Ever since Docker containers became popular with developers, the debate over how best to go about securing container applications in a production environment has raged. For many IT organizations, security concerns led them to deploy containers on top of virtual machines regardless of the processing overhead implications. At the other end of the spectrum, some IT organizations looked to security platforms, such as Twistlock, that are designed to monitor container images and associated run-time applications, as well as harden container hosts and images by applying security controls such as authentication and authorization.
This week Twistlock announced it has garnered another $10 million in funding to pursue that opportunity. Led by TenEleven Ventures, the latest round of financing also included funds raised by new investor Rally Ventures as well as existing backers including YL Ventures. Rally Ventures counts Art Coviello, the former CEO of RSA Security, among it investors. Twistlock also revealed that Alex Doll, a co-founder of PGP Corp. and founder of TenEleven Ventures, has joined its board of directors.
Twistlock’s product portfolio is made up of Twistlock Trust, a set of capabilities that manages container vulnerabilities and enforces compliance practices, and Twistlock Runtime, a collection of runtime functions that provides behavior analytics around containerized applications and helps defend against zero-day threats in the production environment.
Twistlock CEO Ben Bernstein notes that following the rise of containers, most existing approaches to application security have become meaningless because they provide no visibility into the container itself. In addition, there often no longer is a clear border between application and the microservices it invokes. Combined with the sheer number of containers that can be deployed in any given time period, it’s clear that IT security is becoming more volatile than ever, Bernstein says.
Given the relatively limited number of container applications deployed in production environments, most IT security professionals are still trying to understand the implications. While most containers today run on a virtual machine or in a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment, soon it’s expected there will be more organizations that will take advantage of frameworks such as Kubernetes, Docker Swarm and Mesos to deploy containers on bare-metal servers to drive up IT infrastructure utilization rates. One of the primary inhibitors of making that decision is that lack of security tools designed specifically to support that deployment model.
In the meantime, Twistlock will use the additional funding to advance product development and build a sales organization, Bernstein says. As the volume of containerized applications increases, it’s only a matter of time before cybercriminals turn their attention to an application form that is already starting to have an impact in production environments. The challenge facing IT organizations is to find a way to go about securing those applications from the beginning, as opposed to once again trying to secure them long after they have already proliferated across the entire enterprise.