The term DevSecOps was coined by Gene Kim who defines it as “the intersection of two practices: DevOps (development operations) and Security.” Easy and to the point. BUT, brilliance comes from where he positioned “Sec” in that acronym/equation — right, smack in the middle. A filter between Development and Operations. He goes on to say that “DevSecOps is about ensuring that developers are aware of the risks associated with coding defects, while simultaneously building a culture of security consciousness among developers.” DevSecOps, at its core, is a security practice that focuses on the integration of software development and information security and changing your software development culture’s mindset. DevSecOps and SDLC - Software Development Lifecycle - is an approach designed to reduce the time and cost to identify, fix, and respond to vulnerabilities in software right from the get-go — from the moment of inception and all through a software lifetime, even all the way past its retirement party. Integrating security not as an add-on but as a pivotal part of the product’s DNA. Something that is always present and evolving from the point of inception.
The main benefits of implementing DevSecOps on the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)
DevSecOps is a security methodology that helps organizations to identify and address security risks as they occur. And incorporate security measures into a software’s DNA right out of the gate. It is a combination of development and operations to identify and fix security vulnerabilities before software goes live. By implementing this offshoot of the shift-left model, you catch breaches and weaknesses before they become an issue, even before said breaches are implemented into the software itself. This gives you better software, higher quality products, and helps you save money — studies have shown that a DevSecOps SDLC approach might end up reducing cost, when it comes to security fixes and bug patch-ups, by 68%.
The benefits of implementing DevSecOps on the SDLC are:
Early Identification of Vulnerabilities
One of the most important goals for any IT company is to continuously identify any vulnerabilities that exist in their system to ensure continued protection against cyberattacks. A DevSecOps SDLC methodology supervises your whole software’s lifecycle, pinpointing weaknesses early on.
Security testing at all stages
Different types of security tests should be performed at each stage of the SDLC to ensure that we are addressing security issues in the correct order and with the correct level of detail. This reduces costs, since weaknesses and spotted early on and fixed quickly.
Security testing in parallel with the development
Security testing is essential for both the assurance of the security of software and to meet compliance requirements. It's usually done in parallel with development and is a testing technique where all combinations of input data are used to check that they do not cause unintended behavior.
Automated scanning for vulnerabilities
Automated scanning for vulnerabilities should be done regularly to ensure the safety and success of your business.
Integrating DevSecOps into the current DevOps SDLC
DevSecOps is a relatively new concept in software development. The idea behind DevSecOps is to have security and operations work together, using the same process as DevOps. This way, developers can be more confident that their code will be secure from the start, and operations teams can be more confident that they won't be dealing with issues down the line.
Analyze Where you are at
One of the first - and most essential steps when integrating DevSecOps on the current DevOps SDLC is to identify what your process currently looks like. To make an audit of where you are at, what your goals are, and how to get there.
There are different ways to do this:
- You can take a look at your current workflow and identify what type of security you are already doing — e.g., penetration testing.
- You can talk with your team about how they handle security — e.g., if they're doing any security testing.
- You can invest in a private security firm and have them do a diagnostic of your company.
Secure working environments and local development
There is a conflict when it comes to security and usability — securing your environments is not about preventing your teams to work and go off in their creative flights of fancy. The truth is that your developers simply don’t like being hampered and see security as an issue that takes away from their creative steam. Developers, if bothered, will find clever ways to work around your hindrance — after all part of why you hired them was because they are so smart. You’ll need to implement flexible solutions, that work with them. Bring them in on the project and allow them to chip in.
Enable version control and security analysis
Automate all you can — implement as many tools as possible. And run diagnostic, and careful analysis on all versions of the software and code.
Continuous integration and build
Security, particularly in a company that constantly cooks up new software, is a never-ending battle. Make sure you are up to speed with the current trends, make sure that your platform and tools have been updated, and make sure that everything has a proper place and has been analyzed to death.
Secure your pipeline
When deploying to an environment, insert the environment variables through your CI/CD tool and try to manage them as secrets. Protect your environments, use CI/CD security measures to ensure your pipeline, and third-party vendors aren’t prone to vulnerabilities.
Tools can help enable your DevSecOps SDLC process
DevSecOps is a set of security practices that allow developers to create more secure software. This can be done by using new tools that help to enable the process.
Some of the most popular tools are:
- OWASP ZAP,
- OWASP Juice Shop,
- OWASP WebScarab,
- OWASP Zed Attack Proxy,
It’s important to understand that new tools, like new trends, are always popping up. Having a secure platform is a time-consuming, often complex task, but one that is worth all the effort.