How container workloads are changing the future of cybersecurity

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The use of containers to increase speed of deployment and portability for modern applications is growing rapidly. Now part of the standard architecture for cloud-native businesses, Gartner predicts that, by 2025, 85 percent of organizations will run containers in production, up from less than 30 percent in 2020.

Containers are also typically run within environments that use the Linux operating system. This is due to Linux optimizing resource utilization on an open-source platform. Linux delivers evolving capabilities, cost accessibility, system stability, enhanced cyber protection and great customization opportunities for any cloud workload.  

What are containers and why are they important?

According to Docker, containers are a standard package of software which bundle an application’s code together with the related configuration files and libraries, and with the dependencies required for the app to run. This software bundle allows developers and IT professionals to deploy applications seamlessly and more efficiently across environments. This workflow allows for agility, portability and rapid scalability in security implementation.  With this structured framework, security policies and tools will operate efficiently to protect the system integrity, runtime and overall software supply chain of your business. 

Containers are a set of one or more processes that run separate from the rest of the ecosystem. As seen in the diagram comparing virtual servers with containers below, containers share the same operating system (in this case Linux) kernel and isolate the application processes from the rest of the environment. Containerization technologies like Docker and Kubernetes enable the creation and use of these containers. With these programs, containers function as modular virtual machines that utilize minimal space on the system. 

How containers work – diagram of container architecture 

This adaptable design means it can support many use cases, devices, and target systems for easy adoption by businesses large or small.  Unlike virtual machines, multi-container applications can be easily orchestrated across multiple clouds. 

What is container security?

Container security is the protection of the container ecosystem. This includes all steps from the applications they sustain to the infrastructure they live within. It is paramount that container security is integrated and continuous to the cloud workflow. In general, continuous container security for an organization is about: 

  • Securing the container pipeline and the application 
  • Securing the container deployment environment(s) and infrastructure

Overarching security policies and checklists don’t allow for scalability for containers within an organization. There are several security challenges when implementing container security. Security teams need to balance the networking and governance needs of containers. Build and runtime tools and services need decoupling. By building a process into the container pipeline and fortifying the infrastructure, containers can then be made reliable, scalable, and trusted. 

To learn more about container security and best practices for securing container ecosystems, download our complimentary whitepaper on how to effectively implement a container strategy.

Current container security solutions

Bitdefender recently announced GravityZone Security for Containers, expanding our cloud workload security (CWS) offering with run-time support for containers and infrastructures with Linux kernel module independence for the Bitdefender technology.

Container Ecosystem-png

Container workflow - process including partner software 

This new release delivers threat prevention, eXtended Endpoint Detection and Response (XEDR) and anti-exploit protection with options to choose between deploying the technology at the server or container level to gain comprehensive visibility and control through the GravityZone console for containers running in both private and public clouds. 

The Linux kernel module independence capability helps businesses move to the latest Linux distributions without the delays typically required with other cybersecurity products – by reducing testing and validation requirements that kernel dependencies necessitate and by avoiding the risk of security and system stability challenges which they can introduce. 

Key benefits of GravityZone Security for Containers

Unmatched protection against runtime attack

GravityZone Security for Containers protects containers and cloud-native workloads against Linux kernel dependencies, application zero-day and known exploit attacks in real-time and identifies the full context of incidents including which images and pods were involved. 

GravityZone container endpoint incident – Bitdefender software displaying endpoint incident 

Multi-distribution protection

Eliminates Linux security compatibility challenges via a single, lightweight agent that sits above the Linux kernel or at the container runtime level, enabling organizations to update to the latest Linux distributions faster and leverage cloud hosting options without sacrificing security efficacy. 

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Container security deployment models – Server Agent and DaemonSet container models

Complete visibility and control

GravityZone Security for Containers operates as a multi-platform unified security solution that enables complete security visibility and control over all containers and workloads across hybrid or multi-cloud environments from a single dashboard.

GravityZone docker endpoint incident – vulnerable docker detected 

MITRE ATT&CK® mapping

GravityZone Security for Containers maps container attacks to the MITRE ATT&CK® Framework, enabling users to understand attacker behavior and techniques throughout the entire kill chain. In the most recent MITRE ATT&CK test, GravityZone detected 100 percent of attack techniques against Linux systems.

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GravityZone MITRE attack – software displaying MITRE attack mapping in process 

Incorporating container security best practices

When a business plans to pivot toward container applications, it is critical to implement specific processes to ensure the highest level of security. Securing containers against attack requires a comprehensive and methodical approach to security. One must ensure that all security needs within an organization are considered during the scoping and planning phase.  

An organization’s security infrastructure can no longer be a reactive or postponed process when considering your cloud workflow. Building trusted security controls and automated processes from the start addresses security concerns and makes it easier to bridge the gap between teams.  With the ability to implement real-time security protocols in a cost-efficient manner, businesses can now enjoy the true benefits of container security without any sacrifice to daily operations. 

To learn more about how to implement an effective container security strategy, sign up for the GravityZone for Containers webinar. 

Additional resources

Complimentary whitepaper on how to effectively implement a container strategy 

How to step-up Linux server and CWS security