What is DevSecOps? Best Practices for Developing Secure Applications

16 July, 2020


What is DevSecOps?

DevSecOps is the philosophy of integrating security practices within the DevOps process. When Security is integrated into the DevOps process, it creates a new model called DevSecOps. DevSecOps requires thinking about the application and infrastructure security from the start. It also means automating some security gates to keep the DevOps approach.

The DevSecOps model distributes the responsibility for security across the individuals and processes involved in the development process.

Three things can happen when embedding security professionals and making security a key element of the process.

  1. Level of security is heightened
  2. Friction can take place between development and security
  3. Security concerns can slow development

In the end, regardless of the speedbumps that the inclusion of security in DevOps may provide, the security element does provide for a more reliable product.

DevSecOps vs. Traditional Security

Traditionally, networks, applications, and cloud assets were built, then security professionals were brought in to find a way to protect those environments. For a while, this worked well. But today, the pace of business is such that traditional security cannot keep pace with the agile development methods being employed to keep up with the speed of business.

DevSecOps turns the traditional security model on its head by bringing security into the process at a far earlier stage, by making security a cooperative process, and by democratizing the responsibility for security. DevSecOps is about integrated security, not perimeter security.

What Does a DevSecOps Security Engineer Do?

Instead of waiting for the development team to get done with the product and then stepping in to ensure the security of that product, a DevSecOps engineer monitors the build, finds attack vectors, spots potential vulnerabilities, and remediates in real time. Through each iteration of the project as it flows through the stages of agile development, the DevSecOps engineer fine-tunes the security in coordination with the rest of the team.

Why is Operations Included in DevSecOps?

Agile development deploys in iterations or constantly improving versions of the product. Operations, therefore, is impacted as a result of the deployment of the product within operations. In this way, the walls and siloed information between development and operations can be broken down, allowing companies to bring products and services to market faster.

Risk Tolerance in DevSecOps

Because of the fluid nature of the agile development process, a certain amount of risk must be tolerated and managed, but risk tolerance is nothing new. In the traditional model, there was also an element of risk. The advantage DevSecOps is that the risk is lowered with each resultant iteration of the product development cycle. The product is built to overcome known risks and is fortified against horizon-level and zero-day risk vectors.

Automation in DevSecOps

Automation allows for greater agility in development, promotes better security, and provides the traceable processes needed for compliance. This automation allows developers to get away from the traditional methods of patching in pace to instead rebuild containerized images and redeploy. This security fix allows one containerized application to run while the other is brought online, eliminating downtime. The integral security tasks have been baked into the process from the outset. This eliminates many of the security conflicts seen with late-stage automations.

What Has Led to the Security Part of DevSecOps?

The cloud has been a driver for many things, including DevSecOps. When companies began to share resources in the cloud and use the cloud for fast deployment of IT resources across the organization, it was only a matter of time before the emergence of the term “DevSecOps.” Businesses have embraced the inclusion of security in DevOps because they have realized that the benefits of cost-efficiency, flexibility, and speed that come from DevOps are at risk without the integrated security component.

Testing code that is moving quickly in a DevOps environment was proving to be a challenge with many of the security and compliance tools available on the market. These tools were developed with a traditional model in mind and, as a result, slow down the process. To rectify this challenge, development and operations teams realized that security had to be involved in the process from inception and play a collaborative role.

What Are the Benefits of DevSecOps?

  • Greater automation capability
  • Lowered risk of mistakes
  • Reduced requirement for manual security configuration
  • More security at an earlier stage in the process
  • Security that is purpose-built for the product – not an add-on

Have questions about DevSecOps? Our cybersecurity professionals have the answer. Just reach out by phone or email.

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