Shift Left Security – DevSecOps Done Right

DevSecOps has seen a steady rise in popularity. Companies that have combined development and operations teams under a DevOps model have been generally successful in releasing code at a much faster rate.

However, the heighted trend has made it even more crucial to incorporate security into the process because the quicker you release code, the quicker vulnerabilities can be distributed as well.

What is DevSecOps?

DevSecOps, an acronym for development, security, and operations (also known as Secure DevOps), focuses primarily on incorporating security into the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) at the very beginning, a technique known as “Shifting Security to Left.” DevSecOps enables the development of secure software at the speed of Agile and DevOps by automatically integrating security at every stage of the software development lifecycle, from integration to testing to deployment and software delivery.

DevSecOps represents a natural and necessary evolution in the way organizations approach security. In the past, a separate quality assurance (QA) team and a separate security team would “tack on” security to software at the end of the development cycle. A bottleneck was created by the conventional “tacked-on” approach to security as software engineers adopted Agile and DevOps methodologies in an effort to cut software development cycles to weeks or even days.

DevSecOps deals with security concerns as they arise, when fixing them is simpler, quicker, and less expensive, and most crucially, before they are implemented in live systems. Additionally, DevSecOps transforms application and infrastructure security from being the duty of a security silo to being a shared responsibility of development, security, and IT operations teams.

Incorporating testing, triage, and risk mitigation earlier in the workflow prevents the time-intensive, and often costly, repercussions of making a fix post production. This concept is part of “shifting left,” which moves security testing toward developers, enabling them to fix security issues in their code in near real time rather than “bolting on security” at the end of the SDLC. In short, DevOps focuses on speed; DevSecOps helps maintain velocity without compromising security.


Putting the “Sec” in DevOps

The pipeline is broken into 4 stages, Design, Development, Testing and Release. Watch our “ Reducing Cybersecurity Risks with a Developer-first Security Approach” webinar for some insider tips shared by Roberto Salgado from Webec, to see how you can implement DevSecOps at every stage.

 

Traceability, auditability, and visibility

Implementing traceability, auditability, and visibility in a DevSecOps process leads to deeper insight and a more secure environment:

1. Traceability

With traceability, you can follow configuration elements all the way through the development process to the point where requirements are translated into code. As it promotes compliance, lowers bugs, ensures secure code in application development, and promotes code maintainability, this can play a significant role in your organization’s control structure.

2. Auditability 

Ensuring compliance with security rules requires auditability. All team members must follow auditable, well-documented, technical, procedural, and administrative security controls.

3. Visibility

In a DevSecOps context, visibility is crucial and a good management practice in general. This indicates that the company has a reliable monitoring system in place to track the operation’s vital signs, send alerts, raise awareness of changes and cyberattacks as they happen, and establish accountability over the course of a project’s lifecycle.

 

Benefits of DevSecOps

Security is top of mind for every organization today. The DevSecOps approach brings with it specific benefits:

1. Enhanced Application Security

Development teams rely on automated security technologies to quickly test code and conduct security audits without delaying the development process. At various stages of the development process, DevOps teams will review, audit, test, scan, and debug code to make sure the application is passing crucial security checkpoints.

2. Cross-team ownership

Application security and development teams will collaborate in a cross-team fashion to find remedies at the code level to problems once security flaws are identified. DevSecOps empowers teams to get on the same page early, leading to cross-team buy-in, and more efficient team collaboration.

3. Streamline Application Delivery

One of the main advantages of DevSecOps is that it streamlines the agile development process, which, when used properly, can significantly reduce security vulnerabilities. The automated services used by an application development or operations team are relatively simply integrated with many of the procedures, tasks, and services used in cybersecurity testing.

4. Accelerated security vulnerability patching
Leverage automation to identify, manage, and patch common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE).mA key benefit of DevSecOps is how quickly it manages newly identified security vulnerabilities. As DevSecOps integrates vulnerability scanning and patching into the release cycle, the ability to identify and patch CVE is diminished. This reduces the window of opportunity for threat actors to exploit flaws in production systems that are visible to the general public.

5. Automation compatible with modern development

Automated testing can ensure that incorporated software versions are at the proper patch levels and that security unit testing was successful.

6. A repeatable and adaptive process

DevSecOps lends itself to repeatable and adaptive processes. This ensures security is applied consistently across the environment, as the environment changes and adapts to new requirements. 

A strong automation, configuration management, orchestration, container, immutable infrastructure, and environment make up a mature DevSecOps solution.

 

Best practices for DevSecOps

Your development, delivery, and operating processes should naturally incorporate security measures as part of DevSecOps.

1.Make automation your friend

A fundamental tenet of DevOps is speed. Security controls and tests need to happen in an automated fashion because organizations are pushing new versions of code into production multiple times in a day.

 

2. Check your code dependencies

Businesses are utilizing more open-source software in their apps despite mounting worries. Developers frequently lack the time necessary to review the code in their open-source libraries. It is important to know if utilizing open-source software has led to contextual or other vulnerabilities in your code, as well as any potential repercussions for related programs.

 

3. Threat modeling is hard, but do it anyway

A threat modeling exercise can give your security team a better understanding of the threats to your assets, their types and sensitivities, the existing controls in place to defend them, and any control gaps that need to be filled. These evaluations can assist in finding weaknesses in the architecture and design of your apps that other security measures might have overlooked. Because threat modeling is thought to slow velocity, it can be difficult to do.

 

4. Security education

To build security, engineering and compliance work together. Companies should form a partnership between the development engineers, operations teams, and compliance teams to ensure that everyone in the business is aware of the company’s security posture and abides by the same standards.

Everyone involved with the delivery process should be familiar with the basic principles of application security, the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) top 10, application security testing, and other security engineering practices. Developers must be familiar with thread models, compliance checks, risk assessment, exposure analysis, and security control implementation.

 

5. Culture: Communication, people, processes, and technology

A positive culture that encourages change inside the organization is fostered by good leadership. The obligation to provide information on process security and product ownership is crucial to DevSecOps. Utilizing the technologies and protocols that are best for their team and the current project, DevSecOps operations teams should design a system that works for them. The team becomes an active participant in the project’s success by being given the freedom to design the workflow environment that best suits their needs.

 

It’s evident that in a world of continuous integration and rapid release cycles, you can’t ignore application security any longer. Security is another common theme, and is increasingly becoming a shared responsibility, built upon the idea that everyone in the software development lifecycle is responsible for it.

 

Chat with us to see how you can seamlessly implement a DevSecOps approach.

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