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The Rise of DevSecOps in a Complex Security Landscape

Policy as Code DevSecOps Security as Code
The Rise of DevSecOps in a Complex Security Landscape
Policy as Code DevSecOps Security as Code

Security Breaches have Serious and Far-reaching Repercussions

In 2020, 51% of organizations reported a “significant business disruption” following a cybersecurity incident. The average cost of a data breach is 3.86 million. Clearly, breaches damage firms financially. They also affect their compliance posture, attract more fines, and damage their reputation. For all these reasons, firms are under pressure to quickly identify and close security gaps before bad actors can exploit them.

But in today’s expanding threat landscape, the old reactive approach to security is inadequate. What’s required is a collaborative approach where both development and operations work together to strengthen and maintain application security. Here’s where DevSecOps comes in.

What is DevSecOps?

The transition from the Waterfall to an Agile development model gave rise to DevOps with Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipelines. These shifts then accelerated the release of better code and created opportunities for security innovations that could also improve code quality – DevSecOps.

DevSecOps enables dev teams to integrate strong security measures into the DevOps process right from the outset. This is a radical departure from the previous approach where security was more of an afterthought with teams forgoing security to speed up time-to-market. Result – code that left the software vulnerable to data breaches. In this scenario, the shift to DevSecOps was very welcome.

1. Supporting Digital Transformation

DevSecOps integrates strong security practices throughout the DevOps process, so organizations are better protected from the start. It also supports digital transformation and rapid technological progress without sacrificing security.

2. More Automation, Less Manual Effort

Automated tools scan code, continuously monitor programs, and analyze results to strengthen security without time-consuming human effort. Moreover, application changes flow freely through the SDLC, giving dev teams greater autonomy without elevating security risk.

3. The Three Key Pillars of DevSecOps

DevSecOps focuses on three key aspects to achieve optimal security:

a. Test-driven security (TDS)

TDS recommends that developers first write security tests representing the desired behavior, and then implement the controls that will pass these tests. In this approach, security is treated as a “feature” of the product.

b. Continuous monitoring and response

By implementing robust processes for logging, fraud and intrusion detection, and incident response, organizations can respond better and faster to attacks, detect anomalies, and strengthen their DevOps workflows.

c. Risk assessment and security testing

A mature DevSecOps program supports security testing using techniques like vulnerability scanning and configuration auditing to evaluate application security, and bake security into the SDLC.

The Benefits of DevSecOps

1. Better Application Security

With continuous and automated security checks plus built-in threat monitoring, vulnerabilities are found and fixed faster than with traditional methods. This enables mitigate security risks to the delivery schedule, application, and end-users.

2. Red Flags are Raised Earlier

DevSecOps and its unstinting focus on integrating security with development and operations ensure that red flags become visible earlier. It also speeds up recovery if there is a security incident. As a result, there is a less disruptive effect on productivity and deployment.

3. Avoid Costly Rework

By shifting left, the time required for security testing is reduced, as is the time and cost of fixing any concerns. The cost of fixing an issue after product release is up to 100X more than fixing it during the maintenance phase. For this, DevSecOps is invaluable.

4. Improves Collaboration and Accelerates Speed-to-market

The collaborative nature of DevSecOps helps improve the development and testing process, raises the assurance level within the SDLC, and expedites go-live.


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Key Strategies to Successfully Transition to DevSecOps

In a 2018 survey, only 24% of respondents said their organizations were practicing some DevSecOps activities. In just over two years, this number shot up to 63%, indicating that more organizations are taking DevSecOps seriously. However, pivoting to DevSecOps is not easy. It can also be challenging to ensure that all teams support the idea of shifting left. Moreover, adding a security dimension to DevOps requires organizations to switch mindsets and cultures, eliminate functional silos, and overcome resistance to change. These strategies can help accelerate the shift to DevSecOps.

1. Check Existing Toolsets

Organizations must check if existing toolsets incorporate built-in security functionality, examine wider infrastructure security considerations, and review processes that can be automated through DevSecOps.

2. Conduct Continuous Security Checks

They should incorporate security checks earlier in the SDLC pipeline, and also within different stages.

3. Choose the Right Automation Tools

Tools that seamlessly integrate into the development pipeline ensure fast, accurate, and effective automated testing, as well as more reliable security management. These include tools to:

  • Alert developers of security anomalies
  • Scan for, discover and remediate security defects
  • Get better visibility into the development process
  • Perform pre go-live testing.
  • Manage security across an entire CI/CD pipeline

Magalix security-as-code platform provides all of the above features and more. 

4. Check Code Dependencies

This ensures that dev teams don’t use code with known vulnerabilities. Again, automated processes to manage open-source and third-party components are vital.

5. Implement Consistent Security

It’s critical to design, deploy and integrate consistent security into the DevOps pipeline, especially for microservices, APIs, and serverless.

6. Make Security Part of the Organization's Culture

In a recent survey, 29% of security team members said that everyone should be responsible for security. But this requires regular team conversations about application security and making security part of the org culture.

7. Train Dev Teams in Secure Coding Practices

Secure coding training is a powerful way to entrench the shift left philosophy into the SDLC.

In addition, organizations looking to “shift left and shield right” with DevSecOps should also implement these strategies with help from security-as-code solution providers.  

8. Programmatically Enforce Security-as-Code

By integrating security-as-code within their DevOps workflows, firms can consistently apply governance standards across all applications. They can also validate compliance earlier in the SDLC, and improve their infrastructure’s robustness.

9. Implement Streamlined Workflows

Streamlined workflows and centralized playbooks enforced across the entire SDLC help automate security and compliance, and speed up innovation.

10. Leverage Powerful Compliance Reporting and Analytics

Unified compliance reports and dashboards improve visibility, ensure successful and sustainable governance, and strengthen security posture.

Conclusion

Recently, 42% of organizations said that testing happens “too late” in the SDLC. Nonetheless, as more teams better understand the benefits of DevSecOps, they’re embracing the approach with greater enthusiasm. DevSecOps represents a big step forward for software development and enterprise cybersecurity. That’s why it’s the future of DevOps.

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