Skip to main content
Version: v2.8

Self-Assessment and Hardening Guides for Rancher

Rancher provides specific security hardening guides for each supported Rancher version's Kubernetes distributions.

Rancher Kubernetes Distributions

Rancher uses the following Kubernetes distributions:

  • RKE, Rancher Kubernetes Engine, is a CNCF-certified Kubernetes distribution that runs entirely within Docker containers.
  • RKE2 is a fully conformant Kubernetes distribution that focuses on security and compliance within the U.S. Federal Government sector.
  • K3s is a fully conformant, lightweight Kubernetes distribution. It is easy to install, with half the memory requirement of upstream Kubernetes, all in a binary of less than 100 MB.

To harden a Kubernetes cluster that's running a distribution other than those listed, refer to your Kubernetes provider docs.

Hardening Guides and Benchmark Versions

Each self-assessment guide is accompanied by a hardening guide. These guides were tested alongside the listed Rancher releases. Each self-assessment guides was tested on a specific Kubernetes version and CIS benchmark version. If a CIS benchmark has not been validated for your Kubernetes version, you can use the existing guides until a guide for your version is added.

RKE Guides

Kubernetes VersionCIS Benchmark VersionSelf Assessment GuideHardening Guides
Kubernetes v1.23CIS v1.23LinkLink
Kubernetes v1.24CIS v1.24LinkLink
Kubernetes v1.25/v1.26/v1.27CIS v1.7LinkLink

RKE2 Guides

TypeKubernetes VersionCIS Benchmark VersionSelf Assessment GuideHardening Guides
Rancher provisioned RKE2Kubernetes v1.23CIS v1.23LinkLink
Rancher provisioned RKE2Kubernetes v1.24CIS v1.24LinkLink
Rancher provisioned RKE2Kubernetes v1.25/v1.26/v1.27CIS v1.7LinkLink
Standalone RKE2Kubernetes v1.25/v1.26/v1.27CIS v1.7LinkLink

K3s Guides

TypeKubernetes VersionCIS Benchmark VersionSelf Assessment GuideHardening Guides
Rancher provisioned K3s clusterKubernetes v1.23CIS v1.23LinkLink
Rancher provisioned K3s clusterKubernetes v1.24CIS v1.24LinkLink
Rancher provisioned K3s clusterKubernetes v1.25/v1.26/v1.27CIS v1.7LinkLink
Standalone K3sKubernetes v1.22 up to v1.24CIS v1.23LinkLink

Rancher with SELinux

Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) is a kernel module that adds extra access controls and security tools to Linux. Historically used by government agencies, SELinux is now industry-standard. SELinux is enabled by default on RHEL and CentOS.

To use Rancher with SELinux, we recommend installing the rancher-selinux RPM.