Thanks for submitting the form.
Before we get started Infrastructure as Code Security, l with With the rapid adoption of DevOps by organizations worldwide, Infrastructure as Code (IaC) has become a critical DevOps practice that has strengthened the software development methodology.
Amidst the growing concerns over information security and data privacy, security is now a challenge faced by developers and engineers. The CI/CD cycle is fast and can easily be neglected for security aspects. Thus, integrating security into DevOps and infrastructure as code practices is very important.
Infrastructure as Code Security aims to ensure that security best practices and compliance requirements are built into the IaC template files. These best practices and compliance requirements cover various aspects of information security such as data encryption, network segmentation, access control requirements, log collection and retention, and several others.
Ignoring Infrastructure as Code security can be severe. It can lead to exposure of sensitive data to unauthorized users, data leakage, unauthorized access to business-critical assets and resources, and increased attack surface. This can be evidenced by the Cloud Threat Report by Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 report.
199,000 potential vulnerabilities have been discovered in IaC templates. Also, more than 43% of cloud databases are currently unencrypted, and only 60% of cloud storage services have logging enabled which in itself is a serious concern.— Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 report.
Infrastructure as Code is a crucial pillar that aligns DevOps, Security, and Compliance for Infrastructure Management processes. It enables the organizations to Shift Left security in the development pipeline, including infrastructure security management. The IaC templates used for building any infrastructure can be tested for security and compliance checks before being deployed. When this practice is integrated into CI/CD pipeline and versioning is enabled, it helps the organization enhance the security posture and maintain security and compliance over time while making constant changes as per their business requirements. Therefore security risks, non-compliance, policy violations, and misconfigurations can be prevented before runtime and production environments. It also helps to decrease security posture drifts.
IaC's blueprint is laid out using tools like Cloud formation templates or third-party solutions like Terraform, and Helm. The whole environment becomes vulnerable to cyberattacks due to one wrong configuration. Thus manually testing on a regular basis is not enough. There are more challenges like
Infrastructure as Code is becoming more common, and the need for streamlined security measures, enhanced security policies, and equally agile security tests and reviews have become higher as well.
The developers of IaC templates may use insecure default configurations and components with known vulnerabilities in the template/script that could threaten the entire environment. Other sources of vulnerabilities may include operating systems or container images from unknown sources.
Secrets Management is one of the leading security risks involved with Infrastructure as Code. This issue's root cause is not the secret but how the developers store and manage these secrets. In most cases, it has been observed that secrets are hard-coded, left in plain-text, or base63 encoded. These secrets involve authentication keys, passwords, access keys, SSH secrets, and access tokens. In a few cases, it has been witnessed that these secrets are even pushed to git public repos.
Most Infrastructure as Code configuration management tools uses master-node architecture where the master is the controller and contains all specifications and configuration files. Security risks are significantly involved if the master is not secured. The communication between master and other nodes is not encrypted, and layered security mechanisms have not been implemented from scratch.
When implementing Infrastructure as Code, you don't require root privileges. Security issues arise when Role-Based Access Controls (RBAC) and principles of most minor rights are not appropriately implemented. Credential sharing is also a significant issue that impacts user access management.
Sometimes, certain situations arise where configurations need to be changed directly in the production environment. In such cases, there is a reasonably positive chance that security risks are introduced into the environment due to drifts in configuration from the defined security posture.
With Nexastack automate configurations and pipelines, for standardisation and decreased configuration drift. Experience zero Configuration drift!
Untagged assets and assets that are not correctly tagged can create ghost resources, making it challenging to monitor and track resources. If compromised, these resources may take very long to be detected and can be potentially dangerous in some cases.
Securing data in transit is equally essential as securing data in rest. SSL certificates, when not appropriately configured, can significantly raise the security risks. Another significant security risk associated with Infrastructure as Code is insecure VPN connections and configurations.
Using Infrastructure as Code for deployment poses a significant security threat if logging and monitoring components are not deployed to keep an eye on the security risks.
When considering Infrastructure as Code Security, IaC templates are given the highest priority, and organizations mainly focus on the misconfigurations and policy violations in the template. Still, several other factors are involved in Infrastructure as Code security. One of the most essential factors organizations must consider is the least privilege principle. It plays a significant role in limiting damages from poorly configured resources or maliciously modified templates/scripts. The least privileges can be applied to Infrastructure as Code (IaC) at three levels.
Level 1 - Define who is authorized to run the scripts/templates.
Level 2 - Limit the permission to authorized users based on the need to know and perform their tasks.
Level 3 - Implement checks and policies to ensure that created resources have the least required privileges to carry out the workload and compliant configurations properly.
Security Policies and Configuration Checks must be developed and implemented to
The policies and configuration checks should be automated to save time and avoid manual evaluation and human error. For a single IaC template/script, there may be more than 100 policies to be checked. Finding misconfigurations and policy violations manually will leave security gaps and weaken the security posture.
The most critical key to implementing infrastructure as Code is to implement the right tool to identify the issues with IaC templates/scripts and use the same approach to fix them. i.e. fixes and updates must also be applied through Code. The aim of infrastructure security as a Code should be to automate the governing process of the entire infrastructure with the help of Code by setting policies and configuration checks to govern the infrastructure workflow.
Infrastructure as Code security should be embedded into the tools and day-to-day processes. The most common method to maintain continuous workflow with infrastructure as Code will be to set up CI/CD pipelines with policies and configuration checks to validate each pull request and commit. It will help you identify new violations quickly, and new misconfigurations can be prevented, which will eventually help you avoid cloud drift.
Achieving continuous compliance while using Infrastructure as Code is a fundamental requirement. When security policies and configuration checks are written in Code, putting security compliance controls in place becomes much more accessible and more streamlined security processes. Automating these configuration checks and policy requirements by using CI/CD pipelines makes the security flow even more streamlined. Thus, continuous compliance can be achieved with minimal manual intervention.
Continuous Risk Assessment and Threat Modeling help to continuously assess security loopholes with different levels of risk, and any required preventive action can be taken immediately. It eventually helps to minimize the attack surface and discovers possible attack vectors.
Continuous Risk Assessment and Threat Modeling should cover all the environmental components, and this entire process must be automated for optimal risk assessment and threat modelling. Infrastructure Security as Code helps to closely evaluate the public-facing features or services and limit the exposure to malicious and unauthorized access and cyberattacks.
Data encryption is one of the critical requirements achieved with Infrastructure Security as Code. Business-critical data and Personal Identifiable Information (PII) must be encrypted by default. Data in transit must also be encrypted as it is vulnerable to attacks and sniffing. Infrastructure Security as Code helps to ensure that data encryption is enabled by default on data in rest, and data in transit use encryption with secure protocols and robust cryptographic algorithms.
In any environment, monitoring and alerts play a vital role. One of the major requirements that must be fulfilled in complex environments is automated monitoring and alerting. Automated monitoring and alerting not only helps to identify attacks and weaknesses but also helps to identify threats in their early stages. Deploying Infrastructure Security as Code in an environment helps monitor critical infrastructure and generate near real-time alerts based on evaluation frequency, which can be hourly, daily, or weekly, making the entire workflow more efficient and secure.
Infrastructure Security as Code is a new concept, and the biggest challenge that organizations face while adopting and implementing Infrastructure Security as Code is the proper integration and workflow development. The main reason behind this issue is that the security policies and configuration checks have to be written as Code which isn't straightforward in complex and interconnected environments.
There are security gaps, and adopting Infrastructure Security as Code takes planning, time, and collaboration between different teams is not as simple as it seems. These gaps lead to confusion, which affects the organization's security posture. The only thing organizations need to focus on is correctly determining how and where the resources need to be provisioned, governed and secured.
If deployed efficiently and effectively, Infrastructure Security as Code will eventually help you determine and find issues before they're deployed, help you implement continuous compliance, and automate your monitoring and alerting process for all existing and new resources.
Create Secure, High-Quality Applications faster with Nexastack for DevSecOps
Take this assessment to measure your software delivery performance in less than a minute!
Thanks for submitting the form.
Thanks for submitting the form.
Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment Effectively