GDPR Compliance

  1. What is GDPR?
  2. Why is GDPR important?
  3. Who does GDPR apply to?
  4. 7 Principles of GDPR Compliance
  5. 3 Key Goals of GDPR Compliance
  6. GDPR Equivalents Around the World
  7. 11 Chapters of GDPR Compliance
  8. Definition of ‘Personal Data’ under GDPR Compliance
  9. What does GDPR mean for businesses, and consumers/citizens?
  10. Penalties and Fines for GDPR Non-Compliance
  11. 12 Steps for GDPR Compliance
  12. Conclusion

What is General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the European Union (EU) privacy regulation that went into effect on May 25, 2018. It supersedes the 1995 Data Protection Directive and enhances and expands upon the EU’s present data protection framework. The main goal of GDPR is to offer EU citizens more control over their personal data.

Although GDPR was developed and authorized by the EU, it imposes obligations on any organization that targets or gathers information about individuals residing in the EU. With GDPR, the EU is demonstrating its unwavering commitment to data security and privacy at a time when more individuals are committing their personal information to cloud services and data breaches are recurring.

Under the rules of GDPR, organizations are required to ensure that personal identifiable information (PII) is collected lawfully and the individuals responsible for collecting and administering data are required to safeguard it against misuse and exploitation, respecting the rights of data owners.

Why is GDPR important?

The GDPR is significant because it explains what organizations are required to do to preserve the rights of European data subjects and enhances the protection of those rights. GDPR defines “data subjects” as any European citizen whose data is collected by a business. The rule applies to all businesses and organizations that deal with data pertaining to EU citizens.

The majority of businesses routinely process some PII data. Non-compliance with GDPR has serious repercussions, including the possibility of significant fines and reputational damage. Under GDPR, noncompliance penalties can amount to massive fines of up to €20 million or, if higher, up to 4% of global revenue. GDPR may also be seen as a catalyst for change within businesses because it encourages the adoption of new data management frameworks and the reform of existing practices, both of which boost productivity and lay the foundation for data-driven insights.

Who does GDPR apply to?

Any organization operating in the EU as well as any non-EU organization providing goods or services to clients or enterprises in the EU is subject to GDPR. This ultimately means that a GDPR compliance strategy is required for practically every major corporation worldwide. All companies that conduct business within the EU must comply with GDPR. Businesses that do not operate primarily in the EU but maintain a sizable portion of customers there must abide by these requirements. For instance, if a business has offices in California but offers services to clients in Germany, it must also be GDPR compliant.

The law applies to two main categories of data handlers: “data controllers” and “data processors.” A data controller is “a legal or natural person, an agency, a public authority, or any other body who, alone or when joined with others, determines the purposes of any personal data and the means of processing it.” A data processor is “a legal or a natural person, agency, public authority, or any other body who processes personal data on behalf of a data controller.” GDPR imposes legal responsibilities on a processor to keep track of personal data and how it is processed, resulting in a far higher level of legal liability should the organization be in violation. Additionally, data controllers must make sure that any agreements with data processors adhere to GDPR.

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7 Principles of GDPR Compliance

Although the GDPR contains a number of different principles, Article 5 of GDPR in particular outlines seven key principles for the processing of PII that data controllers (i.e., those who determine how and why data is processed) must be aware of and follow when gathering and otherwise processing personal data:

  1. Lawfulness, Fairness, and Transparency: With relation to the data subject, personal data must be processed legally, fairly, and transparently. In order for the data subject to understand precisely how their information is being gathered and processed, the intended use of the data must be communicated clearly and effectively. This establishes transparency in data sharing so that none of the parties involved would be offended or ignorant of how their data was handled.
  2. Purpose Limitation: According to this principle, PII must only be gathered for explicit, understandable, and legal purposes that are decided upon at the time of collection and must not be further processed in a way that is at odds with those purposes. Nonetheless, when there are adequate protections in place, data controllers may carry out additional processing for the public interest, scientific or historical research, or statistical purposes as long as those goals are not deemed to be incompatible with the original ones.
  3. Data Minimization: According to this principle, controllers must only gather and use PII data that is adequate, relevant, and strictly essential for processing purposes. This basically means that data controllers should never acquire extraneous personal data and should only collect the least amount of data necessary for the intended processing operation. This principle not only encourages adherence to the full spectrum of data protection rules but also complements the principle of purpose limitation.
  4. Accuracy: This principle mandates that data controllers make sure personal data is accurate and updated as needed. A data controller is required to swiftly rectify any errors and take all appropriate measures, such as determining whether it’s necessary to routinely update any personal data it has on hand. Therefore, as part of their data management operations, data controllers that collect personal data should have a clear process in place for updating or erasing any erroneous personal data.
  5. Storage Limitation: Data controllers are required to keep PII in a format that makes it possible to identify specific people for no longer than is necessary to fulfill the purposes for which they are being processed. Hence, in principle, data controllers should erase personal data as soon as it is no longer required for the purposes for which it was originally gathered. In order to achieve this, GDPR suggests that the controller set time restrictions for the deletion or for routine reviews. Data controllers should also make sure that people are informed of retention periods or the standards used to determine them in accordance with the principle of transparency.
  6. Integrity and Confidentiality: Personal data must only be handled by data controllers in a way that ensures an adequate degree of security and confidentiality for the data, including protection against unauthorized or unlawful processing and against unintentional loss, destruction, or damage. Data controllers must use the proper organizational or technical tools to accomplish this. The security measures must be sufficient to prevent accidental or intentional destruction, loss, or disclosure of personal data. These security measures must include not only physical security but also organizational security and cybersecurity. Also, businesses need to regularly assess how effective and current their security measures are.
  7. Accountability: The principle of accountability, clearly states that controllers are accountable for upholding the other data protection standards and meeting compliance mandates. As a result, controllers must not only make sure they adhere to the principles but also have the necessary procedures and documentation in place to demonstrate compliance. Accountability will be aided by adherence to other data protection principles, such as adopting data protection by design and default approach, putting in place appropriate organizational and technical safeguards, and establishing transparent data retention rules.

3 Key Goals of GDPR Compliance

There are three crucial elements of the EU GDPR legislation that businesses should be aware of:

Data Governance: Data controllers exert their control and compliance over their data assets through data governance. In order to retain compliance while navigating GDPR, this area is crucial.

  • Data Breach Notification: If a data breach poses a significant risk to a person’s rights and freedoms, it must be reported to the “controllers” of the data within 72 hours, as well as to any impacted data subjects.
  • Privacy By Design: With this provision, enterprises are required to start thinking about the nature of data privacy at the commencement of a project and throughout the data processing lifecycle. Any phase of data control or processing will require a company to plan for privacy.
  • Vendor management: GDPR will also subject third parties and vendors to regulatory scrutiny. Any person who processes or controls data must keep meticulous records of all data processing operations.

Data Management: Data management is the method by which data controllers and data processors will manage processing operations. It’s crucial that data management practices comply with GDPR in the following areas:

  • Data Erasure (the right to be forgotten): People have the option of having their personal information deleted, even if it is publicly available. Also, individuals have the option to request that their personal data not be processed in specific situations.
  • Data Transfers: Under GDPR, organizations won’t be allowed to send data to nations outside the EU that don’t have sufficient data protection regulations. The European Commission maintains a list of “approved countries” and authorizes nations with “acceptable” data protection regulations.
  • Data Processing: In accordance with GDPR, organizations are required to keep internal records of all data processing activities. The details of your organization, its name and contact information, the categories of people and personal data described, the receivers of personal data, the specifics of data transfers, and data retention dates must all be included in the information recorded. For transparent automatic email and attachment encryption, organizations might want to consider automated cryptographic protection controls.
  • Data Protection Officer (DPO): Any data controller processing more than 5000 records of data subjects in a calendar year must have a Data Protection Officer. A DPO will oversee GDPR compliance for your organization, carry out data protection evaluations, and provide employee training on general policies. Under GDPR, a DPO may support a single company, a collection of companies, or a collection of public entities. Your DPO must be equipped with the required knowledge to counsel the company and its employees on how to abide by the GDPR and other data protection legislation. It’s important to note that an organization only has to appoint a qualified and authorized person to the function of DPO rather than hiring new employees to fill the position.

Data Transparency: Under GDPR, data subjects have the provision to enjoy critical rights pertaining to data confidentiality and transparency.

  • Consent: Organizations processing personal data must be able to show that the data subject has provided permission for the use of that data. Additionally, individuals have the freedom to revoke their consent at any moment, and the company is required to make this process simple for them.
  • Data Portability: In accordance with GDPR, data subjects in the EU may request and obtain a copy of their data from the service provider.. The data subjects will be able to relocate, copy, or transfer their data without affecting its usefulness from one service provider to another.
  • Privacy Policies: Businesses must inform data subjects about how their personal information is processed, and they must make consumer rights clear and simple to access.

GDPR Equivalents Around the World

  • USA: California Consumer Privacy Act, 2018
  • India: Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022
  • Canada: Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), 2000
  • South Africa: Protection of Personal Information Act, 2020
  • Brazil: Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados (LGPD), 2020
  • Australia: Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) to Australia’s Privacy Act, 2018
  • Japan: Act on Protection of Personal Information, 2017
  • South Korea: Personal Information Protection Act, 2011

11 Chapters of GDPR Compliance

Chapter 1: Articles 1 through 4 found in Chapter 1, establish broad guidelines and clarify the important ideas pertaining to GDPR.

Chapter 2: Articles 5 through 11 included in Chapter 2 include the fundamental concepts of data privacy and protection. They serve as the framework for GDPR compliance. It would be advantageous for organizations if all stakeholders read this particular chapter.

Chapter 3: Articles 12 through 23 in Chapter 3 explain the eight fundamental rights of the data subject. This includes – the right to information, right to access, right to rectify, right to be forgotten, right to restriction, right to data portability, right to object, and right to reject decisions based on automated processing. This chapter is important for the legal departments of organizations as well as end users and consumers.

Chapter 4: Articles 24 to 43 make up Chapter 4, which covers every aspect of controllers and processors. When creating a GDPR compliance plan, businesses need to be aware of these facts.

Chapter 5: Articles 44 to 50 are included in Chapter 5. The data protection committee understands that business or infrastructure changes may necessitate the transfer of data to non-EU nations. The steps for securing a safe and legal data transfer are explained in these articles.

Chapter 6: Articles 51 through 59 are located in Chapter 6. A supervisory authority is an impartial public body chosen by the government of an EU member state. They keep an eye on how the GDPR is being applied and followed by businesses in the state. These articles outline their credentials, responsibilities, duties, and authority.

Chapter 7: Articles 60 to 76 make up Chapter 7. The seventh chapter discusses the expectations for an organization’s cooperation, particularly in the wake of a breach. It specifies cooperating with supervisory agencies and the systems in place, like testing and documentation, to guarantee cooperation and consistency.

Chapter 8: Articles 77 through 84 are explained in Chapter 8. These articles include data subjects’ legal defenses against supervisory authorities, controllers, and processors.

Chapter 9: Articles 85 through 91 are found in Chapter 9. It offers instructions for handling particular types of data, including opinions. It discusses data processing from the perspectives of an employer, a researcher looking into science or history, and a public archivist.

Chapter 10: Articles 92 and 93 are explained in Chapter 10. These articles describe the European Commission’s authority to form a committee to help member states with GDPR implementation.

Chapter 11: Articles 94 through 99 are included in Chapter 11. These last clauses discuss the start of GDPR enforcement. Starting in May 2020, the commission agrees to conduct evaluations every four years. The goal is to maintain laws current with developments in the technological environment.

Definition of ‘Personal Data’ under GDPR Compliance

Any information about a named, recognizable individual—also referred to as the data subject—is considered personal data or personal identifiable information (PII). Information about a person’s identity includes things like: Name, address, ID card or passport number, income, cultural background, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, and data that a clinic or doctor maintains (which uniquely identifies a person for health purposes).

What does GDPR mean for businesses, and consumers/citizens?

The GDPR creates a single legislation and a single set of regulations that are applicable to businesses operating inside EU member states. Since multinational organizations operating outside the region but conducting business on “European soil” will still be subject to the law, its scope goes beyond the boundaries of the EU itself. One of the goals is that the GDPR will aid businesses by streamlining the data legislation. According to the European Commission, having a single supervisory authority oversee the entire EU will make doing business there easier and less expensive.

The unpleasant truth for many is that part of their data, whether it be an email address, password, social security number, or private health details, has been exposed on the internet due to the sheer volume of data breaches and hacks that take place. Consumers now have the right to know when their data has been compromised, which is one of the significant changes brought about by GDPR. Organizations must notify the appropriate national bodies as quickly as possible so that EU residents can take the necessary precautions to protect their data from misuse.

Penalties and Fines for GDPR Non-Compliance

Tier 1 GDPR fines: Less serious infractions are subject to this grade of fines. A fine of up to €10 million or 2% of the offending company’s global annual revenue from the prior year, whichever is higher, may be imposed.

Controllers and processors are frequently held accountable for these infractions. Articles 8, 11, 25, and 25 to 39 contain details of these breaches. It also addresses errors made by reputable organizations that agreed to conduct objective GDPR assessments. Monitoring bodies are subject to Tier 1 fines as well. These associations are autonomous groups that address complaints and infractions openly.

Tier 2 GDPR fines: Serious violations of a person’s right to privacy and consent are punishable by this tier of fines. The maximum fine is 20 million euros, or 4% of the offending company’s global annual revenue from the prior year, whichever is higher.

Tier 2 violations involve investigating problems with data processing, to make sure that the information gathered is legitimate, accurate, secure, and current. It discusses the various legal frameworks pertaining to the consent and transparency rights of the data subject. However, the majority of tier 2 infractions involve the transfer of personal data to a third-party, non-EU national. This is only possible with the approval of the European Commission and the implementation of the necessary security measures.

12 Steps for GDPR Compliance

Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has developed the following 12 crucial steps to achieve GDPR compliance:

  1. Awareness: Make sure that decision-makers and other important individuals in your organization are aware of the impending change in the law and understand the possible effects. Find out who they are and ask for advice.
  2. Documentation: Companies must maintain written records to demonstrate their compliance with the GDPR’s accountability principle. Examine the different forms of data processing you undertake, then determine the legal justification for each one and record it.
  3. Sharing privacy-related information: Review your present privacy notices and make a strategy for any adjustments that will be required prior to the GDPR’s implementation.
  4. Individual’s rights: Review your policies to make sure they address all of the rights that people may have, including how you would erase personal data or distribute it electronically and in a format that is widely used.
  5. Subject access requests: Revise your policies, make a plan for how you’ll handle requests within the revised deadlines, and offer any relevant additional details.
  6. Lawful basis for processing personal data: Find the GDPR-compliant legal justification for your processing activity, record it, and update your privacy notice to include an explanation.
  7. Consent: Evaluate how you obtain, document, and manage consent and determine whether any changes are necessary. If current consents do not satisfy the GDPR standard, update them right away.
  8. Data breaches: Ensure that you have the proper protocols in place to identify, notify, and investigate a compromise of personal data.
  9. Children: Consider if you need to implement measures to confirm individuals’ ages and get parental or guardian approval before engaging in any data processing activity.
  10. Data protection: Find out how and when to implement privacy impact assessments in your organization by being familiar with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO’s) code of practice as well as the most recent Article 29 Working Party recommendations.
  11. Data protection officers (DPO): Appoint someone to be in charge of ensuring that data protection laws are followed, and you should consider where this position will fit within your organization’s structure and governance framework.
  12. International: Identify your main data protection supervisory authority if your organization has operations in more than one EU member state (i.e., you conduct cross-border processing). You can accomplish this by using the Article 29 Working Party instructions.


Organizations must take meticulous and well-thought-out steps to ensure compliance with GDPR. Data privacy readiness is impacted by GDPR in terms of technology, personnel, and business procedures. The future of data security and privacy will be shaped by those who prioritize data protection now, with the GDPR leading the drive to restrict the flow of data.

In this age of digital transformation, both GDPR and cybersecurity are crucial for protecting your business. You can protect your data from attacks by deploying robust cybersecurity procedures and best practices for authorization and encryption. As a result, you will be better able to comply with GDPR. Together, you can develop an all-encompassing strategy for shielding your company against advanced security threats.

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What is PKI-as-a-Service (PKIaaS)?

A growing number of businesses are migrating critical components of their infrastructure, including Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), to the cloud. With potential significant cost savings and on-demand scalability, this is an appealing option. Setting up and scaling on-premises PKI is costly and complex from – upfront investment in hardware and software to dedicated PKI expertise and ongoing operations, maintenance, and upgrade requirements.

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PKI as-a-Service (PKIaaS) offers compliant managed PKI services via a cloud platform allowing enterprises to set up robust and secure private certificate authority (CA) hierarchies for issuing private trust certificates. There is no PKI expertise required and no hardware or software to buy or manage. A crucial benefit of PKIaaS is that the infrastructure and security of your enterprise PKI are handled as a cloud service by the solution provider, like AppViewX, allowing your team to concentrate on more critical aspects of your business.

AppViewX PKI as-a-Service (PKIaaS)

AppViewX PKI+ is a ready-to-consume, scalable, and compliant PKI-as-a-Service. PKI+ allows you to simplify and centralize your private PKI architecture and set up tailored custom CAs in minutes while meeting the highest standards of security and compliance.

AppViewX PKI+ combined with AppViewX CERT+ delivers both a modernized private PKI and end-to-end certificate lifecycle automation for provisioning private trust as well as public trust certificates from external CAs, all from a centralized console.

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Network Availability

What is Network Availability?

Network availability refers to the operational status of a computer network and its ability to make connections, process traffic quickly, and respond to user requests.

Availability, also known as network uptime, measures how well a computer network can respond to the connectivity and performance demands placed on it. Network availability is an essential consideration in disaster planning, but it impacts life and works in so many ways. Network downtime or sluggishness equates to business downtime, at considerable cost to organizations through inefficiency, lost sales, lack of critical data for decisions, and other harmful effects.

Network availability is vital for individuals to ensure the ability to communicate with and interact with others, whether that’s a text message, a phone call, online purchase, streaming entertainment, or an emergency call. Network availability is calculated by dividing the uptime by the total time. The goal is 100% availability, although another commonly referenced goal is “five nines,” or 99.999% availability. That’s the equivalent of about two minutes of downtime in a year.

There are several ways to reach these goals, including WAN acceleration or optimization.

Why is Network Availability important?

Network Availability is a fundamental prerequisite for access to data and applications. For enterprises that run multiple data centers, it can be a critical concern that users be able to access application servers and data everywhere with the best connections and the fastest performance.

How often have you seen a customer-facing application fail because the system is overloaded? Without a highly available network, users can’t access the data and applications they need–or can’t do so fast enough. There are a few types of denial of service. The most common is where an attacker tries to make a system or network resource unavailable to another system or network by overwhelming it with requests for that resource.

How does Network Availability work?

Network availability depends on several factors, including the physical location of the infrastructure devices, the amount of traffic, and how well the network is designed and maintained. For example, latency can become a significant factor in network performance when a network connects users across large geographical distances.

There are as many ways to improve your skincare regimen as there are causes of disruption. For example, because it’s essential always to access and work with your files and data, your organization may use redundant and failover systems in its network.

Load balancers are used to help ensure that requests are distributed to the resources most able to respond, and they also help prevent any individual component from being overwhelmed. The ability to quickly and efficiently scale operations up or down to meet spikes in demand is essential to a business. Scaling up or scaling down may be required to meet spikes in order, and cloud services can be used to accomplish this. Additionally, network security solutions can be used to address denial-of-service attacks.

How does AppViewX partner F5 ensure Network Availability?

F5 BIG-IP DNS ensures that network users and applications experience high levels of availability and performance by monitoring the status of network components and routing users to the closest or best-performing physical, virtual, or cloud environment.

You can configure your full-proxy device to monitor for DDoS attacks and protect your network from them. Big-IP DNS, available in physical or virtual appliances, is a highly scalable DNS solution that provides “always-on” availability.

AppViewX product that automates F5 Big-IP DNS changes: ADC+

Network Security

What is Network Security?

Network security protects digital assets, software, and data from malicious invasions. Traditionally, perimeter security is focused on protecting endpoints and network resources. However, newer hacking techniques have caused companies to evolve their approach to security. Today, approaches to network security include controlling access to resources and applying advanced analytics to detect problems in real-time. These methods, coupled with a more thoughtful approach to security, enable organizations to defend their applications, data, and users even as complexities build due to trends such as remote work and the IoT.

Why move beyond traditional network security models?

The new orthodoxy of cloud-based security has replaced the old security paradigm. Methods that were once considered standard are now seen as merely part of the picture. Cybersecurity is critical for any company, but it’s also vital for any startup to begin. Without a robust security strategy in place, new businesses are vulnerable to cyberattacks and data exposure risks. In recent years, the changes in enterprise networks, such as the rise of the BYOD movement, have brought about new challenges for security professionals. As a result, cybersecurity is getting more critical, and people who ignore it will get hurt. Read this book if you want to stay secure.

These trends include:

End of the single perimeter: The legacy model has lost much of its relevance because companies now no longer have a single perimeter to defend. Companies today are using software-as-a-service applications hosted in the cloud and offering remote access to their resources through a digital workspace. This means the combination of firewall systems, network device posture assessment, and VPN used to protect companies in the past will no longer suffice.

Rise of the remote workforce: Networking has changed significantly over the past few years, especially in the last few months. Contributors to this report from outside the office are logging in from many different types of endpoints across various networks. As a result, network security needs to become more flexible than ever as employees move between multiple devices – their desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.

Development of the Internet of things: The expansion of corporate networks is so fast because new device types are going online. The rise in mobile devices has strained security systems to the breaking point. Anything that can be equipped with a sensor is now eligible to become part of the Internet of Things (IoT), and adding a host of new endpoint options to a given network ecosystem will drastically increase a business’s attack surface. You must ensure that all new IoT devices don’t become easy access points for bad actors.

Traditional network security solutions don’t work anymore, and as the Internet expands in size and scale, so does the need for network security. Installing perimeter defenses around fast-growing groups of endpoints would waste employee time and effort and would ultimately come up short anyway. Legacy security can be challenging to move past, but network administrators must remain vigilant to defend against advanced threats that make up today’s landscape.

Four major network security threats that must be addressed

A cybercriminal can exploit vulnerabilities in a large and varied network attack surface to discover new ways to infiltrate a network and wreak havoc. With a foothold gained through stolen data, these bad actors will try to penetrate further layers searching for confidential data or other valuable content.

The best way to stop hackers is to modernize your locking down your network. Creating a system that can detect, contain, and prevent threats to your online brand reputation and business requires cutting-edge technology. Unfortunately, traditional security approaches such as firewalls, VPNs, and access controls are not enough to protect organizations from cyberattacks.

Device theft and unauthorized access

What happens when your device or login credentials fall into malicious hands? This is an essential question for companies because the number of devices being used by workers is increasing, and employees must have unique credentials for each account and service they use. Advanced information security approaches should be ready to deal with login attempts by bad actors. They should look for unusual behaviors and lock down accounts so that no one else can access them.

Insider threats

Perhaps even more threatening than an intruder pretending to be an authorized user is someone with legitimate credentials using them maliciously to exfiltrate sensitive data. As a result, strict role-based access control and monitoring have become musts in modern security to ensure accounts are only used for appropriate purposes.

Malicious files and URLs on unprotected networks

There are numerous different types of devices and networks in use in a modern remote or hybrid work environment. For example, if users download a malicious file from a website, what happens if they work with their device or on an external network? Of course, you don’t want to have this problem, but it is a thing that you may encounter and need to handle.

Spear phishing and social engineering

Accidentally clicking a lousy file isn’t the only way for a user to fall victim to a cyberattack. An employee could also fall victim to a spear-phishing campaign that uses psychological manipulation consisting of convincing, well-crafted emails requesting private information such as login credentials. Comprehensive security solutions will lock down apps and other essential network resources to prevent the use of any stolen credentials.

Building a network security architecture: Key components and tools

There’s no doubt that the modern network security architecture is more powerful than an outdated legacy system. This is because it’s built on advanced features, including a new generation of software. However, security in IoT is much harder than it is in mobile apps because it’s difficult to determine if someone is malicious or not. To improve network security, you must combine close monitoring of user activity across devices and networks for threat detection with a secure application access solution. These tools should also be easy to use and straightforward for users to work with, so they don’t hinder their work by being overly complex or time-consuming. It’s possible to break down these modern security approaches into two distinct functional areas: zero-trust security solutions and secure access security edge (SASE) architecture.

Zero trust access: Zero-trust security is an access model in which the device is the source of trust, not the credentials associated with the device or the user account. I would say that it’s impossible for a company not to trust its employees. The method recognizes that users’ credentials could be used maliciously. A zero trust solution uses contextual factors and behavioral analytics to determine when to grant access and when to withhold it.

Zero trust access

SASE: A SASE solution turns security into a cloud-delivered capability. This is important because if you don’t implement consistent security policies, the whole network will suffer. SASE offers significant value to administrators who no longer have to work with a patchwork of network security measures on individual devices or networks—everything is centralized. Instead, an SD-WAN is implemented to keep all users safe and securely connected over an entire company’s internal network.

Figure: Traditional Data Center vs Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) Security Solution

Network Virtualization

What is Network Virtualization?

Network virtualization is a process of separating the functions of a network into different components, such as the physical infrastructure and management and control software and allowing those functions to operate separately. In this process, the software is used to emulate the functionality of hardware components that are commonly part of a traditional network.

Network services are decoupled from the physical hardware they run on. They can be used independently, making them perfect for any network device. With this shift to programmable networks, we can more flexibly provision networks, more securely manage them, and programmatically and dynamically manage them.

Network virtualization simplifies life for network administrators by making it easier to move workloads, modify policies and applications, and avoid complex and time-consuming reconfigurations when performing these tasks. In addition, customers and business people need instant access to various content, services, and information.

network virtualization

How does network virtualization work?

Network virtualization results from network virtualization software, which simulates the presence of physical hardware, like routers, switches, load balancers, and firewalls. In layman’s terms, a network virtualization implementation may virtualize components spanning multiple layers of the Open Systems Interconnection Model. These include ones at Layer 2 (switches) and Layer 4 and beyond (load balancers, firewalls, etc. So, for example, in an SD-WAN solution, you can manage your virtual appliances using a management tool.

Network virtualization software creates virtual representations of a network’s underlying hardware and software. This enables you to combine virtualized representations of underlying hardware and software into a single administrative unit. A virtualized environment allows the resources to be hosted inside virtual machines (VMs) or containers and run on top of off-the-shelf commercial x86 hardware to reduce costs. Network virtualization is a technology that allows for workloads to be deployed over a virtual network. Current network policies ensure that the correct network services are coupled with each VM- or container-based workload.

Services move dynamically as workloads come and go, while police change their configuration is a snap. As a result, virtual networking is closely related to SDN, SD-WAN (a subtype of SDN), and network functions virtualization (NFV).

SDN stands for programmable networks, and while it is still in the research phase, it shows tremendous potential for enhancing security, performance, and scalability. For example, one recent report suggested that by 2025, 40% of global Internet traffic will be handled via SDN. As for SD-WAN, it’s an example of the types of network overlays you can achieve with network virtualization.

How does network virtualization work

What are the different types of network virtualization?

There are two broad categories of network virtualization: External and internal network virtualization.

External network virtualization

The goal of the external network virtualization is to allow for seamless interoperation of physical networks and thus allow for better administration and management. Network switching hardware and virtual local area network (VLAN) solutions are used to create a VLAN.

In this VLAN, hosts attached to different physical LANs can communicate as if they were all in the same broadcast domain. This type of network virtualization is prevalent in data centers and large corporate networks. A VLAN may separate the systems on the same physical network into smaller virtual networks.

Internal network virtualization

Network virtualization entails creating an emulated network inside an operating system partition. The guest VMs inside an OS partition may communicate with each other via a network-like architecture, via a virtual network interface, a shared interface between guest and host paired with Network Address Translation, or some other means. Internal network virtualization can help prevent attacks on your internal network by isolating applications that might be vulnerable to malicious threats. Networking solutions that implement it are sometimes marketed as “network-in-a-box” offerings by their vendors.

This technology can take many forms.

Standard VLAN technology is still vital, but its limited 12-bit structure has led to the development of better, technically advanced alternatives, particularly when it comes to multi-tenant cloud computing. Virtualization in cloud architectures relies upon multiple types of virtualization to create centralized, network-accessible resource pools that can be quickly provisioned and scaled.

It is increasingly possible to provide cloud-based services to software-defined data centers and the network edge with network virtualization. The successors to VLAN are:

  • Virtual Extensible Local Area Networks (VXLANs) can be deployed in Software-Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WANs).
  • The 24-bit Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation (NVGRE).
  • The 64-bit Stateless Transport Tunneling (STT).
  • Generic Network Virtualization Encapsulation (GENEVE) is a standard that doesn’t specify any particular configuration or set of specs.

What are the benefits of network virtualization?

Once implemented, network virtualization delivers higher speed, automation, and administrative efficiency than achievable with only a physical network, for example, a traditional hub-and-spoke WAN. These advantages translate into concrete operational benefits for enterprise businesses and service providers, including but not limited to:

Superior network agility and application delivery

Virtualizing networking enables you to scale networks while maintaining the flexibility of an infrastructure solution. Keeping up with demand for virtual, cloud, and SaaS applications requires an agile, dynamic, and flexible network environment.

This goal requires network virtualization, which reduces the time it takes to deploy a network from days or weeks to just minutes and makes the network more flexible and adaptable. One way to do this is by using an SD-WAN overlay, which provides an always-on network that dynamically steers traffic from datacenters, branches, clouds, and SaaS.

Streamlined network administration and management

Virtual networks are more straightforward to set up than their physical counterparts. Network administrators now have more options than ever for automating changes to virtual networks. Workloads running in VMs can move through the web without any configuration for proper application mobility. Just as with a branch of an SD-WAN, new components added to an MPLS VPN can be automatically provisioned (zero-touch provisioning) with the correct policies and updated centrally.

Stronger security

Datacenter security and network virtualization are vital additions to datacenter security. Separating the physical network from the virtual network isolates the physical network from any virtual network. This is also the case between different virtual networks. The principle of least privilege is a way to ensure that network security is enforced for the appropriate user and purpose. As data centers become more extensive and complicated to manage, it is becoming increasingly essential to virtualize network services and consolidate them across multiple servers. Citrix SD-WAN Orchestrator helps simplify and manage SD-WAN. It lets you integrate SD-WAN and cloud-based security gateways seamlessly and without compromising the user experience.

AppViewX solutions for network virtualization

Network virtualization is an important opportunity for both enterprises and service providers. The use of network virtualization has increased among businesses to improve operational agility and modernize their security practices. It is also used to move applications across networks reliably.

A powerful combination of network virtualization and Citrix ADC+ ensures that end users have access to the applications they need when and where they need it. Moreover, service providers are taking advantage of network virtualization and SDN and NFV to their advantage as they modernize. As service providers look to support new technologies and use cases ranging from the Internet of Things to the deployment of faster wireless networking standards, network virtualization offers much-needed flexibility and scalability.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)

  1. What is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and why is it important?
  2. Who must comply with SOX?
  3. 11 Titles of SOX
  4. What is SOX Control?
  5. What are SOX Compliance Requirements?
  6. >What is SOX Compliance Audit?
  7. SOX Risk Assessment
  8. SOX Compliance Checklist
  9. Penalties for SOX Non-Compliance
  10. benefits-of-sox-compliance
  11. Closing Thoughts

What is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and why is it important?

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) was passed by the US Congress in 2002 with the goals of protecting shareholders and the general public from accounting mistakes and business fraud as well as enhancing the accuracy of corporate financial disclosures. The act offers guidelines on obligations and specifies dates for compliance. In response to the financial crises at Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, and others, U.S. Congressmen Paul Sarbanes and Michael Oxley created the act with the aim of enhancing corporate governance and responsibility.

All publicly traded corporations are now required to adhere to SOX in terms of finances and IT. As a result of SOX, IT departments have changed how they store corporate and process electronic documents. Although the act does not dictate a set of business practices or specify how a company should preserve information, it does stipulate which records should be kept and for how long. Companies must keep all business records, including electronic documents and messages, for “not less than five years” in order to comply with SOX. Non-compliance could lead to hefty fines, imprisonment, or both.

The objective of SOX is “to protect investors by improving the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures.” The accuracy of financial information must therefore be formally attested by the management of public companies. Additionally, SOX expanded the role of boards of directors in providing supervision and boosted the independence of external auditors who evaluate the accuracy of corporate financial statements.

It is not only required by law but also wise business practice to comply with SOX requirements. All businesses should conduct themselves ethically and restrict access to their financial information. Furthermore, it promotes the protection of sensitive data from cybersecurity threats, insider risks, and security vulnerabilities.

2023 EMA Report: SSL/TLS Certificate Security-Management and Expiration Challenges

Who must comply with SOX?

All publicly traded businesses that conduct business in the U.S., including fully owned subsidiaries and publicly traded international businesses, are required to abide by SOX. Accounting firms that conduct public company audits are also subject to SOX.

SOX separates accounting firms and the auditing function. The company that audits a publicly traded company’s books is no longer permitted to conduct the company’s bookkeeping, audits, or business valuations. It is also forbidden for auditing firms to design or implement information systems, offer banking and investment advisory services, or consult on other management-related matters.

Private businesses, charitable organizations, and non-profits are normally exempt from SOX’s requirements, although they still should not purposefully delete or alter financial data. Before going public, private enterprises who are considering an Initial Public Offering (IPO) must adhere to SOX.

Whistleblower protection is also in effect, which prohibits reprisals against anyone who informs a law enforcement official of a potential federal infraction. Essentially, if an employer retaliates (i.e. terminates, demotes or discriminates) against an employee who discloses fraudulent behavior, the employer can face fines or imprisonment for up to 10 years.

Last but not least, SOX stipulates requirements for the implementation of payroll system controls. Costs associated with a company’s employees, compensation, benefits, incentives, paid time off, and training must be taken into consideration. Some employers are required to implement an ethics program with a code of ethics, a communication strategy, and employee training.

11 Titles of SOX

Title I: Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB): All public firms are subject to audits, which are overseen by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. The board establishes the guidelines and standards for audit reports, as well as monitors, investigates, and enforces adherence to these guidelines. The board is also entrusted with centrally overseeing the independent accounting firms contracted to conduct audits.

Title II: Auditor Independence: There are nine sections in Title II that specify requirements for the independence of external auditors with the purpose of removing conflicts of interest. To work as an executive for a former customer, for instance, an audit firm employee must wait one year after leaving the firm. New auditor approval and reporting obligations are subject to limitations. A business that offers auditing services to a client is not permitted by law to offer that client any other services.

Title III: Corporate Responsibility: Regulations mandate that each senior executive be personally responsible for the accuracy of financial reporting in order to further enforce accountability.

Title IV: Enhanced Financial Disclosures: The Act significantly expands the number of disclosures a firm must give to the public, including pro forma numbers, stock transactions involving corporate officers, and off-balance-sheet activities. The prompt reporting of all such disclosures and other relevant information is required.

Title V: Analyst Conflicts of Interest: The goal of Title V is to boost investor trust in securities analysts’ reports. Disclosing any and all conflicts of interest that the corporation is aware of is also covered in this part, along with rules of conduct. Everything must be disclosed, including if the analyst owns any stock in the business, whether they have received any corporate payments, and whether the organization is a customer.

Title VI: Commission Resources and Authority: Several procedures are outlined in Title VI, including the power of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) to oust a broker, advisor, or dealer under certain circumstances.

Title VII: Studies and Reports: The SEC and the Controller General are required to conduct the studies and reports listed in Title VII. To ensure that investment banks, public accounting companies, and credit rating agencies are not complicit in unethical or unlawful actions in the securities markets, these examinations and reports include analyses of each of these institutions.

Title VIII: Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability: A person can be fined and sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for altering, hiding, or destroying records with the intention of influencing the outcome of a federal inquiry. Anyone who assists in deceiving shareholders of publicly traded corporations is liable for imprisonment and monetary penalties. Whistleblowers are also given additional protections under Title VIII.

Title IX: White Collar Crime Penalty Enhancement: There are six provisions of Title IX, all of which aim to stiffen the punishment for crimes committed by white-collar professionals. In an effort to make sanctions outweigh the possibility of immediate financial gain, this Title makes failing to certify company financial reporting a crime and supports stricter sentencing criteria.

Title X: Corporate Tax Returns: The Chief Executive Officer must formally sign all corporate tax returns under Title X’s Section 1001.

Title XI: Corporate Fraud Accountability: Seven sections of Title XI are devoted to explaining corporate fraud. It defines any tampering with records as a crime subject to a range of punishments. Additionally, it provides recommendations for sentencing and raises overall punishment. The SEC has the authority to freeze transactions that are deemed “large” or “unusual” under this specific Title.

What is SOX Control?

In a financial reporting process cycle, SOX control is a rule that prevents and detects errors. The controls are created to support the goals of each overarching business process. They serve the dual function of preventing and identifying errors that could undermine the process itself. The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is a non-profit organization that Congress established to guarantee the consistency of the integrity of audits conducted by accounting firms or by an external auditor.

The internal controls framework released by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) has been adopted by the majority of American public companies. Initiated jointly by five businesses in the private sector, COSO is committed to fostering thought leadership through the creation of frameworks and recommendations for internal control, enterprise risk management, and fraud deterrence. Referencing the COSO Framework, which identifies the five types of internal control, is helpful when developing a system of internal controls for processes that produce financial data. These include monitoring, information and communication, risk assessment, control activities, and the control environment.

What are the SOX Compliance Requirements?

The key requirements for SOX compliance include:

Senior management accountability: The CEO and CFO of a publicly traded company are directly accountable for the financial reports that are submitted to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). For violations, these senior officials risk severe criminal penalties, such as lengthy imprisonment.

Internal Control Report: Under SOX, management must be shown to be in charge of the internal control framework for financial records. In order to maintain transparency, any problems must be disclosed right away to senior management.

Data security policies: Under SOX, businesses are required to uphold a documented data security policy that sufficiently safeguards the use and archival of financial data. All staff members should be informed of and adhere to the SOX data policy.

Proof of compliance: SOX mandates that businesses maintain compliance records, make them available to auditors upon request, perform ongoing SOX testing, and track and evaluate SOX compliance objectives.

What is SOX Compliance Audit?

Companies are required under SOX to conduct annual audits and to communicate the findings with stakeholders upon request. Companies employ impartial auditors to conduct these specific audits in order to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. Keeping up with SOX compliance should be viewed as an ongoing project that involves planning for each audit.

Verifying the company’s financial statements is the main goal of the SOX compliance audit. Auditors assess if everything is in order by comparing prior financial statements to the present ones. Auditors can also conduct staff interviews to confirm that the compliance controls are adequate for upholding SOX compliance requirements.

A typical SOX audit entails:

  • A preliminary meeting between management and the auditors to decide the audit’s parameters and schedule.
  • Analyzing the company’s finances and looking for any errors in the financial statements, a difference of greater than 5% calls for further examination.
  • Interviews with staff members are conducted as part of a personnel evaluation to make sure that responsibilities align with job descriptions and that staff members are properly trained to handle financial data in a secure manner.

SOX sections 302, 404, and 409 mandate that the following variables and conditions be tracked, recorded, and audited: internal controls, network activity, database, login and user activity, and information access.

A control framework like Control Objectives for Information Technologies (COBIT) must be able to audit “internal controls and procedures” according to SOX auditing requirements. An audit trail of every access and activity to sensitive business information must be provided by log collection and monitoring systems.

The most significant component of a SOX compliance audit is a frequent review of a company’s internal controls. All IT resources, such as computers, network hardware, and other electronic devices through which financial data flows, are included in internal controls. The internal control elements which will be examined during a SOX IT audit include data backup, change management, access controls, and IT security.

SOX Risk Assessment

Internal Control over Financial Reporting (ICFR) is the primary subject of the SOX risk assessment. It evaluates financial data combined with potential dangers that might exist. The outcome establishes the scope and priorities for the SOX or ICFR effectiveness review operations for the upcoming fiscal year.

Conducting a SOX Risk Assessment is important because:

  • It assists management in deciding which operations, accounts, or systems can be exempt from SOX monitoring activities.
  • It enables you to recognize, rank and evaluate high-risk situations, thereby giving you ample time for corrective action if problems are found.

SOX Compliance Checklist

S.No Goals Steps you need to take
1 Prevent data tampering Implement login tracking and detection systems that can identify unauthorized attempts to log in to financial data systems.
2 Record timelines for critical activities Develop systems that can date any financial or other data that is subject to SOX rules. Encrypt such data to guard against tampering and keep it in a remote, secure location.
3 Develop variable controls to monitor access Implement systems that can track data access and modification from virtually any organizational source, including files, File Transfer Protocol (FTP), and databases.
4 Grant access to auditors to promote transparency Set up systems to alert concerned authorities every day that all SOX control measures are operating as intended. By employing permissions, systems should grant auditors access so they may read reports and data without altering them.
5 Report on the efficiency of the measures taken Establish systems that generate reports on data that has flowed through the system, crucial messages, and alarms, and actual and handled security events.
6 Identify security breaches Implement security technologies that can examine data, spot indications of a security breach, and produce insightful alerts, automatically updating an incident management system.
7 Inform auditors of security lapses and the failure of security measures Implement systems that record security breaches and enable security teams to document how each event was handled. Publish reports for auditors to see, including which security events happened, which ones were successfully mitigated, and which ones weren’t.

Penalties for SOX Non-Compliance

The severity of noncompliance penalties varies by section violation and is highest in cases when information has been willfully misrepresented, changed, or deleted. They range from the termination of directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance and the loss of exchange listing to multimillion-dollar fines and custodial sentences for corporate officers.

A CEO or CFO faces up to $1 million in fines and up to 10 years in prison if they intentionally certify a periodic report that does not adhere to the Act’s standards. A fine of up to $5,000,000 and up to 20 years in prison are possible for willful certification falsification.

Benefits of SOX Compliance

Once you’ve created a strong SOX compliance checklist to direct your operations toward compliance, you will find that a robust internal control environment reduces the risks of internal financial statement manipulation, thereby retaining public trust. Effective oversight enhances the overall company governance and lowers your likelihood of ever paying a fine for failing to comply with SOX.

The primary benefits of SOX compliance include:

Improved Control Structure: Documentation of controls, such as operations manuals, personnel policies, and recorded control processes, is required by Sections 302 and 404. Being SOX compliant enables you to gain control awareness and transparency into how these controls integrate with the business processes. When management and auditors concentrate on internal controls as part of a SOX evaluation, the organization realizes how crucial these control activities are to its financial success. The heightened scrutiny pertaining to SOX assessment drives participants to work even harder to guarantee that critical financial reporting-related tasks are properly carried out.

Strong Financial Reporting and Audit processes: Being compliant with SOX promotes effective and accurate financial reporting that develops a higher level of financial caretaking in your firm, much like ISO 27001 compliance. Companies, which comply with SOX, report more stable financial conditions and simpler access to capital markets. The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) was created as a result of the implementation of SOX to assess personal accountability to auditors, executives, and board members and to monitor management’s accounting decisions. This made it possible for the audit to serve as a separate assurance function and guarantee that a company’s internal control, risk management, and governance systems are running effectively.

Team Collaboration: Internal stakeholders must work together more frequently and intensely to comply with SOX. An attempt to operate in isolation will impede compliance efforts, particularly in the area of IT security. The employees who own or contribute to financial and information controls, such as control owners, IT, or HR, must interact with internal auditors and those who manage SOX assessments across business lines. A corporate-wide program like SOX has a significant positive impact on the business, including enhanced cross-functional cooperation and communication.

Enhanced Cybersecurity Posture: Businesses can protect themselves from cyberattacks and the costly repercussions of a data leak by employing SOX. Data breaches are difficult to manage, and some firms never fully recover from the brand reputation damage. The likelihood of a malicious hack or insider threat can be considerably decreased by the security precautions that SOX requires.

Closing Thoughts

Compliance with SOX is not a “one-and-done” process. Instead, it’s a continuous, year-round endeavor to strengthen an organization’s financial controls and cybersecurity posture. Although SOX was created to address fraudulent financial reporting and criminal wrongdoing, being compliant also gives you the added benefit of achieving visibility and efficiency with cybersecurity and access control capabilities.

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What are Microservices?

Microservices are a component of an application that is designed to run independently.

An app that uses a microservices architecture is a collection of loosely coupled, independently deployable, and lightweight services designed for fast development and deployment. Modularity is the ability of a software system to break down into parts or components. A microservice can be changed, modified, and updated separately from the other microservices. Thousands of microservices can make up a single application.

Although it is unnecessary for all microservices in an application to be written in the same programming language or by the same development team, it’s a good idea.

Open-source tools are used to build microservices-based applications. Their creators publish them to publicly available repositories such as GitHub. Other development teams prefer a mix of open-source tools and commercial off-the-shelf software.

What are the characteristics of micro apps?

  • All microservices run their processes and communicate with other components and databases via their respective application programming interfaces (APIs).
  • Microservices use lightweight APIs to communicate with each other over a network.
  • Because microservices are individually developed and maintained, each microservice can be modified independently without reworking the entire application.
  • Every microservice follows a software development lifecycle designed to ensure it can perform its particular function within the application.
  • This is a set of APIs that perform specific functions, such as adding merchandise to a shopping cart, updating account information, or transacting a payment.
  • Microservices expose the functionality of a system so that it can be reused in other applications. This allows you to create new applications without starting from scratch and lets you re-use a piece of an existing application to complete another one.

Microservices are sometimes referred to as cloud-native. Although cloud-native development is increasingly popular, the cloud-native approach to application development includes software development practices and containers, container orchestration, and other tools. Cloud-native apps are developed as containerized microservices using agile DevOps methods, packaged for, and deployed to the public cloud.

Why are microservices being adopted?

Microservices offer an agile path to innovation by allowing services to be created and deployed as independent building blocks that can be deployed, changed, and redeployed quickly.

DevOps is a development tool that speeds time to market by allowing the development, testing, and deployment of applications to occur concurrently without compromising the quality or security of the final product. In addition, the ability to develop mobile and cloud applications that are agnostic of the underlying infrastructure is an essential capability for today’s developers.

Organizations also need to modernize their application delivery when adopting microservices and modernizing application architectures. For example, an application delivery controller (ADC) is essential for improving microservices-based applications’ availability, performance, and security. In addition, most companies adopting cloud-native architectures are building microservices in public clouds to take advantage of the on-demand scalability offered by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and others.

Microservices Architecture

How do microservices work?

A microservice is a lightweight component or service that performs a unique function within an application. The best software solutions are delivered by smaller components that work together as independent parts of a whole. It is common for development teams to develop and maintain large applications and services using separate modules, with each module developed and maintained separately. This helps the team improve their application and services more quickly.

Individual microservices communicate via APIs, often over the HTTP protocol, using a REST API or messaging queue. Microservices are a modern approach to software development. Developing services presents unique challenges for everyone involved, from the teams using the service to the architects who plan it out.

Because they are distributed systems, microservices must be built with extra care and attention, as they require extra care and attention. As a result, Microservices development involves many challenges. One of the main challenges is how to handle service discovery, messaging protocols between the client and services, and between microservices.

Microservices integration is yet another essential consideration when designing a microservices-based application. A best practice is developing business logic code as part of a service and offloading the networking code to a type of infrastructure called a service mesh. Service meshes are a way to manage communication between the individual microservices that make up an application. They mustn’t contain business logic. Instead, a framework of smart endpoints and dumb pipes is used in the microservices architecture. It means that the microservices themselves employ the logic to integrate the application.

In the meantime, microservices deployment follows an agile, scalable, and repeatable process called continuous integration and continuous delivery, or CI/CD. The primary benefit of CI/CD is that it merges application development and operations to reduce microservice deployment times.

DevOps teams can make near-instantaneous changes to applications, and with that agility comes more responsibility. The DevOps movement is a revolution in how developers and operations work together. It requires everyone involved to be highly agile and nimble, with developers able to work closely with the operations team. In addition, it involves application owners taking responsibility for their systems.

What does microservices architecture look like?

Microservices are not a new take on application development: Microservices architecture has roots in the design principles of Unix-based operating systems and the famous service-oriented architecture (SOA) model. Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is a new concept introduced by SOA International (SOA) and the Open Grid Services Architecture (OGSA). It introduces services and service composition and helps to separate code into functional units.

Microservices architecture is a powerful tool that can separate a business into many microservices that work as independent units. Smaller development teams can run these more minor services, giving your organization a competitive advantage. Agile DevOps is a preferred approach for IT organizations looking to make their applications more agile, scalable, and resilient while making them easier to manage with fewer developer resources.

Microservices - Mobile app and Browser

Container-based microservices are a common way of implementing a microservices architecture. Kubernetes is an open-source platform for managing containers. The container orchestration system, Kubernetes, automates the management, deployment, and scaling of containers across multiple servers by abstracting the underlying infrastructure. Kubernetes makes it easy for developers and operators to automate much of the work of container management by using their preferred open source and commercial tools.

Another architectural style choice to be determined is how to expose the microservices within containers when they receive a request from an external client. For example, a popular way to improve the security of an eCommerce website is to use an ingress controller, which works as a reverse proxy or load balancer.

All external traffic is routed to the ingress controller. Then, it is either forwarded to the internal service or another service if one is available. In addition to the standard REST-based API, you may have a set of APIs provided as web services through an API gateway to simplify your clients’ needs.

An API Gateway helps DevOps teams automate their CI/CD workflows. Each microservice has its API, which manages requests over a protocol such as HTTP to communicate with other microservices and the application. A microservice-based application typically contains many microservices and APIs. For example, an API gateway reduces the latency associated with multiple TCP or TLS encryption hops.

An API gateway enables DevOps to

  • Enforce authentication policies
  • Rate limit access to services
  • Enact advanced content routing
  • Perform flexible and comprehensive transformation of HTTP transactions using the rewrite and responder policies
  • Enforce web application firewall policies

What are the types of microservices?

The primary types of microservices are stateful and stateless.

Stateful microservices

A Stateful microservice records the state of data after an action for use in a subsequent session. For example, online transaction processing such as bank account withdrawals or setting an account’s balance are stateful because they must be saved to persist across sessions. Stateful components can be pretty complex to manage. They require stateful load balancing, so they can only be replaced by other components that have the same state.

Stateless microservices

Statelessness can be defined as the absence of memory. With no memory, there are no states. This is a crucial characteristic of microservices. Stateless microservices are always preferred in cloud environments. They can be spun up as needed and used interchangeably. If you pre-commit to using X servers, storage, and networking infrastructure, you may not be able to use those resources because your cluster might be split across multiple regions.

As organizations increasingly choose multi-cloud strategies for application deployment, they are relying on containerized microservices for application portability across on-premises and public clouds. Because each microservice in a distributed architecture can be deployed, developed, and scaled independently, IT teams can quickly make changes to any part of a production application without affecting the application’s end users. Microservices are a big deal in today’s web development. They enable rapid application development and can help your company to get products and services to the customer faster.

Companies should be agile and flexible to innovate. Many companies are moving their applications to public clouds to achieve that. Moving monolithic applications to the cloud can’t help you take full advantage of the agile, scalable, and resilient features of the public cloud infrastructure.

Microservice-based architectures make it easy to write device and platform-agnostic applications, so organizations can deploy microservice-based applications to a range of infrastructure types and to different platforms and devices. A key advantage is that you save yourself money by buying directly from the manufacturer.

  • Each microservice can be built and deployed independently, allowing for more rapid releases because development work can be spread across multiple teams, and key components can be easily shared and reused.
  • Developers are not limited to using the same frameworks and languages for the entire application because of microservices function as independent processes.
  • Microservices can be easily scaled with tools like Kubernetes to handle increased requests.
  • Microservices don’t require complex integration testing but can use simple automated testing as part of the CI/CD pipeline to deploy the application to production.

How organizations benefit from microservices?

The use of microservices benefits organizations by helping them realize their business objectives, whether an overarching focus like digital transformation or a specific need like refactoring an on-premises legacy application to run in a highly scalable cloud environment.

By using microservices and cloud-based platforms, companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Google have created new products, acquired competitors, and improved their offerings quickly. By building applications using microservices, you can develop features independently of other features in a product or service and release them all at once. This helps you deliver your products and services to customers faster.

How do software development teams benefit from microservices?

A microservice is a small, autonomous, single-purpose service that is easy to develop, test, and deploy—and also easy to change and maintain.

Microservice architecture allows developers to focus on a specific function of an application rather than the entire application.

The use of microservices paired with practices like assembling small teams rather than large teams and making agile software development a part of your culture is the key to the most modern way of software delivery. The best DevOps teams work to constantly narrow the scope of what they are responsible for developing, while also owning the entire software development lifecycle for a particular function.

How end users benefit from microservices?

When a monolithic application must be rebuilt or redeployed for any reason, including to release a major update or to fix a minor bug, the application end-user experience can suffer.

Microservices-based applications let developers quickly make changes to only the affected microservices. They don’t have to wait for a full deployment to be made to an entire application.

Customers who run the application and other end-users who use the application should have no discernible difference when the microservice they depend upon is updated in production.

Microservices best practices

Microservices best practices often involve automation, but are often applied in concert with other automation strategies. CI/CD is the latest development approach used by microservices teams today, which is why developers are challenged to keep their microservices in sync. Large organizations are able to efficiently manage their Kubernetes cluster with the help of a container orchestration platform such as Kubernetes.

Kubernetes is a tool used to run containers (or ‘containers’) in a cluster of virtual machines. However, Kubernetes environments are difficult to deploy and troubleshoot, so many organizations struggle to deploy microservices-based applications quickly and reliably. With our approach to architecture and design that addresses challenges and open questions in the architectural planning phase of development, we are better equipped to meet our clients’ unique needs.

DevOps can effectively solve for such microservices best practices concerns as:

  • Choosing the right architecture for providing the greatest benefits relative to the complexity of implementation and available skill sets
  • Using automated processes and tools to manage at scale
  • Gaining visibility into microservices at scale
  • Minimizing the complexity of testing a large number of services that each have unique dependencies
  • Achieving better performance and scale for large clusters with a lower memory footprint and lower latency
  • Eliminating the observability blind spot for east-west traffic between microservices
  • Quickly pinpointing issues when a service fails or a server goes down
  • Ensuring a consistent security posture across all microservices and APIs, including for ingress (north-south) traffic and intra-cluster (east-west) traffic

Microservices security and authentication

When building security in microservices applications, it starts with adopting a zero trust approach, where every request to every resource must be authenticated and authorized. Containerized applications are great, but it’s important to correctly apply role-based access control (RBAC) permissions and security policies in Kubernetes. This eBook provides tips on how to enforce security within a Kubernetes cluster and how to secure ingress and egress.

Microservices management

One challenge of microservices management is maintaining the speed of development while not sacrificing security. Microservices in microservice-based applications protect north-south traffic from the application, and also help east-west traffic by moving it away from the services where the load is greatest.

Microservices Management
Many of the same security challenges that are present with monolithic applications also exist in microservices-based applications, especially with regard to north-south traffic that requires:

  • Controlled access to the application
  • Prevention of unauthorized bot traffic
  • Verification of requests to prevent application attacks
  • Traffic steering to the right resources to be processed
  • Encrypted traffic needs to protect data in transit

Microservices access control

Microservices need to have unique identifiers for users. From an identity and access management perspective, this means that all users must be identified in order to grant them access to a particular microservice.

By using a centralized directory service as a single source of identity and authentication, DevOps teams can abstract the function of global authentication and authorization away from individual microservices. A microservices-based architecture for an application that runs in a containerized environment must solve for providing secure access to dynamic services whose locations change.

An API gateway acts as the single point of entry and ensures secure and reliable access to the APIs and microservices within the application. The API web client calls the API gateway, which forwards the call to the appropriate services on the back end.

Security policies are used to protect your containers and pods, so they can be secure and accessible. The system can also detect whether the application is being attacked by an attacker. If it detects that the application is being attacked, the system can block the attack. We can’t stop hackers from getting in, but we can limit their ability to take over our systems and wreak havoc. To do that, we need to control access to the things that make our systems work.

Microservices monitoring

One of the three key sites for observability is monitoring microservices. Microservices provide a unified view for the environment and as such should be monitored. Monitoring the status of a large number of microservices is not easy.

There are many endpoints, which makes it a more attractive target for cyber attackers. Microservices are highly-scalable and secure, which means that if you find an unexpected performance problem, your ability to diagnose it and isolate the issue quickly is essential.

Root cause analysis can be very difficult to identify and troubleshoot for dynamic applications. When a microservice fails, it needs to be troubleshot. This includes seeing where the failure happens, why it happens, and who is impacted. A key metric that needs to be monitored is infrastructure, containers, and their contents and their API endpoints. An alert system plays a crucial role in helping to pinpoint issues that need to be addressed.

AppViewX solutions for microservices

To adopt microservices and a modernized application architecture, organizations must also adopt a modernized approach to application delivery and security.

An application delivery controller (ADC) is key to improving the availability, performance, and security of microservice-based applications. While some companies have not yet decided which technologies to use in cloud development, many developers are already building applications in cloud technologies that require the use of containers and microservices.

AppViewX supports an organization’s transition to microservices-based applications by providing operational consistency for application delivery across multi-cloud environments to ensure an optimal experience for the application end user.

AppViewX offers production-grade, fully supported application delivery and security solutions that provide the most comprehensive integration with Kubernetes platforms and open source tools. They’re greater in scale, and with less latency, and they have consistent application and API security.

HIPAA Compliance

  1. What is HIPAA Compliance?
  2. What are the HIPAA Compliance rules?
  3. Types of Entities under HIPAA Compliance
  4. Why do you need to be HIPAA Compliant?
  5. HIPAA Compliance Updates
  6. HIPAA Compliance Checklist
  7. HIPAA Compliance Violations
  8. Best Practices to meet HIPAA Compliance Mandates
  9. Summary

What is HIPAA Compliance?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that mandated the development of international guidelines to safeguard sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s knowledge or agreement. Legislation was passed to make the American healthcare system more effective at protecting patient information and healthcare records. It achieves this by establishing standards for the security and privacy of healthcare data. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was mandated by HIPAA to develop new rules pertaining to this data. The Privacy Rule and Security Rule are the two documents that the HHS has released so far.

All personal health information (PHI) and electronic PHI (ePHI) must be handled in accordance with the Privacy and Security Rules. Any health-related data that contains personally identifiable information (PII) is referred to as personal health information (PHI) (name, address, health conditions). Furthermore, HIPAA prohibits healthcare institutions from asking for Social Security numbers (SSNs) as part of data collection.

What are the HIPAA Compliance rules?

Privacy Rule (2003)

The HIPAA Privacy Rule was initially implemented in 2003. Entities subject to the Privacy Rule include healthcare providers, clearinghouses, and other organizations involved in the health insurance industry. Business partners in the healthcare industry were added to the list in 2013. The Privacy Rule establishes guidelines to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information. It gives patients more control over their health information and sets boundaries on the use and release of health records.

A key objective of the Privacy Rule is to guarantee that critical healthcare data is secured while permitting the flow of health-related information required to deliver and promote high-quality healthcare, as well as to safeguard the well-being of the public at large. The Privacy Rule aims to prevent entities from disclosing more information than necessary in order to protect the privacy of those seeking medical treatment and recovery.

2023 EMA Report: SSL/TLS Certificate Security-Management and Expiration Challenges

Security Rule (2005)

The HIPAA Security Rule lays out requirements for guarding electronic PHI that a covered entity generates, uses, acquires, or maintains. It focuses on regulations pertaining to protecting electronic data, whereas the Privacy Rule regulates the privacy and confidentiality of all PHI, including oral, written, and electronic PHI. One of the main objectives of the Security Rule is to safeguard individuals’ PHI while enabling healthcare organizations to innovate and implement cutting-edge technologies that enhance the effectiveness and quality of patient treatment.

The Security Rule takes into account adaptability, scalability, and technology neutrality. This indicates that there are no particular restrictions on the kinds of technologies that covered entities must employ. Instead, they have the freedom to employ any security measures that enable them to properly implement the standards. The covered entity is responsible for determining which security measures and technologies are optimal for its business.

HIPAA Enforcement Rule (2006)

The HIPAA Enforcement Rule enables HHS to look into complaints filed against covered entities who aren’t abiding by HIPAA regulations. Additionally, it grants HHS the authority to sanction these organizations for violations of electronically protected health information. It is developed by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, and the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is in charge of enforcing it. It aims to track down ePHI handlers involved in breaches and penalize them once found responsible.

A penalty will be applied in the event of non-compliance, depending on the seriousness. Financial penalties might be as high as $1.5 million. You won’t be subject to the HIPAA enforcement statute as long as you abide by these requirements.

HITECH Act (2009)

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) is a provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which was passed during the Obama administration as a means of boosting the economy. HITECH reinforced the privacy and security provisions of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and encouraged the development and use of health information technology. It also allowed patients to take a proactive interest in their health.

The HITECH Act aids in ensuring that healthcare institutions and their business partners adhere to the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, put security measures in place to protect patient health information, limit how it is used and disclosed, and fulfill their commitment to give patients copies of their medical records upon request.

The Breach Notification Rule (2009)

According to the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule, covered entities and business partners must notify affected individuals when there is an insecure PHI breach. Any improper use or disclosure of PHI in accordance with the Privacy and Security Rules constitutes a breach. The organization must undertake a risk assessment after a potential breach to ascertain the extent and impact of the occurrence and to determine whether notifications are necessary.
The following elements should serve as the basis for the risk assessment:

  • The type and extent of the PHI concerned
  • The unauthorized entity who used the PHI or to whom the disclosure was made
  • The level of risk mitigation achieved with respect to PHI

Unless it can show a low chance that PHI was compromised, a covered entity must notify the appropriate authorities. Individual, media, and secretary notices fall under the category of breach notifications.

Omnibus Final Rule (2013)

The Omnibus Rule indicates that business partners, or any company that generates, receives, keeps, or transmits PHI on behalf of a covered entity, must maintain compliance with the Privacy Rule and Security Rule and are responsible for any HIPAA violations. While handling PHI or ePHI, these business associates must sign a business associate agreement (BAA) recognizing necessary HIPAA compliance. It includes revisions and changes to every rule that has already been approved. The Security, Privacy, Breach Notification, and Enforcement Rules have been modified in order to improve the security and confidentiality of data exchange. The Omnibus Rule made all the requirements for HIPAA and HITECH compliance available in a single, comprehensive regulation.

Types of Entities under HIPAA Compliance

Covered Entities: HIPAA compliance is required of all healthcare businesses and institutions that collect personal health information (PHI). This covers healthcare facilities, like hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, nursing homes, etc. Enterprises that provide healthcare plans, such as health insurance companies, group health programs, and healthcare clearinghouses that translate PHI data into a standard format for electronic communication need to be HIPAA compliant.

Business Associates: Any person or organization that carries out specific tasks or obligations that include utilizing or disclosing PHI, either on behalf of or as a service provider to a covered entity, is referred to as a business associate. Business partners can provide services to covered entities without having to engage with patients directly. But in order to guarantee that their partnered business associates protect the shared PHI following HIPAA standards, the covered entities must sign a business associate agreement (BAA). Business partners are also fully responsible for any HIPAA violations and are subject to the same sanctions as covered entities.

Sub-Contractors: An individual or organization that generates, maintains, and sends health information on behalf of a business associate is referred to as a subcontractor. A HIPAA subcontractor has the same legal obligations as any of the business associates.

Hybrid Entities: A hybrid entity typically operates as a business and performs both HIPAA-covered and non-covered functions. For instance, any sizable business that offers its employees a self-insured healthcare plan is a hybrid entity. In this organization, the part dealing with the healthcare component (healthcare insurance, which is a covered entity) is subject to HIPAA compliance. A hybrid corporation must ensure that the PHI is restricted to the HIPAA-compliant segments.

Researchers: If patients have given their agreement to disclose and use their PHI for research, covered entities are permitted by HIPAA standards to share that information with researchers. Such situations do not necessitate the execution of a business associate agreement. Before revealing the PHI, the covered entity must create and sign a data usage agreement with the partnered researcher.

Why do you need to be HIPAA Compliant?

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notes that HIPAA compliance is more crucial than ever as healthcare providers and other organizations, that deal with PHI, transition to digital operations, including computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems, electronic health records (EHR), and radiology, pharmacy, and laboratory systems. Similarly, health insurance plans offer access to applications for care management and self-service. All of these evolving technologies boost productivity and mobility, but they also significantly raise security threats for healthcare data.

Any company managing PHI or healthcare data must make sure that their security policies and software controls adhere to the HIPAA Security and Privacy Rules. These regulations permit covered entities to process, store and transmit PHI without worrying about civil or criminal penalties.

HIPAA regulations standardize the use of IT and software security controls. Without these regulations, PHI-processing firms are not subject to any explicit standards for safeguarding patient data (i.e., for maintaining the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the data).
The U.S. federal government’s enforcement of HIPAA regulations ensures that businesses treat the implementation of PHI controls seriously and that American healthcare customers have a channel to turn to if their PHI is treated improperly.

HIPAA Compliance Updates

With the introduction of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, there are now restrictions on the uses and disclosures of protected health information as well as new patient rights and minimum security requirements. The HITECH Act was incorporated after these HIPAA changes, and it resulted in the creation of the Breach Notification Rule in 2009 and the Omnibus Final Rule in 2013. Such extensive HIPAA revisions imposed a heavy burden on HIPAA-covered companies, and it took a lot of time and effort to implement new policies and procedures to maintain HIPAA compliance.
It has been a decade since the last major update was implemented. Several HIPAA-related problems have emerged over the last ten years as a result of evolving working procedures and technological advancements.

HIPAA Compliance Checklist

A HIPAA compliance checklist is designed to make sure enterprises subject to the Administrative Simplification requirements are aware of which provisions they must follow and how to effectively achieve and maintain HIPAA compliance. To make sure business partners are HIPAA compliant when necessary, it’s crucial for firms to understand their compliance duties. Critical checklist items around HIPAA Compliance include:



  • Determine whether the Privacy Rule applies to you
  • Know the right type of data you must secure
  • Understand the Security Rule and types of safeguards
  • Recognize the reasons for HIPAA non-compliance or violations
  • Keep track of all actions taken to secure data
  • Create breach notifications in the event of data loss
  • Implement technical protections to prevent unauthorized ePHI access

HIPAA Compliance Violations

The regulatory authority will monitor your actions if you violate HIPAA rules, and if you are found in violation, you will be required to pay penalties. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), which added extra fines to encourage widespread compliance, reinforced these restrictions.

For HIPAA noncompliance, the Office of Civil Rights has the authority to levy a number of tier-based fines. Whether the covered entity/business associate violated the HIPAA rules willfully or accidentally will determine how much of a fine is assessed.

For first-tier violations, the fine can range from $100 for each uninformed violation to a maximum of $25,000 for repeated offenses. However, based on the regulatory body’s evaluation, this sum can rise to $50,000 for each infraction and a maximum of $1.5 million annually. If you are subject to the second-tier penalty, you must pay a maximum fine of $1000 per violation and a maximum yearly fine of $100,000. The maximum fine for any justifiable reason for violation is $50,000, with a cap of $1.5 million per year, just like in the first tier.

Some of the most common instances of HIPAA compliance violations include:

  • Failure to secure medical records
  • Data breaches
  • Lack of strong encryption and authentication
  • Incorrect disposal of patient data
  • Lack of employee training
  • Unintentional disclosure of medical records
  • Missed risk analysis
  • Refusal to provide access to patient data
  • Entering into a HIPAA non-compliant Business Associate Agreement
  • Disclosure of PHI to a third party

Best Practices to meet HIPAA Compliance Mandates

Strong authentication, encryption and access control: Access control is a critical component of data security that determines who can access and use your company’s information and resources. Access control policies make sure users are who they say they are and have the appropriate access to company data. Authenticating device and user identity will prevent unauthorized access to critical data and sensitive ePHI. Machine identities enable critical authentication, access, and encryption, thereby defending against security vulnerabilities. Public key encryption is vital for mutual authentication. It’s important to implement appropriate security measures to prevent encryption keys and digital certificates from being compromised.

Exhaustive risk analysis: Organizations must conduct a risk analysis at least once a year in compliance with HIPAA. Regular risk analyses can help you identify potential vulnerabilities and develop a cybersecurity plan that is tailored to your specific requirements. Every organization is vulnerable to certain security risks, whether it be for PII or ePHI, therefore it’s critical to assess your situation and develop a credible plan to address any security concerns and blind spots.

Well-documented policies and procedures: You must comply with HIPAA and have officially defined policies and procedures for ePHI protection. All members of your company who handle ePHI must have access to the most recent version of your policies and procedures.

Employee training: By law, HIPAA compliance training is necessary for anybody who handles personal health information (PHI). This covers all medical professionals who deal with patient information, such as doctors, nurses, administrators, front desk staff, rotating residents, etc.

Strong network security: Install firewalls to block unauthorized access to computers and networks. Some of the surefire ways to defend against network-related threats include: monitoring firewall performance, updating passwords regularly, creating strong passwords, implementing multi-factor authentication, using updated protocols and software versions, installing anti-virus software, and relying on advanced endpoint detection.


HIPAA has created a paradigm shift in how the healthcare sector uses, shares, and preserves patient health information. It stipulates that the covered entities and business partners must uphold a variety of patients’ legally enforceable rights. Being HIPAA compliant will not only save you from hefty penalties but also protect your organization from security risks and advanced cyber threats targeting sensitive patient records.

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Cybersecurity Best Practices For Healthcare You Need To Know

eIDAS Compliance

  1. What is the eIDAS Regulation?
  2. Why Was eIDAS Introduced?
  3. What Does eIDAS Include?
  4. Who Provides Electronic Trust Services?
  5. What are the Benefits of Complying with the eIDAS Regulation?
  6. Where is eIDAS Applicable, and Who Should Comply?
  7. What is eIDAS 2.0?
  8. How is eIDAS 2.0 different from eIDAS 1.0?
  9. When will eIDAS 2.0 be enforced?
  10. eIDAS for Secure and Fast Digital Transactions

What is the eIDAS Regulation?

eIDAS stands for electronic identification, authentication, and trust services and refers to a European Union (EU) regulation that governs electronic transactions in the EU member states.

The two primary objectives of the eIDAS regulation include:

  • Enable interoperability of government-issued electronic identification schemes (eIDS) to ensure secure and seamless electronic transactions. This allows citizens, businesses, and public authorities within the EU to use their national eIDS when accessing public services online in any EU member state.
  • Create a single digital market for trust services in the EU by ensuring that the trust services work across borders and have the same legal status as their traditional paper-based counterparts.

By providing legal certainty to electronic identification and trust services, eIDAS aims to build trust and confidence in electronic transactions and promote their usage.

eIDAS was initially introduced in 2014 as “Regulation 910/2014” and was later enforced across the EU from July 1, 2016, repealing the old eSignatures Directive.

Why Was eIDAS Introduced?

Previously, identity verification mandated the physical attendance of customers in the commercial office, store, or branch of the organization they were transacting with. The entire process was paper-driven, requiring in-person meetings, signatures, physical stamps, and documents. This inevitably led to long waiting periods and process delays, leaving customers frustrated.

The eIDAS regulation was introduced to remove these process barriers and make the transactional experience friction-free for both customers and organizations. eIDAS provided the framework to use reliable digital identification mechanisms that allow users to verify their identities digitally, removing the need for in-person verification. The digital identification mechanisms provided by eIDAS are as secure as physical verification, with the highest level of security and legality confirmed by a Conformity Assessment Body.

By creating a flexible and secure online environment for user verification, eIDAS accelerates the transactional process and improves user experience while reducing cost and workload for organizations.

What Does eIDAS Include?

To help EU member states recognize electronic identification and trust services as legal equivalents to physical or paper-based services, eIDAS defines the standards for the provisioning and effectiveness of various trust services, such as electronic signatures, electronic seals, electronic time stamps, electronic registered delivery services, and certificate services for website authentication.

The trust services covered under the eIDAS regulation include:

  1. Advanced and Qualified Electronic Signatures associated to a legal or natural person or entity
  2. Advanced and Qualified Electronic Seals associated to a legal person or entity
  3. Qualified validation for Qualified Electronic Signatures and Seals
  4. Qualified preservation of Qualified Electronic Signatures and Seals
  5. Qualified time stamps
  6. Electronic Registered Delivery Services (ERDS)
  7. Qualified Website Authentication Certificate (QWAC)

Here are the definitions of the trust services covered under the eIDAS regulation:

1. Electronic Signature: Data in electronic form that is attached to or logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign.

eIDAS classifies electronic signatures into three types with increasing levels of security:

  • Simple Electronic Signature (SES): Any form of a digital mark that indicates the acceptance of a document. It could be a typed name, a scanned copy of the handwritten signature, or pressing a button that says ‘I Agree’ or ‘I accept,’ also referred to as a clickwrap signature. SES is acceptable in cases where the digital identity of the signatory need not be verified.
  • Advanced Electronic Signature (AES): As Simple Electronic Signatures are vulnerable to forgery and tampering, AES stipulates stricter requirements for user verification in high-risk and sensitive transactions, such as loan applications, property sales, etc. According to the eIDAS regulation, an advanced electronic signature must be:
    • Uniquely linked to its signer
    • Capable of identifying the signer
    • Created using a private key, which is under the sole control of the signer
    • Linked to the data in a way that detects any changes in the data in order to invalidate it
  • Qualified Electronic Signature (QES): The QES is granted a special status in the eIDAS regulation, which gives it the same legal weightage as the handwritten signature across the EU. According to eIDAS, a QES must:
    • Be generated using a qualified signature creation device (QSCD)
    • Supported by a qualified certificate issued by an EU Trust Service Provider (TSP) registered in the EU Trusted List (ETL). Qualified certificates must be stored on a QSCD, such as a USB token or a smart card. The certificate proves that the electronic signature is original and trustworthy.

2. Electronic Seals (eSeals): These are data in electronic form that validate the origin and integrity of other logically associated data. They are equivalent to physical stamps used in business invoices and contracts. A Qualified Electronic Seal is created using a qualified certificate for the electronic seal that is stored on a qualified signature creation device (QSCD).

2023 EMA Report: SSL/TLS Certificate Security-Management and Expiration Challenges

3. Electronic Timestamp (eTimestamp): This is a piece of electronic data that binds other electronic data to a particular time providing evidence that the document existed at that time and has not been altered since. It can be used with a Qualified Electronic Signature to prove exactly when exactly the document was signed, making it easier to track documents.

4. Electronic Registered Delivery Services (ERDS): These services provide a secure infrastructure for the electronic transfer of data between two transacting parties or systems, with evidence, such as proof of sending and receipt. This builds accountability and minimizes the risk of data getting stolen, lost, or altered.

5. Qualified Website Authentication Certificate (QWAC): These certificates are used to validate the identity of websites. They help authenticate the entity that owns the website and verify the website’s legitimacy. A QWAC provides users with confidence that the website they are interacting with is trustworthy, which helps protect them from phishing sites and online scams.

Who Provides Electronic Trust Services?

Trust Service Providers (TSPs) provide electronic trust services. These are Certificate Authorities (CAs) that create digital certificates for electronic transactions such as e-signatures. Qualified Trust Service Providers (QTSPs) are those that are qualified by the Member State’s supervisory body and are listed in the EU Trust List. Only QTSPs can offer services, such as Qualified Electronic Signatures required to authenticate highly secure transactions.

What are the Benefits of Complying with the eIDAS Regulation?

In complying with eIDAS, organizations and citizens can benefit in many ways, including:

  • Minimized process overhead and costs: As administrative services are carried out online, paper workloads and associated costs are reduced. The process is more streamlined and user-friendly. Organizations can share the documents with users and receive their legally accepted signatures online, accelerating the identification and customer acquisition process.
  • Increased trust and security in cross-border transactions: When working with businesses in other member states of the EU, using electronic signatures makes business transactions more secure. Using a QES ensures a high-level of assurance for the data that is not always assured when sent via physical means, such as post or fax.
  • Interoperability and service convenience: Businesses today increasingly work either with partners in other member states or in multiple member states. In such cases, the EU-wide standard for electronic identification and trust services makes it easier and faster for businesses to carry out their transactions anywhere in the EU. There is no uncertainty over the legitimacy of the deal or legal compliance in different regions. eIDAS is also immensely useful for citizens as it allows people from one EU member state to electronically avail public services in other EU member states using their existing national eID and complete transactions regardless of their location.
  • Transparency and standardization in the EU market:

By establishing uniform standards for the use of trust services across the EU, eIDAS makes electronic services more transparent and establishes a Digital Single Market (DSM) in the EU that permits trust services complying with the regulation to be circulated freely in the internal market.

Where is eIDAS Applicable, and Who Should Comply?

The eIDAS regulation is applicable in all EU member states. Any individual, business, or public authority transacting electronically in the EU needs to comply with the eIDAS Regulation.

As all European organizations are expected to comply with eIDAS, any organization that has a European presence or conducts business with an organization within the EU will have to comply with eIDAS. The United Kingdom has also adopted eIDAS into its legal system, although with a few amendments.

What is eIDAS 2.0?

In June 2021, the European Commission proposed an update to the eIDAS regulation of 2014. The revision, popularly known as eIDAS 2.0, builds on the original regulation and aims to improve the security and reliability of identification and trust services to ensure the regulation is implemented consistently across all member states, in both public and private sectors.

At the heart of the eIDAS regulation is the concept of a digital wallet. A European Digital Identity (EUDI) Wallet is a mobile application or a cloud service that allows all EU citizens and businesses to store and manage their digital identity credentials and use them securely and privately for several government and private services.

How is eIDAS 2.0 different from eIDAS 1.0?

Unlike eIDAS 1.0, which called for persistent, rigid IDs, the revised proposal focuses on end-users and employs self-sovereign identity (SSI) to give users more ownership and control over their identification information. This means users have the control to only share information that’s necessary for a particular transaction instead of revealing all available information. For instance, if someone needs to prove their age to avail a service, they will be allowed only to share this information and not other personal details, such as their home address, driver’s license number, etc.

Another significant change introduced by the eIDAS 2.0 regulation is the expansion of the scope of the regulation by including three new types of electronic trust services: Electronic archiving services, electronic ledgers, and the management of remote electronic signature and seal creation devices.

eIDAS 2.0 also aims to remove the complexities and barriers that the earlier regulation posed for the private sector by providing more detailed technical and operational requirements and guidelines around employing electronic identification and trust services. This will help reduce online fraud, protect privacy rights, and increase transparency.

When will eIDAS 2.0 be enforced?

eIDAS 2.0 is expected to be enforced starting in September 2023, when all EU member states are required to ensure digital identity wallets are available to all EU citizens, residents, and businesses. Currently, only 14 European member states have electronic ID schemes covering 59% of citizens. With eIDAS 2.0, the European Commission expects 80% of EU citizens to use a digital ID by 2030.

eIDAS for Secure and Fast Digital Transactions

The eIDAS regulation lays a strong foundation and clear legal framework for people, businesses, and public administrations to securely and conveniently carry out regular online activities, such as filing tax returns, getting a driver’s license, applying for university, opening a bank account, setting up a business in another member state, and more. When implemented, eIDAS 2.0 will be a game-changer for both the public and the private sector by serving as a key enabler for secure digital transactions.

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What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is a container orchestration tool—an open-source, extensible platform for deploying, scaling and managing the complete life cycle of containerized applications across a cluster of machines. Kubernetes is Greek for helmsman, and true to its name, it allows you to coordinate a fleet of containerized applications anywhere you want to run them: on-premises, in the cloud, or both.

Where did Kubernetes originate?

Docker has taken the world by storm, with container orchestration solutions like Kubernetes helping enterprises scale, monitor, and automate applications in containers. Kubernetes is managed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation under the auspices of the Linux Foundation. It’s supported by thousands of contributors, including top corporations such as Red Hat and IBM, as well as certified partners—experienced service providers, training providers, certified distributors, hosted platforms, and installers.

Kubernetes originate

What is Kubernetes used for?

Kubernetes is used to manage microservices architectures and is often deployed in most cloud environments.

Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure all support Kubernetes, enabling IT to move applications to the cloud more easily. Kubernetes offers many benefits for developers, with capabilities such as service discovery and load balancing, automatic deployment and rollback, and auto-scaling based on traffic and server load. Kubernetes is crucial because:

  • As the Containerization ecosystem is maturing, Kubernetes is the default for the cloud
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings like Red Hat’s OpenShift, based around Docker containers, enable developers to share source code and extensions
  • When developers contribute code to the open source Kubernetes project on GitHub, they are contributing their expertise and making the platform even more robust
  • Containers are a must-have for DevOps; they provide developers a way to quickly build, deploy, run, and scale their applications. They enable long-running services to always be available and help to eliminate the need to worry about infrastructure issues and infrastructure updates.

What is a Kubernetes cluster?

A Kubernetes cluster is the physical platform that underpins Kubernetes architecture. If you think of it, it’s a way to bring together individual physical and virtual machines on a network and can be viewed as a series of layers, each of which abstracts the layer beneath it. Whether you use Kubernetes, the control plane of the cloud, the building blocks of which are the nodes, pods, and a control plane.

In the control plane, we run on a server, or, for purposes of fault tolerance and high availability, in a group of servers. Also known as the master node, the control plane runs the Kubernetes API and manages the worker nodes and pods in the cluster.

Kubernetes cluster

K8s is a tool that ensures that Kubernetes interacts well with applications and maintains the cluster’s desired state, such as which applications are running and which container images they use. The four major components of the control plane are

  • API server: The front-end of the cluster controls the overall cluster health by directing all of the messages between components. Local computers interact with the Kubernetes cluster using a client called kubectl.
  • Scheduler: This component assigns newly formed pods to a node and assigns workloads to specific nodes in the cluster.
  • Controller-manager: This ensures that the cluster is functioning correctly and tracks the available capacity of each controller and other services in the cluster. 
  • etcd: The distributed key-value store that maintains details about how Kubernetes needs to be configured.

Worker nodes perform tasks requested by the control plane. They include the following components that run on every node to maintain running pods:

  • Kubelet: This software agent executes orders from the master node and ensures the containers are running and healthy.
  • Kube-proxy: This service maintains network rules on nodes.
  • Container runtime: This software, such as Docker, is responsible for starting and running containers.

Kubelets are the group of one or more containers and the smallest units in Kubernetes architecture. They have the same computing resources and the same network. Each pod represents a single instance of an application, and each is assigned a unique IP address. This enables applications to use ports. The pods are created and destroyed on the nodes as needed to keep the system stable.

What is a service in Kubernetes?

 Kubernetes, a container orchestration platform, enables developers to run any containerized application across many servers or nodes, regardless of language or framework. The service maintains a stable IP address and a single DNS name for a set of pods so that as they are created and destroyed, the other pods can connect using the same IP address. The Kubernetes documentation says that the pods that make up the backend of an application don’t need to change, but the front end does.

What are Kubernetes networking and load balancing?

Networking is central to the distributed systems that run a cluster. Kubernetes networking uses the idea that every container in a pod has a unique IP address that is shared by all the containers in the pod and is routable from all other pods regardless of what node they are on. To ensure that a container is always running and able to respond to service requests, you must designate a shared network namespace for the container.

Kubernetes networking and load balancing

If each pod contains its own IP address, then there is only one port per pod. You can run multiple applications in a pod without affecting traffic between pods. The POD-per-Pod model is a new and promising approach that empowers container developers to run containerized apps in any size that fits their needs. To provide services that require Internet connectivity, Cloud platforms like Amazon EC2 use IP addresses to control access to these services. There is a Kubernetes feature called kube-proxy, which implements the iptables feature of using either random or round-robin IP management to distribute network traffic among pods on an IP list.

What is a Kubernetes ingress controller?

As a result, kube-proxy does not provide advanced features, including Layer 7 load balancing and observability, making it unsuitable for Ingress as a load balancer. An Ingress API object that enables you to set up traffic routing rules for managing external access to the Kubernetes cluster. Ingress is just the first step. However, it specifies the traffic rules and the destination but requires an additional component, an ingress controller, to actually grant access to external services.

A Kubernetes ingress controller provides routing, filtering, and other services that ensure that incoming requests reach the appropriate applications. There is a wide range of open-source ingress controllers available, and all major cloud providers support ingress controllers that are compatible with their load balancers and integrate natively with other cloud services. You can use Kubernetes to run many ingress controllers within your cluster. They can be used to address each request and select the one that matches the best conditions at that point in time.

AppViewX solutions for Kubernetes

Microservice deployment in a Kubernetes-enabled environment is critical for any organization that’s embarking on its journey to microservices. With AppViewX ADC+, IT and DevOps managers can deploy applications in Kubernetes without worrying about the complexities of running a highly scaled system themselves. With one package containing all these benefits that come from isolation, efficiency, and safety.

  • Cloud agnostic managed Kubernetes support (EKS, AKS, GKE)
  • Cloud agnostic native deployment support (AWS, Azure, GCP)
  • Eliminate operational complexity with a user-friendly platform
  • Enterprise-ready architecture and standardized deployment

Appviewx product that automates the deployment of applications using Kubernetes: ADC+