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Achieving the Security Objective with DevSecOps

September 12, 2022


DevSecOps serves the need of an increasingly digital ecosystem

DevSecOps is the philosophy of preventing security breaches through a proactive approach to the SDLC. Know why incorporating security
practices and tools into the DevOps activity stream, has become a must.

As we all know, the development process is not what it used to be three decades ago. The shift in ideology has impacted this evolution as much as the change in technology itself. The scale of digital transformation triggered by the pandemic has led to an unprecedented change in business-as-usual. Apart from being an absolute convenience for many, this shift has also brought about many problems, such as work pressure. Real-time resolution of issues requires a short response time, which is not easy.

The traditional form of the software development process was siloed and less effective in emergencies. This made it vulnerable to external attacks due to a lack of collaborative work. As industry professionals realized these loopholes in the system a decade ago, they also tried to plug them by merging the different pipelines of the development process. It enhanced the Time-to-Market (TTM) exponentially while also making the system robust.

But quick cannot be the answer to customer demand if it’s not secure.

According to Gartner, 60% of organizations by 2025 are estimated to consider cybersecurity critical for third-party transactions. Making security central to the process prevents it from being an optional step, incorporating the idea of prevention from the very inception. The shift left approach is meant to imbibe application security in every step. At the same time, shifting right calls for encouraging innovation to develop iterative software swiftly. Homogenous security controls are capable of handling dynamic development environments. Let us now take a closer look at the security challenges in DevOps.

The Need to Overcome Security Challenges in DevOps

The complexity of computer technologies and software architectures has made the pursuit of security challenging in many ways. The work now does not end at a functional product, as it needs to be tested and retested for security compliance. Splunk has reported in State of Security 2022 that increased cyberattack attempts have been experienced by 65% of the organizations surveyed globally. 44% of these organizations stated that they suffered business process disruptions due to these breaches, which goes on to show that the cost of a lack of security is evidently too huge to bear.

However, the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) cannot simply be extended to include security because lengthening the process is also expensive. So, to cater to the demand for quick application deliveries, the importance of security must be balanced with incorporating security in a way that aligns with the continuity of real-time deployments. Depending on the complexity of the application to be developed or the features to be added, the typical development horizon could range anywhere between a month to a year. Any process that is exclusive to or outside the scope of the core development process then turns out to be a liability. However, if a data breach threatens user privacy, as with Facebook and Uber recently, there will be legal battles to fight.

Core Tenets of DevSecOps

DevSecOps aims to put application security at the center of the software development workflow, right from inception to production by:

  • Breaking down barriers between cross-functional teams and effectively sharing knowledge across departments through Agile methodology
  • Ongoing monitoring coupled with timely alerts and auto-remediation
  • Using virtualization to remotely manage infrastructure for scaling up IT services under heavy load
  • Automating full-stack testing through AI-driven observability solutions helps maintain a constant feedback loop between development, security, and operations
  • Allowing easy portability by integrating everything-as-code security solutions into the SDLC

These steps are crucial in evaluating the performance metrics assigned to SRE tools. Keeping up with the overall SLA becomes incredibly clear when SLIs and SLOs are closely monitored.

Source: DevOps Institute

Security and compliance are critical to DevOps

The core idea behind DevSecOps can be understood as a hard fork to the original consensus of DevOps.

DevSecOps aims to help automate and manage software development processes to deliver secure code. All this without sacrificing the speed of development, instead adding to the quality of the outcome. Adequate security is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ feature when it comes to app development but a ‘must-have’ for CIOs, CSOs, and CISOs. Most organizations now understand security is about protecting the company and the users from any potential threat. DevSecOps provides the ability to continually scan applications for vulnerabilities, automate patches, reduce false positives from scans, identify weaknesses in code (input checks), and detect malicious behavior by monitoring system logs.

Cybersecurity guidelines are still work-in-progress due to rapid changes in technological frameworks. So, the aspect of compliance is more intuitive than mandatory. Organizations that invest efforts in building engines or using tools that look out for vulnerabilities based on the best practices are the ones with greater probabilities of success. Working in collaboration internally helps keep the hackers at bay while also adding to the competitive advantage in the industry.

Prioritizing DevSecOps

Security is no longer seen as an afterthought but a critical element that needs to be integrated into every aspect of developing software. Control checks occur only at the end of delivery lifecycles or even after patch releases, which translates to additional effort for development teams later. This, in turn, causes software delays and builds frustration across teams as they get trapped in a vicious loop of work. DevSecOps is necessary for inserting security practices and tools into the DevOps workflow.

DevSecOps is the best way to speed up the supply chain of secure and compliant applications. Integrating security into every step of the SDLC will help your organization gain a competitive edge in today’s digital economy. You risk losing customers’ trust if you don’t handle cybersecurity properly. This ultimately leads to a loss of business relative to other organizations with better defenses against attacks and breaches.

Reach out to know how we can help your organization secure software development.

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