Integrating Continuous Security Assessments in Microservices and Cloud Native Applications
Torkura, Kennedy A.; Sukmana, Muhammad I.H.; Meinel, Christoph
Proceedings of the10th International Conference on Utility and Cloud Computing
Cloud Native Applications (CNA) consists of multiple collaborating microservice instances working together towards common goals. These microservices leverage the underlying cloud infrastructure to enable several properties such as scalability and resiliency. CNA are complex distributed applications, vulnerable to several security issues affecting microservices and traditional cloud-based applications. For example, each microservice instance could be developed with different technologies e.g. programming languages and databases. This diversity of technologies increases the chances for security vulnerabilities in microservices. Moreover, the fast-paced development cycles of CNA increases the probability of insufficient security tests in the development pipelines, and consequent deployment of vulnerable microservices. Furthermore, cloud native environments are ephemeral, microservices are dynamically launched and de-registered, this factor creates a discoverability challenge for traditional security assessment techniques. Hence, security assessments in such environments require new approaches which are specifically adapted and integrated to CNA. In fact, such techniques are to be cloud native i.e. well integrated into the cloud’s fabric. In this paper, we tackle the above-mentioned challenges through the introduction of a novel Security Control concept - the Security Gateway. To support the Security Gateway concept, two other concepts are proposed: dynamic document store and security health endpoints.We have implemented these concepts using cloud native design patterns and integrated them into the CNA workflow. Our experimental evaluations validate the efficiency of our proposals, the time overhead due to the security gateway is minimal and the vulnerability detection rate surpasses that of traditional security assessment approaches. Our proposal can therefore be employed to secure CNA and microservice-based implementations.