Security throughout the entire software development process is one of the most important tasks for modern vendors. DevSecOps integration allows security to be incorporated into the development pipeline from the earliest stages of the cycle.
Issues of traditional DevOps
DevSecOps methodology is becoming increasingly popular as an approach to software development. Its main task is to ensure maximum security of software production, in addition to uniting development and operation teams, and automating the maximum number of processes.
Traditionally, the entire application development cycle in DevOps follows the waterfall model: processes move linearly in one direction like water falling from one rock ledge to another. Each ledge is a separate completed stage and the product is refined, tested, and approved at each one. Creating code is like a computer game, in which after completing one level, our hero (the development team) moves on to the next one. But if errors are detected in the software product, the hero does not pass the level and instead has to go back to the previous one to fix them. This approach to development takes too much time and in today’s rapidly changing and highly competitive market, is a model that is no longer effective.
Modern programs, tools, and methodologies can significantly speed up development while increasing software reliability. However, code bases are subject to numerous threats and if security is not taken care of from the beginning, the manufacturer risks being left with nothing even at the final stage when the product is fully ready. These are the main risks that a vendor who fails to include security in the development process is exposed to:
- high risk of database hacking and data leakage
- product non-compliance with current software requirements
- vulnerability of the program to cyberattacks
- frequent incidents, failures, and downtime resulting in losses and system recovery costs
- customer dissatisfaction due to application failures
These problems can be avoided by using the DevSecOps methodology.
DevSecOps: DevOps + Security
Now we need to answer the question: what is DevSecOps and give a DevSecOps definition? The essence of this approach is reflected in its name, taken from development+security+operations. It is a software development method that combines the principles of DevOps, security at all stages of product development, and assumes maximum automation of processes. Essentially, DevSecOps is integrating security into DevOps. The main idea of this approach is that security must be thought about before the application is created and must be ensured at every step.
DevSecOps allows to promptly detect threats and eliminate them, and also to prevent possible incidents. Another important objective of this method is to ensure that the software is compliant with current industry requirements and regulations.
Most traditional testing tools and vulnerability scanners are not suitable for DevSecOps purposes because they are difficult to automate. Therefore, this methodology utilizes special security tools. Here are some of them:
Static Application Security Testing (SAST) tools that allow you to detect vulnerabilities in the source code of the program itself. Static analysis is used to detect problem areas of existing code and quickly fix errors. This group of tools is easy to automate and incorporate into the development process.
Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) tools create hacker scenarios and test a program’s resilience to external threats. They make it possible to detect application vulnerabilities while the application is running, such as misconfigurations and inadequate security measures.
In addition to these two large groups, DevSecOps uses tools for:
- Software Composition Analysis (SCA)
- Vulnerability management
- Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)
- Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)
- Containers security
- Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) tools
However, do not indiscriminately apply all tools to a project as each product is unique and the vendor needs to select the tools that best fit their goals.
Key DevSecOps processes
Security in software development is achieved through various processes that are integrated into all phases of the development lifecycle. Here are the key DevSecOps methodologies:
Code analysis. Finding potentially vulnerable places in the source code plays an important role in security. Certain parts of the code may be more vulnerable than others, while there may also be various errors or deviations from coding standards in the code base. Such defects can be detected in the early stages of the development cycle using Static Application Security Testing (SAST) tools.
Change management. For effective software protection, changes to the software system must be constantly monitored: planned, coordinated, and controlled. Particular attention should be paid to processes that can affect security — code modifications, infrastructure upgrades or configuration changes.
Compliance management. Software must comply with current legal and industry regulations and standards. Only then can it be considered a quality product. To ensure compliance with the requirements, experts audit the software and check the data against the existing norms. The results of such analysis are documented.
Threat modeling. Systematic analysis of system architecture allows for predicting possible security threats and preventing them. Experts identify potential vulnerabilities which the manufacturer will pay special attention to, allowing them to significantly reduce possible security risks and protect the system from the most likely attacks.
Security training. Security can only be ensured if DevSecOps principles are adhered to by all team members. Therefore, it is important to train all personnel on current secure coding methods, how to prevent possible threats, and familiarize them with modern security standards.
Incident response and recovery. Incidents are a natural occurrence and program development can hardly do without them. Don’t be afraid of them, instead, prepare your team for possible disruptions in advance. Develop an incident response plan and explain to each specialist the algorithm of action in an unforeseen situation. Include the stages of incident detection, analysis, containment, remediation, and recovery. This will help the team be clear about what needs to be done and to react quickly to an emergency.
Vulnerability management. This process is aimed at finding vulnerabilities in the system. Usually, development and operations teams are actively involved as effective vulnerability detection, assessment, and remediation requires close communication between them. The use of automated tools speeds up the process and reduces the possibility of human error.
Secure configuration management. One of the important requirements for software is its compliance with industry best practices. This requires securely configuring application and infrastructure components and keeping track of configuration updates.
Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD). DevSecOps methodologies focus on ensuring security from the earliest stages of development and integrating security processes into the build and deployment processes. This approach minimizes security threats to the system as much as possible so that by the time of deployment the manufacturer can be confident in the quality of the finished product.
Continuous monitoring. The goal of this component of DevSecOps is to identify anomalies, security incidents, and possible vulnerabilities. To ensure continuous monitoring, it is necessary to regularly monitor and analyze security events, application behavior, check system performance, and monitor user actions in real time. All these measures improve system security and reduce risks.
How to integrate DevSecOps
Even if you’ve learned the tools and processes of DevSecOps, to integrate this approach successfully and effectively, you’ll need to look at the overall program creation process, evaluate its unique features, and choose the methods that will get you closest to your project’s goals. We recommend paying attention to the following tips:
Make safety culture a priority. Explain the importance of safety to everyone involved in the project and instruct them. Take personal control of safety or assign it to one responsible person.
Simulate threats. This will help you anticipate possible threats, prioritize them, and think through the algorithm of actions in case of incidents.
Make it a rule to test security regularly. This way you can identify security threats promptly and eliminate them immediately.
Implement automation. Try to automate as many processes as possible to reduce the risk of errors and speed up development.
Encourage communication and teamwork between different teams. This will make the development and safety process more efficient at every stage.
Keep up to date with new developments in the security industry. Don’t be afraid to try new tools: they can improve workflow efficiency and allow you to create a better and more reliable product.
If you are not sure that you will be able to comprehensively assess all aspects of security, we recommend contacting experienced professionals at a DevOps services company: experts will help you develop a detailed step-by-step DevSecOps integration plan or offer professional support for your project — DevOps as a service.
Results of implementing DevSecOps
Implementing DevSecOps provides the following benefits to manufacturers:
Risk mitigation in the early stages of development. By taking care of security from the very beginning, you significantly reduce the number of possible incidents and solve problems at an early stage, spending less time and resources.
Prevention of possible incidents. DevSecOps is focused not only on solving existing problems but also on identifying possible dangers. This allows you to minimize the number of incidents.ё
Fast problem resolution. DevSecOps automation and processes are focused on continuous safety monitoring and control. The manufacturer learns about emerging problems immediately and can promptly eliminate them.
Product compliance with industry regulations. One of the ideas behind the DevSecOps approach is to adhere to current regulatory requirements from the early stages of software development. Compliance with these rules and standards protects organizations from legal and financial risks.
Improved communication within the team. DevSecOps requires close interaction of all specialists; training them in security methods and the personal participation of each team member in the process. All these measures bring specialists from different departments closer together, improve communication within the team, and allow everyone to be a professional not only in their field but also to better understand global project processes.
High product quality and stable application performance. Identifying vulnerabilities and risks at early stages helps to avoid a significant number of factors that reduce software quality.
Customer trust and satisfaction. Reliable operation of the application and quick resolution of problems work to strengthen the vendor’s reputation and generate customer trust.
Ability to avoid unnecessary costs. DevSecOps allows you to identify and fix problems at early stages, so in the long term, the risks of incidents are significantly reduced. As a result, manufacturers do not have to spend significant sums on system recovery, incur losses due to downtime, or risk their reputation.
DevSecOps is a modern software development culture that helps organizations discover and address security vulnerabilities early in the software development process. This methodology prioritizes DevOps principles, security, automation, and team collaboration. DevSecOps integration helps reduce product development time, avoid multiple security risks and threats, and ensures reliable application performance. Ultimately, it creates a quality competitive product that is marketable and meets the needs of end users.