What is DevSecOps?
Can your existing DevSecOps and application security keep pace with modern development methods? Learn how next-generation software requires a new approach to app sec.
Security has traditionally come at the end of the development lifecycle, adding cost and time when code is inevitably sent back to the developer for fixes. DevSecOps — a combination of development, security, and operations — is an approach to software development that integrates security throughout the development lifecycle.
DevOps combines development and operations to increase the efficiency, speed, and security of software development and delivery compared to traditional processes. A more nimble software development lifecycle results in a competitive advantage for businesses and their customers. DevOps can be best explained as people working together to conceive, build, and deliver secure software at top speed. DevOps practices enable software developers (devs) and operations (ops) teams to accelerate delivery through automation, collaboration, fast feedback, and iterative improvement.Although the term DevSecOps looks like DevOps with the Sec inserted in the middle, it’s more than the sum of its parts. DevSecOps is an evolution of DevOps that weaves application security practices into every stage of software development right through deployment with the use of tools and methods to protect and monitor live applications. New attack surfaces such as containers and orchestrators must be monitored and protected alongside the application itself. DevSecOps tools automate security workflows to create an adaptable process for your development and security teams, improving collaboration and breaking down silos. By embedding security into the software development lifecycle, you can consistently secure fast-moving and iterative processes, improving efficiency without sacrificing quality.
Application security is the use of software, hardware, and procedural methods to protect applications from external threats. Modern approaches include shifting left, or finding and fixing vulnerabilities earlier in the development process, as well as shifting right to protect applications and their infrastructure-as-code in production. Securing the software development lifecycle itself is often a requirement as well.This approach of building security into your development and operational processes effectively turns your DevOps methodology into a DevSecOps methodology. An end-to-end DevOps platform can best enable this approach.
If you’ve read the book that was the genesis for the DevOps movement, The Phoenix Project, you understand the importance of automation, consistency, metrics, and collaboration. For DevSecOps, you are essentially applying these techniques to outfit the software factory while embedding security capabilities along the way rather than in a separate, siloed process. Both developers and security teams can find vulnerabilities, but developers are usually required to fix these flaws. It makes sense to empower them to find and fix vulnerabilities while they are still working on the code. Scanning alone isn’t enough. It’s about getting the results to the right people, at the right time, with the right context for quick action.Fundamental DevSecOps requirements include automation and collaboration, along with policy guardrails and visibility.### Automation
GitLab’s 2022 DevSecOps Survey found that a majority of DevOps teams are running static application security testing (SAST), dynamic application security testing (DAST), or other security scans regularly, but fewer than a third of developers actually get those results in their workflow. A majority of security pros say their DevOps teams are shifting left, and 47% of teams report full test automation.
A single source of truth that reports vulnerabilities and remediation provides much-needed transparency to both development and security team. It can streamline cycles, eliminate friction, and remove unnecessary translation across tools.
Every enterprise has a different appetite for risk. Your security policies will reflect what is right for you while the regulatory requirements to which you must adhere will also influence the policies you must apply. Hand-in-hand with automation, guardrails can ensure consistent application of your security and compliance policies.
An end-to-end DevSecOps platform can give auditors a clear view into who changed what, where, when, and why from beginning to end of the software lifecyle. Leveraging a single source of truth can also ensure earlier visibility into application risks.
Unlike traditional approaches where security is often left to the end, DevSecOps shifts security to earlier in the software development lifecycle. By reviewing, scanning, and testing code for security issues throughout the development process, teams can identify security concerns proactively and address them immediately, before additional dependencies are introduced or code is released to customers.
If security vulnerabilities aren’t detected until the end of a project, the result can be major delays as development teams scramble to address the issues at the last minute. But with a DevSecOps approach, developers can remediate vulnerabilities while they’re coding, which teaches secure code writing and reduces back and forth during security reviews. Not only does this help organizations release software faster, it ensures that their software is more secure and cost efficient.
Customers and business stakeholders demand software that is fast, reliable, and secure. To keep up, development teams need to leverage the latest in collaborative and security technology, including automated security testing, continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD), and vulnerability patching. DevSecOps is all about improving collaboration between development, security, and operations teams to improve organizational efficiency and free up teams to focus on work that drives value for the business.
The benefits of DevSecOps are clear: speed, efficiency, and collaboration. But how do you know if it’s right for your team? If your organization is facing any of the following challenges, a DevSecOps approach might be a good move:
Development, security, and operations teams are siloed. If development and operations are isolated from security issues, they can’t build secure software. And if security teams aren’t part of the development process, they can’t identify risks proactively. DevSecOps brings teams together to improve workflows and share ideas. Organizations might even see improved employee morale and retention.
Long development cycles are making it difficult to meet customer or stakeholder demands. One reason for the struggle could be security. DevSecOps implements security at every step of the development lifecycle, meaning that solid security doesn’t require the whole process to come to a halt.
You’re migrating to the cloud (or considering it). Moving to the cloud often means bringing on new development processes, tools, and systems. It’s a perfect time to make processes faster and more secure — and DevSecOps could make that a lot easier.
Making the shift to a DevSecOps approach helps organizations address security threats in real time, but the change won’t happen overnight. The right mindset is just as important as the right toolset in making the leap. Here are five ways to prepare yourself (and your team) to embrace DevSecOps:
Remember that security and security professionals are valuable assets, not bottlenecks or barriers. Don’t lose sight of the wider perspective: a vulnerability that isn’t detected until later in the process is going to be much harder and more expensive to fix.
Work in small iterations. By delivering code in small chunks, you’ll be able to detect vulnerabilities more quickly.
Allow everyone to contribute. Establish a norm where everyone can comment and suggest improvement to code and processes. Encouraging everyone on the team to submit changes jumpstarts collaboration and makes it everyone’s responsibility to improve the process.
Always be ready for an audit. Ensure that everyone on the team understands the importance of compliance and establish norms for collecting and updating compliance information.
Train everyone on security best practices. Ensure that your development and operations teams are well trained in secure development by providing detailed security guidelines and hands-on training.
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