10 OpenStack Security Best Practices

OpenStack is an open-source cloud computing platform that enables users to quickly and easily build, deploy, and manage cloud-native applications. Its high scalability, flexibility, and reliability make it ideal for businesses of all capacities. OpenStack can provide an organization with a secure and reliable cloud-based infrastructure. However, OpenStack can introduce potential security risks when not configured and managed properly. 

This blog will review the OpenStack security best practices. We will also discuss 10 OpenStack best practices you should adopt to maximize security.

Learn more about best practices for OpenStack security

Overview of the OpenStack Security Best Practice

OpenStack is an open-source platform that enables businesses to deploy and manage cloud-based applications and services. It provides a unified and integrated platform that allows organizations to quickly and easily build and manage cloud-based infrastructures.

OpenStack supports various open-source projects and technologies, including Linux, KVM, Open vSwitch, and many others. OpenStack also provides a wide range of services and features, including a dashboard for managing cloud resources and APIs for setting up private cloud environments.

OpenStack is designed to provide secure cloud computing environments. It provides several security features and tools, such as encryption, authentication, and authorization. OpenStack also provides several security services, including network security, user management, and data protection.

However, OpenStack security depends on the security settings and configurations of the user. Therefore, you must configure your OpenStack deployment to ensure it is secure.

OpenStack Security Best Practices

OpenStack is an open-source software platform that enables organizations to build, manage, and deploy cloud-based applications. While OpenStack offers a secure platform for deploying cloud-based applications, it is essential to take additional security measures to ensure the safety and integrity of your data.

Below we will discuss the 10 Security Best Practices for your OpenStack Cloud.

1. Activate Data Encryption

Enabling encryption is one of the best ways to keep your platform safe. With OpenStack, you can access built-in encryption features like Key Management Service (KMS) and Data Encryption Standard (DES). You can also access alternative third-party solutions from companies like Symantec or McAfee.

Whichever encryption solution you choose, ensure you understand how it works and how to configure it for the best security. Ensure your encryption keys are up to date to be sure of their abilities to safeguard your cloud. Take advantage of these encryption options to ensure your data is safe.

2. Implement Strong Password Policies

Passwords are the key to keeping your OpenStack environment safe and secure. A weak password is unsafe as it predisposes your cloud to security vulnerabilities and data breaches.

To ensure your passwords are as secure as possible, users must create complex passwords that use a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Also, enforce password changes at intervals and restrict the number of failed sign-in attempts before locking out an account. And for extra security, two-factor authentication is a great option to consider.

Creating strong passwords and keeping them up to date is one of the best ways to help protect your OpenStack environment from unauthorized access. So don’t take any chances – stay one step ahead of potential attackers and make sure your passwords are always as secure as possible to avoid unfavorable occurrences.

3. Ensure your OpenStack is Updated

When running an OpenStack cloud, you need to stay up to date. New features are added regularly, and security patches are released to protect against malicious attacks or data breaches. Keeping your OpenStack software up to date means you’ll always have the latest version and the most up-to-date security.

Plus, you’ll get access to new features and capabilities that can help improve your cloud performance. So, update your OpenStack software and keep your cloud secure and running smoothly.

4. Activate API Access Restrictions

Protecting your OpenStack API is essential to keep your cloud infrastructure secure. To ensure only authorized users can access it, use authentication methods such as tokens or certificates. Limiting the number of IP addresses allowed to connect to the API is also a good idea.

Another method of implementing access control is role-based access control (RBAC). RBAC is a system that restricts access to resources based on the user’s role. For example, an administrator may be able to access all resources. At the same time, a user may only be able to access certain resources. Implementing RBAC will help ensure that only authorized users can access your OpenStack environment.

Lastly, keep an eye on the API and monitor it for any unusual activity. It’s easy to do and will help you stay one step ahead of any potential threats.

5. Install Firewalls

Protecting your OpenStack environment from malicious attacks is easier with a firewall. This network security system is designed to monitor and control incoming and outgoing traffic based on predetermined rules. That way, you can ensure that only authorized users can access the services they need.

Remember to create rules for each service running in your OpenStack environment when configuring the firewall. This step is essential for keeping everything secure. You should also configure the firewall to block any suspicious activity, like port scans or reconnaissance. That way, you can be sure that the attackers won’t be able to access your platform.

6. Deactivate unused services and ports

OpenStack can be a complex system with many pieces; each component has its services and ports. Suppose these services and ports are left enabled. In that case, they could be exploited by malicious actors to gain access to your OpenStack environment.

Also, to protect yourself and make life harder for would-be attackers, it’s important to disable any services and ports that aren’t being used. This action will make your attack surface much smaller and make it harder for those bad guys to get into your OpenStack environment. On top of that, be sure to secure all your services and ports with strong authentication and encryption protocols. That way, even if someone does try to breach your OpenStack, they’ll have an even tougher time hacking the platform.

7. Set the user’s quota

Do you want to ensure that no single user can consume too many resources and cause problems? Or manage costs? Setting quotas for users is the answer. Quotas are an easy way to limit the resources each user can use. This measure helps prevent over-utilization, which can lead to performance issues or security risks.

Additionally, quotas can help you manage costs, as you can limit each user’s spending. And last but not least, quotas can improve system performance since resources are utilized with maximum efficiency. So if you’re looking to keep your system running smoothly, quotas are a great way to do that.

8. Security Group Configuration

Security groups are an easy and effective way to control who and what can access your OpenStack instances. They let you decide which ports, protocols, and IP addresses can access your instance, so you can be sure that only authorized users can get in. In addition, you can limit what type of traffic can go in and out, so you can protect your instances from malicious attacks and unauthorized access.

Setting up separate security groups for each security group is crucial to achieving a secure environment. That way, you can customize your security settings based on the purpose and usage of each instance. So, if you want to ensure that your OpenStack instances are secure, configure the right security groups for each.

9. Activate Logging

Logging with OpenStack’s Ceilometer service will help you stay on top of user activities and prepare for potential security threats. You’ll be able to detect suspicious behavior, investigate incidents, and gain insight into the performance of your cloud environment.

Furthermore, the logging service securely collects logs from all OpenStack components, including Compute, Networking, Storage, and Identity. Remember to enable logging for any third-party applications or services running on your OpenStack cloud. This action will get you prepared for attacks.

10.Monitor your environment

If you’re using OpenStack, it’s important to stay on top of changes in your environment. This measure includes watching out for unauthorized access attempts and monitoring user activity. It’s also a good idea to monitor for any suspicious or malicious activities, ranging from unusual network traffic to unexpected resource usage.

You can nip any potential security problems in the bud by keeping an eye on what’s happening. On top of that, remember to keep all your OpenStack components up-to-date with the latest security patches. Security isn’t something you can take for granted – regular maintenance and updates are essential for keeping your environment secure.

Other important security measures for the safety of your OpenStack environment include;

  • Leverage Security-as-a-Service (SaaS): SaaS is a cloud-based solution that provides secure access to data and applications. This service is designed to provide secure access to critical data and applications in a cloud environment. Leveraging SaaS can simplify and streamline security measures while protecting your data.
  • Perform Security Audit: Audits are important for evaluating the effectiveness of security measures, identifying security gaps, and ensuring compliance with security standards in your organization. Whether you run an internal security audit or employ the service of external security auditors, it is important to use the results to improve security measures and tighten your cloud environment security.

Learn more about how Storware Backup and Recovery can help secure your OpenStack environments:

Final Thought!

There are various strategies for ensuring your OpenStack environment is secure. Following the security best practices outlined in this article can keep your infrastructure safe and secure.

By staying up-to-date on security trends and implementing the right solutions, you can be sure that your OpenStack environment remains secure and resilient. With the right steps in place, you can ensure your OpenStack environment stays secure and reliable, allowing you to focus on the projects that matter most.

If you are serious about the security of your data stored and processed on OpenStack Infrastructure, you should definitely test Storware Backup and Recovery. Use the free Trial or contact us if you are interested in a one-on-one demo.

Learn more about the OpenStack:

  • OpenStack Security: How to Protect Your Cloud [HERE]
  • OpenStack is more than virtualization, so what? [HERE]
  • Getting Started with OpenStack – Components and Data Resiliency [HERE]


Marcin Kubacki

text written by:

Marcin Kubacki, CSA at Storware