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Security in Charmed Kubernetes

This page provides an overview of various aspects of security to be considered when operating a Charmed Kubernetes cluster. To consider security properly, this means not just aspects of Kubernetes itself, but also how and where it is installed and operated.

A lot of important aspects of security therefore lie outside the direct scope of Charmed Kubernetes, but links for further reading are provided.


Having admin access via the Juju client to the model where the components of Charmed Kubernetes are deployed effectively allows a user to do anything with the cluster, as they can access secrets, change configurations and get shell access to any of the machines running the cluster.

Of course, this level of access is also useful and occasionally required to operate the cluster, perform upgrades, etc. However, many lesser operations need not be carried out by the admin user of the cluster, and in the case of multiple clusters on multiple models, admin permissions can be devolved on a per-model basis.

Juju supports a system of user management which also incorporates three levels of permissions - read, write and admin. Users without 'admin' rights cannot make an SSH connection to the machines on the cluster, but with write access can perform many of the actions required to operate and maintain a cluster.

For more information on creating users, assigning access levels and what access these levels bestow, please check the following pages of Juju documentation:

  • Juju user types - describes the different types of users supported by Juju and their abilities.
  • Working with multiple users - An explanation of how to share control of a cluster with multiple Juju users.
  • Machine auth - describes how SSH keys are stored and used by Juju.

Cloud security

As well as Juju admin users, anyone with credentials to the cloud where Charmed Kubernetes is deployed may also have access to your cluster. Describing the security mechanisms of these clouds is out of the scope of this documentation, but you may find the following links useful.

Kubernetes Security

The Kubernetes cluster deployed by Charmed Kubernetes can be secured using any of the methods and options described by the upstream Kubernetes Security Documentation.

Common tasks

CIS Benchmark

The Center for Internet Security (CIS) maintains a Kubernetes benchmark that is helpful to ensure clusters are deployed in accordance with security best practices. Charmed Kubernetes supports the kube-bench utility to report how well a cluster complies with a benchmark.

To test your cluster, please see the CIS compliance section of the Charmed Kubernetes docs.