According to a recent IBM report, a data breach costs a total average of $3.92m, with the Healthcare industry suffering the most at $6.45m.
While DevOps delivers on the rate of delivery, the traditional CI/CD framework doesn’t emphasize security. For the sake of speed, misconfigurations and known vulnerabilities may be allowed to pass to production.
The general attitude of putting security and testing on the least-priority list means these vulnerabilities are fixed retroactively. This takes more time, effort, and money. With rampant, unverified integration of open-source tools, you open up the software allowing hackers to compromise the security of your app and the users’ data.
DevSecOps is an upgrade on DevOps, allowing you to deliver security and compliance testing continuously. These checks get interweaved within the CI/CD pipeline enabling the delivery of more secure code faster.
From DevOps to DecSecOps - advantages you can expect
The automated nature of DevOps delivers several benefits that enable teams to realize the true power of DevOps as silos break and delivery rates skyrocket.
As DevOps practices span throughout the entire delivery pipeline, it provides the necessary mechanism to deliver audit, compliance, and security requirements.
Here’s what to expect from transitioning to DevSecOps.
1. No restrictive access control policies for developers
Access to infrastructure assets must be strictly controlled and monitored to enforce requisite security measures. This means approval gates, secure configuration parameters, and other security measures.
With DevSecOps built into the pipeline, these access controls can be applied automatically. This enables on-demand access to infrastructure resources for the team and reduces their dependence on factors outside the team.
For example, many organizations have started deploying an internal DevOps team that enables automated access to a shared pool of deployment processes, tools, repositories, and workflows.
This team is usually separate from IT but enforces security mechanisms with the same robustness. It ensures that access to all the infrastructure instances required by development, QA, or production is automatically tracked, monitored, and controlled as per the guidelines. Additionally, inconsistent processes or misconfigurations are also controlled.
Often called the “Shadow IT” team, the idea of this team isn’t to circumvent the IT department but to create an additional team that matches the agility of the DevOps team.
2. Seamless security and compliance testing
DevOps applies all security and compliance checks in batches. So, testing for security and compliance is “shifted left” and spread across the pipeline. Integration of security measures with minimal disruption to operation and reliance on innovative technologies like containers and microservices result in your application becoming more scalable and secure.
This makes the security feedback loops shorter and more frequent, thus aligning security and compliance testing with the DevOps philosophy. As a more secure code is committed every time, the possibility of security and compliance errors reported by the QA team is minimized.
A second, more personalized approach is using the IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to take security and compliance checks to the developers. With regular and automated security and compliance baked right into the development process, this process is sped up considerably and the development team becomes self-reliant.
3. Overcoming the risks associated with open-source software
The 2019 State of The Software Supply Chain report shows that, on average, 85% of the codebase among modern applications uses open source components. While these components enable innovation, they also come with considerable security risks. As more of these open-source tools are added to the software supply chain, it increases the risks on the cybersecurity front.
The report also highlights companies that managed their open source components released 55% less vulnerable components than those who had no verifiable open-source management process.
While many of these open-source components release frequent patches, it’s important that the DevSecOps team step in and regulate them. To achieve this, here are a few things to consider:
- Create a formal component management plan, which makes sure that when employees leave, the practice doesn’t go away with them. Having a documented plan lets you look at a bigger picture of your pipeline and find vulnerable components that may be skipped without a formalized process. Incremental improvements to this plan are also possible if it’s well-documented.
- Use tools like Gemnasium and Synk that regularly check for vulnerabilities
- If vulnerabilities are detected or reported in a component, look at either updating or replacing it
- Enable quick approval for new open-source software. Alternatively, prepare developers to test new components using security and compliance checklists
4. Overall cost reduction and acceleration of the delivery rate
An interwoven security and compliance framework in DevOps prevents breaches and guarantees faster recovery when they occur. As developers don’t have to set aside a large chunk of time to work on security and compliance violations, this shortens release cycles and ensures more secure code at the same time.
The fewer breaches you identify and fix, the more money you save on overcoming security disasters.
5. Automated compliance reporting
With DevSecOps automating your security and compliance tests, it also logs and documents all the tests. The DevOps automation platform collects large amounts of information for build, test, integration, and deployment phases. This data can be used to create your end-to-end audit trail without any manual intervention or extra time spent on scouring through various tools to prepare compliance reports.
Another advantage of DevSecOps is the complete traceability from day 1 and automated compliance reporting. It also focuses on automation testing allowing you to deliver a secure development framework continuously.
DevSecOps is the future of DevOps
The rapid release velocity in DevOps isn’t without its disadvantages. Particularly an unchecked use of open-source tools in the pipeline can expose your application to many known vulnerabilities, increasing the probability of a breach. Combined with a general lack of focus on security, this is a recipe for an expensive security incident.
To counter this, DevSecOps radically transforms the pipeline by shifting security and compliance testing towards the left. Developers check the code before every commit. With fast feedback loops, they fix any reported vulnerabilities along with other errors in the app.
With DevSecOps, the compliance and security checks are done in one go and developers end up with a large spreadsheet of errors to fix. DevSecOps helps them chip away at this sheet bit-by-bit with every release.
Looking for advice on how to get the best out of DevSecOps? 10 IT experts give their views here.