Last updated at Fri, 25 Aug 2023 17:22:14 GMT

With increasingly complicated network infrastructure and organizations needing to deploy applications across various environments, cloud containers are necessary for companies to stay agile and innovative. Containers are packages of software that hold all of the necessary components for an app to run in any environment. One of the biggest benefits of cloud containers? They virtualize an operating system, enabling users to access from private data centers, public clouds, and even laptops.

According to recent research by Faction, 92% of organizations have a multi-cloud strategy in place or are in the process of adopting one. In addition to the ubiquity of cloud computing, there are a variety of cloud container providers, including Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft Azure. Nearly 80% of all containers on the cloud, however, run on AWS, which is known for its security, reliability, and scalability.

When it comes to cloud container security, AWS works on a shared responsibility model. This means that security and compliance is shared between AWS and the client. AWS protects the infrastructure running the services offered in the cloud — the hardware, software, networking, and facilities.

Unfortunately, many AWS users stop here. They believe that the security provided by AWS is sufficient to protect their cloud containers. While it is true that the level of customer responsibility for security differs depending on the AWS product, each product does require the customer to assume some level of security responsibility.

To avoid this mistake, let’s examine why your AWS cloud container needs additional client-side security and how Rapid7 can help.

Top reasons why your AWS container needs client-side security

Visibility and monitoring

Some of the same qualities that make containers ideal for agility and innovation also creates difficulty in visibility and monitoring. Cloud containers are ephemeral, which means they’re easy to establish and destroy. This is convenient for quickly moving workloads and applications, but it also makes it difficult to track changes. Many AWS containers share memory and CPU resources with a variety of hosts (physical and cloud) in your ecosystem. Consequently, monitoring resource consumption and assessing container performance and application health can be difficult — after all, how can you know how much memory is being utilized by the container or the physical host?

Traditional monitoring tools and solutions also fail to collect the necessary metrics or provide the crucial insights needed for monitoring and troubleshooting container health and performance. While AWS offers protection for the cloud container structure, visualizing and monitoring what happens within the container is the responsibility of your organization.

Alert contextualization and remediation

As your company grows and you scale your cloud infrastructure, your DevOps teams will continue to create containers. For example, Google runs everything in containers and launches an epic amount of containers (several billion per week!) to keep up with their developer and client needs. While you might not be launching quite as many containers, it’s still easy to lose track of them all. Organizations utilize alerts to keep track of container performance and health to resolve problems quickly. While alerting policies differ, most companies use metric- or log-based alerting.

It can be overwhelming to manage and remediate all of your organization’s container alerts. Not only do these alerts need to be routed to the proper developer or resource owner, but they also need to be remediated quickly to ensure the security and continued good performance of the container.

Cybersecurity standards

While AWS provides security for your foundational services in containerized applications — computing, storage, databases, and networking — it’s your responsibility to develop sufficient security protocols to protect your data, applications, operating system, and firewall. In the same way that your organization follows external cybersecurity standards for security and compliance across the rest of your digital ecosystem, it's best to align your client-side AWS container security with a well-known industry framework.

Adopting a standardized cybersecurity framework will work in concert with AWS’s security measures by providing guidelines and best practices — preventing your organization from a haphazard security application that creates coverage gaps.

How Rapid7 can help with AWS container security

Now that you know why your organization needs client-side security, here’s how Rapid7 can help.

  • Visibility and monitoring: Rapid7’s InsightCloudSec continuously scans your cloud’s infrastructure, orchestration platforms, and workloads to provide a real-time assessment of health, performance, and risk. With the ability to scan containers in less than 60 seconds, your team will be able to quickly and accurately track changes in your containers and view the data in a single, convenient platform, perfect for collaborating across teams and quickly remediating issues.
  • Alert contextualization and remediation: Client-side security measures are key to processing and remediating system alerts in your AWS containers, but it can’t be accomplished manually. Automation is key for alert contextualization and remediation. InsightCloudSec integrates with AWS services like Amazon GuardDuty to analyze logs for malicious activity. The tool also integrates with your larger enterprise security systems to automate the remediation of critical risks in real time — often within 60 seconds.
  • Cybersecurity standards: While aligning your cloud containers with an industry-standard cybersecurity framework is a necessity, it’s often a struggle. Maintaining security and compliance requirements requires specialized knowledge and expertise. With record staff shortages, this often falls by the wayside. InsightCloudSec automates cloud compliance for well-known industry standards like the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) with out-of-the-box policies that map back to specific NIST directives.

Secure your container (and it’s contents)

AWS’s shared responsibility model of security helps relieve operational burdens for organizations operating cloud containers. AWS clients don’t have to worry about the infrastructure security of their cloud containers. The contents in the cloud containers, however, are the owner’s responsibility and require additional security considerations.

Client-side security is necessary for proper monitoring and visibility, reduction in alert fatigue and real-time troubleshooting, and the application of external cybersecurity frameworks. The right tools, like Rapid7’s InsightCloudSec, can provide crucial support in each of these areas and beyond, filling crucial expertise and staffing gaps on your team and empowering your organization to confidently (and securely) utilize cloud containers.

Want to learn more about AWS container security? Download Fortify Your Containerized Apps With Rapid7 on AWS.