Gartner Research

Container Security — From Image Analysis to Network Segmentation, Options Are Maturing

Published: 28 August 2018

ID: G00366118

Analyst(s): Joerg Fritsch , Michael Isbitski


Containers and microservices architectures require DevSecOps, a protection strategy different from traditional VMs with monolithic applications. Technical professionals tasked with securing containers must harden the CI/CD pipeline so that everything that ran through it can be considered secure.

Table Of Contents


  • CI/CD Pipeline Threat Vectors
    • Threat Vector 1: Development System
    • Threat Vector 2: Git-Based Repository
    • Threat Vector 3: Retrieval of Dependencies
    • Threat Vector 4: Image Registry
    • Threat Vector 5: Unsecured Orchestrator Platform
    • Threat Vector 6: Host-Container Relationship
    • Threat Vector 7: Rapid Rate of Change
    • Threat Vector 8: MSA Communication and Network Segregation
    • Threat Vector 9: Interprocess Communication (IPC)
    • Threat Vector 10: Increased Number of Databases
    • Threat Vector 11: Application Layer Attacks
  • How to Mitigate the Threat Vectors
  • Foundational Controls
    • Host Hardening
    • Mandatory Access Controls
    • Secure Computing Mode Profiles
    • Secrets Management
  • Basic Controls
    • Software Composition Analysis
    • Authorization Between Microservices and MSA Resilience
    • API Gateways
  • Risk-Based Controls
    • Data-Centric Controls: DAP and FCAP
    • Vulnerability Assessment
    • Behavior-Based Controls
    • Network Segmentation for Containers
  • Architectural Considerations
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses


  • Make Security Pervasive in the CD/CD Pipeline
  • Use Secrets Management and Software Composition Analysis as Your Primary Container Protection Strategies
  • Add Layer 7 Network Segmentation for Operational Containers That Require Defense in Depth
  • Require Vendors to Integrate With the Container Offerings of Leading Cloud Service Providers

The Details

  • Representative Generalized Container Security Products
  • Representative Container Network Security Products
  • Open-Source Projects to Secure Containers

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