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Why do we need a Kubernetes Security Posture Management (KSPM) solution?

By now, you are probably familiar with Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM), a system that employs automation to identify and address security and compliance issues within cloud environments.

However, let us turn our attention to Kubernetes Security Posture Management (KSPM). In a landscape where an increasing number of workloads are being implemented on Kubernetes, KSPM emerges as a crucial complement to CSPM.

What Is Kubernetes Security Posture Management?

Kubernetes Security Posture Management, or KSPM, is the use of security automation tools to discover and fix security and compliance issues within any component of Kubernetes.
For Example: KSPM could detect misconfigurations in a Kubernetes RBAC Role definition that grants a non-admin user permissions that he or she should not have, like the ability to create new pods. Or, a KSPM tool could alert you to an insecure Kubernetes network configuration that allows communication between pods in different namespaces, which would typically not be a setting you would want to enable.

Use Cases:

Detecting Human Errors and Oversights:

KSPM serves as a solution for verifying the security of configurations governing Kubernetes resources. Despite engineers' diligent efforts to establish secure default configurations, the inherent risk of human error or oversight remains, potentially resulting in less-than-ideal security settings. KSPM aids teams in identifying and rectifying these errors before they escalate into security breaches.

Adapting Security to Evolving Clusters:

Given Kubernetes' rapid evolution, configurations deemed secure for one version may become obsolete with an upgrade. For instance, in 2021, Kubernetes announced the deprecation of pod security policies, a once crucial resource for specific access control. Although current versions still enforce these policies, support will cease with version 1.25. A KSPM tool can alert users when upgrading to version 1.25, indicating that Kubernetes is disregarding their policies, prompting a shift to alternatives like Kubernetes security contexts or custom admissions controllers.

Validating Third-Party Configurations: 

Kubernetes thrives on borrowing or importing resources from upstream, leading to potential discrepancies in security conventions. KSPM offers a solution by scanning third-party resources for security issues, enabling users to leverage the diverse resources within the Kubernetes community while effectively managing associated security risks.

Enforcing Kubernetes Compliance:

Utilizing policy engines, KSPM excels in scenarios requiring compliance with specific standards. By crafting policies that mandate compliant storage of data managed or accessed by Kubernetes, such as adhering to frameworks like HIPAA or GDPR, businesses can automate compliance management within their Kubernetes clusters.

How does Kubernetes Security Posture Management Solution work?

While various tools may adopt slightly different approaches to KSPM, the fundamental workflow of KSPM involves several key steps.

Establish Security Rules: KSPM tools primarily rely on policies that articulate security and compliance risks. These tools often provide a default set of policies, and administrators have the flexibility to define their own.

Conduct Configuration Scans: Utilizing the established security and compliance rules, KSPM tools automatically scan a Kubernetes environment. During this process, the tools scrutinize each resource to identify configurations that violate the predefined rules.

Ideally, configuration scanning is an ongoing process, allowing the real-time identification of risks whenever a new configuration is introduced or an existing one is modified.

Detect, Assess, and Alert: Upon detecting a policy violation, KSPM tools typically assess the severity level and generate an alert or notification if the violation merits immediate, real-time attention. Minor issues may be logged for later team review.

Remediate: Upon receiving notice of a security or compliance policy violation, engineers investigate and address the problem. In some instances, advanced KSPM tools may automatically remediate issues, such as modifying a problematic RBAC file to enhance security.

In Conclusion:

KSPM Solutions serves as a crucial element in a comprehensive Kubernetes security strategy, yet it is not the sole component. It does not replace the need for runtime security, essential for identifying active threats within the environment. Furthermore, KSPM does not specifically address concerns such as malware residing within containers, a threat effectively managed through container image scanning.

The key takeaway is the necessity of deploying a diverse array of security tools for Kubernetes. Within a broader Kubernetes security framework, KSPM enables teams to verify the security of Kubernetes configurations, identifying and rectifying errors that could potentially lead to a security breach. Through continual and automated scans of Kubernetes configurations, administrators can mitigate one of the most common attack vectors, human error, while simultaneously automating compliance processes even in the most intricate Kubernetes clusters.

Market Solutions:

PaloAlto (Prisma Cloud), Synk,, Sysdig, Orca Security


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