CloudSecurity

DevSecOps Cloud Security

Usually, software developers create an application and release it once it passes all the security checks. Security testing is placed among the last steps of software development. Nowadays, organizations are switching to cloud computing very rapidly. Hence, the developers of cloud-native applications also follow a modern development course, referred to as DevSecOps.

DevSecOps is an improved model of DevOps that only involves developing and operations teams. The former culture makes security compulsory for all the stages of DevOps, making threat hunting easier for the teams. Since cloud-based applications have more security issues, every organization should consider using DevSecOps to improve security from the beginning till the end of the development process.

DevSecOps has various benefits that you will learn about in this article. Also, you will acknowledge what challenges affect the implementation of DevSecOps and what best practices you can adapt to overcome them. To keep things simple, let’s first understand the culture of DevSecOps in detail.

What Is DevSecOps Cloud Security?

DevSecOps is short for development, security, and operations and refers to the fundamental steps of the software development lifecycle. It is the practice of adding the aspect of security to DevOps. Let’s dive a little deeper!

The software developed through DevOps practices undergoes security testing after the development and operations experts finalize their tasks. No testing is arranged in between the process.

However, DevSecOps integrates security practices in a software development process. Whether the development is in the initial or final stage, each team works collaboratively to improve application security.

DevSecOps covers security risk and breach detection, vulnerability assessment, and risk remediation. So, when the procedure ends, and the application is ready to deliver, the product is completely secure.

The teams use DevSecOps-compatible tools and techniques to secure the cloud infrastructure while keeping up with the development standards. DevSecOps allows the experts to address security incidents earlier instead of detecting them later and then reverting any process to resolve them. They proceed in a systematic and organized manner to finish the development lifecycle, saving time and additional costs. This way, DevSecOps helps them meet delivery deadlines efficiently.

DevOps Vs. DevSecOps

Both are useful for application development. See how these differ from each other:

Security Integration

DevOps stands for development and operations. It refers to an application development process that involves development and operations teams. Security testing is performed at the end of the development. DevSecOps includes security testing carried out at different stages in a development cycle.

Work Ethics

In DevOps, the development team aims to equip applications with innovative features. Similarly, the operations team focuses on management-related tasks. Both are not much concerned about security challenges. However, in DevSecOps, both teams accompany the security team to participate in risk and configuration management.

Usability Goals

DevOps is suitable for application updates. With less focus on security issues, it takes minimal time. Since updating software should also be quick, DevOps is the better option.

Creating a new application may propose several security-related risks. Therefore, DevSecOps would be a more suitable choice in this case. It implements security at various stages and deals with every slight risk efficiently.

Goals Of DevSecOps

Introducing DevSecOps practices is not only to improve DevOps or preserve cloud resources and infrastructure. Instead, it has some concrete goals that can not be achieved with DevOps. Let’s discover the basic objectives of DevSecOps to know why it is better than DevOps.

Seamless Integration Of Security

The primary goal of DevSecOps is to incorporate security well in a software development cycle. Not only in the mid or end of the process, but DevSecOps feature automated testing that starts right from the first step of the development process.

Security threats may occur regardless of the stage of development cycles. Consistent monitoring of security incidents via DevSecOps is the best approach to promote a secure CI/CD pipeline.

Collaborative Teamwork

Since DevSecOps specify security compliance as a shared responsibility of development, security, and operations teams. It ensures that all the teams are on a single page. All the experts work together to accomplish their job-specific tasks while fulfilling security requirements.

For that, the teams communicate more to discuss security concerns, make security decisions, and propose solutions using their respective expertise. On the whole, DevSecOps contributes to a cooperative and well-coordinated workflow.

Mutual Accountability

According to DevSecOps, the developers, security engineers, and operation specialists are equally accountable for application security posture management. They share security controls and successfully manage security automation throughout the development cycle. This sense of accountability makes DevSecOps teams more dedicated and efficient than DevOps teams.

What Are the Benefits Of DevSecOps?

DevSecOps offer several benefits apart from integrating security in DevOps. So, let’s see what advantages you can have from practicing DevSecOps.

Precise And Quick Risk Detection

In DevSecOps, security is a shared responsibility, combining the work areas of development, operations, and security teams. Three teams concentrate on application security to patch common vulnerabilities. As a result, security problems are less likely to go undetected by various professionals. Thus, DevSecOps proves to be highly effective when it comes to tracing security vulnerabilities accurately.

Also, DevSecOps allow professionals to detect issues as soon as they emerge and resolve them right away. This way, most issues are sorted before they become serious and complicated.

Faster Software Development

In DevSecOps, software development proceeds with multiple security checks integrated at different levels. Due to continuous security monitoring, instant detection and remediation of vulnerabilities take place. This practice saves the time consumed to carry out security testing at the end of the development and repeat the process to eliminate security incidents.

With DevSecOps, developers can create and deliver applications faster, leading to positive business outcomes.

Less Costly

DevSecOps is often perceived as a high-end process requiring modern tooling and qualified personnel. However, DevOps can be more costly. If the security tests show a security risk embedded at the initial stages in DevOps, the teams will have to go a few steps back to remediate the risk. Then they will have to repeat some steps to complete the development process. This repetition not only costs time but a hefty amount of money too.

On the other side, continuous security integration ensures prompt elimination of all threats, so there is no going back. Unlike DevOps, DevSecOps makes progress smoothly without costing extra.

Effective Teamwork

The secret to the success of DevSecOps also lies in teamwork. Development, security, and operations teams go hand in hand when developing an application in a DevSecOps environment. These teams monitor security flaws in applications according to their capacities. This collaborative working style boosts the organization’s productivity.

Common Challenges That Arise When Implementing Security In DevOps

The trend of public cloud networking is increasing massively and seems to expand further in the coming years. However, DevSecOps is still not advancing at the same pace as it needs to. Several challenges surface and impede the implementation of the DevSecOps process. Some of them are discussed below:

Limited Knowledge And Budget

Many organizations do not have skilled staff that can adapt DevSecOps practices efficiently and effectively. The employees also do not know much about DevSecOps tools and the correct way to use them.

Some organizations avoid switching to a DevSecOps culture to cut down additional expenses of tools and security professionals. This restricts DevSecOps implementation.

Wrong Perceptions About DevSecOps

As DevSecOps integrates security testing on multiple occasions between the initial design and secure software delivery, it lengthens the development cycle to some extent. Therefore, developers are deterred from practicing DevSecOps, thinking it will delay the delivery process.

However, DevSecOps has no significant impact on development speed. Organizations need to realize that it will save a lot of their time by enabling them to identify security problems before it’s too late. Moreover, development teams should know the importance of DevSecOps instead of considering it unnecessary.

Difference Of Priorities

Aiming to introduce innovative features and meet deadlines, the development and operations teams often do not pay adequate attention to security measures. However, the security compliance teams are more into risk analysis and management, threat modeling, and other security activities.

As these security protocols take time, DevOps teams do not value the DevSecOps approach and focus more on continuous delivery. Consequently, many organizations lack unity among their software production teams. The difference in perspectives and priorities does not allow DevSecOps to function properly.

Use Of Inappropriate Security Tools

The use of the right equipment is necessary to maintain DevSecOps security. Tools used for Static Application Security Testing (SAST) may not work for Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST). Likewise, compatible and state-of-the-art tooling is essential for detecting advanced vulnerabilities within modern applications.

Employing the wrong tooling only ends up in unreliable results. It will either show a false positive or a false negative, which will mislead security teams during risk analysis, making DevSecOps lose its purpose.

Complex Cloud Network

The circle of cloud users is expanding daily due to the benefits cloud computing has placed in our hands. With this, the complexity of cloud infrastructure is also increasing, and so are the cybersecurity threats. Intense cloud security can help protect cloud networking.

When security teams in association with DevOps teams develop cloud-native software programs, they encounter numerous weaknesses. Addressing those vulnerabilities diverts their attention from major application security requirements. Hence, complicated cloud networking is a big challenge in implementing security in DevOps.

Best Practices For DevSecOps

DevSecOps is a go-to solution for all the security vulnerabilities related to code, CI/CD pipeline, access management, and production environments. Below you will discover some best practices to help you make the most of DevSecOps culture.

Do Not Compromise On Adequate Tooling

If you do not use the right tooling, there is no point in implementing DevSecOps. Always ensure the developers have all the tools to perform advanced security tests. For that, analyze the tooling requirements individually for all the projects and make necessary additions or replacements in the tool inventory accordingly.

Focus On Security Awareness

Many security issues also arise due to negligence and lack of knowledge exhibited by team members. Either they are unaware of their roles or do not have the knowledge to utilize security solutions, tools, and technologies in the best way.

Address this problem through proper training. Arrange in-house or online training courses and awareness programs to educate developers about DevSecOps fundamentals, security measures, and risk-free coding essentials. This awareness will teach them to keep up with security standards and understand their roles. It will also make them efficient in cloud security posture management.

Incorporate Automation

Consider automating security activities as soon as possible. Some tests are the same for most projects, so that you can automate them. This way, the applications will automatically undergo testing without requiring teams to invest their time and effort. Instead, they can spend their precious time on other security-focused practices.

Amid all this, avoid automating activities that require manual handling. Automating such security checks may affect their results.

Review Software Dependencies

The open source libraries also bring several cybersecurity issues along, allowing them to penetrate the software smoothly. To ensure timely software deployment, developers keep using libraries without ruling out the presence of hidden malware.

Therefore, confirm the security level of open source libraries before utilizing them to create secure software.

Maintain A Collaborative Work Environment

Collaborative teamwork helps achieve the best results from DevSecOps. The more cooperatively teams work, the more precisely security issues can be tracked. Engineers, developers, and the operations team follow all the security techniques and measures in an organized and coordinated manner to efficiently identify and resolve security flaws. Moreover, collaborative teamwork accelerates the threat detection process, resulting in quick application deployment and increased business value.

Another good thing about the collaborative work style is that it distributes the workload. The involvement of developers and operations staff in security practices minimizes the workload stress on security professionals.

Ethical Attacks To Find Vulnerabilities 

It is always better to catch your software’s vulnerabilities and fix them before attackers utilize them to fulfill their evil goals. While integrating security, the security professionals must also conduct penetration testing for all projects. This technique is the best way to know how an attacker can target the application and how reliable the application’s security is.

Final Thoughts On DevSecOps Cloud Security

The evolution of cyber attacks puts cloud infrastructure and cloud-native applications at a constant security risk. DevSecOps prevents real-world attacks from affecting applications by integrating security across the development cycles.

Migrating to DevSecOps is very beneficial for organizations. It ensures accurate risk hunting and speedy software deployment. However, the lack of knowledgeable employees, availability of compatible tools, and collaborative teamwork make DevSecOps implementation a challenge. If you proceed with some strategies in mind, you can implement DevSecOps smoothly and turn it in favor of your business’s growth. We hope this article helped you understand DevSecOps and its role in cloud security.

Derik Belair

As President and CEO, Derik leads the vision, strategy and growth of Augmentt. Prior to founding Augmentt, Derik was the Vice President at SolarWinds, leading the digital marketing strategy for SolarWinds’ Cloud division. Derik has been working in the channel for over 20 years, starting his career as a channel sales rep at Corel Corp. and eventually becoming the first employee at N-able Technologies in April of 2000.

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