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Apache Kafka Security: Use Cases and Features

Apache Kafka Security- What is it?

Undoubtedly, Apache Kafka acts as an internal medium and enables businesses to communicate using real-time data. However, it also exposes you to cyber risks such as unauthorized access to data that could adversely affect your business. Therefore, Kafka streams have an integrated security feature that safeguards the security of Kafka clients and the brokers.

Kafka Security has three main elements: Kafka encryption, Kafka authentication, and Kafka authorization. Here we discuss these features to understand how you can set up stream processing applications without compromising data security.

Kafka Encryption using SSL

Apache Kafka, in its standard form, allows data transfers in all its transparency. It means that any user can read the data exchanged between the Kafka client and broker. With Kafka security, the clients can enable the encryption of the client-server communication between applications and Kafka brokers.

It works similar to the HTTPS website, and no external routers are allowed to access the data shared between clients and brokers. It ensures data security and enables you to onboard more than one application and teams to use the same Kafka cluster without the fear of misuse of your data.

Kafka SSL/SASL Authentication

Kafka client SSL authentication is one of the in-built Kafka security features. It enables clients to authenticate users before they can connect to the Kafka brokers from their business application. The client SSL authentication refers to the client Secure Sockets Layer authentication so that allows clients to connect over SSL.

For Kafka SSL set up authentication, you will need to enable SSL, generate the key, SSL certificate, Keystore that Kafka uses. Using SSL/SASL authentication, you have more control over who has access to your Kafta clusters.

Kafka SSL/SASL lets you create an extra layer of security by authenticating the data transfer between Kafka clients and brokers, between brokers and brokers, and also between brokers and applications.

Main elements of Kafka Security


Kafka Authorization

Kafka security also enables you to authorize who reads or writes any applications. It lets you control what your Kafka clients are authorized to control and manipulate. It is controlled by Access Control Lists(ACL) which helps to prevent unwanted interception of data and addition/removal of data topics.

Kafka authorization using ACL helps you safeguard your applications using Kafka Streams from fraudulent activities and keep a check on how it is being used. With ACL enabled, you can define specific applications to read from a Kafka topic or restrict write operations to particular Kafka topics.


Apache Kafka Security For Safer Real-time Data Processing

Even though the intrinsic architecture of the Kafka cloud is secure and provides security for single-client communication, it requires robust support for SSL and user-based authentication for multiple access to Kafka clusters.

Kafka client SSL properties allow clients to connect over secure protocols like SSL. You can use a combination of encryption, authentication, and authorization to build secure streaming applications. Kafka SSL authentication uses two ways authentication, wherein the ultimate purpose is to verify the identity of the clients. When you have to deal with sensitive data, ACL authorization works best.

To sum it Up,

As the world drifts towards more data-driven technologies to improve the business process, the need to create secure streaming applications cannot be overlooked. Kafka Security provides in-built security features that empowers businesses to embrace the technological revolution and adopt a multiple tenancy model.

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