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Microservices security and How do you secure them?

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Microservices is one of the things which comes to our mind when we think about the innovation. It has been contributing its share towards the enhancement and development of software.

Microservices are small components of an application developed to perform a specific function. Let’s consider an example; An e-commerce organization uses microservices to execute various functions such as order collection, account access, inventory management, account recovery, etc. Big firms like Netflix, Amazon, eBay, and Twitter depend on microservices to take their business to next level.

What is microservices?

Microservices or microservices architecture is defined as an approach to develop an application as a suite of a small number of components, each running in its own process with well-defined interfaces and operations. Microservices can help in building the software that is testable, scalable, and that can be delivered quickly. This trend has become more popular due to increased agile culture and the move towards DevOps. 

Microservices boosts the company's ability for higher agility and enables quicker improvements to production. This approach is best suited for large applications which are developed by different teams diversified by geography and culture. 

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Microservices and container security: 

Microservices has gained the popularity among the developers due to containers. Its features such as fast development, and increased independence of services have attracted the companies towards its adoption. While migrating from a monolithic architecture to microservices arises a lot of issues and security concern is one among them.

Containers play a crucial role in packaging microservices, and in the process of securely running an application in a virtualized environment. Containers share only their resources by isolating from the host operating system to run applications.

Microservices security checklist

An organization should be flexible enough to adjust to its internal security policies to adopt the cloud-native approach.  The analysis of National Institute of Standard and Technology explains that it is very essential to tailor the organizational technical process and culture to create an environment where you can develop, run, and support the applications made possible by containers. 

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Increased DevOps culture enabled organizations to take advantage of new processes and tooling to secure the microservice applications. Configurations of applications running on microservices are quite different from monolithic architecture, and it requires complete refactoring. Microservices involves major changes in different aspects such as its delivery, deployment, and protection. Below mentioned are some of the key security considerations.

  • Follow ‘Defence-in-depth’ approach
  • Diversified security
  • Design visibility into the entire infrastructure 
  • Upgrade APIs for enhanced security 
  • Use the Encryption strategy best for your network 
  • Limiting the access
  • Use automation as a key  
  • Make testing a recurring feature

Follow ‘Defence-in-depth’ approach:

It is vital to layer all your security network concerns to protect microservices. It is better to secure component by component, and at this point in time, it is very easy to identify the sensitive functions and lock them down with a defense-in-depth approach. It is advisable to build fine-grained firewalls between the services which ensure that the containers will have safe dividers between various services. 

Diversified security

Each microservice is same as a container which needs to be protected from accessing the unauthorized users. So, being aware of this would be the best possible way to secure each container ? High-Security levels can be achieved by diversifying the security strategies for each microservice and change the pattern while ensuring the security codes. Diversifying security will help in securing each microservice and there is no need to worry about security. 

Design visibility into the entire infrastructure

To create a robust security model, first thing is to create a map of each service, and how they link to each other. This would help in mapping out any variations in the later date. 

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Upgrade APIs for enhanced security

As we are aware that the microservices are small components which together can construct a big app, it is equally important to understand how these small components can communicate with each other over the network. The communication part is the biggest challenge associated with the micro-components. It is essential to check that you have met required rules and regulations if your data is sensitive. APIs act as a bridge between these components and help in connecting one another, and so it is important to make sure that the security of APIs is rigid and up to date.  Effectively built APIs use features like access tokens throttling and authentication which will act fast enough to solve the problem when their turn comes. 

Use the Encryption strategy best for your network

Protection of data when it flows out of your organization is very essential. HTTPS  transport security is one of the best securities available for protecting the data while it is in transit.  Encryption of microservices is the best method in protecting data while it is in transit. It might sound inefficient, but it is actually one of the best solutions available for the transportation of data across the networks. 

Limiting the access

The main motive behind security is to let the right people into the system. If your system is associated with a lot of components and needs specialized skills, then you need to limit the access. Don’t grant full access to all those who are working on the same program; limit the access for better outcomes. 

Use automation as a key

Automation boosts the microservices and enables the user to monitor as many services as possible at once. Automation enables you to monitor the internal communications, to deploy updates and also you can adjust the security policies according to your business requirements. Having a friendly automation tool will allow manual intervention without any disruption to the actual pipeline.

Make testing a recurring feature

Microservices are developed mainly to support the Agile development methodologies which could be used for the purpose of developing new and improved services. Technology is upgrading on a continuous basis, and the testing features should also be flexible for supporting the ever-changing technology.

Conclusion:

Microservices is one of the milestones in software development. It makes an application reliable and used as a better source for service deployment. Security is the key factor for the smooth functioning of microservices and having a comprehensive security approach that addresses all issues is a must for any microservices application.

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Vinod M
About The Author

Vinod M is a Big data expert writer at Mindmajix and contributes in-depth articles on various Big Data Technologies. He also has experience in writing for Docker, Hadoop, Microservices, Commvault, and few BI tools. You can be in touch with him via LinkedIn and Twitter.


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