Continuous Security: The Next Evolution of CI/CD

After a wave of high-profile cyber attacks in the United States, President Joe Biden invited CEOs from the largest companies in technology, financial services, insurance, energy and education to discuss how to combat cybersecurity threats in the future. From SolarWinds to Colonial Pipeline attacks, these events have accelerated cybersecurity initiatives across the public and private sectors.

While there are a number of point solutions available to deal with cybersecurity, many tools and many people result in a DevSecOps “hairball” that leaves organizations awash with data but little or no actionable information to inform their decisions. In recent years, many organizations have embraced the Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) approach as a philosophy to embrace digital transformation and ensure continuous integration, delivery and code deployment while reducing errors and increasing project agility. While it is a natural extension of the Agile and DevOps transformations, adoption of CI/CD pipelines has increased security where operations have failed to keep pace.

SecDevOps Evolution

CI/CD is a philosophy that leverages Agile and automated testing methodologies to enable testing at every stage of the software pipeline. By accrediting CI/CD, organizations are able to account for a different number of permutations that change rapidly as businesses change. Helps organizations account for internal changes (changing databases, different software versions, etc.) and external (compliance requirements, ransomware threats, etc.). This approach reduces the time required to incorporate release changes and deliver working software to users as quickly as possible. It also enables stakeholders and users to access new features and provide feedback instantly, creating a recurring cycle of information for future decision making.

As organizations continue to develop their own continuous deliverables, security must finally be embedded through the SecDevOps coordination to ensure iterative and reliable implementation of security processes at every step of the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC). By continuously managing security practices, policies, and technical debts in existing CI/CD pipelines, this approach ensures that everyone within the organization has the information they need at every step of the development process so they can share responsibility for delivering secure software.

Bypass CI/CD

We need to take CI/CD one step further and include ongoing security from the start. To effectively embed security within an evolving CI/CD/CS approach, we need to focus on three key principles:

  • Separating the responsibility of stakeholders – bringing in the right people at the right time, whether they are developers and designers, quality engineers, business analysts, product owners or users.
  • Isolate and secure environments Reduce risk by identifying stakeholders responsible for every aspect of the pipeline.
  • reduce the feedback loop; Pipeline acceleration – Leverage technology to automate pipelines and reduce development time, feedback, and redundancy.

Ongoing security is like a CI/CD where questions are asked and feedback is processed by technologies and processes throughout the pipeline, rather than responding to an issue. By extension, CI/CD/CS is a philosophy of continuous shipment of software that meets the latest business security standards, considering internal and external change throughout the SDLC.

Different organizations have different risks to account, which means that security must be aligned with business strategies and priorities in order to be able to respond dynamically. Through comprehensive integration into the SDLC, it supports continuous security CI/CD to improve productivity and speed up time to market, while reducing risks that may affect a specific business. Programs are inherently non-permanent and organizations need to be able to continually balance security, technology, and business priorities to make sure they stay focused on what matters most: delivering value to customers and shareholders.

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