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DevSecOps

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Definition: What Is DevSecOps and How Does It Work?

DevSecOps stands for development, security, and operations. It’s a software development practice that involves integrating security throughout the entire software development lifecycle, from planning to design, building, testing, and deploying to continuous maintenance. It expands the collaborative abilities of development and operations to include security professionals as well. Culture, tools, and processes are integrated across teams for a blended software development life cycle (SDLC) experience.

Building security into continuous delivery and continuous integration (CI/CD) workflows is crucial to releasing secure products and updates. But DevSecOps is more than just a way of doing things. It also represents a shift in perspective on cybersecurity. Instead of being solely the responsibility of security team members, it’s also up to team members in development and operations to identify potential security issues when they arise.

Benefits of DevSecOps: Why Is the Model Important?

DevSecOps focuses on integrated workflows that have security built-in — not an afterthought. It instills the mindset that everyone has a role to play when it comes to cybersecurity. All of these enable teams to build faster applications that users can depend on without compromising their security and privacy.

Here are a few more benefits that DevSecOps has to offer:

  • Fast, cost-effective software delivery. Fixing security issues are expensive and time-consuming when caught too far into production or worse, after release. A DevSecOps environment saves time and costs by minimizing rework and unnecessary rebuilds, streamlining workflows, and addressing security in real-time.
  • Repeatable and adaptive processes. DevSecOps uses processes that can be repeated to apply security measures consistently across environments, even as they evolve and change.
  • Automated testing for modern environments. Cybersecurity testing can easily be integrated into an automatic testing suite for CI/CD delivery. Thishelps developers make sure that software dependencies are at the right patch levels and evaluate whether products pass security unit tests, test and secure code through static and dynamic analysis before shipping the updates to production.
  • Proactive security. By introducing cybersecurity checks at each stage of the development process, teams can detect and fix security issues before dependencies are introduced. They avoid costly rebuilds and speed up time-to-market.
  • Accelerated vulnerability patching. Managing newly identified security vulnerabilities is simplified through DevSecOps. Continuous monitoring, scanning, testing, and patching are all integrated into the development lifecycle, which means that vulnerabilities are detected sooner than in non-DevSecOps environments.

Who Can Use the DevSecOps Model?

DevSecOps purposefully places security earlier in the software development life cycle to make it easier and less costly to fix vulnerabilities. But Tech isn’t the only industry that can benefit from following DevSecOps principles.

For example, DevSecOps can reduce lengthy Automotive cycle times and ensure software compliance standards like MISRA and AUTOSAR are met simultaneously. In healthcare and dentistry, DevSecOps simplifies digital transformation efforts and patient communication software adoption, as well as maintaining the privacy and security of customers according to data regulations like HIPAA. DevSecOps addresses PCI DSS compliance for transactions and consumers that use financial, retail, and e-commerce applications.

What Is the Difference Between DevSecOps and DevOps?

DevOps is an approach to software development that is geared toward helping developers and IT operations work together to build, test, and release software and updates faster and in a more iterative manner. It’s about removing barriers between teams that are traditionally separate in a way that allows organizations to produce solutions more quickly.

Saving security development for last has worked for DevOps teams in the past because it allowed them to solely build according to customer specs and expectations and let security teams (SecOps) worry about how to make it safe and secure. But when major vulnerabilities are discovered, solutions often go beyond the scope of SecOps. SecOps would then pass it back to DevOps teams so they can rebuild, and sometimes, start from scratch.

This approach actually hinders the DevOps workflow and slows the development lifecycle. Not to mention that rework is costly and time consuming, holding teams back from innovating further. And in the tech world, speed to market is everything. New products and services are coming out every day, advancing industries farther and farther beyond what they thought was possible. Software companies that want to remain competitive need to focus on speedy and secure delivery to get ahead of the competition.

DevSecOps enables development teams to create more securely, leaving less vulnerabilities and security gaps to be addressed because security is built in from the start. Not only does that mean less going back to address glaring security vulnerabilities, but it also means that developers can innovate how security tools are built and deployed.

While DevSecOps is similar to the DevOps deployment model in that it’s about collaborating across teams to build software faster, DevSecOps places more emphasis on built-in, ongoing security testing, and mitigation throughout the SDLC. At the end of the day, successful DevOps and Agile implementations must integrate SecOps from the beginning of the SDLC to enable and keep up with the fast pace of the digital world.

How Is DevSecOps Different than SecOps?

SecOps refers to a methodology that automates security tasks and combines security teams with operations. Designers, programmers, and security professionals consider security threats that occur throughout the lifecycle to create vital automation. Since SecOps automates most mission-critical tasks, security is baked-in.

While similar to the definition of DevSecOps, what sets SecOps and DevSecOps apart is that DevSecOps makes security a part of the delivery process instead of a separate function. SecOps promotes automation and built-in security, but it remains a set of separate teams and processes.

What Is the Difference Between DevSecOps and Agile?

Organizations use DevSecOps and Agile methodologies together to develop secure applications and software efficiently. They both promote collaboration, iterative development, and automation wherever possible.

But while DevSecOps is an organization and culture shift to the left, Agile is a project management framework that aims to produce better results more quickly and with less re-work. You could even think of DevSecOps as a way of organizing teams, while Agile is a way of organizing projects.

DevSecOps has Agile principles built into the SDLC, such as individuals over tools, working software, collaboration, and adapting to changes during the development process, but also incorporates SecOps throughout the SDLC.

Agile practices align with the DevSecOps principles of culture, automation, lean workflows, measure, and sharing.

The other main difference between Agile and DevSecOps is where security falls into the development lifecycle and who is responsible for implementing security in software. Iterative development is at the heart of the Agile framework, with security introduced as an afterthought. Then, new iterations are developed and the process continues. Reworking software to integrate security, even in Agile developments, costs time and money.

DevSecOps Best Practices

To make the most of your DevSecOps integration, here are some best practices for organizations to follow:

Shift Left

“Shift left” is a phrase that refers to moving security from the end of the process (right) to the beginning (left). Shifting left allows teams to identify and mitigate security risks early to ensure that they are addressed in a timely manner. This means that products can be delivered more quickly since security is built in instead of dealt with at the end of the development cycle.

Organizations with DevSecOps implementations bring in cybersecurity engineers and architects to work alongside DevOps as a crucial part of the development team. They work to secure each component, and configuration is patched and documented throughout the product lifecycle.

Cybersecurity Education

Organizations that employ DevSecOps processes must make sure that all employees, not only DevOps teams and compliance teams, are aware of the company’s stance on cybersecurity.

Everyone that is involved with the development and delivery process should have knowledge of basic cybersecurity principles. Application security, OWASP Top 10, testing, and other security practices are crucial to understanding in order to provide high-quality, secure applications fast.

Leadership and Culture

DevSecOps is more than just a set of practices. It’s a fundamental cultural shift that affects communication, people, processes, and technology.

Like any major organizational change, leaders are essential in the adoption of DevSecOps practices. Teams will follow in the footsteps of leaders committed to building a DevSecOps culture.

DevSecOps teams should use tools and create systems that fit their current project requirements and team expertise. Leaders should allow teams to create the workflow environment that works best for them while maintaining organization and progress towards DevSecOps goals.

Monitoring

Implementing monitoring and traceability in DevSecOps processes can lead to deeper insights and a more secure environment. Monitoring is always a best practice for any team involved in the SDLC, but traceability takes it to a new level. Having a good monitoring system in place enables visibility throughout the development process so that anyone working on the project can address and understand changes.

Since DevSecOps requires the integration of numerous teams and roles, it’s important that anyone working on the project can get the information they need to complete their workflows whenever they need it. And it helps to achieve compliance, reduce bugs, ensure secure code, and help with code maintainability.

Process Automation

Automating repetitive processes enhances the SDLC in several ways. First, it helps set up environments more efficiently by removing slower manual processes. It also enhances productivity during the development lifecycle, leaving monotonous tasks to the machines so that people can focus on building and creating.

DevSecOps tools are built to enable process automation to enhance the SDLC. Since security is at the crux of every step during the DevSecOps, it’s even more valuable to automate practices to eliminate human error and conduct testing, monitoring and other tedious, repetitive tasks. Examples of security processes that can be automated in DevSecOps include web application scanning, container scanning, and vulnerability scanning.

Log Management and Analysis

Centralized log management is essential to DevSecOps organizations to maintain security. While application logging helps you detect any authentication failures, policy violations, unusual conditions, input validation issues in your code, logging in production environments enhances the visibility of security issues that may rise once the application is up and running.

Log management solutions allow you to collect, aggregate and analyze logs to detect security vulnerabilities and investigate possible breaches, in a much more effective way.

DevSecOps Tools

There are many different tools available to make integrating DevSecOps a little easier. In addition to utilizing project management software, teams should consider various automation tools for application security testing and monitoring solutions to integrate at different stages of their CI/CD processes:

  • Static application security testing (SAST) tools such as GitHub, GitLab, and Coverity.
  • Software composition analysis (SCA) platforms like Snyk, Mend, and BlackDuck.
  • Interactive application security testing (IAST) solutions such as HCL AppScan, Contrast Security, and Invicti.
  • Dynamic application security testing (DAST) tools like Detectify, StackHawk, and Intruder.
  • Security information and event management (SIEM) software like SolrWinds Security Event Manager, Datadog Security Monitoring, or ManageEngine EventLog Analyzer.

Keep in mind that some tools might not be right for your implementations, so it’s best to find the right tools and applications for your organization, teams, and specific tasks.

Sematext and DevSecOps

Sematext Logs is a unified log management and monitoring tool that collects and analyzes log files from different components across your whole infrastructure. From a single pane of glass you can know the system as a whole, detect anomalies and potential security vulnerabilities automatically and create alerts to take immediate action.

Sematext’s logs and service auto-discovery feature enable you to automatically start monitoring logs and forwarding them directly to your dashboard. You get various integrations to ship logs from different environments such as containers, AWS, different operating systems, APIs, Syslog protocols and many more. It integrates with various programming languages for you to ship logs directly from your application and support for a number of popular notification channels allow you and other shareholders to be notified whenever something goes wrong.

Sematext Logs has a 14-day free trial for you to test its features in full without needing to commit to anything.

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