DevSecOps Best Practices for Enterprises to Implement

By: | December 3rd, 2020

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Today’s reality is that the entire organization has to unify development and operations (DevOps). This approach makes it possible to develop new products fast while making it easy to maintain existing deployments with minimal human interactions.

Another emerging issue is prioritizing and integrating security best practices right from the beginning (DevSecOps). In the wake of skyrocketing cyberattacks, any organization that wants to survive and thrive has to evolve with DevOps by embracing DevSecOps.

Shared Responsibility

In their detailed guide on the philosophical shift from DevOps, the team at Snyk has explained explicitly what is DevSecOps and its importance in the organization.

The DevSecOps approach aims to counter the security vulnerability that arises when the IT team rushes to push out the code to the customers.

Technically, DevSecOps weaves security into all stages of the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Contrary to making security a separate stage in software development, DevSecOps makes it one of the main components right from scratch by making it a shared responsibility among everyone in the SDLC.

DevSecOps Best Practices

Implementing automatic security governance in DevOps tends to make the process complex. However, the following best practices highlight the major areas of consideration that organizations shifting from DevOps to DevSecOps should implement.

  1. Isolate and Protect the Data

It’s perplexing how most organizations miss the bigger picture when determining what exactly needs to be secured in DevSecOps. While the code is part of what needs to be protected, it’s the data in it that matters the most.

The code won’t have any intellectual property to the enterprise unless there’s valuable data in it. Therefore, the very first defense measure is to secure the data. A critical step in ensuring data security is to isolate each data stream and make it accessible to the rightful owners and users only.

Allowing all users to access any data within the same underlying service is counterproductive in overall data security. It’s imperative that you protect sensitive information from being accessed by any user to prevent the risk of sensitive information falling into the wrong hands. There should also be a focus to monitor the safe transfer of data and prevent the recurrence of any suspicious activities in the future.

  1. Embrace Automation

The evolution of IT systems has made speed and flexibility critical in the operations of a business. That’s why there has been a massive shift in IT to embrace DevOps. DevOps is all about accelerating the time to market. With a well laid out Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) infrastructure, developers can push out new versions into production over 50 times per day for every app.

When you integrate security testing into this superfast workflow, the need to shift from manual to automated operations becomes of paramount importance.

DevSecOps requires embedding security tests and controls in all phases of the software development lifecycle. Importantly, baking in security control measures right from the root helps prevent vulnerabilities from arising in the future.

  1. Choose and Implement Security Tools Thoughtfully

A key consideration in DevSecOps best practices is determining what security tools to implement. One major mistake that most IT teams make when shifting to DevSecOps is to assume that tools from the previous infrastructure will still do the work in the new environment.

The problem is that most of the existing tools may not have any security functions in the first place. For those with security functions, most of them tend to concentrate more on securing the workflow between development and operations.

Technology now offers an array of tools that offer the convenience of automated application security testing tools. Ideally, you want tools that scan the security of the code against known threats and vulnerabilities. That’s where SAST, DAST, and IAST tools come into play.

The value of SAST tools is their ability to check the security of the code line by line from the inside out. DAST tools, on the other hand, don’t access the code. Instead, they automatically scan the application for vulnerabilities by simulating external attacks. Lastly, IAST tools sit and run within the application. They detect vulnerabilities, while the code is running.

Employing automatic scanning tools allows you to do a comprehensive vulnerability coverage while pushing out codes swiftly.

  1. Break Your Project into Manageable Chunks

By implementing automatic security tools in DevSecOps, you get instant feedback on possible security issues. This makes it possible to remediate potential vulnerabilities as part of the SDLC instead of making it another different stage in the chain.

One of the most important DevSecOps best practices in this regard is to turn on 1-2 security checks at a time. While dealing with multiple checks may be seen as fast, there is a high chance of causing more problems for the developers.

The essence of breaking security issues into small, manageable chunks is to minimize friction between the security and development personnel. When the security team introduces a new security tool and uses it to seamlessly solve a few problems, the development team is much more likely to adapt to the new environment. Fostering the relationship between these 2 teams will go a long way in boosting the success rate of your projects.

  1. Ensure continuous monitoring and reporting

A noteworthy reality in application development is that security is an evolving aspect, and it’s never done. What caused zero threats yesterday could be the source of all troubles today. For that reason, any organization that wants to implement DevSecOps should accept that it will ensure continuous monitoring and reporting of vulnerabilities.

This makes it necessary to have tools that scan for vulnerabilities across the entire development path and report any findings. It will also be a huge bonus if the tool can evaluate the effect of a particular problem against existing policies to calculate possible business impact. When a high-risk problem is detected, the tools should either remediate or send developers feedback for further action.

Time to Implement DevSecOps

A DevOps mindset should be a philosophy for every business in the modern world. This way of streamlining development and operations speeds up the process of creating, testing, and pushing software to the market. However, delivering many codes within a short time won’t mean anything if security isn’t taken into consideration. By harmonizing development, operations, and security (DevSecOps), it becomes possible to quickly create quality and secure software.



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