What is DevSecOps? Definition, Working & Best Practices
Previously, the role of the security team was isolated to the final stage of a software and application development cycle. But, now, things have changed and security became the key part that is integrated with development and operation. This approach is then combinedly referred to as DevSecOps i.e. Development, Security, and Operation.
Practically speaking, gone are the times when development cycles used to last months or years. Now, it is narrowed down to weeks or even days. That’s why developers adapted the mindset i.e. said yes to the collaborative DevSecOps framework that emphasizes the integration of security at every phase of the SDLC.
Without further ado let’s understand the ins and outs of this collaborative approach.
The DevSecOps methodology takes an “everyone is responsible for security” approach to IT security. It involves incorporating security policies into a business’s DevOps workflow. The goal is to include security in each stage of the software development process. DevSecOps indicates you shouldn’t save security for the end of the SDLC, which is contrary to its predecessor development methods.
Agile and DevOps methods and tools are seamlessly integrated into DevSecOps, providing application and infrastructure security. When security problems first arise, they are simpler, quicker, and less expensive to fix (and are not yet in use).
DevSecOps also shifts the burden of application and infrastructure security from a security silo to a shared duty across development, security, and IT operations teams. It allows the DevSecOps tagline of “software, safer, sooner” by automating the supply of secure software without delaying the software development cycle.
Additionally, by incorporating security into DevOps, DevSecOps promotes a shift-left approach to security, meaning that security is considered early in the development process and throughout the entire SDLC. It involves implementing security practices, tools, and automation at every stage, including planning, coding, building, testing, deployment, and monitoring.
However, the question is how DevSecOps is different from DevOps. Let’s find out.
DevSecOps Vs DevOps
Software development and IT operations are linked through DevOps, an agile development methodology, to reduce the software development lifecycle and enable continuous development and delivery. Three enduring principles form the foundation of DevOps:
- Integration: Core development tasks including coding, design, build, integration, and testing are all part of continuous integration.
- Software programs and updates are routinely delivered via continuous delivery.
- Deployment: A pipeline procedure that uses continuous deployment as its foundation.
The DevOps movement, which attempts to speed up the software development lifecycle and enable the rapid response schedule of apps and upgrades, has given rise to the DevSecOps movement. DevSecOps expands on this agile approach by integrating security controls into every stage of the IT process to reduce security flaws and boost compliance without slowing down release cycles.
Everyone must integrate security functionalities into each phase of the DevOps framework because DevSecOps enforces this mentality. Organizations will probably add phases to the conventional DevOps workflow as part of the DevSecOps philosophy. These consist of:
- Assessing the risks vs the benefits to ascertain the organization’s present risk appetite.
- Establishing a comprehensive security strategy with built-in protections that tackles current security threats and vulnerabilities.
- Deciding which security measures the application needs.
- Automating routine processes in the creation and testing of security systems.
Top four DevSecOps Benefits
Security and speed are DevSecOps’ two key advantages through which development teams produce better and more secure code which are comparatively affordable.
Anyway, here are the four core benefits of this DevSecOps framework.
1. Quick and Economical Software Delivery
When software is developed outside of a DevSecOps environment, security vulnerabilities can result in severe time delays. It can take time and money to fix the security and coding problems. By minimizing the need to repeat a procedure to fix security vulnerabilities after the fact, DevSecOps’ quick, secure delivery saves time and lowers costs.
Integrating security reduces the need for unnecessary rebuilds and repetitive reviews, leading to the creation of more secure code. As a result, it increases efficiency and lowers costs.
2. Better & More Proactive Security
DevSecOps initiates early integration of cybersecurity operations into the development cycle. The code is then examined, audited, scanned, and tested for security issues throughout the development cycle. As soon as these problems are discovered, they are resolved.
Prior to adding new dependencies, security issues are fixed. Early detection and implementation of preventative technologies reduce the cost of repairing security flaws.
The ability of an organization to respond to incidents and issues as they arise is also improved through improved collaboration between the development, security, and operations teams. DevSecOps techniques shorten the time it takes to patch vulnerabilities. Also, they provide security teams more time to concentrate on higher-value tasks. These methods also prevent the need for security retrofits throughout application development initiatives by verifying and streamlining compliance.
3. Vulnerability Patching
A significant benefit of DevSecOps is how quickly it responds to newly identified security vulnerabilities. As vulnerability screening and patching are included in the release cycle by DevSecOps, the ability to identify and look into common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE) reduces. Threat actors consequently have a shorter window of opportunity to exploit flaws in production systems that are available to the general public.
If a company employs a continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline to deploy its product, cybersecurity testing can be incorporated into an automated test suite for operations teams.
The objectives of the project and the organization both have a big influence on security check automation. Automated testing can confirm that security unit testing was successful and that incorporated software dependencies are at the appropriate patch levels. Before the final update is promoted to production, it can also validate and secure code using static and dynamic analysis.
How Does DevSecOps Work?
Collaboration between teams is emphasized across the entire CI/CD process by DevSecOps. Based on the unique requirements and resources of your team, each CI/CD pipeline will have a different appearance. But, they all generally consist of four key steps. The CI/CD pipeline is made up of 4 parts:
- Build: During this phase, a binary artifact is created by combining the source code that was fetched from a repository. Your developers might be able to automate this process with the aid of your selected integrated development environment (IDE).
- Test: You should use as much continuous testing as you can with the CI/CD workflow. The majority of your testing should be of the unit testing variety, which helps to ensure that new features are functioning as intended. Regression testing ensures that new code additions won’t damage your system’s foundation.
- Deliver: After testing, developer code ought to be moved to a staging area. Run A/B tests, identify remaining issues, and inform your QA team of what needs to be examined.
- Deploy: Your build can be made available for production after it has passed all automated testing. While continuous deployment involves complete automation, continuous delivery requires manual approval from humans.
Best Practices of DevSecOps
The following components help and are essential to DevSecOps implementation.
Use Secure Coding
The obvious importance of secure coding lies in its capacity to produce software that is highly resistant to faults. A breach of a company’s personal information is just one of the many software security dangers that can arise from not using secure coding practices. Your developers must therefore possess the requisite abilities, even if doing so involves spending time and money. Setting and adhering to coding standards helps engineers write clean code, which is another advantage.
Automation is a crucial component of DevSecOps, just like it is in DevOps. Automation of security is required in a CI/CD environment to keep up with the rate of code delivery while maintaining security. This is especially true for large organizations where developers frequently push different versions of their code to production.
When automating security testing, care must be taken. It might be harmful to pick the incorrect automated tools for the wrong jobs. The majority of developers choose to use static application security testing (SAST) technologies to continuously monitor and spot any possible problems early in the development process. The right security automation technology must be chosen and put into use if you want your company’s products to succeed.
The shift-left testing strategy entails integrating security into your apps right away rather than delaying it until the very end of the delivery chain. The apparent benefit of doing this is that you can find possible weaknesses and start working on fixing them right away.
Additionally, fixing defects will be less expensive for you the earlier you uncover them. So while it’s a terrific practice, there are a few drawbacks as well. Shifting left may momentarily disrupt the workflow of your present DevOps process, which is a common problem. Although overcoming this could be difficult, implementing DevSecOps will assist you in moving any idle time.
Engineering and compliance work together to create security. It’s organizations’ take to make sure that everyone is aware of the company’s security posture and adheres to the same standards. To do that, a partnership between the development engineers, operations teams, and compliance teams should be established.
Everyone participating in the delivery process needs to be knowledgeable on the fundamentals of application security, the OWASP top 10 list, application security testing, and other security engineering techniques. The deployment of security controls, risk analysis, risk assessment, compliance checks, and exposure analysis must all be familiar to developers.