Apr 30, 2019 - Vanessa Wegner    

Speed up secure software delivery with DevSecOps

It’s time to shift left: Embed security into your DevOps workflow to increase speed, quality, and efficiency in the SDLC.

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DevOps is a revolutionary step forward in efficient software delivery, but teams often face painful delays when releases are put through security testing. Security is critical for every digital entity, but often adds tension to a process that is already under pressure for speed and cost efficiency. For many, software delivery resembles an assembly-line style of work where employees have to constantly stop and start their work on different projects, breaking their mental flow and straining relationships between teams.

To illustrate, let’s trade software for Ford’s Model Ts for a minute. Software development closely resembles development of those first cars manufactured by Ford: Each worker makes a contribution and hands off to the next, and then the security pros take it for a test drive (or look for vulnerabilities). But if the car doesn’t function properly, it’s sent back to the beginning of the line to the developers who have already begun working on a different vehicle.

Back to software. How can teams solve this back-and-forth without foregoing quality? They must embed security into the development workflow.

Integrate and automate end-to-end security

When security is embedded into the developer workflow, developers can respond to vulnerability alerts while they’re writing code. Within the developer's pipeline report in GitLab, individual vulnerabilities are presented to the developer for review. Alerts could include unsafe code, dangerous attributes, and other vulnerabilities that could put your application at risk. The developer is able to look into each alert, determine whether it needs to be addressed or can be dismissed, and then address each alert while moving through the development process. In the Security Group Dashboard, the security analyst is able to see which alerts the developer was unable to resolve as well as what was dismissed, making sure no vulnerabilities slip through the cracks.

Gain speed and efficiency with DevSecOps

Embedded security checks allow developers to pass off a streamlined workflow to their security peers. Security then focuses on the most important risks and threats with the typical mountain of checks reduced to a much shorter list. Shortened test times lead to much faster releases: Wag! (a dog-walking app) brought their release time down from 40 minutes to just six.

Standard release processes place an unnecessary burden on your teams when a limited number of engineers can work on them and project handoff actually impedes completion. The ability to work concurrently within the same environment represents much more than a shift left: It redefines the entire DevOps lifecycle, enabling greater efficiency and collaboration on a single source of truth.

How it works

Static application security testing (SAST) brings vulnerabilities to developers so they can review gaps in their code within their own working environment before passing the project off to security. This integration mitigates the friction that often stands between dev and security, allowing security to graduate from roadblock status to critical workflow component. The collaborative nature of SAST within tools like GitLab allows different teams to access the project at any time, eliminating any cumbersome linear processes and breaking down silos within the larger organization.

Accelerate delivery and build productivity by testing closer to remediation

Shifting left might ring alarm bells for some, but don’t worry – developers won’t be solving every security problem. The idea is to alert your dev team to the code fixes that would be easiest for them to solve, rather than making the security team do the digging. This switch will streamline the overall workflow, allowing the security team to focus on more critical risks and reducing handoff between security and dev.

DevSecOps integrates security into your CI/CD processes, allowing your teams to work quickly, collaborate efficiently, and produce secure and quality software at every release.

Are you ready to build security into your DevOps practices? Just commit.

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