One of the greatest concerns within any software structure these days is security, and it comes in many forms. Not only are vulnerabilities a concern but security flaws in the architecture of your software structure can be problematic as well. A secure application is one with fail-safes and monitoring that handles disruptions happening across the application infrastructure. When planning your software architecture, there are several advantages microservices have over monolith services from a security perspective.
In a monolithic architecture, all the code is part of a single product. If one security problem develops, the entire system can be open to attack and can be affected as a result. This makes it very difficult to isolate potential security threats as your entire system may now be compromised and malicious software could spread throughout. Locking down parts of the system where a breach occurred can be quite difficult with this architecture since you do not want to turn off the entire system to fix one problem.
Monolithic architectures have been functional for decades, but as security threats have grown and are now affecting both large and small businesses, these types of architectural strategies are showing signs of weakness from their inherent designs that hackers have been able to exploit. As an application's codebase grows, so does the risk of adverse effects, which puts your entire system at a constant risk. Because of this drawback, many companies, both large and small, are migrating from monolithic architectures to microservice architectures.
In a microservices architecture, a software product is broken up into small individual services, each with a specific purpose, making the overall system more secure and easier to develop. Each of the services is created separately and can be run on different servers, therefore minimizing the risk of having the entire system brought down with a single attack or major issue like a memory leak. Also, by separating parts of a system across different servers, you are decreasing the risk of having one single server crash take down the entire system while allowing each service to scale based on the necessary resources.
Separation creates fail-safes that pre-emptively stop security issues within specific services before they spread to other areas of the system. Managing these separate services may seem to be more complicated but there are many tools available, such as XebiaLabs, Bamboo, and Jenkins, that make it easy to manage multiple complex pipelines and deployments as you scale up a microservice architecture.
From an engineering perspective, utilizing a microservices architecture makes it easier for different parts of the system to be developed concurrently. By splitting an application up into separate services, different engineers can oversee the development of each, making it much simpler to manage and regularly update. Then, when new parts of the system need to be developed, having a shorter feedback loop between users and developers makes the process much faster and efficient. As companies grow, their systems need to do the same—having an architecture that is made up of individual parts makes the scale up that much easier.
If you have a large, monolithic application and have experienced security issues related to this type of structure, try separating out one single part (such as order management or a customer service tool) to test out a microservices architecture. If one section works well, make a plan to separate out additional parts of your system and build them out piece by piece. This is often the basis for a company converting from a monolithic application to microservices, because it is much easier to split apart a broken product than to build a perfect one.
A slow-but-steady approach is the perfect way to transition to a microservice architecture without having the need to shut down your entire system and a complete overhaul. With this new architecture, you’ll not only make it easier for your engineers to make regular updates but you will also have multiple preventive stopgaps that will ensure your system is secure.