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Zero Trust Security and the HashiCorp Cloud Platform

HashiCorp is one company preparing enterprises for the challenges with managing more  than a single cloud. To learn more, we spoke with Megan Laflamme, HashiCorp director of product marketing, at the HashiConf user conference.
Nov 9th, 2022 11:42am by
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Organizations are now, almost by default, now becoming multicloud operations. No cloud service offers the full breadth of what an enterprise may need, and enterprises themselves find themselves using more than one service, often inadvertently.

Zero Trust Security and the HashiCorp Cloud Platform

HashiCorp is one company preparing enterprises for the challenges with managing more than a single cloud, through the use of a coherent set of software tools. To learn more, we spoke with Megan LaflammeHashiCorp director of product marketing, at the HashiConf user conference, for this latest episode of The New Stack Makers podcast. We talked about zero trust computing, the importance of identity and the general availability of the HashiCorp Boundary single sign-on tool.

“In the cloud operating model, the [security] perimeter is no longer static, and you move to a much more dynamic infrastructure environment,” she explained.

What Is the HashiCorp Cloud Platform?

The HashiCorp Cloud Platform (HCP) is a fully-managed platform offering HashiCorp software including Consul, Vault, and other services, all connected through HashiCorp Virtual Networks (HVN). Through a web portal or by Terraform, HCP can manage log-ins, access control, and billing across multiple cloud assets.

The HashiCorp Cloud Platform now offers the ability to do single sign-on, reducing a lot of the headache of signing into multiple applications and services.

What Is HashiCorp Boundary?

Boundary is the client that enables this “secure remote access” and is now generally available to users of the platform. It is a remote access client that manages fine-grained authorizations through trusted identities. It provides the session connection, establishment, and credential issuance and revocation.

“With Boundary, we enable a much more streamlined workflow for permitting access to critical infrastructure where we have integrations with cloud providers or service registries,” Laflamme said.

The HCP Boundary is a fully managed version of HashiCorp Boundary that is run on the HashiCorp Cloud. With Boundary, the user signs on once, and everything else is handled beneath the floorboards, so to speak. Identities for applications, networks, and people are handled through HashiCorp Vault and HashiCorp Consul. Every action is authorized and documented.

Boundary authenticates and authorizes users, by drawing on existing identity providers (IDPs) such as Okta, Azure Active Directory, and GitHub. Consul authenticates and authorizes access between applications and services. This way, networks aren’t exposed, and there is no need to issue and distribute credentials. Dynamic credential injection for user sessions is done with HashiCorp Vault, which injects single-use credentials for passwordless authentication to the remote host.

What Is Zero Trust Security?

With zero trust security, users are authenticated at the service level, rather than through a centralized firewall, which becomes increasingly infeasible in multicloud designs.

In the industry, there is a shift “from high trust IP-based authorization in the more static data centers and infrastructure, to the cloud, to a low trust model where everything is predicated on identity,” Laflamme explained.

This approach does require users to sign on to each individual service, in some form, which can be a headache to those (i.e. developers and system engineers) who sign on to a lot of apps in their daily routine.

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