The advent of containers has changed not only how applications are deployed, but how IT shops do their daily business. Containers offer many well-documented benefits that span the full breadth of a modern IT department and the full lifecycle of applications. Securing containers, however, requires a mix of specialized and traditional security tools. We describe some of the most popular container security tools below, but first let’s look at the security challenges containers present.
Container security challenges
The benefits of containers, like the availability of standardized images, rapid iteration, and scalability, bring their own challenges to those responsible for enterprise security. Standardized images (standalone executable software packages) from public repositories and images built by internal development teams must be vetted and approved. The scalability and varying infrastructure backing containerized apps necessitates that any process or tool used to ensure the security of your applications be both dynamic and flexible.
Many businesses experience secondary benefits from containers through DevOps processes like continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD). These processes dramatically increase the efficiency of the development and deployment process, putting pressure on security to maintain that efficiency while still securing critical corporate applications.
Many information security tools have limited use as your infrastructure matures and innovates with containers and a cloud-first architecture. For example, tools like endpoint protection, policy-based configuration, and network monitoring are ill-equipped to handle images that deploy automatically, iterate quickly, and scale dynamically. These tools often negatively impact performance and don’t provide great feedback to application developers or administrators.