Security is a major hurdle for the container revolution

It seems like containers just became a thing. Docker took containers from fringe technology to mainstream IT. A new survey from Twistlock shows just how far containers have come in a relatively short period of time.

The popularity of containers was a driving force behind the giants of tech and the containers industry joining forces on the Open Container Project to develop standards for container technology. That is also somewhat self-feeding because the formation of the Open Container Project also brings stability to container technology that instills confidence from businesses and creates more demand for containers. According to the Twistlock survey more than 98 percent of those who are currently using containers use Docker hub or Docker Trusted Registry as a primary image source.

Regardless of the whole “chicken and egg” paradox, the fact is containers are a hot topic. Although containers are one of the newer technologies out there, most organizations are already using them or at least have them on the immediate radar. Twistlock surveyed IT decision makers and found that 86 percent claim they use containers today or will deploy them within one year. More than a third of those surveyed claim that containers are broadly deployed across their networks.

Twistlock is in the business of container security, though, so the survey understandably focuses on the security of container technologies as well. Apparently security is a major issue even as organizations scramble to adopt and implement containers. Twistlock found that 91 percent of respondents are concerned about container security and 50 percent are either “very” or “extremely” concerned. In a nutshell, businesses are worried about the security of containers.

“This survey shows what Twistlock has known all along—that even though containers are accessible and easy to deploy, many companies do not have a good grasp of how to manage container security. This remains a major adoption hurdle that is keeping data centers from migrating to containers completely,” said Ben Bernstein, CEO of Twistlock.

This isn’t entirely news. Many organizations have introduced solutions to allow businesses to use containers more securely. For example, Microsoft developed Hyper-V Containers and CoreOS recently added support for Intel Clear Containers in its Rocket container environment.

What Twistlock brings to the table that some of the other secure container solutions don’t is an ability to implement or layer security on top of the existing container ecosystem. The Twistlock press release explains:

Twistlock provides a security framework for developers of containerized applications. Its container security suite protects containers throughout the application lifecycle by ensuring that they are compliant with security policies at every stage, from early development through deployment. Twistlock also provides granular access control capabilities that allow enterprises to extend their access management policies to containerized applications.

Twistlock identified three specific areas that respondents believe would provide the greatest security benefits for their container environments:

  • 83 percent want the ability to ensure that all containers have a consistent security model from development through production.
  • 82 percent indicated that preventing development mistakes from reaching production is important.
  • 80 percent believe they should be able to detect vulnerabilities in containers.

It’s virtually impossible at this point to remain competitive without embracing the container revolution. You need to make sure security is a primary consideration, though, rather than an afterthought. The good news from this Twistlock survey is that security seems to be a major consideration, which shows that organizations are focusing on it.

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Tony Bradley

I have a passion for technology and gadgets--with a focus on Microsoft and security--and a desire to help others understand how technology can affect or improve their lives. I also love spending time with my wife, 7 kids, 2 dogs, 4 cats, 3 rabbits, 2 ferrets, pot-bellied pig and sulcata tortoise, and I like to think I enjoy reading and golf even though I never find time for either. You can contact me directly at tony@techspective.net. For more from me, you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

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