Menu
Startup Twistlock seeks to padlock Docker containers

Startup Twistlock seeks to padlock Docker containers

Security tools for virtual machines are highly evolved, but not so for containers

As interest grows in applications deployed in containers, questions about their security are developing as well.

The open-source platform built by Docker has seen quick uptake by developers. Applications are deployed in so-called containers, which can be easily updated and moved to other machines due to their small footprint.

Many application containers can run on a single physical system and share an operating system's kernel. That commingling of demands on the operating system can, however, have serious consequences for security.

Jay Lyman, research manager with the analyst 451 Group, said the security and management tools for virtual machines are highly evolved, but container technology is relatively immature.

"In the absence of good security measures and practices and tools, there's a risk [companies] run containers that are not secure," Lyman said.

For example, a denial-of-service attack against the OS's kernel could wipe out many applications at the same time, whereas the same kind of attack against a virtual machine running one application may not be as bad.

Containers can also be challenging to monitor, as the resource sharing can make it difficult to isolate exactly where and at what time a security incident occurred.

A startup named Twistlock that is designed to give a better idea of the security profile of containers and make auditing security incidents easier.

"We see that enterprises fear containers because they see them as a black box," CEO Ben Bernstein said.

Twistlock is planning two offerings: an open-source platform for developers to check if their containers are in good shape before deployment, and a paid enterprise product aimed at operations teams.

The open-source platform will focus on so-called "host hardening," or ensuring that a rapidly developed container passes basic security checks. That will include ensuring containers are running a fully patched version of Docker, limiting CPU consumption by containers, making sure SSH is turned off, among others, Bernstein said.

The product for operations teams allows them to do close monitoring and logging of events happening within containers. Containers can move around on machines, making it important that administrators can retrace security events.

The enterprise product includes features such as runtime inspection, logging and auditing, and tools to manage access control. "Today there's no way to actually enforce not only auditing but authorization and authentication," he said.

Twistlock can be used to manage the access of developers to systems as well as log their activity, he said. Twistlock's agent plugs into the control channel of the container for management and access control.

The company, with offices in Tel Aviv and San Francisco, only started in January. Bernstein said it has four customers, including a hedge fund, testing its software.

The market is wide open for Docker-related security tools, Lyman said. The closest competitor to Twistlock might be Red Hat, which is moving fast to make using containers enterprise-ready, he said. Docker is also integrated into the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Twistlock hasn't made a decision on pricing, but it may charge by the maximum number of containers run in parallel or by subscription, Bernstein said.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags softwareapplication development451 GroupTwistlock

Events

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders​ forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the New Zealand technology market’s rising stars. The 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals​, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, Reseller News honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.​

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners
Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

This exclusive Reseller News Exchange event in Auckland explored the challenges facing the partner community on the cloud security frontier, as well as market trends, customer priorities and how the channel can capitalise on the opportunities available. In association with Arrow, Bitdefender, Exclusive Networks, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security
Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2019 inductees - Leanne Buer, Ross Jenkins and Terry Dunn - to the fourth running of the Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed the changing face of the IT channel ecosystem in New Zealand and what it means to be a Reseller News Hall of Fame inductee. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch
Show Comments