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Securing Kubernetes Ingress Controllers with SSL / TLS Certificates

Securing Kubernetes Ingress Controllers with SSL / TLS Certificates

Within DevOps, Kubernetes has become the de-facto orchestration tool for containers, allowing organizations to efficiently deploy and manage their applications. According to CNCF’s respondents, 96% of organizations are either using or evaluating Kubernetes – a record high since their surveys began in 2016. With this increasing adoption, ensuring the security of Kubernetes deployments is paramount. Ingress Controllers play a crucial role in routing external traffic to services within a cluster. Securing these Ingress Controllers with SSL / TLS certificates is essential for protecting the confidentiality and integrity of data transmitted over networks.

In this blog, we will explore the reasons why securing Kubernetes Ingress Controllers with SSL / TLS certificates is important, and how GlobalSign’s Atlas-ACME integration secures Kubernetes Ingress Controllers.


The Kubernetes Ingress Routing Policy governs how users can route external traffic to services within clusters. Via a simple load balancer, a client can implement the routing rules to configure the infrastructure which has been defined in the cluster to be routed to services accordingly.

Why You Should Be Securing Ingress Controllers with SSL / TLS Certificates

  • Encrypted Communication: SSL / TLS certificates provide encryption, ensuring that data transmitted between clients and the Ingress Controllers remains confidential. This prevents man-in-the-middle attacks, and mitigates the risk of sensitive information being intercepted or compromised.
  • Data Integrity: SSL / TLS certificates enable integrity checks, protecting against tampering and cyber-attacks, and ensuring that data remains secure during transit. By verifying the authenticity and integrity of the communication, organizations can trust the data being exchanged between clients and services.
  • Authentication: Certificates enable client and server authentication, establishing trust and prevents unauthorized access to the Kubernetes cluster. This mitigates the risk of malicious entities intercepting or modifying data.
  • Compliance Requirements: Industry regulations, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), mandate the use of SSL / TLS certificates to protect sensitive data. Securing Ingress Controllers with digital certificates enables organizations to meet these compliance requirements.

Many developers do use self-signed SSL / TLS certificates for development or testing environments. These are generated by using opensource tools like OpenSSL, however as they are not signed by a trusted Certificate Authority (CA), they are not compliant and could pose risks to your environment.

Read our blog on the risks associated with self-signed certificates

How GlobalSign’s Digital Identity Platform, Atlas, Secures Kubernetes Ingress Controllers

As a publicly trusted CA, GlobalSign recommend the use of compliant digital certificates for development, testing and production environments. GlobalSign offers three different solutions to secure your Kubernetes Ingress Controllers using Atlas.

1.    Atlas-ACME Integration:

Using the ACME protocol (using either HTTP or DNS validation), Atlas issues fast and scalable digital certificates for your DevOps environment. 

2.    Atlas – HashiCorp Vault Plugin

Use GlobalSign’s HashiCorp Vault integration for hassle free digital certificate issuance. The plugin manages and secures all API keys and secrets.

3.    Atlas-Certmanager Plugin

GlobalSign’s Atlas integration with Certmanager allows you to access Atlas APIs from the GitHub repository to simplify certificate issuance requirements in Kubernetes.

Automating DevSecOps pipelines with plug-ins and integrations helps to alleviate the burden of manual intervention in DevSecOps pipeline security. The ongoing shift left in DevOps environments is founded on sewn-in security throughout the pipeline, but this can place additional time constraints and heavier workloads on DevSecOps teams. Automation helps to streamline these processes and prevent the overburdening of DevSecOps teams while keeping up to date with regulations and improving pipeline security.

To find out more about our automated solutions to secure your DevOps toolchain, get in touch with us today.


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