Taking Inventory: The 1st Step of Effective Cybersecurity

The large amount of virtualization and abstraction employed in today’s data centers, especially hybrid clouds, can prevent IT pros from seeing what traffic is really running on their networks. This poses a serious cybersecurity challenge for network administrators managing multiple cloud apps and microservices in enterprise, education, healthcare, or other complex organizations.

The latest software innovation in DevOps platform security allows network administrators to directly monitor I/O data packet transmissions in real-time, automatically detect hostile intrusions from hackers more quickly via AI/ML, and lessen the potential damage of any breach by limiting unauthorized access to data sources using quarantined information pathways in isolated multi-tenant environments. The first step of this process for admins is to take an effective inventory of each layer of the web server stack running software applications and databases in production.

Containers: Inter-Pod Routing, Load Balancing, & SDNs

Kubernetes & Docker have both seen huge uptake from enterprise corporations for cloud data center management, becoming standards for high traffic websites and mobile applications in production. Both Kubernetes and Docker are open source solutions with source code freely available for peer review by security experts.

However, in February a major flaw in the runc package code was discovered, putting millions of high traffic websites and mobile apps at risk for remote script execution by hackers. Other cybersecurity issues with containers in multi-tenant environments are related to Software Defined Networking (SDN), third-party load balancing utilities, and inter-pod routing definitions with Kubernetes. Consequently, DevOps technicians & network administrators need to adopt packet-level inspection of transfer requests with integrated real-time analytics to preserve high-level security for enterprise requirements.

VM Sprawl: Managing Multi-Tenant Cloud Environments

Many of the cross-site scripting techniques employed by hackers attempt to exploit the vulnerabilities present in multi-site environments running on VPS platforms. VM sprawl is common on web hosting services, where over 10,000 domain names may be hosted on a single shared web server. Each of the domains on a shared server has isolated Apache/NGINX, operating system, database, and programming language installations. Many domains share a common IP Address and lack HTTPS encryption. Containers, VMs, and VPS instances are all running on interlaced hardware which requires real-time data packet monitoring, as well as WAF deployment, anti-virus scanning, and hostile intrusion detection to maintain securely. Network administrators can effectively manage VM sprawl using new hybrid cloud data analytics tools that employ AI/ML scanning of traffic to target hostile behavior by hackers or DDoS attacks.

Legacy Environments: Hidden Software Vulnerabilities

One of the main tenets of legacy software environment management is that “you can’t secure what you don’t know you have.” Many DevOps engineers are not equipped to manually review and evaluate source code from previous generations, which has given rise to a major ecosystem of third-party source code testing utilities that automate the process. Other IT teams use chaos testing or contract with “white hat” security experts for penetration testing using known exploits. The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued a report on the Equifax data security breach that affected over 148 million customers of the credit agency, a number equal to 56% of the adult population in the U.S..The committee concluded that the company neglected to review their legacy source code in operations, leading to hidden software vulnerabilities that the hackers used for access to the network. Advance testing of legacy software that has been ported to containers for production is essential for cybersecurity.

The Software Bill of Materials: Congressional Legislation

Another area where cybersecurity is often overlooked is in IoT, leading to millions of active devices with poorly maintained software that cannot be effectively updated after deployment. This has led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to promote a “cybersecurity bill of materials” where IoT manufacturers in the healthcare industry must fully disclose the software installed on their devices for better defense against hacking attacks. Hospitals often lack cybersecurity pros to actively test and build defense capabilities for their installed IoT devices. This puts the sensitive personal health records of customers as well as the deployment of new life-saving technology at risk. Hospitals and healthcare institutions need to proactively install automated security solutions based on real-time network packet transfer monitoring that can isolate hostile activity as it occurs via AI/ML even on IoT devices without extensive executive overview requirements on essential cybersecurity decision-making from dedicated IT staff.

Use Real-Time Monitoring & Data Analytics

Containers, VMs, and VPS platforms all use a variety of virtualization standards to be compatible with the widest range of operating systems, web server packages, microservices, programming languages, and databases. Hybrid cloud software implements advanced network routing techniques, SDN sequences, various forms of encryption, IP addressing, and real-time data packet monitoring of I/O transfers to be innovative. Network administrators need to begin their cybersecurity review by making a complete inventory of all layers of the web server stack involved with hosting a web or mobile application in production. Automated source code testing for legacy software environments is essential using AI/ML with extensive libraries of known exploits for most programming languages, database formats, and web server standards. IT administrators in enterprise corporations, healthcare, & education can improve cybersecurity by relying on data center software that includes real-time monitoring of web traffic activity.