Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) is revolutionizing the face of modern IT infrastructure, making it more secure, cost-effective, and performance efficient.

As a result, the adoption of IaC technology is rapidly increasing in the industrial space. Organizations have begun expanding their capability of provisioning and deploying cloud environments. It has berthed technologies like Terraform, Azure Resource Manager templates, AWS Cloud Formation templates, OpenFaaS YML, and more.

Previously, setting up an infrastructure required stacking tangible servers, data center to house hardware, configuring network connection, and whatnot. But now, all these are possible with trends such as cloud computing, where the processes take fewer times.

IaC is one of the key components of this growing trend, and let’s understand a bit what it is really all about.

Understanding IaC

Infrastructure-as-Service (IaC) uses a high-end descriptive coding to automate IT infrastructure provisioning. With this automation, developers no longer need manual managing and running servers, database connections, operating systems, storage, and many other elements while they develop, deploy, or test software.

Automating infrastructure has become essential for enterprises these days, making them capable of deploying a large number of applications quite frequently.

Reason – to accelerate business processes, reduce risks involved, control costs, tighten security, and respond effectively to new competitive threats. IaC is, in fact, an indispensable DevOps practice to foster speedy application delivery life cycle by allowing the teams to build and version software infrastructure effectively.

However, with IaC being so robust, there incurs a huge responsibility for you to manage security risks.

According to TechRepublic, DivvyCloud researchers found that data breaches due to cloud misconfiguration cost $5 trillion in 2018-19.

Therefore, failing to follow the best practices could lead to security loopholes like compromised cloud environments, leading to issues like:

Network exposures

Insecure IaC practices could breed the ground for online attacks. The examples of some IaC misconfigurations are public accessible SSH, cloud storage services, internet-accessible databases, configuring some open-security groups, and more.

Drifting configuration

Even though your developers are following the best IaC practices, your operations team might be forced to change configuration into the production environment directly, due to some emergencies. But infrastructure must never be modified after you deploy it because it breaks cloud infrastructure immutability.

Unauthorized privileged escalations

Organizations use IaC to run cloud environments that might include software containers, microservices, and Kubernetes. Developers make use of some privileged accounts to execute cloud applications and other software, which introduces privileged escalation risks.

Compliance violations

Untagged resources created using IaC may lead to ghost resources, causing issues in visualizing, detecting, and achieving exposure within the real cloud environment. As a result, drifts in cloud posture can occur that might go undetected for extended periods and may lead to compliance violations.

So, what’s the solution?

Well, you need to make sure no stone is unturned while adopting IaC, so it doesn’t open the door to possible threats. Develop best IaC practices to mitigate these issues and keep utilizing the technology to the fullest.

One way of achieving this is by using an efficient security scanner to find and fix cloud misconfiguration and other security loopholes.

Why to scan IaC for vulnerabilities?

A scanner follows an automated process to scan different elements of a device, application, or network for possible security flaws. To ensure everything is easy-breezy, you need to perform regular scans.

Benefits:

Increased security

A decent scanning tool utilizes the latest security practices to mitigate, address, and fix online threats. This way, your company and customer’s data can be protected.

Reputational safety

When the sensitive data of an organization gets stolen and possessed by the wrong hands, it may cause huge reputation damages.

Compliance supervision

All your organizational practices must fall under compliance to continue running your business. Security loopholes may compromise it and drag a company into severe circumstances.

So, without further ado, let’s find out some of the best scanning tools to check IaC for vulnerabilities.

Checkov

Say no to cloud misconfigurations by using Checkov.

It is for analyzing static codes for IaC. To detect cloud misconfigurations, it scans your cloud infrastructure, which is managed in Kubernetes, Terraform, and Cloudformation.

Checkov is a Python-based software. Therefore, writing, managing, codes, and version-control become simpler. The built-in policies of Checkov cover the best practices for compliance and security for Google Cloud, Azure, and AWS.

Check your IaC on Checkov and get outputs in different formats, including JSON, JUnit XML, or CLI. It can handle variables effectively by building a graph showing dynamic code dependency.

What’s more, it facilitates inline suppression for all the risks accepted.

Checkov is open-source and simple to use by following these steps:

  • Install Checkov from PyPI using pip
  • Select a folder containing Cloudformation or Terraform files as an input
  • Run scanning
  • Export the result to CLI print with color-coding
  • Integrate the result to your CI/CD pipelines

TFLint

A Terraform linter – TFLint is focused on checking possible errors and provides the best security practice.

Although Terraform is an amazing tool for IaC, it may not validate issues that are provider-specific. This is when TFLint comes handy for you. Get this tool’s latest release for your cloud architecture to solve such issues.

To install TFLint, use:

  • Chocolatey for Windows
  • Homebrew for macOS
  • TFLint via Docker

TFLint also supports several providers through plugins such as AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.

Terrafirma

Terrafirma is another tool for static code analysis used for Terraform plans. It is designed to detect security misconfigurations.

Terrafirma provides output in tfjson instead of JSON. To install it, you can use virtualenv and wheels.

Accurics

With Accurics, you have a great chance of protecting your cloud infrastructure from misconfigurations, potential data breaches, and policy violations.

For this, Accurics performs code scanning for Kubernetes YAML, Terraform, OpenFaaS YAML, and Dockerfile. Hence, you can detect issues before it could hamper you in anyways and take remedies to your cloud infrastructure.

By running these checks, Accurics ensures there’s no drift in the infrastructure configuration. Protect the complete cloud stack, including software containers, platforms, infrastructure, and servers. Future-proof your DevOps life cycle by enforcing compliance, security, and governance.

Eliminate drift by detecting any changes in your provisioned infrastructure with the possibility of creating posture drift. Get full-stack visibility in real-time, which is defined via code across your infrastructure and updates codes to restore the cloud or reflect authentic changes.

You can also notify your developers regarding an issue by integrating with efficient workflow tools like Slack, webhooks, email, JIRA, and Splunk. It also supports DevOps tools, including GitHub, Jenkins, and more.

You can use Accurics in the form of a cloud solution. Alternatively, you can download its self-hosted version depending upon the requirements of your organization.

CloudSploit

Mitigate security risks by scanning Cloudformation templates within seconds by using CloudSploit. It has the capability to scan more than 95 security vulnerabilities across 40+ resource types consisting of a wide range of AWS products.

It can detect risks efficiently and implement security features before launching your cloud infrastructure. CloudSploit offers plugin-based scans where you can add security checks upon resource addition by AWS to Cloudformation.

CloudSploit also provides API access for your convenience. Besides, you get a drag-and-drop feature or pasting a template in order to receive results in a matter of a few seconds. When you upload a template into the scanner, it will compare each resource setting to unidentified values and produces the result – warning, pass, or fail.

Besides, you can click on each result to see the affected resource.

Conclusion

Infrastructure-as-Code is getting good hype in the industry. And why not, it has brought significant changes in the IT infrastructure, making it stronger and better. However, if you do not practice IaC with caution, it may lead to security loopholes. But don’t worry; employ these tools to scan IaC for vulnerabilities.

Looking to learn Terraform? Check out this online course.