DevSecOps is all the rage these days as there is still a big gray area for ensuring the safety and security of your platform, infrastructure, and applications. This guide aims to provide everything you need to know about the cloud-native strategy, how to plan for compliance, and how to implement a DevSecOps transformation!
Getting Started With DevSecOps
A cultural and technical change toward a DevSecOps strategy allows businesses to better handle security risks in real-time. Instead of being an impediment to agility, security teams should be viewed as a helpful asset that can prevent slowdowns. Early identification of a poorly built application that cannot scale in the cloud, for example, saves time, resources, and money.
Scalability in the cloud necessitates a broader scale of security measures. As technology-driven organizations expand rapidly, continuous threat modeling and control of system builds are required. With this in mind, it is easy to see why code analysis, change of management, compliance monitoring, threat investigation, vulnerability assessment, and security training are essential components of a DevSecOps approach.
If you have not already done so, now is the moment to combine your security goals with DevOps and adopt DevSecOps best practices using “Security as Code.”
In the form of a continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline, most contemporary DevOps companies will rely on a mix of continuous integration and continuous deployment technologies. The pipeline is a great starting point for a range of automated security testing and validation tasks that do not require the manual labor of a human operator.
Before the first line of code is produced, begin to include security objectives in the early development of an application. During the basic idea of the system, application, or individual user narrative, security may be included, and effective threat modeling can begin. Any time a developer checks in code, static analysis, linters, and policy engines may be used to ensure that any low-hanging fruit is dealt with before the changes go further upstream.
Software composition analysis may be used holistically to ensure that any open-source dependencies are free of vulnerabilities and have appropriate licensing. Developers have a sense of ownership for the security of their applications as a result of this, and they receive instant feedback on the relative security of the code they have created.
You can begin using security integration tests once the code has been checked in and built. Automated testing of network calls, input validation, and authorization is possible when the code is run in an isolated container sandbox. These tests provide immediate feedback, allowing for speedy iteration and triage of any issues that arise while causing the least amount of interruption to the general flow. If the tests fail due to unexplained network calls or unsanitized input, the pipeline produces actionable feedback in the form of reports and alerts to the appropriate teams.
After passing the first battery of integration tests, the deployment artifact advances to the next level of integration testing. It will now be deployed to a larger sandbox, a scaled-down version of the final production environment. More security integration testing may be done at this point, but with a different goal in mind.
It is now possible to test things like proper logging and access controls. Is the program appropriately logging relevant security and performance metrics? Is access restricted to a specific group of people (or denied entirely)? Failure leads to action items being sent to the appropriate teams once more.
Finally, the application is released into the wild. DevSecOps, on the other hand, continue to work diligently. Patching and configuration management are automated to guarantee that the production environment always has the most recent and secure versions of software dependencies. Immutable infrastructure, in theory, means that the entire environment is often broken down and rebuilt and that the entire pipeline is continually exposed to a battery of tests.
Using a DevSecOps CI/CD pipeline allows you to incorporate security objectives at each phase without introducing unnecessary bureaucracy and gatekeeping, enabling you to retain quick delivery of business value.
Ways You Can Start Implementing DevSecOps
DevSecOps necessitates the division of security responsibilities between development and operations teams. It entails providing security information and tools to development, DevOps, and IT workers so that risks may be identified and eliminated as soon as feasible. DevSecOps may be used in a variety of ways by businesses on a digital transformation journey:
Analyze Front End Code
Due to the huge number of documented vulnerabilities and security concerns, cyber criminals choose to target front-end code. Use CI/CD pipelines to discover security issues early and alert developers so they can solve the problem. A good practice to include in your workflow would be to double-check that no malicious code has been inserted — containers are a fantastic method to verify immutability.
Sanitize Sensitive Data
Several open-source technologies exist today that may expose personally identifiable information (PII), secrets, and access keys, among other things. A simple check for sensitive data may save you a lot of time and money — a leaked credential in a GitHub repository might spell disaster for your data and infrastructure.
Utilize IDE Extensions
Integrated development environments and text editors are used by developers to generate and change code. Why not use open-source extensions to search for vulnerabilities in local directories and containers? Security problems cannot be detected much sooner in the SDLC than that!
Integrate Security into CI/CD
Jenkins, GitLab CI, Argo, and other open-source Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment technologies are available. One or more security solutions should be integrated into current and future CI/CD pipelines. Alerts and events would be an excellent addition to a good solution, allowing developers to address the security issue before releasing anything into production.
Containers, as previously noted, can be a fantastic approach to assure immutability. Containers, when used in conjunction with a robust orchestration technology like Kubernetes, have the potential to radically alter the way we operate distributed applications. There are several advantages to “becoming cloud-native,” as well as multiple ways for businesses to secure their cloud-native apps and protect their data and infrastructure.
From DevOps to DevSecOps
DevOps and DevSecOps are guided by the CALMS principles:
- Culture – A culture of collaboration, focus on people and embracing change
- Automation – Automate wherever possible, routine work items, integration and testing
- Lean Flow – Adherence to Lean product development principles and the agile ways of working
- Measure – Measure what matters to improve product and processes
- Sharing – A culture of sharing information, shared responsibility and ownership
So, how can an organization make the leap from “DevOps” to “DevSecOps”? It is not as simple as delivering a list of security KPIs to an already overworked DevOps staff and calling it a day. It must be a security focused culture that is collaborative and shared.
If early integration of security objectives is the goal, it must be as aligned with development processes as it is feasible. The developers should be responsible for incorporating security teams and objectives into the value stream. Adding this security responsibility may potentially increase overall development time, however this will save time-to-market by including the close integration between development and security.
Security engineers should be included in conversations during the planning phase, especially when it comes to infrastructure, with authority to push back on poor/insecure decisions while also being educated enough to propose alternatives. Overburdened security teams frequently say “no” and delegate the search for alternatives to DevOps teams. This, once again, comes down to providing security companies with adequate resources.
Security objectives have been closely integrated into the infrastructure as a result of early and frequent collaboration between security and DevOps. A complete and successful collaboration between security, development, and operations will result in features and applications that are delivered to production. Security will not have to beg development teams for new features or auditing afterward; they will know they were included from the start.
If your company has adopted DevSecOps, you already know that you are not only iterating rapidly and delighting your consumers with new features and enhanced functionality, but you are also providing that experience with a high degree of security.
Benefits of DevSecOps
DevSecOps’ two significant advantages are speed and security. Development teams produce better, more secure code faster and, as a result, at a lower cost. However, let us go over five main points that make DevSecOps a perfect choice for your digital transformation journey:
Rapid, cost-effective software delivery
When software is created outside of a DevSecOps environment, security issues can cause significant delays. Repairing coding and security flaws may be time-consuming and costly. DevSecOps’ quick, secure delivery saves time and money by reducing the need to repeat a procedure to fix security concerns after they occurred.
Because integrated security eliminates redundant reviews and unnecessary rebuilds, this becomes more efficient and cost-effective, resulting in better secure code.
Improved, proactive security
DevSecOps starts the development cycle with cybersecurity protocols in place. The code is reviewed, audited, scanned, and tested for security vulnerabilities throughout the development cycle. As soon as these problems are discovered, they are remedied. Before adding further dependencies, security issues are addressed. When preventive technology is found and installed early in the cycle, security concerns become less expensive to repair.
Furthermore, improved coordination across development, security, and operations teams increases an organization’s response time to incidents and problems. DevSecOps methods shorten the time it takes to patch vulnerabilities, allowing security teams to focus on other essential tasks. These methods help assure and simplify compliance, avoiding the need to modify application development projects for security.
Accelerated security vulnerability patching
One of the most important advantages of DevSecOps is how rapidly it handles newly discovered security vulnerabilities. The capacity to discover and repair common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE) is harmed as DevSecOps integrates vulnerability screening and patching into the release cycle. This reduces the amount of time a threat actor has to exploit flaws in public-facing production systems.
Automation compatible with modern development
If a business utilizes a continuous integration/continuous deployment pipeline to deliver its product, cybersecurity testing may be included in an automated test suite for operations teams.
The project and organizational goals have a significant impact on security check automation. Automated testing can verify that included software dependencies are patched to the proper levels and that security unit testing succeeds. It may also use static and dynamic analysis to test and secure code before releasing it to production.
A repeatable and adaptive process
Organizations’ security postures improve as time passes. Repeatable and adaptable procedures are ideal for DevSecOps. As the environment evolves and adapts to new requirements, this guarantees that security is implemented uniformly across the board. Automation, configuration management, orchestration, containers, immutable infrastructure, and even serverless compute environments are all features of a mature DevSecOps implementation.
DevSecOps Best Practices
Security must be integrated into DevOps pipelines for organizations that wish to bring IT operations, security personnel, and application developers together. Rather than retrofitting security later in the cycle, the goal is to make it a vital component of the software development workflow. Here are a few things to keep in mind in order to make this process smoother – automation is helpful, don’t be afraid to use DevSecOps for maximum efficiency, and ensure you are carrying out threat modeling.
DevOps is all about speed, and that doesn’t have to be lost simply because security is thrown into the mix. You can ensure that your apps are delivered quickly by incorporating automated security controls and testing early in the development cycle.
Your workflows are only becoming more secure as a result of your efforts. You can detect security vulnerabilities early by utilizing tools that scan code as you create it.
Threat modeling exercises can assist you in identifying your assets’ weaknesses and closing any gaps in security measures. Dynamic Data Safeguards from Forcepoint can assist you in determining the riskiest events occurring throughout your infrastructure and incorporating the appropriate protection into your DevSecOps workflows.
Here are some specific examples of DecSecOps practices that can help on your transformation journey:
The motto of DevSecOps is ‘shift left’: It encourages software developers to transfer security from the right (end) of the DevOps (delivery) process to the left (start). Security is included in the development process from the start in a DevSecOps environment. When a company employs DevSecOps, its cybersecurity architects and engineers are integrated into the development team. They have to ensure that all of the stack’s components and configuration items are patched, secured, and documented.
Shifting left helps the DevSecOps team to discover security issues and exposures early and respond to them quickly. This means that not only is the development team able to think about how to construct the product quickly, but they’re also thinking about security.
Engineering and compliance go hand in hand when it comes to security. To guarantee that everyone in the organization knows the company’s security posture and follows the same standards, organizations should create an alliance between development engineers, operations teams, and compliance teams.
The basic concepts of application security, the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) top 10, application security testing, and other security engineering techniques should be familiar to everyone involved in the delivery process. Developers must be familiar with thread models and compliance checks that assess risk, expose vulnerabilities, and apply security measures.
Fostering a Good Work Culture
Good leadership generates a positive organizational culture that encourages change. It is critical in DevSecOps to convey the security of processes and product ownership responsibilities. Only then can developers and engineers take ownership of their work and become process owners.
DevSecOps operations teams should design a system that works for them, using technologies and protocols appropriate for their team and project. Allowing the team to choose the workflow environment that best suits their needs makes them invested stakeholders in the project’s success.
Auditability, traceability, and visibility
Incorporating traceability, auditability, and visibility into a DevSecOps process leads to more insight and a safer workplace.
Auditability is critical for ensuring that security controls are followed. All team members must follow auditable and well-documented technical, procedural, and administrative security measures.
You can monitor configuration elements through the development cycle, all the way to where requirements are implemented in code, with traceability. This may be an important element of your organization’s control architecture since it aids in compliance, bug reduction, secure code development, and code maintainability.
In general, visibility is a good management practice, but it’s more critical in a DevSecOps setting. This implies the company has a robust monitoring system to track the operation’s heartbeat, provide warnings, raise awareness of changes and cyberattacks as they happen, and ensure responsibility throughout the project’s lifetime.
If you want to ensure your DevSecOps transformation will go well, The i4 Group’s DevSecOps Consulting may be of help! Head over to their website and ensure your organization is using the best possible practices in their work.