Gartner Research

Guidance Framework for Securing Kubernetes

Published: 20 May 2020

ID: G00465735

Analyst(s): Michael Isbitski


Kubernetes has become the de facto standard for container orchestration, but it brings inherent complexity that often leads to security misconfiguration. Security and risk management technical professionals can use this guidance to secure their K8s infrastructure.

Table Of Contents

Problem Statement

The Gartner Approach

The Guidance Framework

  • Part 1: Cluster Foundations
    • 1.1 Standardize on a Platform
    • 1.2 Select Container Engine and Runtime
    • 1.3 Harden Container Hosts
    • 1.4 Use Native Container Security Features
    • 1.5 Design for Logging, Auditing and Monitoring
  • Part 2: Secure Continuous Delivery
    • 2.1 Establish Registries, Repositories and Scanning
    • 2.2 Adjust Pipelines for Helm Charts and Operators
    • 2.3 Secure Cluster IaC and Configuration as Code
  • Part 3: Secrets Management
    • 3.1 Use Native Secrets Management
    • 3.2 Augment With Third-Party Secrets Management
  • Part 4: Secure Master Node
    • 4.1 Secure the API Server and Dashboard
    • 4.2 Secure etcd
  • Part 5: Secure Worker Nodes
    • 5.1 Secure Kubelets
    • 5.2 Set Pod Security Policies
    • 5.3 Extend K8s for Other Security Use Cases
  • Part 6: Secure Network Communication
    • 6.1 Secure Ingress Controllers
    • 6.2 Set Network Policy
    • 6.3 Use TLS
    • 6.4 Evaluate Workload and Application Protection
  • Follow-Up

Risks and Pitfalls

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