Are Your Application Containers at Risk?

aplication-container-storageContainers have emerged in recent years as a tool that can enhance the software development and implementation process. As applications move to different environments for testing, staging, and deployment in the production environment, variations in the operating system and infrastructure often cause issues with how the application runs. As a result, code changes may be required to ensure the application functions properly.

With containers, all components needed to run an application are held in an isolated system, or container, so applications can run in any environment without issue. The runtime environment includes the application itself and its dependencies, libraries and other binaries, as well as any configuration files that are required. Containers are lightweight and consume less memory and compute resources compared to virtual machines (VMs) because containers share the same operating system kernel. Just like standardized shipping containers have simplified and streamlined the shipping of goods, containers simplify and streamline the movement of applications.

If there’s a drawback to using container technology, it’s the security risks involved. Containers are vulnerable to many of the same threats as VMs, and don’t provide the same level of isolation as VMs. By compromising a single container, hackers can gain access to all containers because they share the same operating system kernel. This can also lead to unauthorized access to hosts and data centers, allowing hackers to spread malware and steal sensitive data.

Perhaps the largest obstacle to container security is the lack of visibility into traffic between containers. Containers are often used to implement a microservices architecture in which applications are broken down into components. These components must “talk” to each other, but many organizations lack the tools needed to monitor container environments in real time or detect suspicious traffic and unauthorized connections. This could enable a hacker to move “east-west” across the data center.

There is also a risk of container data being stolen or compromised. To keep container data safe, encryption must be applied to data at rest as well as in transit. Data can be automatically decrypted when loaded into memory for authorized users, and then encrypted when written to storage.

The Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform balances cloud-native application security and compliance with application service consistency across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. The latest version of Red Hat’s enterprise-grade Kubernetes platform, with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the integrated Docker container runtime, makes it possible for organizations to use reliable, secure containers to accelerate the rollout of new applications and services.

New and enhanced security features in the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform include a Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) product applicability guide. This guide helps organizations better understand how to implement OpenShift in a way that complies with PCI DSS.

Secrets encryption encrypts data at rest in backend storage, while image signing enables admins to enforce signature usage on image content. NetworkPolicy improvements provide more control over how applications communicate and what network resources they expose.

The advantages of container technology can be quickly erased by poor security. Let us show you how the RedHat OpenShift Container Platform supports efficient application development while improving data protection.

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