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Confluent secures event data streaming in cloud update

The vendor's Q2 2022 cloud update provides more precise security access control to help organizations better secure, scale and manage the Apache Kafka-based technology platform.

Confluent's second quarter of 2022 cloud update is out today, providing users of the event data streaming platform with a series of new security and data observability capabilities.

The vendor's Confluent Cloud is a managed service that provides organizations with event data streaming based on Apache Kafka.

Among the new features in the Confluent Cloud Q2 2022 update is enhanced role-based access control (RBAC) functionality that aims to improve security with more precise control over how data is accessed. Confluent also added new capabilities to its Cloud Metrics API, bringing new data visibility for understanding how users are consuming event data streaming.

"Adding observability to Kafka clusters with role-based access controls achieves an important goal, addressing the developer shortage while helping to increase the number of real-time data use cases within an organization," IDC analyst Amy Machado said.

Machado noted that scaling isn't just more clusters, but also can often require a need for more IT staff. She said she expects that with more visibility and security in Confluent Cloud, organizations will be able to push out more streaming data projects with a managed platform.

There is no greater advocate for streaming within an organization than a successful use launched and in production. RBAC can help the organization spread that success to others throughout the business.
Amy MachadoAnalyst, IDC

"There is no greater advocate for streaming within an organization than a successful use launched and in production," she said. "RBAC can help the organization spread that success to others throughout the business."

Confluent improves event data streaming security with enhanced RBAC

RBAC isn't an entirely new feature in Confluent Cloud's Q2 2022 update. Dan Rosanova, head of product management at Confluent Cloud, noted that the vendor first made RBAC available in 2021, but only at the Kafka cluster level.

Rosanova explained that with the new update, users can now add granular controls at the Kafka resources level, which includes topics, groups and transactional IDs. Users can now set role-based access permissions to create, read, update and delete operations across Kafka topics, he noted.

RBAC is an alternative approach to using an access control list (ACL), which Rosanova said doesn't scale well in the cloud.

"Unlike ACLs, which attach to resources and hence grow very large as scope and scale grow, RBAC attaches to users and service accounts," he explained. "This also aligns access control to the persona accessing Confluent Cloud and extends beyond just Kafka, so users have consistent authorization across components."

Screenshot of the Confluent Cloud platform
The Confluent Cloud Q2 2022 update provides organizations with visibility into how event data streaming is being used across users and service accounts.

Event data streaming gets more visibility in Confluent Cloud update

Confluent's Metrics API adds new visibility and insights for how organizations use the event data streaming platform. The new insight capability provides an organizational usage breakdown.

Organizations can now break down their Confluent Cloud usage by users or service accounts -- or both -- to see how resources are consumed. Besides reporting, organizations can use these metrics to set up more accurate internal billing chargebacks, set limitations to guarantee capacity for mission-critical applications and be more informed for resource capacity planning, Rosanova said.

The Confluent Cloud Q2 2022 update followed the late March introduction of Stream Processing Use Case Recipes -- templates that organizations can use for event data streaming.

Machado said she favors anything that provides more access to streaming technology, and in her view the Stream Processing Use Case Recipes do that.

"With these recipes, users of any skill set can employ pre-built scripts and code samples," Machado said. "Companies want more managed solutions because their use cases are increasing at a pretty high rate, and predefined scripts can help a company conceive a use case and get it to full production more quickly, again with fewer resources."

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