The benefits of a native Kubernetes integration in application security

API security is a top priority for any organisation wanting to protect customer data from malicious attacks, according to Jeremie Ohayon, application security product manager at Radware.


He points out that with the rise of Kubernetes as the de facto standard for container orchestration, many security solutions have emerged.


Having a web application firewall (WAF) or web application and API protection (WAAP) solution that is native to Kubernetes offers several important benefits that can help organisations to secure their applications more effectively.


One of the key benefits of choosing a WAAP solution that is native to Kubernetes is having the ability to inherit the advantages of the Kubernetes platform itself. This includes:


Kubernetes has a self-healing mechanism that can automatically recover from certain failures, such as pod crashes or node failures. A native WAAP solution can leverage this self-healing mechanism to ensure web applications or API services are always up and running, even in the face of unexpected issues.


Liveness and readiness probes:
Kubernetes also provides probes that can be used to determine if a pod is running correctly (liveness probe) and if it’s ready to receive traffic (readiness probe). A native WAAP solution can take advantage of these probes to ensure web applications are always available and responsive to incoming requests.


Horizontal scaling:
Kubernetes can scale services horizontally by adding or removing pods based on demand. A native WAAP solution can leverage this horizontal scaling capability to ensure applications can handle sudden spikes in traffic without compromising security.


Custom resource definition (CRD):
Kubernetes enables organisations to define custom resources that can be used to create new types of resources without adding another API server.


A native WAAP solution can take advantage of these custom resources to provide security features without any additions and with more granular control over security policies and configurations.


Consider role-based access control (RBAC) and its integration within the WAAP management of the security policies, security events, et al. For instance, RBAC allows DevOps and DevSecOps to operate with the WAAP to define and assign administrators’ roles using the namespace per CRD. A native WAAP solution can integrate with RBAC to provide fine-grained access control over security policies and configurations.


Another key advantage of choosing a WAAP solution that is native to Kubernetes is its ability to streamline deployment, allowing organisations to create and update their security policies based on the lifecycle of their applications. It applies to organisations with high and low DevOps profiles.


Low ‘DevOps’ maturity—shift right:
For organisations with low DevOps maturity, a native WAAP solution can help streamline the deployment and management process. By following a classic WAAP deployment model, the solution can be integrated more easily into the existing infrastructure.


Additionally, features to help organisations manage false positives with internal, efficient dashboards or use advanced machine learning management of security events can address challenges related to application updates.


High ‘DevOps’ maturity—shift left:
For organisations with high DevOps maturity, a native WAAP solution can integrate more seamlessly into the continuous integration/continuous delivery pipeline.


This allows for security assessments to be performed in the early stages of development. This minimises the risk of vulnerabilities being introduced into production. Additionally, and because the WAAP is native to Kubernetes, all WAAP deployments and configuration files can be managed from a Git integration.


This provides multiple advantages, such as version control based on security policies, tracking of changes, and automated rollouts and rollbacks between Kubernetes clusters according to the development/deployment lifecycle. The application and security policies can be deployed more easily and adapted without untimely disruption of legitimate traffic in production, and all with greater transparency.


Finally, a native WAAP solution can provide improved visibility and control over security risks. For example, organisations already taking advantage of a Kubernetes deployment have plenty of dashboards in place to monitor the health and performance of their applications.


A native WAAP solution can integrate with these dashboards to provide, in a single pane of glass, security-related metrics and insights. This can help organisations simplify the system, understand potential security risks, and take proactive measures to mitigate them.


Having a WAF or WAAP solution that is native to Kubernetes offers organisations important benefits. It can adapt to their DevOps maturity level and integrate seamlessly with their existing workflows in any microservice application architecture.


Most importantly, it can help them achieve the advanced security posture needed to protect sensitive data and intellectual property in today’s threat landscape.