Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui

Blog Feed Post

Betwixt and Between – Service Gateway for Enterprise Mobile Applications

Over the next several posts, I will explore some of the core patterns for Service Gateways that provide access to Enterprise Mobile Applications that need to leverage enterprise apps and data. Before I go there – a word about risk. Mobile security is a hot topic. Is Android less secure than iOS? What about rooted devices? How should enterprise deal with BYOD? How do mobile dev teams write secure code for mobile platforms? And the list goes on and on, there are plenty of important questions to ask.

Amidst all these gnarly big and small questions on technical security for enterprise mobile applications. its vital to remain focused on risk. And where is the risk for enterprise mobile applications? On the apps, identity, and data housed on the numerous mobile devices? Sure. There’s risk on individual mobile apps and devices, but the lion’s share of data, functionality and identity is on the server side, and that’s where the lion’s share of the risk is too.

Boundary crossings are a key focus area for security architects. The Enterprise Service Gateway defines the boundary between “external” systems and “internal” systems (note – I am not sold that this is a valid distinction in many instances but its commonly used and holds up for the purposes of this pattern). The transition between external and internal confronts the security architect with a number of design choices. We can divide the message exchanges into two sets

1. Mobile device -> Gateway: asynchronous Web service calls via REST

2. Service Gateway -> Enterprise backend app servers: synchronous and asynchronous calls via REST, JMS, SOAP, and more

The inbound calls to the Service Gateway usually follow a simple message exchange pattern (albeit its asynchronous which is something new to many enterprises but we’ll save that for another day), whereas the Gateway -> Enterprise message exchange patterns can run the gamut. In effect, the external services simplify the experience for the user and the internal services- well they just go where the data is.

The implications here shed light on the core utility of the gateway. The gateway is the location to implement three sets of security policies.

1. External security policy: for the Mobile device -> Service Gateway message exchanges

2. Internal security policy: for the Service Gateway -> Enterprise backend message exchanges

3. External <-> Internal mapper security policy: to facilitate the right security and identity services for each boundary transition

Security is about reducing vulnerabilities (access control services) and coping with threats (hardening, defensive services).  Service Gateways play a key role in each.

In the case of access control and identity services, the identity protocols and tokens that are used by the mobile device are usually validated and terminated at the gateway. The gateway then maps the relevant user identity, such as username and attributes, and instantiates a second protocol to communicate with the enterprise backend.

In the case of defensive services, enterprise applications are not hardened for external access, after all that’s why there is a DMZ. Inbound calls, messages, and data must be inspected for malicious code targeting the enterprise.  In effect the Service Gateway is what enables the internal services to be consumed externally.

To make sure mobile security is effective, from a big picture, strategic perspective its important to keep in mind the vital role of the gateway in managing risk on both the mobile device and the enterprise backend. To execute tactically its important to divide the Gateway’s role in to how it works for each separate policy zone, and how it maps between the zones.  So many projects, start out assuming that mobile is just another front end to hook up to existing middle tiers – it isn’t. To get an idea on some key differences, I highly recommend this Mobile Middleware White Paper as a solid read for more on the subject.  In the next post we’ll look at some policy options for each zone.


The post Betwixt and Between – Service Gateway for Enterprise Mobile Applications appeared first on Application Security.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Application Security

This blog references our expert posts on application and web services security.

Microservices Articles
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, ...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, discussed how to use Kubernetes to set up a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace. H...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
Most DevOps journeys involve several phases of maturity. Research shows that the inflection point where organizations begin to see maximum value is when they implement tight integration deploying their code to their infrastructure. Success at this level is the last barrier to at-will deployment. Storage, for instance, is more capable than where we read and write data. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Atwell, a Developer Advocate for NetApp, will discuss the role and value...
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term.
"We do one of the best file systems in the world. We learned how to deal with Big Data many years ago and we implemented this knowledge into our software," explained Jakub Ratajczak, Business Development Manager at MooseFS, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addresse...