Building a Holistic Security System for DevOps Projects
DevOps approach to software development enables a fast and reliable production however when it comes to security, DevOps does not seem to have leveled up.
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DevOps aligns the work of software developers and other IT professionals to ensure better quality, faster time to market, and increased productivity. It emphasizes communication, collaboration, integration, and automation of all aspects of software delivery, from development to testing to deployment.
A DevOps approach to software development enables an organization to have systems in place that support the production of software in a fast, reliable, and incremental way.
However, when it comes to security, an aspect of growing concern for stakeholders across the IT sector, DevOps does not seem to have leveled up.
By integrating development and operations, one can infer that the nature of DevOps is typically holistic. But DevOps security? Not so much. The need for holistic measures in DevOps projects gave rise to the DevSecOps but the latter’s adoption is obviously not as wide.
DevOps is a cultural shift that brings together the best of both worlds – the speed and innovation of a startup with the discipline and rigour of an enterprise. But security is often an afterthought – it’s not a priority until a breach occurs, and then it’s a scramble to make sure you can patch quickly and limit the damage.
Indeed, DevOps has transformed the way organizations build and deliver applications. But it has also introduced new challenges like frequent security failures. Continuous delivery processes, automated testing frameworks, and faster build-test cycles have significantly increased the speed at which developers can release code. This, in turn, has led to an increase in the number of vulnerabilities that are being introduced into the production environment at every stage of the development lifecycle.
To solve this problem through a holistic means, DevOps teams require operational insights and intelligence, policy-based security, security-integrated testing, and continuous security.
Integrating security into DevOps is a key enabler for the digital transformation of enterprises. As the pace of change accelerates, so does the attack surface, making security a business-critical concern for organizations of all sizes.
The next generation of security solutions will analyze application code in real-time to uncover vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit. This level of insight will require a different approach to security that integrates seamlessly into DevOps environments while maintaining the best practices.
DevOps security teams need to work in a new way. And that means using operational insights and threat intelligence to drive application development.
This approach enables you to take a more risk-based approach to testing by prioritizing vulnerabilities based on business impact, confidence, and risk. You can also automate the remediation of vulnerabilities and threats to reduce remediation time and automate your security operations workflow.
The traditional approach to securing DevOps projects has been to use commercial security tools, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems (IDSs). This approach, however, requires significant manual configuration, which introduces both operational risk and the possibility of human error.
The Secure Access Service edge (SASE) is an integrated solution that enables DevOps teams to secure their infrastructure, applications, and data natively. As a result, DevOps teams can ensure that security processes are configured, monitored, and enforced consistently and accurately across the network and throughout the duration of the project.
To explain the SASE model, it must be conceptualized as a cloud-delivered service that unifies software-defined networking (SDN) and network security. It enables organizations of all sizes to easily enforce security policies across their virtual and cloud infrastructure and applications.
SASE provides application, host, and network security capabilities that work together to provide a complete, end-to-end, native security stack. That includes built-in support for common security technologies, including IDS, firewall, VPN, SIEM, DLP, cloud security, and more. As a result, it is a true holistic measure for DevOps that is operationally simple, reliable, and consistent, which eliminates security configuration drift and human error.
Most development teams today follow an agile development methodology. The ultimate goal is to deliver high-quality software increments frequently, with frequent feedback, iteration, and improvement. This iterative process requires continuous feedback, and DevOps teams rely heavily upon automated testing and code scanning tools to provide that feedback.
As a result, DevOps teams often rely on static code analysis tools to assess code quality. These tools look for syntax errors and missing code blocks. Traditionally, a software development team would write code, test it with code scanners, run static analysis tools, run unit tests, and then go into production. But this approach is one-dimensional.
Code scanners are good at looking at specific code issues, such as bad variable names, nasty comments, and leftover code from a previous version that's still being used. But they're not up to the mark at detecting new types of vulnerabilities.
Similarly, static analysis tools, especially the ones that look for SQL injection, are good at finding specific types of vulnerabilities. Still, they’re not good at predicting whether a given piece of code will be vulnerable or not. If you write code that passes static analysis, it doesn't mean it's secure. And that brings us to the next point, which is continuous security.
While code scanning tools help identify vulnerabilities, they don't provide real-time insight into which parts of the application are vulnerable and what the impact would be if the vulnerability were to be exploited. Continuous Security allows you to easily track security incidents and vulnerabilities and ensures that they are investigated and fixed in a timely manner.
It is a software development philosophy that advocates that security should emulate the agile software development process. It aims to deliver the value of good security practices into the development pipeline, and automate security testing, configuration management, vulnerability management, and incident response.
This approach is an important requirement for any organization seeking to maintain high levels of security while increasing the flexibility and agility of its security program.
It also encapsulates the concept of security as code, which is the automation of security checks in the development process. Security as code also enables organizations to reuse security policies and tools across development teams.
DevOps is transforming how we build and maintain software and applications. It fundamentally changes the practice of software development and delivery by integrating functions that historically have been performed in isolation, namely development and operations. This integration enables faster time-to-market, improved product quality and consistency, as well as enhanced collaboration among teams.
To execute a DevOps process successfully, companies need to move their focus beyond just automating the software build and deployment process. They must also examine how to integrate people, processes, and technology into an overall strategy that will fundamentally change how they do business.
Today’s organizations need a security solution that is integrated, optimized, and automated in order to operate effectively in a DevOps environment. The most successful DevOps implementations are not only agile, they are also secure.
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