5 Ways to Make DevSecOps Work for You


According to a report by research firm MarketsandMarkets, the global DevOps market size will reach USD 10.31 billion by 2023, up from USD 3.42 billion in 2018. The figures attribute to the growing demand for advanced and innovative software solutions and increased competition, which has encouraged companies to shorten the time to market of their solutions while maintaining the quality.

Over the past few years, several companies have embraced the DevOps model, which essentially integrates software development and operations teams to churn out high-quality software products quickly. This cross-functional approach aims at leveraging the expertise of both sides simultaneously to increase the speed of application delivery by shortening the software development life cycle (SDLC).

However, application delivery could hit a roadblock if proper security measures are not integrated into the software during the development phase. The entire idea of speedy delivery will go for a toss!

Security shortcomings discovered at later stages would require the DevOps teams to rework on the software to fix the issues. We cannot neglect this, as security is indispensable, especially when there is a legion of hackers looking to exploit the tiniest of vulnerability for waging a full-fledged cyberattack on companies today.

A truly cross-functional software development process should integrate the security team within the DevOps model to weave security protocols and features within the product from the beginning.

A measured combination of security-focused policies, procedures, and technologies will help in adding a layer of security across all stages of software development, from design to development and testing through to release and maintenance.

However, the successful formation of the DevSecOps team comes with its sets of challenges, cultural and operational.

5 Major Challenges Faced by DevSecOps Team

1. Conflicting end-goal

While the DevOps team strives for faster delivery of the software, new features, updates, and fixes, security teams prioritize security over speed. In fact, they push for more thorough testing, which substantially slows down the SDLC.

2. Negligence of security

In their quest for faster release of applications, the DevOps team often puts security testing on the back burner. This causes unresolved vulnerabilities, flaws, and misconfigurations in the software to stay until the end of the process unless detected and fixed.

At times, security issues are not adequately addressed because of tight delivery deadlines, creating security gaps that could lead to malfunctions or security breaches later.

3. Lenient access controls

Individuals within the DevOps team and tools used during the software development lifecycle often use privileged access credentials. However, incomplete control on privilege access rights could create opportunities for attackers to infiltrate the company’s IT infrastructure, damage business-critical procedures, or steal data.

4. Risks with open-source components and cloud environments

DevOps teams use open-source codebases for fast, automated, and continuous development, testing, and vulnerability detection. But these open-source tools could contain security flaws, which, if not detected and fixed earlier, could amplify security risks in the final product.

A 2018 report from Black Duck by Synopsys found that the Internet and Software Infrastructure apps contained the most vulnerable open source components, with 67% applications featuring high-risk vulnerabilities.

Usage of a scalable, low-cost cloud computing environment for development and testing of apps could also create security concerns, as the cloud infrastructure itself has potential security gaps.

5. Slow security testing

DevOps teams are hesitant to add security to the mix as they fear a slowdown in the development lifecycle, and their fears are not entirely baseless. Some of the security testing procedures are still archaic and lead to a lag in the development cycle.

Checklist for adding security into the DevOps model

Transforming from DevOps to DevSecOps: Imbuing a culture of security across the organization will help all the stakeholders involved in the software development process to understand the importance of safety and embrace it easily.
Implementing Privileged Access Management and security policies: Companies should lay down an unambiguous and comprehensive set of security policies and codes of practice for improving configuration management, vulnerability testing, code review, and other cybersecurity functions. Moreover, privilege access rights should be efficiently distributed, limiting access as per the roles and functions of testers and developers. Privileged credentials should be stored safely, and activities within the privileged sessions should be monitored.
Management of vulnerabilities: Tools to detect vulnerabilities across the software development cycle can help fix the issues well in time. Passive security testing, penetration testing, and other such mechanisms should detect vulnerabilities and patch them. Vulnerabilities in the chosen cloud infrastructure and open-source components should also be identified before utilizing them as part of the SDLC.
Automation: DevSecOps teams should adopt automation tools to automate repetitive tasks for accelerating the development cycle and to detect shortcomings that could be missed due to human negligence.
Use artificial intelligence/machine learning and analytics: Organisations should leverage more AI/ML solutions to have end-to-end visibility of the entire process from software development through to release. Moreover, analytical tools will help assess data collected from different phases of the development cycle to derive insights that may help improve project outcomes and reduce risks and shorten the development cycle.

The ultimate goal of companies shifting from traditional development models to DevOps and now to DevSecOps is the delivery of robust software. Inducting good security practices will help in uncompromised attainment of the objective.

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