DevSecOps is a modern approach to software development that implements security as a shared responsibility throughout application development, deployment, and operations. As an extension of DevOps principles, DevSecOps helps your organization integrate security testing throughout the software development life cycle.
In this blog, we discuss DevSecOps best practices and practical steps to producing secure software.
DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). It aims to shorten the development life cycle and help you deliver software faster. DevOps is complementary to agile software development; several DevOps aspects came from the agile methodology.
The concept of DevOps practices and agility is nothing new for most companies and developers - most well-known frameworks (e.g., Scrum, XP, etc.) are applied in many teams throughout organizations.
The Power of DevSecOps
DevOps primarily aims to expedite the integration of new features in the shortest time possible, a laudable goal. However, this agility can introduce a risk factor by delaying security testing until the end of a project or after significant releases. In some instances, external security teams are engaged to perform code reviews. Regrettably, the arduous nature of testing coupled with the search for security professionals often results in software versions being released without even basic security practices.
DevSecOps is the integration of security testing into the DevOps pipeline and the entire software development life cycle. This model cultivates a collaborative and secure coding culture among developers, operations, and security teams to ensure the delivery of secure software. DevSecOps champions a "shift-left" approach, advocating for the introduction of security tests and compliance checks earlier in the software development life cycle, which reduces the number of issues discovered late in development.
Example of DevSecOps Workflows
To help integrate security into development pipelines, you can use a version control management system, which maintains a record of code changes and facilitates collaboration on projects. Tasks are compartmentalized using branches, creating an approach that comprises the following steps.
Developers create code in compliance with security requirements and commit the changes to the version control system.
Another team member reviews the submitted code by conducting a static code analysis to identify security issues or bugs.
The code is submitted to the test environment, with security configurations applied.
A dynamic analysis security testing tool is employed to assess the application in the test environment.
The application is transitioned from the test to the production environment.
Continuous security monitoring is enacted in the production environment to detect and mitigate active cyber threats.
Best Practices for DevSecOps
While DevOps enhances agility to accelerate productivity and leads to the integration of more features in shorter periods, it may also expose your organization to increased security risks. "Shifting left" and integrating security testing into workflows is essential, but it takes time.
To help harmonize DevOps with security testing, consider the following practices:
Security policies and activities shouldn’t be seen as an additional layer put upon DevOps after every deployment but rather as a continuous practice that is incorporated throughout the entire software development lifecycle.
Executives can take steps to cultivate a security-oriented mindset and, by doing so, inculcate a culture that prioritizes security in every department in your organization.
Incorporating continuous security testing tools into your workflows helps relieve the burden of manual security checks.
By proactively securing your software through DevSecOps, you unlock a realm of benefits:
Improved Efficiency: When software is developed in a non-DevSecOps environment, security problems can lead to bottlenecks as fixing security issues late in development can be inefficient and expensive. By seamlessly integrating a comprehensive security framework, developers can minimize the need to repeat a process to address security issues after the fact. Each stage of product development is secured, alleviating concerns about security costs or delays as the project approaches completion.
Data Protection: Data is a valuable asset because it serves as the foundation for customer insights and increased business value. Losing access to critical business data, such as through a ransomware attack, can severely hamper productivity or even paralyze the entire IT infrastructure. Moreover, it can result in direct costs, as many companies opt to pay the ransom. The loss of customer data is an even graver concern, as a breach of customer trust significantly impacts long-term sales.
Cost Savings: The improved efficiency and data protection mentioned above naturally lead to both direct and indirect cost savings. Additionally, implementing IT security is cost-effective, as securing vulnerabilities at an earlier stage is more affordable than addressing them later when the costs of fixing are higher.
Leveraging Veracode DAST Essentials in DevSecOps
Veracode DAST Essentials, a dynamic analysis testing tool, helps you find and fix runtime vulnerabilities in the software development life cycle with just a few clicks - so you can deliver secure web applications and APIs faster than before. When used in conjunction with the Veracode Intelligent Software Security Platform it provides a continuous security scanner that integrates seamlessly into workflows, enabling teams to "shift left" and build secure software that drives business value.
Incorporating Veracode DAST Essentials into your DevSecOps practices not only eliminates security blind spots but also ensures that runtime vulnerabilities are addressed in web assets before they are integrated into production. By leveraging Veracode DAST Essentials, you can streamline secure development workflows and deliver secure web applications and APIs at speed. Get started with Veracode DAST Essentials today with a free, 14-day trial.