DevSecOps – Everything you need to know

In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, developing and deploying software applications is no longer enough. With rapidly growing and evolving cyber threats, security integration has become an integral part of development and operations. This is where DevSecOps comes into the picture as a modern methodology that ensures a seamless and secure software pipeline.

According to Global DevSecOps 2022 by GitLab, nearly 40% of IT teams follow DevSecOps practices, with more than 75% claiming to be able to find and patch security issues earlier in the development process.

This blog post will go deep into everything you need to know about DevSecOps, from its fundamentals to DevSecOps best practices.

What is DevSecOps?

DevSecOps is an evolution of DevOps practices that integrates security as a critical component in all key stages of the DevOps pipeline. Development teams plan, code, build, and test the software application, security teams ensure that the code is free of vulnerabilities, while Operations teams release, monitor, or fix issues that arise.

DevSecOps is a cultural shift that encourages collaboration between developers, security professionals, and operations teams. To this end, all teams are responsible for providing high-speed security to the entire SDLC.

What is a DevSecOps pipeline?

DevSecOps is about integrating security into every step of the SDLC, not about adopting it as an afterthought. It is a continuous integration and development (CI/CD) pipeline with integrated security practices including scanning, threat intelligence, policy enforcement, static analysis, and compliance validation. By incorporating security into the SDLC, DevSecOps ensures that security risks are identified and addressed early.

Illustration of DevSecOps pipeline stages

DevSecOps pipeline stages

Critical stages in the DevSecOps pipeline include:

1. Plan

In this phase, the threat model and policy are defined. Threat modeling involves identifying potential security threats, assessing their potential impact, and creating a robust solution roadmap. While enforcing strict policies outlines the security requirements and industry standards that must be met.

2. Code:

This phase involves using IDE applications to identify security vulnerabilities during the coding process. During coding, tools such as Code Sight can detect potential security issues such as buffer leaks, injection flaws, and incorrect input validation. This goal of security integration at this stage is critical to identifying and fixing security holes in the code before it goes down.

3. Build

During the build phase, code is reviewed and dependencies are checked for vulnerabilities. Dependency Checkers [Software Composition Analysis (SCA) tools] scan third-party libraries and frameworks used in the code for known vulnerabilities. Code review is also an important aspect of the Build phase to identify any security issues that may have been overlooked in the previous phase.

4. Test

Security testing within DevSecOps is the first line of defense against all cyber threats and vulnerabilities hidden in code. Static, dynamic, and interactive application security testing (SAST/DAST/IAST) tools are the most widely used automated scanners to detect and fix security issues.

DevSecOps is more than security scanning. It includes manual and automated code reviews as an important part of fixing bugs, omissions, and other errors. Furthermore, robust security assessment and penetration testing are performed to expose the infrastructure to evolving real-world threats in a controlled environment.

5. Release

At this stage, experts ensure that regulatory policies are maintained until the final release. Transparent review of application and policy implementation ensures that the Code meets state-adopted regulatory guidelines, policies, and standards.

6. Deploy

During deployment, audit logs are used to track changes made to the system. These logs also help increase the security of the framework by helping experts identify security breaches and detect fraudulent activities. In this phase, Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) is extensively performed to test the application in runtime for real-time scenarios, exposure, load, and data.

7. Actions

At the final stage, the system is monitored for possible threats. Threat Intelligence is a state-of-the-art AI-based approach to detect even the slightest malicious activity and intrusion attempts. It involves monitoring network infrastructure for suspicious activity, detecting potential intrusions, and formulating effective responses accordingly.

Tools for Successful DevSecOps Implementation

The table below gives you a brief overview of the various tools used in the critical stages of the DevSecOps pipeline.

A tool Stage Description: Security integration
Kubernetes Build and deploy An open source container orchestration platform that makes it easy to deploy, scale, and manage containerized applications.
  • Safe container
  • Microsegmentation
  • Secure connection between insulated receptacles
Docker Build, test and deploy A platform that packages and delivers applications as flexible and isolated containers through OS-level virtualization.
  • Container Signing Content Trust Notary to ensure secure distribution of images
  • Runtime security
  • Encrypting images, kernel and metadata.
Ansible Operations An open source tool that automates infrastructure deployment and management.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Automated compliance reporting
  • Policy enforcement
Jenkins Build, deploy and test An open source automation server for automating the creation, testing and deployment of modern applications.
  • Authentication and Authorization
  • Robust access control policies
  • Safe plugins and integrations
  • SSL encrypted communication between nodes
GitLab: Design, build, test and deploy A web-based Git repository manager that helps manage source code, track issues, and simplify application development and deployment.
  • Security scan
  • Access Control and Permissions
  • Highly secure storage hosting

Challenges and risks associated with DevSecOps

Below are the key challenges organizations face in adopting a DevSecOps culture.

Cultural resistance

Cultural resistance is one of the biggest challenges in implementing DevSecOps. Traditional methods increase the risks of failure due to lack of transparency and collaboration. Organizations must develop a culture of collaboration, expertise and communication to address this.

The complexity of modern tools

DevSecOps involves using a variety of tools and technologies that can be difficult to master at first. This can result in delaying organization-wide reforms to fully embrace DevSecOps. To solve this problem, organizations need to streamline their toolchain and processes by bringing in experts to train and educate internal teams.

Inadequate security practices

Inadequate security can lead to a variety of risks, including data breaches, loss of customer trust, and cost burdens. Regular security testing, threat modeling, and compliance validation can help identify vulnerabilities and ensure that security is built into the application development process.

DevSecOps is revolutionizing the security posture of cloud-based application development. Emerging technologies such as serverless computing and AI-driven security practices will become the new structure of DevSecOps in the future.

Explore to learn more about a variety of trends and advancements in the technology industry.

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