Waratek Lets Java Devs Secure Apps in Azure
Containerized, "bring-your-own security" solution consists of an Apache Tomcat app server with the Waratek Locker .
- By John K. Waters
Waratek Locker, a new security tool for Java developers deploying apps in Microsoft's Azure cloud environment, was unveiled this week at the Microsoft TechEd Europe conference in Barcelona. The solution is described by the company as a containerized Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) product that provides security monitoring, policy enforcement, and attack blocking from within the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
Dublin-based Waratek, which specializes in Java security, is billing Locker as an all-in-one, Microsoft Azure Certified solution that combines the Apache Tomcat app server (version 7) with Waratek's Application Security for Java product. The company coined "BYOS" to describe what the RASP solution provides.
The Locker virtualized container lives inside the JVM, where it can analyze app activity at runtime, Maccaba explained. From this vantage, Locker can protect apps in the cloud from exploits that target vulnerabilities in third-party libraries and malicious activity, including SQL Injection, abnormal file manipulation, and unexpected network connections.
"Once it's in the virtual container, we are controlling all the APIs in the JIT compiler, so we have complete visibility of the data interacting with the code at the point of execution," said Brian Maccaba, CEO of Waratek, in an interview with ADTmag.com.
Containerization differs from hypervisor-based virtualization in some significant ways. Containers are lightweight, in that they carry no operating system; apps within a container start up immediately, almost as fast as apps running on an OS; they are fully isolated; they consume fewer physical resources; and there's little of the performance overhead associated with virtualization—no "virtualization tax."
A rule-based engine that admins can manage remotely protects apps deployed in Azure with Locker. With this release, that engine is preconfigured with rules that restrict app access to required files, restrict app access to required network functions, and block SQL injection attacks. Waratek also offers a free Security Rules Tool for creating custom security rules.
Although the Locker solution is new, Waratek has been working with the collected technologies for some time. The company chose Azure for its first branded release because of interest expressed by Microsoft.
"Microsoft engaged with us and made it very clear that it's extremely important to them to have best-of-breed Java and Linux technologies on Azure," Maccaba said. "Which makes sense. They can only win the enterprise cloud war long term if they can prove that they've got the best non-Microsoft technologies, as well as Microsoft tech. They're making a very conscious effort, and they just sort of wrapped their arms around us."
Waratek is likely to release Locker for other cloud platforms in the future, Maccaba said.
John has been covering the high-tech beat from Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly two decades. He serves as Editor-at-Large for Application Development Trends (www.ADTMag.com) and contributes regularly to Redmond Magazine, The Technology Horizons in Education Journal, and Campus Technology. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Everything Guide to Social Media; The Everything Computer Book; Blobitecture: Waveform Architecture and Digital Design; John Chambers and the Cisco Way; and Diablo: The Official Strategy Guide.