DevOps has given us an efficient way to deliver software to customers continuously. With DevOps, quality is embedded into each step of the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Testing, both manually and automated is done from coding to deployment. This way, we can be sure that there’s a low chance that bugs and defects will ever reach the end-users.
It indeed has changed the way software is built. Tech teams from everywhere apply these principles and have seen dramatic improvements in the products they build.
However, security is still something that’s neglected and put in as the last consideration. Agile practices place great emphasis on quick customer feedback only in terms of the features they want. Security isn’t usually a significant part of user stories.
From DevOps To DevSecOps
Just like software quality and bugs detection, the old way was letting the tail end of the SDLC handle security vulnerabilities. The old paradigm is that since one can do penetration testing once the application is executed, it’s okay to let the operations guys worry about security.
With DevSecOps, security testing is now integrated into each step of the SDLC to capture security vulnerabilities. These tests can be manual, or one can leverage DevSecOps tools to automatically perform it (and more seamlessly integrate it into the deployment pipeline).
Benefits of DevSecOps
There are lots of benefits to employing DevSecOps, but here we’ll focus on three major ones.
More robust software
The DevOps part of DevSecOps handles all the engineering wizardry to ensure continuous quality assurance. The Sec part makes sure the software is air-tight against attackers. While there’s no perfect process, this ensures that the product more than satisfies requirements.
Phishing scams, stolen data, bank hacking – these and others make software users afraid. This translates to distrust among them with tech companies. Even the mighty ones such as Facebook and Amazon are not shielded from hackers completely. Attackers can and will always find ways to find and exploit security vulnerabilities in an application.
DevSecOps is not just another layer of protection against them. It’s an entire strategy to combat security threats. A company that employs DevSecOps to its very core will always have its customer’s trust.
Fully compliant organization
Governments released significant regulations and legislation to combat data privacy concerns. In some cases, company executives are penalized criminally for lapses in the company’s data and information security systems. At the very least, data theft, hacking and other incidents that come about because of security breaches cost the company penalties (and, as mentioned already – jail time).
A company implementing the heart and soul of DevSecOps will never have to worry about non-compliance to government policies and even industry standards.
Simple Steps To Convert Your DevOps Into DevSecOps
Securing the Code Base
Of course, your developers should implement secure coding practices. That means avoiding coding methods that open up your application to vulnerabilities. Another is being careful with the use of open-source libraries. Since open-source libraries are almost always the way to go, then your development team should ensure they constantly update them.
An excellent way to automate this step is using Static Application Security Testing tools, also knows as SAST. SAST tools test the code base whenever a new pull request is made. You can be sure that vulnerabilities are caught and remediated before you merge them into production.
On the other hand, Dynamic Application Security Testing tools (DAST) test the running application. It does this without having to get a peek into the underlying codebase. It simply performs penetration testing.
Securing Pipeline Configs
One of the significant vulnerabilities your pipeline environments can have (and even your codebase) is committed secrets (or keys). This may include items such as encryption/decryption keys. Making sure that your pipeline configs keep these keys in an environment variables file (which is hidden from the public) reduces the likelihood a hacker can gain access to them and use them to extract valuable data.
This article isn’t meant to be an exhaustive discussion about DevSecOps. However, we intend to give you some advantages of employing this strategy in your DevOps pipeline. As security is probably the next major frontier for internet breakthroughs, your company must get at the forefront of this.