls for each layer.

SaaS Security Can Be Divided into 5 Categories

1) Hardware-level security

Finding the location where the application will operate and the security issues specific to that environment are frequently the first steps in securing a SaaS environment. Both the physical data center and the hardware itself, such as disc encryption, secure boot, BIOS-level passwords, and the use of hardware security modules, are components of a secure environment (HSMs).

While utilizing encryption to safeguard data while it travels across a network receives a lot of attention, it is equally important to safeguard data when it is kept on physical storage devices in data centers. In data centers where you have no control over who has access to the building and where outside contractors might be working, the hazards to data in transit are substantially higher. By preventing unauthorized access to the data kept on the physical server, disc encryption can be used to secure data at rest.

An HSM is often a physical object that uses encryption to safely store digital keys to safeguard sensitive data. Security credentials, keys, certificates, and secrets are managed and protected by HSMs both at rest and while in transit. The HSM offers better security than software-only strategies like a secrets vault.

The biggest cloud providers offer cloud HSMs for better protection in cloud environments. In SaaS environments, HSMs are advised for managing secrets.

2) Security of the operating system

Every Kubernetes cluster utilizes an underlying operating system to operate (OS). It is crucial to enable and implement OS-level controls because they help secure the broader cluster through security features and hardening the OS layer.

Red Hat OpenShift has two significant benefits when it comes to securing the OS level. First, Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) is built-in and activated by default. Second, Red Hat Enterprise Linux CoreOS, a special OS image tailored for SaaS use, powers OpenShift.

3) The container layer

Processes are separated from one another and the underlying OS by the container layer in Kubernetes and OpenShift. As opposed to conventional software architecture, where each component is connected, deployed, and ultimately dependent upon the others, Because containers are independent, impacts are reduced. One container can readily be replaced if it collapses. If a security vulnerability is discovered in a container image, the image alone must be updated rather than the entire cluster.

4) Red Hat OpenShift with Kubernetes cluster security

The cluster level regulates how Kubernetes deploys hosts, manages shared resources, regulates inter-container communication, regulates scaling, and regulates access to the cluster. A control plane, worker nodes, and any additional resources required make up an OpenShift cluster. Some of the SaaS security issues for the various components of the cluster are covered in the ensuing subsections.

1. isolation of the control plane:

Isolating the control plane nodes of the cluster from the worker nodes is thought to be the best practice. To lessen the effects of any misconfiguration, resource management issues, or vulnerabilities, this is typically accomplished by utilizing separate hardware for the control plane.

2. Identity administration:

Some type of identity management is necessary for every Kubernetes cluster. For token-based authentication, Red Hat OpenShift comes with a default OAuth provider out of the box. To configure an identity provider using a source, you can utilize the one kubeadmin user account that this provider has (CR). OpenShift supports LDAP-compliant and OpenID Connect identity providers. Use role-based access control (RBAC) to specify and apply permissions after identities have been defined.

3. Cluster access management:

Users must first authenticate through the OAuth server before they can interact with the cluster. X.509 certificates are used for internal connection authentication with the API server.

4. Constraints in the security context:

A security feature of OpenShift called Security Context Constraints (SCCs) restricts a pod’s access to resources and permitted actions. SCCs give administrators control over a large portion of the pod’s configuration, including the usage of host directories as volumes, the SELinux context of a container, and whether a pod can execute privileged containers. SCCs in OpenShift are always enabled and cannot be turned off. SaaS implementations can benefit from improved isolation, which lessens the impact of any vulnerabilities.

5) The network layer

The topmost layer of security architecture is the networking layer. The majority of IT security attacks take place on networks because of misconfigurations and weaknesses. The environment is secure if the network security layer components are properly planned and configured. Software-defined networking (SDN) controls provided by Kubernetes can enhance network security in SaaS implementations. Red Hat OpenShift offers more controls on top of those offered by Kubernetes.

Read More SaaS Security in Kubernetes Environments

In conclusion

Kubernetes’ SaaS security is a fantastic tool for managing your cloud infrastructure. Consider switching to a Kubernetes-based architecture if you are experiencing problems scaling your application.

Read More How to secure a cloud network?



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