The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) accepted Kyverno as an incubating project in November 2022. In less than five months, Kyverno achieved notable popularity, including over 3 million downloads. With the most stars on GitHub and currently more than 300 million downloads, Kyverno has become the de facto leader in open-source policy management. Nirmata Policy Manager uses this renowned open-source policy engine to guarantee configuration security and enable automation.
Kubernetes v1.25 has removed Pod Security Policies (PSPs) and replaced them with Pod Security Admission, a controller that utilizes formal controls known as Pod Security Standards (PSS). Although the Pod Security admission addresses many security issues, it has a largely one-size-fits-all approach. There are relatively few exceptions, so you cannot pick and choose which PSS controls to enforce. Further, audits are complex, requiring much probing once logs are enabled, which they are not by default.
Kyverno is simple to set up, but for enterprises, operationalizing Kyverno across several clusters demands additional automation and interconnections. By facilitating the implementation of Kyverno policies across various clusters utilizing GitOps workflows, Nirmata Policy Manager (NPM) accelerates the adoption of Kyverno across numerous clusters and enables best practices through policy-as-code.
By leveraging secure role-based access to separate issues, Nirmata Policy Manager facilitates collaboration between teams, including operators and security. It also gives insight into policy violations and speeds up recovery. There is a lot of business value in incorporating NPM to enhance enterprise-grade reporting and policy lifecycle management across Kubernetes clusters.
When Should an Organization Think About Shifting to Nirmata Policy Manager?
At any point, triggers can inevitably surface while using Kyverno, disrupting the organization’s productivity. It is essential to identify these signs early on and consider upgrading to Nirmata Policy Manager, which provides additional capabilities beyond what is available in Kyverno.
1. Using Kubernetes Policies at Scale
Upgrading becomes vital when the organization is utilizing policy at scale. Usually, when an organization experiences institutional success with running modern applications inside Kubernetes, it inclines towards scaling by creating new clusters.
Since each cluster must have policies, more clusters commonly correspond to more policies. And Kyverno is centered on establishing intra-cluster policies (within one cluster only). There is no singular visibility, and neither cluster is informed of the other. Hence, cluster proliferation becomes a primary trigger for an organization to upgrade to a solution that offers seamless multicluster policy management.
2. Collaboration Between Teams
Policy engines like Kyverno understand the inevitable need for collaboration between multiple teams. Primarily, there are operators and policy authors actively involved in the process. However, as the process moves towards production, several other stakeholders may need to be involved. As a result, various operations teams, such as the NOC (Network Operation Center) and security teams, may need to engage in the process because they have responsibilities over certain areas of production.
Although Kyverno allows certain duties to be separated, these additional teams often prefer a simpler, unified abstraction point with more granular controls. So both of those can be valid triggers when a tool like NPM would be valuable in having.
3. Consistent Rollout of Policies Across K8s Clusters
Without a tool like NPM that ensures consistent deployment and governance of policies, you alone are responsible for maintaining all policies. This can be a challenge in a multi-cluster environment. Even if you only have a few clusters and do not have NPM, you will still be assigning policies to each cluster individually. You are responsible for managing the consistency of policies and ensuring that any exceptions or variations are taken care of and configured correctly. So, the consistency of policies across clusters is an essential aspect that motivates organizations to adopt NPM.
4. Centralized Cluster Security Visibility
The other component that is of value is centralized visibility into the security posture of your clusters. Once deployed, policies tend to generate violations. While Kyverno provides information regarding policy violations, it’s segregated across clusters and can be tedious to compile. With NPM, you have dashboards with easily obtainable metrics and information on policy violations, making it simple to analyze and correct the sources of these violations.
This visibility into policy violations forms an essential part of policy lifecycle management. Policy violations and reports give multiple teams and users an ability to understand the policy’s efficacy and what the results would be from a compliance standpoint in their environment.
Nirmata Policy Manager further provides complete visibility into the health of the Kyverno policy engine and the policies deployed on the clusters. NPM acts as an indicator in this case, informing the user if the policies are tampered with or when they are ready for use by Kyverno.
5. Continuous Security Compliance
From the security perspective, NPM has all the data you need to determine the compliance status of your clusters with regard to standards like CIS or NIST, as well as foundational pod security standards. Kyverno does not natively offer these compliance checks. However, they are built-in as part of the NPM where Kyverno policies are mapped back to the compliance posture.
6. Integration with Management Tools (Git, Slack, Jira)
By seamlessly integrating with tools like Git, Slack, Jira, and others, NPM uses existing systems and workflows not provided in Kyverno. Since these management tools are commonly used in enterprise environments, integrating with them can mean leveraging these valuable systems for strengthened collaboration and visibility. These are additional NPM functionalities that are intended to aid automation and collaboration.
Other Notable Benefits of Nirmata Policy Manager
The Kubernetes ecosystem is rapidly evolving, and Nirmata Policy Manager enables DevSecOps teams security protocols and best practices assurance. It can also aggregate policies by criterion and adhere to those policies across various clusters and namespaces offered by policy groups.
Additionally, NPM helps with policy authoring and validation and has several policy examples that can be conveniently customized and leveraged immediately. There are curated policy sets, ranging from the most common best practices to pod security and multi-tenancy, that can be conveniently customized and extended for various use cases.
Organizations need to be vigilant about the signs in order to recognize when it’s necessary to deploy NPM in their Kyverno environment. By deploying NPM, businesses can achieve the capability of successfully safeguarding their most critical resources. It further enables businesses to achieve scalability with boosted security and robustness by making policy management streamlined and effective. With all the additional capabilities, Nirmata Policy Manager can be a valuable upgrade for Kyverno users seeking cloud-native policy management solutions.
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Lastly, you can always contact the Nirmata team for further discussion or for answers to any specific queries you may have.