While traditional development practices have long separated security and compliance, DevSecOps as a series of best practices integrates security into every phase of the DevOps software development life cycle. DevSecOps introduces and automates security in the earlier phases of the software development life cycle rather than bolting it on at the end. The approach saves money, saves time on tedious manual tasks, helps organizations meet regulatory compliance requirements and significantly reduces the risk of critical security bugs being found after an application’s final build. DevSecOps promotes the use of, for example, active penetration testing, security audits and other security tools within an agile development process.
The goal of DevSecOps is to create a collaborative environment between developers and security professionals that enables organizations to build secure code faster and more easily. By emphasizing security from the very beginning of the process, it becomes a priority in the app dev process rather than an afterthought. Over time, developers become more familiar with the common weaknesses in software that today result in more insecure applications being more than most anyone really wants to admit. The end goal is to create secure applications by making it easier for developers, security experts and operations professionals to collaborate throughout every stage of application development.
Minimizing Application Vulnerabilities
It may seem tedious and expensive to integrate security into the development process, but it’s become essential for organizations to embrace DevSecOps to minimize the number of application vulnerabilities that cybercriminals might exploit. When applied throughout the development process, scanning and reporting can take place within a matter of minutes rather than holding up deployment at the end of the process to review the entirety of an application.
Leaving security to either the end of the application development process or, worse yet, after an application has been spread only increases the total cost of ownership. It’s much more expensive to remediate a vulnerability after an application has been applied than it is to address an issue during the application development process.
Implementing DevSecOps requires organizations to set up workflows that are managed via a continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform. Most critically, developers must understand the security role plays in enabling organizations to identify vulnerabilities as early as possible in the application development life cycle.
Inserting security audits and penetration testing into the development process, for example, helps ensure the security of an application. When changes are made in a project, scanning, architecture reviews and penetration testing can be triggered within the development flow to save time and resources.
However, there are many technical and cultural challenges ranging from tool integration to a lack of trust between developers and security teams that can impede the adoption of DevSecOps. Security professionals are tasked with identifying and preventing vulnerabilities in applications. Acceptance test criteria, user designs and threat models should be created by security professionals. The development team then needs to define a code review system to ensure uniformity.
Despite those concerns, the most important thing is to simply get started. Ideally, development and security teams should work together to create a safe application development and software development environment. There is no need to create separate teams or apply different policies.
The biggest benefit of DevSecOps is that it eliminates silos between development and operations. As a result, software engineers integrate cybersecurity processes from the start of the development process. This includes ensuring that every component, configuration item, and installation process is securely patched and documented. This concept of shifting security to the left allows the security team to identify and remediate security threats early on.
In the longer term, however, adopting DevSecOps best practices will ensure security remains a top priority in the wake of a series of high-profile cybersecurity breaches. In short, there is now more focus on DevSecOps with the goal of securing software supply chains.