Overview

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Ingredients

As DevOps is causing culture shifts everywhere, with companies big and small adopting a DevOps mindset, built-in security has become more than a trend, but a must. The need to produce more secure products faster is more relevant than ever. That is why including security practices into the DevOps process is a standard. Read on to find out more about what is DevSecOps and its best practices and principles.

Step-by-step

  1. What Is DevSecOps?

    The DevSecOps approach integrates Development and Operations with Security Operations, inserting security practices into the software development and operations lifecycle. The goal of the merge is to prioritize the balance of development speed and security. Applying an agile framework facilitates continuous collaboration between departments.

    DevOps_vs_DevSecOps_Mginise-1

    The DevSecOps approach creates a culture of “Security as Code” promoting collaboration between development engineers and the security team. It addresses the struggle of security to keep up with the continuous delivery pipeline, ensuring fast and safe delivery of code. This model goes over silo thinking, replacing it with constant communication and share the responsibility of security tasks across the development lifecycle.

  2. 5 DevSecOps Principles

    A successful and secure DevOps process requires the integration of secure practices into every part of the development lifecycle, from inception to support. The DevSecOps approach abides by 5 main principles to ensure a smooth process.

    1. Build security

    Security practices such as authentication, authorization, an encryption help secure applications. However, to ensure the building of secure applications, security controls are not enough. Built-in practices such as threat modeling, defensive design, secure coding are necessary to secure the entire development pipeline. 

    2. Adopt an enabling attitude

    With the traditional DevOps model, security and development teams often clash due to security slowing the process with controls and procedures. The DevSecOps model helps achieve synergy between teams, as the security collaboration does not disrupt the development but enables it. 

    3. Incorporate continuous learning

    To achieve security at the speed of continuous delivery requires evaluating the root causes of vulnerabilities, lessons learned and the software development process being constantly updated according to the security findings. 

    4. Promote open collaboration

    DevSecOps fulfills the security requirements by involving the security teams in day to day planning, implementation and testing activities, adjusting the security needs on the go. 

    5. Share threat intelligence

    The dilemma of sharing knowledge of vulnerabilities and threats or not it is a constant debate for security teams. However, the DevSecOps model promotes sharing in order to learn and improve security constantly, involving the IT team so they can proactively correct issues.

  3. DevSecOps Benefits and Best Practices

    Some of the benefits of adopting a DevSecOps model are: 

    • Reframing the relationship between developer and security—under DevSecOps, you don’t start with code and end with security, you start with security and end with code, as security is done first and across the entire pipeline. 
    • Faster security with automation—this approach also focus on automating security systems, and tests, proving systems before live tests, ensuring security through the development process. 
    • Improve transparency—from the start of development
    • Faster recovery—since security is built from the start, storing backups from the beginning of the process.
    • Constant awareness—monitoring the systems, and checking deployment from the start of the development cycle.  

    Adopting a DevSecOps approach requires practices that allow you to work within the short development cycles of DevOps while keeping security at the forefront. Let’s review some best practices to implement Security into DevOps:

    1. Developers security training

    The developers’ buy-in is essential since they would need to adopt security best practices, such as managing vulnerabilities and reviewing code for security issues. Training developers on secure coding should be a priority as human error is one of the top contributors to coding errors that are in turn responsible for vulnerabilities in code. Use a coding standard to educate developers can also help them to check the code against it. 

    2. Bring up automation
    Since DevOps is highly automated, security practices need to keep up, automating security controls. This has the added benefit of reducing human error. You should create an automated workflow that analyzes, checks configurations, stores and protects credentials, detects vulnerabilities, remediating them in real-time. You can rely on Continuous Integration (CI) tools, to automate security checks. In addition, you can use these tools to check the code against the secure coding standard. 

    3. Simplify your code
    The complex your code, the higher the risk for security vulnerabilities. Readable and simple code is easier to share and collaborate on, allowing you to avoid errors and minimize vulnerabilities. 

    4. Determine clear procedures
    The security policies should be simple and transparent. A developer or operations engineer should be able to follow the rules without doubting what this rule means. Keeping it simple makes it easier to enforce compliance by all participants. 

    5. Create an inventory of accounts, tools and devices
    To embed the security into DevOps involves building an inventory of the resources that employees use in the DevOps lifecycle and check them for compliance with the cybersecurity policy. You should continue checking for every tool, account and devices as they are added to the inventory to avoid security breaches. 

    6. Use a continuous vulnerability management approach
    Vulnerabilities should be detected and remediated in an ongoing manner. A threat management solution can help monitoring and detecting vulnerabilities before they are exploited by attackers. 

    7. Manage credentials and access rights

    A weak spot for attackers, embedded access credentials are used to manipulate applications. Therefore, in the DevSecOps approach, credentials are never embedded in the code as well never saved on devices, the cloud or in any account. You should use least privilege access rights by default, creating a process for tracking and checking privileged sessions. 

    8. Segment networks
    Segmenting a network prevents hackers from getting access to the entire system at once. If they gain access to one segment of the app, they cannot pass to other segments without encountering new security layers.

  4. Conclusion

    Nowadays, security is a vital component of an efficient DevOps ecosystem. The state of DevSecOps, where security is integrated into the entire DevOps lifecycle can be achieved by adhering to best practices and improving collaboration. This allows organizations to protect their software from attacks from inception through release, ensuring the safety of sensitive data, and supporting more efficient development and security processes.

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