Kyverno: The versatile solution for Kubernetes configuration security

Kyverno: The versatile solution for Kubernetes configuration security

Just as advancements in computer hardware technology have transformed personal computers from clunky behemoths into sleek, lightweight devices, a similar transformation is occurring in the world of application management. Traditional deployment on physical servers proved too resource-intensive and costly. The use of Virtual Machines was a drastic improvement over previous methods,  but this still resulted in inefficiencies and security concerns. But, over the last half-decade, container deployment has surfaced as the ideal solution for enterprises looking to create, integrate, and deploy their application processes at scale.

Kubernetes, the emergent container solution open-sourced by Google in 2014, provides the perfect way for companies to manage their applications with the utmost ease, efficiency, and security. This solution is non-monolithic, giving your IT department and developers more latitude to customize management solutions. Kubernetes systems are now used by industry-leaders like Airbnb, Spotify, SquareSpace, and Nordstrom to streamline container management. 

And yet, as it is with all iterative digital tools, Kubernetes is still prone to challenges of its own. With this multi-cloud solution, countless tools, access points, and clusters require constant management. Recent news stories highlight some of the security concerns regarding deploying enterprise databases in Kubernetes. While security is paramount, taking the proper steps are slowing progress and hurting overall efficiency. Introducing a comprehensive, flexible policy management solution is essential for companies looking to maximize the benefits of Kubernetes clusters. This is where Kyverno comes into the picture. 

Kyverno policies are crucial resources that ensure Kubernetes clusters are managed in a clear, distinct manner at scale. Named after the Greek word for “Governance,” Kyverno is a powerful policy management tool that was accepted in late 2020 by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation as Kubernetes-native policy engine. This open-source, “policy-as-code” solution is becoming a must have add-on, with over 5 million downloads to date. For those still unsure whether Kyverno is the right policy management solution for you, here are more of the benefits this revolutionary tool provides. 

How Kyverno Simplifies Kubernetes Policy Management

The flexible and extensible nature of Kubernetes clusters results in security and compliance drawbacks. A recent survey of hundreds of software engineers, DevOps, and security personnel conducted by Red Hat found that over 90% of professionals experienced security issues with their container environments in the last year. More than half of respondents also state that these issues caused a delay in the deployment of their Kubernetes applications into production, resulting in financial and operational setbacks.

Kyverno is a key tool for ensuring that compliance is continuously maintained throughout your various workflows. This Kubernetes-native policy engine operates on the foundation of three key features: Validation, Mutation, and Generation. 

Validation

Admission controllers like Kyverno ensure that new resources are congruent with any and all validation rules. Each new deployment is checked against a set of mandatory properties to ensure that only valid resources are created. Any that don’t abide by the outlined properties are blocked to ensure that infractions don’t escalate into larger issues. Kyverno can also be further customized to periodically audit resources and create reports on any violating Kubernetes resources. 

Mutation 

It’s often the case that resources need to be altered or updated throughout the different resources in your system. The Kyverno admission controller allows for mutate rule creation, functions that modify your resources in a highly specific manner. This process occurs before the validation stage so that any changes are not halted until after the mutation stage.

Generation

When resources are newly created or updated, a Kyverno generate rule allows for new resources to be created as well. These supplementary policies are highly customizable and can be triggered or blocked depending on the subjects and roles that need to utilize them. As an example, newly created namespaces can trigger the deployment of a resource quota or network policy to ensure that Kubernetes policies are properly managed and maintained.

Security Benefits of Kyverno 

It’s inevitable that your Kubernetes configurations will reach a point of complexity that lends easily to security and management concerns. Misconfigurations resulting from this complexity represent a major security problem that is both damaging and costly. The Kyverno OSS policy engine is native to Kubernetes, meaning your users don’t waste time learning a new complex language for a general-purpose policy manager like OPA. They simply write the desired rules using this user-friendly policy engine, and establish a digital contract that applies across all developer and operation teams. 

Below are some of the policy-management solutions that Kyverno affords to those in need of a secure Kubernetes admission controller: 

  • Standardization of Pod Security Policies
  • Auto-generation and Annotation of Pod Controller Policies
  • Development of Finely-Tuned Access Controls
  • Works in combination with other POC best practices to provide developers with secure self-service

For enterprises already using Kubernetes to manage their container clusters, Kyvernio represents a logical next step to ensuring that policy management is effectively maintained across multi-cloud environments. As the tech industry continues to produce innovative solutions at a rapid pace, the likelihood of governance infractions, process errors, and security breaches in the realm of software containers increases drastically. Large enterprises now sit at a critical operational juncture, where choosing the right container policy management engine can represent the difference between the timely delivery of products and expensive blunders. Stakeholders need to make their decisions wisely. 

If you’re looking to improve the configuration security for your Kubernetes infrastructure, Nirmata has developed an industry-leading policy management solution. Kyverno requires no additional language for policy writing and allows for these policies to be managed as Kubernetes resources. Reach out to us today to learn more and join the large and rapidly growing community of users leveraging this CNCF Sandbox projectDiscover much more about Kyverno in our blog series.


 [DW1]Link to: https://nirmata.com/tag/kyverno/

Image Credit: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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