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Top 7 Layers of MLOps Security | Advanced Guide

Navdeep Singh Gill | 23 June 2023

Top 7 Layers of MLOps Security | Advanced Guide

Introduction to MLOps Security

The Machine Learningtechnology is essential for businesses to be able to plan a study of the most effective ways to do their business, and due to the availability of massive data around the globe, organizations need to keep a check on both the internal as well as external factors that can affect the delivery of services to the customers.

The use of cloud computing and increased computing power is also increasing day by day, enabling organizations to use the cutting edge ML algorithms to conclude from this data to improve the customer’s experience. These changes also highlighted the need for robust data management and ML model development, and for that, MLOps security is required.

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What is MLOps and why is it important?

MLOps is a set of processes that aim to supply and maintain machine learning models reliably and efficiently to be productionize. When the algorithm is ready for launch, MLOps coordinates with data developers, DevOps, and machine learning engineers to convert the algorithm into production systems. MLOps seeks to enhance automation and improve the quality of production models while also focusing on business and regulatory needs.

Why is MLOps Security important?

Machine learning security is important because ML systems often contain confidential information or offer a competitive advantage to an organization that they would not want competitors to have to access. Some organizations use machine learning for security reasons to detect security breaches in other systems, so the safety of that ML model itself is crucial so that their security system is trusted to protect another system.

What is MLOps Security?

Machine learning models in production are often part of a larger system where output is used using applications that may or may not be known. This poses a number of safety risks. MLOps security will provide security and access control to make sure outputs of ML models are used by authorized users only.

When is MLOps Security required?

The need for MLOps security is right from the beginning of the development through the production stages. The entire time the model is in use, the system must be actively secured.

How to use MLOps security?

As of now, what is MLOps security, when it is required, and why? The next question arises: how to use it? This is better explained using every layer of security which one can use to protect their models and explained in the other part of this blog.

The 7 layers of MLOps Security

Data security deals with securing the data, which means that there should be a minimum privacy policy that can help in the planning to limit user access. The data should be organized so that it should be clean and secure.

With a lot of clean data, it is sometimes impossible to understand or extract it to make it easy to store it in the form of metadata. In the context of security with MLOps, knowing which data resides, how to access and protect it will help to work seamlessly. There are many ways to protect the data like encryption, hashing/tokenizing, masking, and many more. One should use these ways to protect the data depending on some parameters.

Protecting Data Storage

After storing the data securely, the next thing to do is safeguard data storage. The place where vast amounts of data are stored is known as data storage.

What kind of threats do data storage systems have?

External threat agents include hackers, cybercriminals, organized crime groups, competitors carrying out “industrial espionage,” and Internal threat agents have Disgruntled employees, malicious insiders, careless or poorly trained staff.

How to protect it?

Physical Controls
  • Using temperature and smoke sensors for monitoring the internal environment.
  • Using biometrics or smart card readers to prevent unofficial access.
  • CCTV monitoring with video retention.
Technical Controls
  • Access controls and user authentication for secure access to legitimate users.
  • Notice the movement patterns like analyzing suspicious behavior by profiling data access.
  • Implement effective monitoring and reporting capabilities, including enabling application and systems logs.

Administrative controls include Procedures, Planning, and Policy.

  • Addressing data retention and protection.
  • Includes storage considerations into policies after noticing the most sensitive and critical business data categories and their security needs.
  • Ensure that all aspects of end-to-end infrastructure comply with policies
  • Addressing data destruction.
  • Integrate storage-related policies with other policies where possible.
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Securing Orchestrator

Orchestrator can be defined as a workflow management solution for the data center.
Using Orchestrator, automation of creation, monitoring, and deployment of resources in the environment can be done. So here is the need to protect the orchestrated data. One can use security products like SSL Orchestrator, which maximizes the infrastructure investments, efficiencies, and security with dynamic, policy-based decryption, encryption, and traffic steering through multiple inspection devices.

ML Model Security

This section is about securing ML models. The kind of attack that ML models may face is mentioned below. These threats manipulate the behavior of machine learning models.

How can machine learning models be protected?

  • Where does the training data come from?
  • What kind of data is used to train models?
  • Who is the model’s developer?
  • Who else has access to the model?
  • Who has access to the pipeline?

ML Model Hosting

This is about hosting a machine learning model, which means deploying the machine learning model to production. The process of taking a trained Machine Learning model and making its predictions available to users or other systems is known as deployment.

When the model is ready to deploy for production after it is trained and attains certain accuracy, many challenges arise, so one should also be aware of this stage.

Securely Exposing ML Models to Users

Machine Learning (ML) methods are applied frequently to predict outcomes or features that otherwise require tedious manual work. Usually, Web servers are used to deploy ML models, so that end users can question them providing the new input data. Server-side deployment's disadvantage is that user’s data must be sent to a server on each query, increasing network usage and leading to legal issues.

Logging and Monitoring MLOps Infra

After developing a model and successfully deploying it to production and the users, the next step is to monitor the model’s performance from time to time to be re-trained if its performance is not up to the mark. Now, when this happens, ML engineers will rely on some infrastructure/services that provide various metrics and logs to check the model performance timely and keep a check on where things are going wrong. This is known as continuous monitoring.

What are the Challenges of MLOps Security?

One of the major barriers in protecting ML systems is data, which plays an external role in security. This makes it even harder to secure your ML pipelines. Architectural risk analysis is an essential first step for businesses to protect their ML systems. Protecting data that has become an integral part of a machine learning model is another big challenge. In many scenarios, when any ML algorithm is trained and accounts for 60% risk, learning algorithms and source code calculate 40% risk. That’s why businesses need to divert all their energies towards architectural risk analysis.

What is the Future aim of MLOps Security?

Today, it is expected that the software on which businesses are built will grow, be reliable, and operate efficiently. And if one wants to reap the benefits of AI, then the same will be needed for models that drive business decisions very well. The way of building, running, and maintaining the software through DevOps is optimizing day by day, so now it's time to do the same for machine learning.

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MLOps Security can protect the development part from the beginning to even after the deployment. Machine learning can be used in various ways in security, for example, in analyzing malware, making predictions, and compiling security events. Of course, there is an irreversible side to any of the benefits of AI, machine learning, and any other advanced technology that it can bring. Just as they provide strong defenses to detect and prevent online events, technology can help create new and more aggressive attack vectors.