Do you know what’s the biggest challenge for most organizations today? – Maintaining top-notch security throughout Software Development. In 2023, security is a prime concern. It’s now an integral and non-negotiable component of DevOps.
“DevSecOps, the converging force of DevOps and Security, brings a transformational shift by embedding security within the DevOps Culture.”
As we know, DevOps needs to focus on the security aspects of the SDLC; DevSecOps promises to fill the missing gaps. It is an agile approach that aims to incorporate security in every part of Software Development. But How different is it from DevOps? What are its core principles? Which tools does it use? What benefits does DevSecOps offer?
Let’s explore the world of DevSecOps through this activity guidebook!
DevSecOps Vs. DevOps: What’s The Difference?
Before diving into the specifics of DevSecOps, explore its differentiating factors from DevOps:
- Culture: DevOps promotes shared responsibility while DevSecOps extends shared responsibility, prioritizing security.
- Treatment of security: DevOps often addresses security at the end of the SDLC. But, DevSecOps integrates security into the pipeline.
- Security tools: DevOps combines CI/CD pipelines with traditional security methods. However, DevSecOps requires new security tools and techniques for the CI/CD workflows.
- Efficiency: DevOps can lead to security bottlenecks and technical debt. DevSecOps minimizes vulnerabilities in production by reducing security issue costs.
- Automation: DevOps automates only development-related tasks. On the contrary, DevSecOps brings automation to accelerate security tasks in SDLC.
The Building Blocks of DevSecOps: How Does It Incorporate Security In DevOps?
DevSecOps incorporates security through four key pillars – Governance, People, Process, and Technology. These four pillars represent each phase of the DevOps pipeline:
Governance ensures that security is a top-level consideration throughout the development process. It involves defining security guardrails that align with organizational goals. It redesigns the operational and compliance framework by establishing shared metrics and monitoring results.
People of DevSecOps include developers, operations teams, risk analysts, and security experts. It encourages team collaboration and promotes cross-functional operations to mitigate security risks from the initial planning stages.
DevSecOps process embraces automation to integrate security checks into the software development processes. It also automates Security telemetry and incident response for compliance checks. This includes orchestrating an integrated process flow with an integrated backlog and pipeline.
The technology aspect of DevSecOps involves implementing security tools and solutions that support the SDLC process. It automates recurring security tasks to protect the toolchain and infrastructure.
Getting Familiarized With DevSecOps Core Concepts & Principles
DevSecOps should be a natural approach for incorporating security controls into SDLC stages. So, how do we integrate security? Let’s review the core DecSecOps concepts with fundamental principles that DevOps teams should use in their SDLC workflows. Here are the main security-oriented stages of DevSecOps that occur alongside DevOps workflows.
Shift Left Security
This core DevSecOps principle involves moving security practices and checks to the earliest stages of the development process. So DevOps engineers place security at the beginning of the development lifecycle and shift it towards the left of the development workflow. It allows the teams to discover potential security risks before software delivery.
This principle outlines possible attack scenarios that can affect application performance. DevSecOps utilizes sensitive data flows to find potential mitigation options. As a result, developers can reduce the security gap and stop potential security threats beforehand.
This principle encourages DevOps teams to automate security testing for various CI/CD processes. Security analysts can also resolve security risks consistently. It helps them perform code analysis with thorough compliance checks and make well-informed decisions about eliminating potential threats.
Security As Code
This core principle of DevSecOps considers security policies and configurations as code. As it allows version control and automation, QA teams can easily configure customized automation workflows for security testing. The programmable approach improves security performance with DevSecOps tools and configuration metrics.
DevSecOps makes continuous improvement a mandatory aspect that adds value to businesses. It iteratively improves the security capability and quality with reduced security defects and increased deployment success rates. It increases production deployment frequency and DevOps pipeline velocity while incorporating compliance feedback across iterative sprints and release cycles.
Collaborative Culture & Communication
The core concept of DevSecOps is to create open and transparent communication channels between development, security, and operations professionals. It enables teams to address security concerns proactively. As teams get to work on the same Product Goal, it fosters clear transparency and visibility among them.
Observability And Monitoring
DevSecOps emphasizes the importance of traceability and audibility. Teams can perform continuous monitoring and create observability solutions using security insights. It helps them to trace security changes and have clear visibility about the current security controls across environments.
Exploring DevSecOps Tools For Different Stages of The Framework Lifecycle
DevSecOps is only possible with suitable tools and technologies. With the fast-changing DevOps culture, exploring the latest tools that help organizations incorporate security in every stage of the framework’s lifecycle is essential. Let’s review the tools based on the DevSecOps lifecycle:
Tools For ‘Plan’ Stage
Planning is the first lifecycle phase of DevSecOps. It involves defining development requirements based on discussion, review, and strategy planning. The tools for this stage include:
- Jira: It helps in planning and tracking security tasks.
- Trello: It facilitates task management and collaboration.
- IRIUSRISK: It is perfect for threat modeling.
Tools For ‘Build’ Stage
In the second phase, the developers use the following tools to commit the code:
- Jenkins: It enables automated code builds with easy integration.
- SonarQube: It helps developers to manage the code quality centrally.
- SNYK: It allows the teams to scan and fix code defects.
- Checkmarx: It identifies security risks associated with the source code.
- GitLab CI/CD: It offers a complete CI/CD pipeline with security checks.
Tools For ‘Test’ Stage
In the test phase, QA teams use various testing tools with capabilities to perform security testing. Here are the most used tools in the testing phase:
- SAST: The Static App Security Test scans source code continuously to identify defects.
- DAST: The dynamic app security test helps QA teams automate security testing tasks.
- Nessus: It is a popular security testing tool for DevSecOps.
- AppScan: It conducts testing over web services and apps.
Tools For ‘Deploy’ Stage
After testing, developers deploy the code builds of DevSecOps using the following tools:
- Ansible: It is perfect for automating several deployment and provisioning tasks.
- Kubernetes: It supports secure container orchestration for serverless deployments.
- HashiCorp Vault: It manages secrets and encryption that enhance environment security.
Tools For ‘Observe’ Stage
In this final stage, developers use the following tools to monitor and track application performance in live environments:
- Alert Logic: It monitors public/hybrid cloud applications to detect potential threats.
- RASP: It automatically detects and blocks security threats in real-time.
- Splunk: It provides real-time security monitoring.
- Prometheus: It offers metrics and alerts for security incidents.
DevSecOps Success Criteria: How To Achieve A Complete Transformation?
DevSecOps seamlessly integrates security processes into the delivery pipeline. Here are the best tips that can help organizations achieve successful DevSecOps implementation:
Open Collaboration With Shared Objectives
Focus on creating operational metrics that set shared expectations among development, QA, testing, operations, and security teams. It can help organizations to align their security requirements for measuring success.
Security At The Source
Create self-service and consumable capabilities alongside establishing security guardrails. Incorporate continuous feedback loops to monitor results and improve performance. Reinforce and elevate the development lifecycle with automation and orchestration.
Risk-Oriented Operations With Actionable Insights
Utilize the available operational insights to prioritize remediation activities. Use threat intelligence to improve DevSecOps process flows. Take a risk-based testing approach to detect vulnerabilities faster.
Holistic Approach To Security Objectives
Integrate the framework to secure the CI/CD pipeline for end-to-end security implementation. Perform proactive monitoring with recursive feedback for continuous testing. Find out problems beforehand and leverage logging to drive learning and innovation.
Top Advantages Of DevSecOps Implementation
The true intent of DevSecOps is to create an organization-wide mindset that security is everyone’s responsibility. As a result, DevSecOps Manifesto brings the following advantages to the organizations:
A Repeatable Process
The adaptive processes of DevSecOps ensure security guardrails across the environment. A mature DevSecOps implementation has solid automation and configuration management across serverless compute environments.
Proactive Security With Improvements
DevSecOps introduces security considerations from the initial development stage. The concept continues as the SDLC moves to the following stages, ensuring proactive security throughout the development workflow.
Quick Security Vulnerability Patching
Thanks to continuous vulnerability scanning, QA teams can identify potential security risks and address them quickly.
Automation Compatibility with Development
As DevSecOps facilitates automation for continuous testing, operations teams can use the continuous delivery pipeline for frequent releases.
Cost-effective Software Delivery
As security guardrails detect system vulnerabilities before the Software Delivery, it cuts the repair cost of unnecessary rebuilds.
Challenges Of Succeeding At DevSecOps
While DevSecOps offers various advantages, it also presents the following challenges:
- Cultural Resistance: Teams may resist cultural changes and collaboration.
- Balancing Security and Workflows: Striking the right balance between security and development speed can be tricky.
- Complex Tooling: Managing and integrating security tools can be challenging.
- Skill Gaps: Teams may need more skills for security automation.
Conclusion: Understanding The Holistic Approach
DevSecOps represents a coherent approach to software development. Here, security comes first as the most crucial part of the process. If your organization is still not considering security in SDLC, it’s time to drive a change with DevSecOps! Implementing the core principles and using the right tools makes it possible to achieve a successful transformation!
1. What is the goal of DevSecOps?
DevSecOps aims to integrate security into every phase of the SDLC. The framework proposes a simple solution enabling teams to use security tools and best practices across the planning, development, and deployment phases. Finally, DevSecOps enables continuous monitoring to detect and take action on security risks in real time.
2. Why is DevSecOps important?
DevSecOps protects the system and applications from soaring cyber-attacks, especially zero-day and cloud-based threats. It imposes end-to-end security guardrails that detect vulnerabilities, speed development, and bolster code coverage through automation.
3. What are the myths and misconceptions about DevSecOps?
The common myths and misconceptions about DevSecOps implementation include:
- It is all about fostering Culture
- It only focuses on automation with security as code
- The practices are incompatible with most compliance requirements
- Security experts don’t require development knowledge
- It’s only about code scanning
It requires huge investment for implementation
4. How do we know if the DevSecOps implementation is successful?
The following factors determine the success of your DevSecOps implementation:
- Deployment frequency
- Lead time
- Mean time to repair/recover
- Test coverage
- Detection of threats
5. What are the DevSecOps best practices?
Organizations planning to adopt DevSecOps principles can follow the below best practices for better implementation outcomes:
- Automate manual security processes using security as code
- Enforce security policies for better governance
- Conduct vulnerability management using suitable monitoring tools
- Adopt configuration management to ensure code quality
- Manage client secrets and keys using secure access
- Use privileged access control to secure application access
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