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ITSEC Guide to DevSecOps

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DevSecOps stands for development, security, and operations, and the main idea behind DevSecOps is to make all members of your technical and development team responsible for cybersecurity so that they can make security decisions at the same time as they make development and operations decisions, thereby enhancing overall security.

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Jul 10, 2023
ITSEC Guide to DevSecOps

Any technical team currently using the DevOps framework should seek ways to move towards the DevSecOps mindset by enhancing the security skills of each team member from various technology backgrounds. From building business-focused cybersecurity services to testing potential cybersecurity exploits, the DevSecOps framework ensures that cybersecurity is built by embedding it into applications rather than being just an add-on. By ensuring security considerations at every stage of software delivery, you continuously integrate security, which reduces compliance costs and enables the rapid and secure delivery of software.

DevSecOps in Practice

The advantage of DevSecOps is that it brings about increased automation along the software delivery pipeline. This automation is beneficial in the long run as it eliminates errors, reduces cyberattacks, and minimizes downtime. Organizations looking to integrate security into their DevOps framework find that the process can be relatively seamless if they use the right DevSecOps tools. The workflows of DevOps and DevSecOps can be summarized as follows:

An engineer writes code within a version control platform. Changes are applied to the version control platform.Another engineer retrieves the code from the version control platform and performs code analysis to identify any cybersecurity weaknesses. An environment is then built using infrastructure-as-code (IaC) tools, and security configurations are implemented into the system. A test automation suite is executed against the newly deployed application, including back-end, UI, integration, security, and API testing. If the tests are successful, the applications are used in the production environment. The new production environment is continuously monitored to identify any active cybersecurity threats or vulnerabilities within the system. With an environment developed using test-driven development (TDD) processes, undergoing automated testing, and having continuous integration as part of their workflow, the development team can work seamlessly and quickly towards achieving the common goal of obtaining secure code and improved compliance.

Do You Need DevSecOps?

Yes, you do. The technology landscape has undergone exponential changes over the past decade. The shift towards shared storage and shared data platforms, dynamic applications, and cloud computing has greatly benefited organizations seeking growth and advancement through advanced applications and services. However, all of this comes at a cost. While DevOps applications excel in functionality, scalability, and speed, they often lack in terms of security and compliance. This is why DevSecOps has been introduced into the software development lifecycle, to bring together development, operations, and security under one roof and improve the cybersecurity of software. Cybercriminals are constantly seeking ways to exploit software. Imagine if they successfully injected malware into the software during the development process, and this malware went undetected until the application was launched to thousands of customers! The damage to a company's reputation and its customers' systems could be catastrophic, especially in a world where bad news spreads quickly through social media. Making security as important as development and operations is a necessity for any team involved in software development and distribution. When you integrate DevSecOps and DevOps, every network administrator and network engineer immediately prioritize security in the software development and deployment process.

Best Practices for DevSecOps

Organizations looking to bring together IT operations, security teams, and application developers need to integrate security into their DevOps workflows. The goal is to make security a core component of the software development workflow, replacing the practice of strengthening security at the end of the process. Here are some best practices to ensure a smooth DevSecOps process:

Automation is key: While DevOps focuses on fast delivery, it doesn't mean that speed should be compromised by adding security. By integrating automated security controls and testing early in the software development cycle, you can ensure quick software delivery.

DevSecOps for efficiency: By adding security to your workflow and using tools that can scan code as you create it, you can identify and address security issues early on.

Threat modeling: Running threat modeling exercises can help you discover vulnerabilities in your assets and close gaps in security controls, helping you identify high-risk events occurring within your codebase.

While there is still debate about what DevSecOps means for businesses, it's easy to see its significance in a world with fast release cycles and constantly evolving security threats. That's why we recommend DevSecOps for any organization that cannot tolerate security scandals or considers all their customers as potential targets of cybercrime (almost everyone can be a target).

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