By: Jayati
September 5 2019

Fusing Security and Compliance in CI/CD Pipelines

As organizations are adopting cloud infrastructure, newer technologies and their practices came along to enable the code being written frequently. It added a layer of reliability and security in continuous integration rather than building an on-premise solution. 

Traditionally, this wasn’t possible with no-access to the infrastructure and thus, no feedback was available on the security measures. Today, we have a public cloud infrastructure that enables speed and agility to your CI/CD pipelines.  

In this blog, we will address the common security challenges that you can face in CI/CD workflows and analyze how security and compliance can be fused in the CI/CD pipelines

multiple pipelines on a wall

Why Continuous Security?

A faster code deployment network and added layers of security are the USP of modern technology. However, this requires Agile teams and DevOps models that can improve the flow between developments. Also, the operations team requires to adapt to the new approach of continuous security that creates a pressure valve and thus delivers at an accelerated pace. 

The merger of two teams: Agile and DevOps to get an entire application lifecycle makes the process decentralized and the infrastructure more complex. The speed of the deployments increases with daily deadlines being accomplished. What can further strengthen this continuous delivery process is the integration of security and compliance into the pipelines. A better ecosystem of security checks can be maintained in order to produce with precision. 

Challenges On The Way 

No road towards success is devoid of challenges or roadblocks. Security integration for CI/CD pipelines too can pose challenges that are required to be addressed with the right stack of tools and tricks. Let’s look at the challenges first: 

A lack of integrated security 

A security tool runs within an application through a set of checkpoints and is integrated via a command-line interface (CLI). With every successful test, the development in the pipeline moves seamlessly to the next phase. 

When a leakage is reported by the tool, there can be a disconnect between the pipeline and how the metrics detect the tracking system of the tool. With every tool having its own enterprise dashboard, it can become a challenge for the two interfaces to integrate and solve the issue. 

False positives

The Static Application Security Testing (SAST) engines do not necessarily have the same accuracy.

While we know how false negatives can be a problem in your CI/CD pipeline with security issues, false positives are often neglected. 

False positives occur when there is a lack of knowledge about the application, framework and inadequate language understanding during the integration of a tool into the CI/CD pipeline. 

Developer Resistance

We are aware of how the developers function and emphasize the functionality of the application during the development stage. However, in this traditional approach security takes a backstage.

With automation and DevOps, security needs to be integrated consistently in order to have a reliable lifecycle of continuous deployments.  

Multiple Pipelines

While you scale your CD implementations, there will be too many pipelines in the running. The management of each one can bring you at a dead-end for each pipeline is different in stages, requirements and the time frame. Thus, it calls for common metrics to compare them. 

Infusing Compliance Into Your CI/CD Pipeline

More deployment means more code writing and more releases. And more deployment introduces dependencies that can be challenging while securing containers. In software terminology, compliance is the regulations set up which are to be adhered to as per the industry practices and operations in accordance to the application.

Organizations are now making security and DevOps an inherent part of the software delivery process. While developers need to ensure application compliance by taking responsibility for building it into the development process itself. 

To begin with, directly infuse the automation security and introduce compliance into the ecosystem with developers, testers, and administrators. This will help the teams to identify the compliance flaws earlier in the process and the bugs can be fixed sooner. Further, it will decrease the codebase with a standardized code being deployed each time. 

When the test failure occurs, the developers can be immediately notified about the actions and thus necessary measures can be taken. 

What do we expect from Secure Deliveries?

Once the security compliances are in place, how does one ensure that it is producing a secure build? These few requirements of your CI/CD pipeline makes sure that the solutions to security are working in the right direction:

  • No human intervention for the CI/CD process to build clean
  • A faster feedback loop is essential for the environment to process security and compliance 
  • Alerts and messages via communication channels that bring out the best of the team
  • Provide detailed feedback to the developers’ team that can help them diagnose the issue and build a better track

Conclusion

Monitoring the pipelines for security and compliance significantly improves the delivery and thus gives better opportunities for improvement. A concentrated effort from developers, admins, and DevOps teams can marginally increase the chances of non-compliance software. Incorporating the innovative methods and building a pipeline with improved compliance gives a great amount of assurance to the entire ecosystem.

How are you managing the compliance and security of your CI/CD pipelines? Comment below or share on our social channels: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.