DevOps blends software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops) to shorten the development lifecycle and ensure continuous software delivery. A set of practices, DevOps guarantee better software quality by frequently delivering features, fixes, and updates. DevSecOps involves integrating security tools with DevOps processes automatically. By adding security practices to the DevOps pipeline, security tests are driven from the application development pipeline. It consists of institutionalizing a “Security-as-a-code” culture by collaborating with release engineers and security teams.

Devops vs. DevSecOps

Digital transformation is transforming business worldwide, and cloud and DevOps are its key considerations. However, they bring vulnerabilities along with them and must be addressed quickly. With application development becoming more democratized, decentralized & increasingly open-sourced, the vulnerabilities seem to be on the upside.

Nearly 54% of developers do not adhere to any docker image security testing. 37% of open source developers don’t implement security testing during CI. Most developers consider security during the final stage of application development.

How DevSecOps fits into an organization

DevSecOps automates and embeds security into application development workflows. Organizations can leverage DevSecOps to deliver value to customers on an iterative and continuous basis. The outcome of automation is to reduce errors due to manual configuration. DevSecOps can automate responses to alerts and events, reducing errors and improving response speed.

When the application runs in a production or staging environment, a penetration test is scheduled.

Suppose, in a pen test scenario, a high-risk vulnerability such as SQL injection is detected. In that case, the team must run the entire DevOps pipeline to fix a single SQL injection vulnerability – this is not a viable option.

By implementing security testing within the DevOps pipeline, E.g., in this case the SQL injection, could have been quickly discovered at an early stage by using source code scanners and fixed before packaging the artifacts.

Implementing DevSecOps

DevSecOps can be integrated into the CI/CD pipeline as follows:

When a developer pushes a piece of code into a source code repository (GitHub), the source code gets verified for sensitive information (Git Secrets); this includes AWS credentials or API tokens unintentionally committed by the developer into the Github repository. A source composition analysis helps check for third-party libraries used in the code for any inherited vulnerabilities.

SAST scans check for vulnerabilities within the source code level. DAST scans check for common vulnerabilities after hosting an application to the application server. Testors also used open-source frameworks such as GAUNTLT for open port scanning.

Today, most of the applications are running a docker container, and container level vulnerabilities must be checked using Anchore, a container security tool.

Import the reports extracted from different security tools into a vulnerability management tool such as DefectDojo, where you can view the findings in a single dashboard. All the issues/bugs recognized within CI/CD can be tracked by an issue tracking tool such as JIRA. 

Secure Applications, Include DevSecOps

DevSecOps ensures applications are secure by including everyone responsible in the development pipeline. It consists of processes and methodologies while complementing the Agile approach to maximize business benefits. The DevSecOps environment ensures the entire development ecosystem is secure by enabling the right security decisions and tools tuned as per the need. The environment also provides constant monitoring and detection of defects to enhance threat hunting abilities.

DevSecOps is revolutionizing the way enterprises manage application security. It reduces costs, improves accountability & collaboration, minimizes security logjams, ensures compliance, and provide a better security approach to safeguard applications. While no application is 100% secure, the DevSecOps implementation ensures that security is the primary focus in every application development activity. Application security is possible by creating security implementations within each domain and increasing collaboration with the security teams. DevSecOps is vital for the DevOps model because it is the only way to handle “security at scale.”

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