How Microservice Architectures will Challenge the Traditional Security Practices

How Microservice Architectures will Challenge the Traditional Security Practices

There is an enthusiasm among businesses to implement the microservice architecture. Developers, application groups, and business units are looking at the potential for faster functionality rollouts, more frequent updates, and different development groups’ ability to work and release independently.

There are four major security benefits that microservices provide, and security professionals should start to recognize how this architecture addresses traditional security challenges.

1. Faster distribution of important security patches

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Many corporations have been talking about how unapplied security patches are why attackers exploited a particular vulnerability. Lagging patch is definitely a widespread issue such that there are products that allow patches to be enabled until the patches can be applied to the running systems. Such an approach affects the patches and places them, instead, in a front-end system. This ultimately comes at a cost to system performance.

Many traditional IT companies only update their applications once or twice a year. This means that everyone’s code structures have to be put in at once and with late functional updated and extended integration processes.

Microservices make patch development easier and quicker. Many organizations implement a DevOps frequent release cycle instead of once or twice a year or even multiple times a day. This means that important security updates can start protecting systems faster than in the past.

2. Smaller attack surfaces

An important aspect of microservices is that each service provides a restricted functionality. Each service has a well-restricted interface. Therefore, if the service does only one thing, the only interface required is what is needed to support that one thing.

The net effect of this is that each service has a smaller attack surface. This smaller attack surface makes it easy for security personnel to know where to distribute security patches. A traditional application may end up with different functions and software components inside of it, thereby making it challenging to know exactly where the software that needs to be patched is running.

3. Simpler code structures

Traditional applications contain multiple groups of code that makes it difficult for anyone to know what exactly is in the software. This means that one group’s security may have ramifications for another group’s code contribution. This is a much bigger problem that is recognized. Tracking the root cause of a security problem becomes challenging.

Microservices help with this problem because the code is divided into separate executables. It is common for one development group to maintain complete responsibility for all the code running in individual service. As a result, it is easy to enable collaboration among a small group. What’s more, is that the microservice-based application frequently deploys, which makes the fix in production faster.

4. Functionality shielding

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Another security benefit of microservices is that it enables a defense-in-depth strategy. This means that microservices spreads out the functionality and functionality resides in other services that can only be accessed by other application executables. This shields the  application from the outside world and makes it difficult for external parties to gain access to non-user-accessible functionality. It also means that the security personnel can ensure that extra attention is given to user-facing services since those will bear the brunt of attacks. 

Conclusion

Microservices architecture holds the potential for simplifying the job of security professionals and making the organization’s application more secure. Microservices architecture makes it better than traditional application architectures.

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