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How Should Developers Secure Microservices?

how developers secure microservices

Microservices are a strategy for breaking software applications into self-contained components with better application usability and steadiness. Microservices permit developers to construct and maintain software applications in more minor elements.

While studying for a degree in software development at CIAT.Edu, students should take additional classes and attend developer conferences around the application development of microservices and security architectures.

This article will provide insight into software development strategies and adaptive controls to secure microservices.

Strategic Approach to Microservices Security

A service-oriented architecture (SOA) is a centralized software engineering development dissemination. Before microservices applications and architectures, SOAs were used to break up programs into smaller, more achievable components. 

Microservices were intended to be independent of one another so that they can be adjusted or improved without affecting the application’s remaining parts.

Container Security

Docker container technology running Linux and open-source code is a common platform for microservices deployment. AppDev and SecOps often collaborate on different procedures to protect the container through application patching and penetration testing. These security techniques help detect and remediate vulnerabilities found in microservices. DevOps and SecOps will leverage container orchestration tools to help secure the images during the spin-up and spin-down process.

Developers often use containers to keep track of the multiple microservices components for more straightforward deployment. Still, container security risks like corrupted container image setup, isolation flaws, and operating system weaknesses can affect the container and put the entire system at risk.

Poorly designed container deployments of microservices are liable to cyber attacks from malicious software, such as spamming or injection assaults. With this in mind, privacy and security concerns will need to be left in the microservice realm.

Factors to Consider When Securing Microservices

A growing challenge with microservices architecture is that it can widen the security risk of applications by increasing the attack surface risk area. This holds if the microservices become available to outside users; it must safeguard each service from potential attacks. With a monolithic approach, many of these features could be internal programs inaccessible to external users.

DevOps teams and security groups must collaborate to ensure adequate security measures are in place for protecting microservices from potential attacks. An understanding of security processes and risk management is essential.

DevSecOps requires developers and operations staff to involve security teams in the application design process at the beginning rather than waiting until the production stage.

Secure by Design for Microservices

Microservices typically present greater complexity regarding authorization policies, data monitoring, and access points. Most of these microservices are housed in cloud environments with various security measures because there are so many APIs and components; SecOps teams need to deploy more adaptive controls than a traditional firewall system. 

Several security issues and vulnerabilities exist in microservices architectures, including breaches of access control, denial-of-service attacks against communication channels, and other security issues. SecOps and DevOps teams will leverage several adaptive security controls, including role-based access control, multi-factor, and token-based authentication. Token-based authentication leverages TLS encryption to protect data while in transit.

Use HTTPS Everywhere

It is a fundamental principle of necessity to carry out inner and outer data and transport encryption for all microservices. Even with frequent strikes, it is essential to guard your network against malicious attacks. Placing HTTPS in microservice systems adds a critical protection layer. HTTPS, called Transport Layer Security (TSS), helps secure users’ privacy and data accuracy by encryption the data traffic.

The Value of Defense in Depth

Defense in depth is a security tactic that uses multiple layers of protection. This strategy helps safeguard sensitive services, preventing attackers from infiltrating other parts of the application after breaching one of its microservices.

To secure your microservices, use multiple security measures. For instance, use token-based identification besides a firewall, keep sensitive microservice addresses private, and create a monitoring layer that detects odd behavior.

West Traffic East Traffic North Traffic and South Traffic Considerations

Cyber attacks often will traverse with north-south or east-west propagation directions. Software security experts with NetSecOps engineers should ensure proper network access-control lists have protected the various microservices containers.

Special security challenges exist in microservices because of communication between microservices. Communication paths between network nodes must be secure yet open for by-direction application traffic. This microservice communication requirement often leads to ransomware east-west network propagation. 

Why is Microservice Security so Important?

Microservices have vulnerabilities such as malware, smoking attacks, and eavesdropping. Supporting rapid deployment application strategies introduces several attack surfaces with microservices. Defense-in-depth approach, deploying Docker containers, encryption, and patch management all provide security controls and remediation to help protect microservices. 

Knowledge for Today and in the Future

Software developers utilize microservices to develop applications more quickly and at scale. With microservices architectures, software developers can innovate and accelerate time-to-market for applications and new features. 

Students interested in pursuing a career in software development should consider the following program paths to learn the most fundamental and industry-relevant programming languages, and build a portfolio that will help kickstart their entry into the workforce:

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Career Planning

You’ve chosen an education plan with a goal in mind, and now you’re focused on making the most of your educational resources to ensure you’re setting yourself up for success in the job market. The most impactful recommendation we give to all new CIAT students in the tech field is not to wait until graduation to start their IT career planning. When you begin your career planning steps from day 1 of your program, you graduate career-ready and are more likely to find your first job quickly, with competitive salary ranges.

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When landing your dream job, CIAT supports its students every step of the way – ensuring you graduate with more than just a degree. Our IT career services team focuses on both your professional and personal development to help prepare you for a career in web development, mobile app development, information technology, cybersecurity, networking, and more.

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