Evaluation of Network-Layer Security Technologies for Cloud Platforms
Perustieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
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Security and Cloud Computing
Master’s Programme in Security and Cloud Computing (SECCLO)
AbstractWith the emergence of cloud-native applications, the need to secure networks and services creates new requirements concerning automation, manageability, and scalability across data centers. Several solutions have been developed to overcome the limitations of the conventional and well established IPsec suite as a secure tunneling solution. One strategy to meet these new requirements has been the design of software-based overlay networks. In this thesis, we assess the deployment of a traditional IPsec VPN solution against a new secure overlay mesh network called Nebula. We conduct a case study by provisioning an experimental system to evaluate Nebula in four key areas: reliability, security, manageability, and performance. We discuss the strengths of Nebula and its limitations for securing inter-service communication in distributed cloud applications. In terms of reliability, the thesis shows that Nebula falls short to meet its own goals of achieving host-to-host connectivity when attempting to traverse specific firewalls and NATs. With respect to security, Nebula provides certificate-based authentication and uses current and fast cryptographic algorithms and protocols from the Noise framework. Regarding manageability, Nebula is a modern solution with a loosely coupled design that allows scalability with cloud-ready features and easier deployment than IPsec. Finally, the performance of Nebula clearly shows an overhead for being a user-space software application. However, the overhead can be considered acceptable in certain server-to-server microservice interactions and is a fair trade-off for its ease of management in comparison to IPsec.
Thesis advisorAhmad, Bilal
overlay network, network security, IPsec, nebula, slack nebula, noise framework