Insights

DevSecOps 101: The Ultimate Guide

Post by
Suraj Venkat
Insights

DevSecOps 101: The Ultimate Guide

By
Suraj Venkat
|
March 16, 2021
|
3 Mins Read
DevSecOps 101: The Ultimate Guide

Introduction 

The digital transformation of business organizations greatly impacts the information security industry, and this impact will continue for the coming few years. Today, there is more awareness about the importance of security than before because new threats and hackers never stop searching for means to implement malware and other vulnerabilities into your system.

Development, security, and operations - DevSecOps has now emerged as a new means implemented to play a great role in information security by ensuring that velocity is maintained without compromising security.


What is DevSecOps? 

DevSecOps, a combination of DevOps and security, automates security at every stage of the software development lifecycle, starting from basic design through integration, testing, implementation, and delivery. 

Any organization with development and IT operations structure should strive to evolve according to the DevSecOps framework. This is because through DevSecOps, they can easily integrate security into their current practice of continuous integration and continuous delivery. According to Security Boulevard, 90% of organizations out of 100% that use DevOps have experienced a security incident in their Kubernetes and cloud environments.

DevSecOps covers the entire SDLC - Software Development Life Cycle from planning and design to building, coding, testing, and release, with continuous feedback and real-time information. It addresses security issues as they emerge when they are easier, faster, and less expensive to fix. 

Rather than making application and infrastructure security the sole responsibility of a security silo, DevSecOps makes it a shared responsibility of development, security, and IT operations teams. 

How does DevSecOps work? 

Unlike traditional software versions that involve a development team submitting its product for security testing, DevSecOps framework integrates security into every stage of development. In this way, every individual accepts that safety is a part of their job instead of some isolated activity.

DevSecOps is most effective when management accepts the concept that security is a key factor for applications and contributes to the development team's security activities. In the DevSecOps perspective, security is built into each aspect of the DevOps lifecycle. Some key pointers include:

  • Including Information security experts into the DevOps team to supervise the security program throughout the development lifecycle.
  • Advancing the IT team's security skills set to understand cyber risks and best implementation practices so that each team member can recognize the significance through the development process and write code for security.
  • Automate certain cybersecurity tasks and processes, such as security vulnerability testing, to allow sharp workflow.
  • Developing security tools and processes specifically designed to support agile technologies, such as the cloud, containers, and microservices.

Additionally, it involves many processes but hinges on the power of software automation. With security automation, DevSecOps tools help to give developers fast feedback, right when they need it. 

Why is DevSecOps important?

With easy access to the internet and devices such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, and more, organizations will keep experiencing cyber attacks and fraud at an increased rate. DevSecOps offers an outstanding solution for bringing together high security and short release cycles for businesses. Some major reasons why DevSecOps is important includes:

  • To Identify and minimize vulnerabilities in the early stages of the software development lifecycle.
  • Reduction of expenses and Delivery rate increases.
  • It assists in implementing compliance into the delivery pipeline.
  • To Increase observability and traceability.
  • Improving overall security by enabling Immutable infrastructure, which further involves security automation.

DevOps though has dramatically changed the velocity and frequency of development cycles; incorporating security is essential to its process as security can no longer be neglected or underestimated. 

Best DevSecOps Tools to Integrate Throughout the DevOps Pipeline 

Choosing the right DevSecOps automation tools is an excellent means to simplify your Information Technology operations. I have compiled a list below of some of the best DevSecOps tools that businesses can link into their DevOps pipeline to make sure security is stable all through the development cycle.

#1 Aqua Security: Aqua Security provides security for containers, serverless, and cloud-native applications throughout the DevSecOps pipeline. The space grants users an API for seamless automation and integration.

Using the tool gives teams the ability to protect their applications with complete visibility throughout the application lifecycle. Also, Aqua’s native cloud security platform gives users complete authority over packaged applications, with short security restrictions and interference blocking capabilities.

#2 WhiteSource: Considering today's typical application, organizations must not neglect open source security management. WhiteSource, being integrated into the DevOps pipeline is compatible with over 200 programming languages, as well as a wide variety of build tools and development environments. Some of its features include: 

  • It monitors multiple open source security databases such as NVD and additional security recommendations.
  • It gives real-time alerts about known open source vulnerabilities.

#3 GitLab: GitLab is an online DevOps platform that provides a ready-to-use CI/CD - Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery tool chain in a single program. It also provides a comprehensive package that assists businesses to shorten DevOps cycle time. 

What's more, GitLab supports collaboration between Development, Security, and Ops teams and helps them speed up delivery and address security vulnerabilities.

#4 Contrast Security: Contrast Security is useful for detecting unknown threats and reporting them to any security tool an organization has in place. Contrast security provides an IAST - Interactive App Security Testing and a RASP - Runtime App Self Protection solution. These solutions can be combined into clients applications, and they would run in the background at the same time.

The Contrast Security Suite acts as two distinct parts called Contrast Protect and Contrast Assess. Once threats are detected, Contrast Assess alarms the developer, while Contrast Protect makes use of the appropriate built-in agent and functions in a productive environment, searching for foreign threats and exploits.

The second aspect of the suite which is the Contract Access reports on whatever it discovers to the SIEM - Security Information and Event Management console. This console can be any security tool such as a NGFW - next generation firewall that is already integrated. 

Picking the best automated DevSecOps tools may seem time-consuming, but it's a great way to begin. Lots of tools are being developed daily to meet the needs of the DevSecOps framework. However, not all tools may be suitable for all teams. 

Listed above are some of the most commonly used security tools in DevSecOps, and there are dozens more out there developed to fit your purpose. Once implemented correctly, DevSecOps tools can significantly improve the efficiency, quality, and security throughout your organization's development process.

DevSecOps Challenges 

For every existing organization, change isn’t easy. So, managing a secure DevOps cycle is quite a transition on many levels. As companies carry on with using a secure DevOps system, they should take note of the general challenges that team members face while they adopt this process.

Here are two major challenges organizations face on the road to ensuring an efficient and innovative DevSecOps cycle:

  1. People Challenge: As important as humans are in any organization, they are among the greatest challenges that an organization can have. The major focus of DevSecOps is in team integration i.e. working together, rather than individually; and not everyone is ready to switch to technological changes overnight.

As humans are deeply used to their development practices, it can be difficult to break the system and adopt fresh working methods. 

  1. Tool Integration: DevOps' transition to DevSecOps requires security professionals to have a whole new understanding of development tools. The use of continuous automation tools during integration and implementation would assist in improving quality, security, and compliance.

Many tools are available in the market. However, choosing the perfect ones might be a challenge. It can be sometimes difficult to gather the tools of different departments and synchronize them together on a platform, considering that not all team members have been working together. 

The initial switch to a new tool or including new tools to existing ones might seem difficult sometimes. However, using DevSecOps, organizations can hugely benefit from it in the long run.

Developers have to be educated on the fundamentals of security to work more effectively. Without DevSecOps, the two teams will need to operate individually, resulting in costly and time-consuming transfers between teams.

Conclusion 

As more companies look for ways to find and fix security issues fast in the software development system, the need for DevSecOps support tools would increase appropriately.

The technical and business advantage that organizations can achieve by using DevSecOps are quite promising. Without any doubt, DevSecOps is transforming the means through which organizations manage security. So, if you haven't already begun the process, the time is now to merge DevSecOps with your goals.