DevSecOps: How DevOps strengthens Security 

  • Articles
  • May 24 2019
  • 3 min read

An instrument for value-added benefits like increased agility, speed and reduced costs along with serverless computing and dynamic provisioning, DevOps practices have been found wanting in cases requiring a secure delivery of code. However, security is a double-edged sword. On the forefront, it eliminates unsolicited elements and on the other hand, it might act as a roadblock with an extra step in the process of development. Among various operations susceptible to the risk of threats and vulnerabilities, security doesn’t find ample space. 

Thus, DevSecOps becomes a necessity that incorporates security as a major component of DevOps practices. Loopholes and weaknesses are kept in check with continuous monitoring, assessment and analysis ensured by DevSecOps.

In order to integrate security into the DevOps pipelines, organizations adopt tools and practices that unite the software development process, including application development, IT operations, and security teams under a common DevSecOps heading. Breaking the traditional integration of security and challenging the how, when, and where security controls, DevSecOps aims to deliver rapid, but secure code releases. 

Workflow of DevSecOps
Image Source: Gartner
2019 will witness DevOps practices being embraced and DevSecOps becoming the focal point to deliver better software solutions. 

DevOps+Security = DevSecOps

DevOps is a process facilitator tool that bridges the gap between software engineering and infrastructure teams. It automates the reliable delivery of services and improves efficiency. DevSecOps, on the other hand, is nothing but an extension where security controls and processes are embedded in the workflow to automate the core security tasks from the early stages of development.   

Often terms like DevOpsSec, SecDevOps, or rugged DevOps are attributed due to lack of unanimity in the IT field and has lead to a big confusion. Where DevOpsSec can imply that security comes at the end of the process, SecDevOps can suggest that security is preferred during the initial phases. Only the term DevSecOps gives a clear image of the DevOps processes where security operations are uniformly integrated.

Adopting a DevSecOps Strategy

The integration of security into DevOps is not as simple as it sounds. A proper phase level planning needs to be deployed and executed. Following are the key steps to be considered while adopting DevSecOps:

  • Assessment: To analyze the sensitivity levels of an organization’s assets 
  • Integration: An examination of the development workflow and ensuring minimal disruptions
  • Monitoring: Security concerns during development need to be monitored ensuring a quick response  

6 DevSecOps Practices For You

A technical and cultural shift with DevSecOps is said to address real-time security issues efficiently. As organizations are able to transform their development pipelines, here are the best practices to assure security:

Automation is the Key

Speed being at our advantage with DevOps, getting the code out in continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) environment becomes manageable for teams. In addition, DevSecOps embeds security early and everywhere in the development cycles that are pushing new versions of code multiple times a day. In a Survey undertaken by Sonatype, 40% of respondents agreed to run automated security tests throughout the entire development lifecycle.

Check your dependencies

According to a survey by Black Duck Software, more enterprises are using open-source software in applications. They performed an audit that showcased that 96% of them included open-source components. Regardless of 6 in 10 security vulnerabilities, just 27% of respondents said they had processes for automatic identification and remediation tracking for known flaws in open-source software. 

In the ever running processes, developers often fail to review code in their open-source libraries or go through the documentation. Therefore, automated processes are the fundamental requirements for DevSecOps.

Build Trust in the Process

SAST tools should be an essential component of your DevSecOps practices as they allow developers to scan codes and receive instant feedback on issues. The key is to get your developers used to the idea of having security rules in the workflow by starting small. You can implement static testing tools in the CI/CD chain and break things into deliverable chunks. By working at an even pace and strategy, you can steadily gain the confidence of your team. Once the developers understand how the tool helps them catch errors during coding and get familiar, taking the next step gets easy.

Other Tools

Security integration should take care of both the development and security teams making it easy for developers to initiate scans quickly and get results without abandoning the tool. Speed and accuracy are the key requirements along with possessing the ability to take immediate action. 

Developers need tools that can identify and prioritize issues in a manner that reduces the resolution time within the software itself. You should choose a tool that picks out vulnerabilities and threats on the same scale and priority. 

Threat Modeling

In order to get a hold on the threats and gaps in your controls of the assets, threat modeling and risk assessments are tasks to be handled before indulging your team processes with DevSecOps. It addresses the existing challenges for protecting assets and also identifies flaws in the architecture and design of your applications that other security approaches might have missed. Threat modeling is a crucial process for the success of DevOps and can be automated in the same way for almost every other facet of DevOps. 

Securing coding

The last challenge of integrating DevSecOps is getting the needed investment, trust and time to train the development teams on secure coding. Not all stakeholders will agree readily on the decision to buy-in. But if you are infusing the confidence in your team, you can break the traditional silos of secure development. 

Final Words

With necessary modifications to tools, processes, and culture to integrate DevSecOps, organizations can invite massive economic and technical advantages in their system. 2019 will witness DevOps practices being embraced and DevSecOps becoming the focal point to deliver better software solutions. 

We at OpenSenseLabs understand the sensitivity around security while providing the best of development services. Drop a line at [email protected].

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