IT environments are very volatile these days–especially DevOps environments, and microservices or container architectures. There is too much happening at any one time, and no guarantees when it comes to security, which is why the best strategy is to verify everything rather than just trusting inherently.
Once upon a time, network and endpoint security was a simple matter of us vs. them—and all you had to do is keep unauthorized stuff outside your perimeter from gaining access to devices or data inside your perimeter. It’s not like that anymore, though. BYOD, mobile devices, cloud service, virtual systems and changes in attack techniques combine to create a scenario where it’s virtually impossible to assure security with any degree of confidence. At this point, it’s almost better to assume you’re compromised, and work from there to minimize the potential impact—especially when it comes to DevOps security.
Consider the fact that threats such as Stuxnet and Duqu were found to have been circulating in the wild for years before they were discovered. According to one recent study, it takes organizations an average of 256 days to discover a malicious compromise—in large part because they’re functioning from the semi-delusional mindset that they’re effectively protecting against such attacks. When you believe that your network is secure, you have no reason to dig deeper and scrutinize activity on the network to detect and identify suspicious activity.
Mitchell Hashimoto, co-founder and CEO of HashiCorp, is an evangelist for the idea of a zero-trust data center. Borrowing a page from the Ronald Reagan national security policy, Hashimoto stresses a strategy of trust but verify. He believes in a security mentality in which all resources are assumed to be compromised—particularly in organizations that have embraced DevOps.
DevOps brings much greater flexibility and agility, but with the more rapid pace of development and deployment also comes increased volatility and potential uncertainty when it comes to maintaining accurate visibility of the assets and data in the environment, and the vulnerabilities you’re exposed to. With the unprecedented scale and automation of modern data centers, the zero-trust model keeps infrastructure secure while still enabling automation.
“As the scale of modern computing continues to increase, our security mindset must change. Automation and DevOps help manage this scale, but introduce more change. With change comes vulnerability,” cautions Hashimoto. “The best way to approach this problem is to assume a zero-trust model. With this mindset, all resources are assumed to be compromised and require specific permissions to connect to other resources in the environment. If the permission policy does not match, the resource gets denied.”
Check out the full post on DevOps.com: Zero Trust Is a Key to DevOps Security.