API Server is a crucial component of Kubernetes that allows cluster configuration, workload management and a lot more. While this endpoint is incredibly important to secure; developers and engineers typically require regular and convenient access to that API. Striking a balance between security and convenience is quite desirable here.
Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) provides two robust mechanisms to restrict access to the API Server: namely through restricting authorized source IP addresses or disabling public access to the API endpoint.
While the above two controls ensure additional security for the API endpoint, developers and engineers do face a few challenges here:
One good approach to overcome the above challenges is to allow remote access to a fixed cloud endpoint, which has sole access to the AKS Cluster. Being more specific, Visual Studio Code Remote Development and Windows Virtual Desktop are two solutions that can provide a secure yet convenient access to restricted AKS cluster.
VS Code Remote Development (SSH) can allow developers and engineers access from within Visual Studio Code to hardened and right-sized per-user virtual machines. The solution has the following benefits:
While the above solution has some great benefits, it requires SSH access from at least a wide array of IP ranges owned by developers or engineers. It might also require additional GUI access to the Azure virtual machines to run some Kubernetes tools such as Lens, a Kubernetes IDE. Windows Virtual Desktop on the contrary requires no open SSH ports and provides desktop access. It just requires TCP port 443 access to a defined Microsoft endpoint. Other benefits from this solution include:
Whichever solution you choose to provide access to an AKS cluster, it's quite important to try strike a balance between meeting security requirements and ensuring teams productivity. VS Code Remote Development and Windows Virtual Desktop are two options worth considering.
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