DevOps is a great approach to improve the speed and efficiency of software development, but there are practices that your team can implement to further improve the security of your development process. Find out what approach works best for digital business leaders and how to implement these changes in your organization.
What is DevOps
DevOps is a software development methodology that emphasizes collaboration, communication, and integration between software developers and information technology (IT) professionals. Implementation of DevOps practices enables teams to better work together by emphasizing a culture of collaboration and continuous integration. DevOps can help organizations reduce time to value in their development processes and improve the quality of their software.
Another benefit of the DevOps methodology and culture is its ability to seamlessly integrate across the various stages of the software development lifecycle (SDLC). This includes development, testing, deployment, and operations, allowing different teams within an organization to work together more closely and efficiently. By streamlining these processes, DevOps helps organizations to improve the speed, quality, and reliability of their software.
In recent years, the concept of DevSecOps has emerged to help teams integrate security practices into the DevOps process. DevSecOps ensures that security is considered at every stage of the development cycle by incorporating security practices and tools into the software development process. Teams realize the benefits of DevSecOps because it helps organizations build more secure software why reducing the risks associated with cyber threats.
The shift towards a DevSecOps approach reflects the growing recognition that security must be considered at every stage of the software development process.
Traditionally, security was often seen as an afterthought, with security testing and measures being applied at the end of the development process - sometimes a little too late. However, with the increasing prevalence of cyber threats and the growing complexity of software systems, it has become clear that security must be integrated into the development process from the start, or preferably - during every stage in the development lifecycle. Because security threats are not only increasing in their frequency but also are also consistently changing, so after implementation, teams can realize the benefits of DevSecOps quickly by building more secure software and reducing risk. By keeping security in mind during the development process, organizations can identify and address potential security issues more quickly and effectively, improving the overall security of their software.
The shift towards a DevSecOps approach reflects the growing recognition that security considerations must be acknowledged at every stage of the software development process. One of the key advantages of this approach is that it enables organizations to meet compliance requirements and detect vulnerabilities early - easing the security audit process that traditionally takes place at the later stages of the development.
The increased importance of security in the digital age, alongside the growing complexity of software systems, and the need for organizations to release software updates and new features more quickly and efficiently, reflects the shift to DevSecOps even more. As a result, we're seeing many organizations start to adopt a DevSecOps approach to help them build more secure and reliable software.
Why DevOps Security Matters
DevSecOps has a number of benefits, including the ability to detect vulnerabilities early in the development process, improved software security, along with the ability to release software updates and new features more quickly and efficiently.
By incorporating security practices and tools into the development process, organizations can identify and address potential security issues before they become major problems. This can help organizations build more secure software and reduce the risks associated with cyber threats, along with seamlessly addressing vulnerabilities that can impact customer trust. This can also help organizations reduce the time it takes to get new features and updates on the market by ensuring that risks are caught early and don’t create larger problems later in the process. When security issues become major problems, organizations have to stop and focus on solving the issue, which can impede the development process.
With the increase of cyber threats in recent years, there’s never been a more urgent time to increase the focus on security. The increasingly challenging software landscape often introduces undetected vulnerabilities that can leave your software (and customers) susceptible to attacks. While DevOps is a solid, agile way to approach the SDLC, a DevSecOps approach shouldn't be treated differently when it comes to securing the SLDC.
In addition to the benefits of early detection and improved software security, DevSecOps can also help organizations release software updates and new features more quickly and efficiently. For beginners, DevSecOps can sometimes seem intimidating as it adds additional steps to the development process; however, it has major benefits and makes the development process easier in the long run. Organizations can streamline their development processes and reduce the time it takes to bring new security updates to market. This can help organizations maintain a competitive advantage and respond more effectively to changing market conditions.
A DevOps Security Tutorial to Secure Your Software Supply Chain
Learning the DevSecOps approach doesn't have to be complicated. By getting to know the basic principles, methodology, and tools, you can quickly and easily get started with this approach. If you are looking for guidance and interested in finding a place to start, there are many tutorials and resources available for beginners. With the right resources and support, anyone can learn the DevSecOps approach and start building more secure and reliable software.
Step 1: Get to Know Basic DevOps Security Principles
There are several basic DevSecOps principles that every beginner should learn. These principles ensure that security is considered at every stage of the development process, which has only become more important as development processes get more complicated and hackers get savvier. Some of the key principles of DevSecOps include:
- Focus on delivering small, frequent, and secure releases. In a DevSecOps approach, teams work in short, iterative cycles to develop, test, and deploy software updates and new features. This allows organizations to release software updates more quickly and efficiently.
- Capitalize on automated testing. Automation is the inherent driver in DevSecOps, and it is critical to the success of this approach. By automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, organizations can reduce the time and effort required to build, test, and deploy software. Automation allows teams to focus on innovating in the development process, rather than having to worry about catching potential risks.
- Give development teams input on security-related matters. In a DevSecOps approach, development teams should be involved in all aspects of the development process, including security. This approach focuses on improving collaboration and communication within the organization. It is important that your development team understands and values the security measures being put in place, as they need to buy in and implement the practices for a DevSecOps approach to be effective.
- Always ensure continuous compliance. Compliance with industry regulations and standards is critical to the success of any software development project. In a DevSecOps approach, organizations can ensure continuous compliance by incorporating security practices and tools into the development process.
- Prepare for worst-case scenarios/threats. This typically includes advanced training for engineering teams to help them identify and address potential security threats along the development process. While another SolarWinds or Log4j does not seem likely, it’s important to be prepared for these types of breaches. This will further reduce the likelihood that security risks will get far enough into the development process to present a critical risk.
Step 2: Implement DevSecOps Methodology
To implement DevSecOps successfully, it is important to involve all members of the development team from the beginning of the planning phase to the end of the maintenance phase. This will help ensure that the DevSecOps practices are properly implemented and adhered to and that security concerns are addressed throughout the entire life cycle of the software and that the software is developed and deployed in a secure and reliable manner.
There are several phases of implementation in a DevSecOps approach. These phases are:
- Planning: In this phase, the development team works together to identify the requirements for the software, establish a timeline for development, and create a project plan. This phase also involves setting up the tools and infrastructure needed for the development process, such as version control systems and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines.
- Analysis: In this phase, the team analyzes the requirements in detail to determine how the software will be built and what resources will be needed. This phase also involves identifying potential security risks and vulnerabilities and developing strategies for mitigating them.
- Design: In this phase, the team creates a detailed design of the software, including its architecture, interfaces, and data structures. This phase also involves designing the security controls that will be built into the software, such as authentication and access controls. Inserting security at this phase ensures that the proper security will be built into the software and that the design team possesses the oversight and knowledge of what security measures need to be put in place.
- Implementation: In this phase, the team actually builds the software using the programming languages and tools that were selected during the design phase. This phase also involves integrating the security controls into the software and performing regular testing to ensure they are working correctly.
- Testing: In this phase, the team performs a variety of tests to ensure that the software meets the requirements and functions correctly. This phase also involves testing the security controls to ensure that they are effective at protecting the software from potential vulnerabilities. This phase is where automation can help development teams speed up their security processes. In order to increase efficiency, teams should expect to automate this phase wherever possible.
- Securing: In the securing phase, teams incorporate security practices and tools into the development process. This phase involves identifying potential vulnerabilities and risks in the software, as well as implementing strategies to address these risks. This can include the use of automated tools and technologies to scan the software for potential vulnerabilities, as well as the use of security practices and standards to ensure the software meets industry regulations and requirements.
- Deployment: In this phase, the software is released to users and made available for use. This phase also involves monitoring the software for any issues or bugs and making revisions as needed to keep it running smoothly. Ideally, any security risks will have been caught before this phase, and adhering to the above-listed steps will help ensure this.
- Operating: In the operating phase, teams monitor the software in production environments to ensure it is running efficiently. This phase typically involves the use of monitoring tools and technologies to track the performance and availability of the software, as well as the use of incident response and management processes to address any issues that arise.
- Monitoring: In the monitoring phase, teams use a variety of tools and technologies to monitor the software for potential security vulnerabilities and risks. This phase typically involves the use of automated scanners and other tools to scan the software for vulnerabilities, as well as the use of security analytics and reporting tools to track the security posture of the software over time.
Step 3: Monitor, Test, & Revise
Monitoring, testing, and revising are key components of the DevSecOps methodology. In a DevSecOps approach, teams continuously test, monitor, and revise their software to ensure it is secure, reliable, and compliant with industry regulations and standards. This continuous improvement approach is an inherent quality of the DevSecOps methodology, and it is critical to the success of this approach. In order to help the team see success with DevSecOps, the continuous improvement approach is a key quality of the methodology.
Some examples of monitoring and testing that DevSecOps teams can use often include:
- Security Scanning - Security scanning involves using automated tools and technologies to scan the software for potential vulnerabilities. This can include the use of static analysis tools, dynamic analysis tools, and other tools to identify potential security issues in the software. Security scanning implementation can be challenging, but Legit Security's ability to identify the placement of other security guardrails, such as third-party SAST and SCA tools, allows companies to optimize their coverage and ensure all critical CI/CD pipelines are secure with ease.
- Penetration Testing - also known as ‘pen testing’ or ‘ethical hacking' , is the practice of simulating an attack on a computer system, network, or web application to identify potential vulnerabilities and security risks. Penetration testers use a variety of tools and techniques to attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in the system and then report their findings to the organization. The goal of penetration testing is to identify vulnerabilities before they are exploited by malicious actors and to help organizations take steps to address those vulnerabilities and improve their security posture.
- Compliance testing - Compliance testing involves verifying that the software meets industry regulations and standards. This can include the use of automated tools and technologies to scan the software for potential compliance issues, as well as the use of manual testing techniques to ensure the software meets all relevant regulations and standards. This is a key step to ensuring trust between you and your customers. If your organization maintains compliance, your customers are less likely to experience security breaches via your product or service, which is an inherent benefit to your business.
Some tools that DevSecOps teams can use to continuously improve their software throughout the SDLC include:
- Static Analysis Tools - Used to analyze the source code of a software program without executing it. By analyzing the code early in the development process, static code analysis tools can identify security vulnerabilities that might otherwise go undetected until later stages of development or even after deployment. This early detection can reduce the risk of security breaches and other security-related issues. Some common static analysis tools include linters, which check the code for adherence to coding standards, and static code analyzers, which identify potential security vulnerabilities and other issues in the code. Static analysis tools can be a valuable part of a comprehensive DevSecOps approach. Some popular static analysis tools include Checkmarx, SonarQube, and Veracode. The use of static code analysis tools within a DevSecOps framework can help improve the security, quality, and efficiency of software development, while also reducing the risk of security breaches and other issues.
- Dynamic Analysis Tools - Used to analyze the behavior of a software program while it is running. These tools are used to both identify potential vulnerabilities in the code and to ensure that the software is functioning properly. Dynamic analysis tools are typically used during the testing phase of the software development process and can help identify issues that may not be detectable through static analysis. Some common dynamic analysis tools include penetration testing tools, which simulate attacks on the software to identify vulnerabilities, and runtime analysis tools, which monitor the software's behavior while it is running to identify potential issues. Some popular dynamic analysis tools include Burp Suite, OWASP ZAP, and AppScan.
- Software Composition Analysis (SCA) Tools - Are software programs that analyze the libraries and dependencies of a software program to identify potential security vulnerabilities and other issues. These tools scan the code of a software program and identify any third-party libraries or dependencies that are used, and then check those libraries against known vulnerabilities to see if the software is at risk. SCA tools can provide increased visibility into the software components being used, which can help developers make informed decisions about which components to use and which to avoid. SCA tools can be a valuable part of a comprehensive approach to software security, as they help organizations identify potential vulnerabilities in the libraries and dependencies they use. Some common SCA tools include Dependency-Track and WhiteSource.
- Software Supply Chain Security Tools - used to scan your development pipelines for gaps and leaks, the SDLC infrastructure and systems for insecure configurations, and the people and their security posture as they operate within it. These tools secure the broader software supply chain environment with real-time visibility and risk scoring, allowing you to address security issues earlier in the pre-production development environment before deployment.
Start Implementing DevSecOps Today
In conclusion, DevOps is a great approach to improving the efficiency of the software development life cycle. However, there is a better way to approach the process, known as DevSecOps. The future of the software development life cycle is DevSecOps because it helps organizations build more secure and robust software by prioritizing security measures throughout the entire process. Getting started with DevSecOps may seem challenging, but it all starts with understanding the basic principles and implementing a methodology with a focus on continuous monitoring and testing.
To ensure your organization's software is as secure as possible, try implementing DevSecOps with Legit Security. Our platform can help you get started and ensure that your security measures are effective throughout the entire software development life cycle.