Why security in DevOps is so important

Vendors often focus on writing code quickly as they develop software for their products. The reason for that is the dynamic market: if you can’t roll out your product on time, competitors may get ahead of you or your product may become irrelevant.


Naturally, in this kind of working environment, security can be somewhat neglected. Let’s stop here for a moment and try to look into the future. You may get lucky: you roll out your product first and don’t face any security issues, but there’s no guarantee that this will happen.


Unfortunately, the worst-case scenario is possible as well: interested individuals might steal or block your data and then everything you’ve done goes down the drain. Together with the data, you’ll lose your investments and time spent. You’ll have to close the project, start everything from scratch, or come up with a new one.


Are you ready to take that risk? If you’re not, consider DevOps security.


Best time to take care of DevOps security

Some vendors usually see security as one of the final stages. For that reason, they don’t take care of it from the onset of the project. However, data can leak at any time and cause serious problems for the entire project.


This is why we recommend considering data security as you plan your project. Implementing DevSecOps early on gives you confidence that development and operations are going according to your plan, nothing is missing, and your data is secure.


Make a clear plan as you start your project and share it with your team. Keep in mind that all your team members must share your ideas to make the plan a reality. If some of your team members don’t agree to those terms and conditions, you’ll have to recruit new ones who do.


Who can take charge of security?

It’s a fact that one person faced with a problem is more likely to tackle it than several people facing the same issue. Everyone usually thinks someone else will take responsibility for the situation. As a result, the task remains incomplete.


If you want to avoid security issues like that, appoint a person to ensure that your team members follow security practices. If you have to create a separate position for this purpose, you should definitely do so. This way, you’ll know exactly who to contact for security issues, while your employee will go about completing such tasks in the right way.


How to motivate your team to follow the rules about security for DevOps

If possible, consider implementing a financial incentive system. Pay your employees bonuses if they detect security issues. These incentives will be the best guarantee that your team members are more attentive and responsible if DevSecOps issues occur.


How to improve data security

1. Follow DevSecOps practices. Vendors usually leave data security issues to the final stage of their development life cycles. The reason for that is simple: protecting each piece of code takes time and slows down the overall workflow.


However, DevOps security issues can show up at any stage. That’s why we recommend adhering to DevSecOps practices and making security a part of your development workflow from the outset.


Learn OWASP security standards, share them with your team, and follow them as you develop your apps. Keep running security tests early on: this way, you won’t only be reassured about data security, but also restructure your code less frequently.


2. Avoid giving team members access to all data. The fewer people who have access to your data, the lower the risk that you have a data leak or get hacked. If each of your employees is responsible only for a specific part of the project, they won’t need access to all data. If you need to give any of the team members access to additional resources, set a time limit during which they’re allowed to use them.


3. Fine-tune effective communication between development and operations teams. Development and operations teams must collaborate to ensure that DevSecOps practices deliver the best results.


4. Make communication between these employees as easy as possible. Delineate the duties of all team members and describe what each of them is responsible for. Use cloud services for project management to make communication comfortable, clear, and simple.


Make a simple plan for security breach cases. Unfortunately, you can’t completely avoid security system failures, but you can have a clear idea of what to do in such situations. You’ll save time and fix the problem as effectively as possible. You want to write a document to consult when data security issues occur and make it as clear and concise as possible.


5. Automate as many processes as you can. Automate your business processes to reduce the risks caused by human error. We recommend using the following security tests:


  • SAST for checking your source code for known vulnerabilities
  • DAST for analyzing your app at runtime and finding code-related vulnerabilities
  • RASP for analyzing traffic and user behavior while your app is running


Keep a balance between development speed and security. If you make your team work at too fast a pace, it’s likely that they won’t have time to check the code for errors. Errors will give interested people the chance to access your data.


6. Keep even small parts of your code secure. In this article we have pointed out that data security issues can show up at any time and any stage of your development life cycle. By testing even small parts of your code, you’ll not only keep your business secure but also minimize possible errors.


7. Keep your passwords secure. Keep track of how your team members use passwords and credentials. If possible, set up two-factor authentication for your services. This way, users will need to enter a one-time code from an SMS in addition to the password to log in to the system. By doing so, you reduce the risks of your database being compromised.


8. Use containers. Containerization helps you steer clear of errors as you run your code in a test environment. Containers are self-sustaining entities that let you revert code changes or do additional tests. You also have the option to isolate container blocks to make your microservices and apps more secure.


9. Stick to secure coding practices. This one is all-important if you’re using open-source software. Be sure to validate input data from external sources to substantially reduce source-code vulnerabilities. Watch your programming languages: hackers may use their weak spots to access your data.


Ensuring data security is one of your project’s vital elements. Take care of security from the earliest stages of development. Don’t assume that your employees follow all security rules: take the initiative in this matter.


Making your data suitably secure will enable you to avoid data leakage, make your system hack-proof, keep trade secrets and your project’s unique data safe, reduce errors in the code, speed up the workflow, and optimize business processes.