Undoubtedly, Apache Kafka has taken the business world by storm with its impeccable event streaming capabilities. It acts as a backbone to the companies in creating a real-time, continuous data source to streamline their business processes. You must prioritize leveraging Kafka Security features before implementing them to your business applications. This article gives you the reason why and how you can secure Apache Kafka for your enterprise.
Why Kafka Security is important
The risks involved with deploying Kafka without any security include:
- Any user can read or manipulate your data
- Write or remove any Kafka topics
- Delete all your data in the Kafka clusters
- Intrude into the sensitive data and change the values
Being exposed to any of these risks can bring disastrous results that may hamper your company’s reputation among stakeholders. In wake of this, Kafka in its 0.0.9 release, added an array of Kafka security features to safeguard your business from the malicious attempts of online miscreants.
Kafka Security is a data security model built on three key elements: encryption, authentication, and authorization. You can either use them separately or together as per your requirements to create a protective online shield to your Kafka clusters.
Kafka security model: Kafka SASL_SSL
Kafka SSL setup empowers businesses against fraudulent activities that involve unauthorized users managing and reading the data. It helps enterprises to integrate Kafka security features like encryption and authentication to avoid such untoward circumstances.
Kafka encryption using SSL ensures that the data transmitted between Kafka broker and client is not read by any other third user. It prevents enterprises from being victims of data breaches and data loss, which are common cyberattacks among enterprises.
How does Kafka SSL Authentication help secure Apache Kafka?
Authentication ensures that your applications that use Apache Kafka are correctly connected with the authenticated Kafka brokers. Authentication is often followed by an authorization process where companies deploy Kafka Security with SASL and ACL features simultaneously.
Deploying Kafka SASL or SSL authentication process allows only authorized applications to publish or read the data transmission between the two parties. You can provide a user ID and password to authenticate the user’s identity who try to enter your network.
Kafka security supports authentication of connections to brokers from clients that are usually the one’s producers and consumers. For this, you can choose from the following afka SASL security mechanisms
- SASL/GSSAPI (Kerberos) –
- SASL/PLAIN –
- SASL/SCRAM-SHA-256 and SASL/SCRAM-SHA-512 –
- SASL/OAUTHBEARER –
Kafka authorization ensures only the Kafka SSL/SASL authenticated users have access to consume or publish certain messages. In simple terms, authentication verifies the identity of the user or application, while authorization gives the authenticated user/application the right to access and manipulate data from a designated Kafka topic.
Kafka security uses ACL for authorization and to define authority for each of the authentic users per application. Kafka ACLs are integrated within ZooKeeper and manage the access to a single Kafka cluster and adapt a molecular approach in authorizing an application to read/write data and create unwanted entropy in the business structure.
Kafka SSL _SASL configuration together helps in detecting any fraudulent activities. For example, this configuration promptly analyses (and detects fraud attempts, if any) during a consecutive number of failed login attempts from a different location. The on-time fraud detection and analysis ensures timely action to restrict the misuse of data.
Kafka security features; to sum up,
With a data-driven business landscape, enterprises, big or small, need to take cybersecurity seriously. Apache Kafka’s use cases and benefits can only be fruitful if you secure them. You need to judiciously leverage the Kafka security features like Kafka SSL encryption, SSL/SASL authentication, and ACL authorization for a safer and enjoyable event streaming experience. For more details refer this article.