Introducing DevSecOps

A Crucial Approach to Cybersecurity


What is DevSecOps? 

DevSecOps means "development, security and operations". It is a mindset and a way of working that ensures everyone is accountable for the security of the IT in the organization. When DevSecOps best practices are implemented, everyone is responsible for making good security decisions and taking action throughout the development process and with regard to how solutions are deployed, used and managed. 

DevSecOps ensures that systems are continuously defended against attackers. It is not enough to write secure code if the system, once deployed, is not maintained. It is not enough to try to plug security holes and use firewalls or intrusion detection systems if the software itself is insecure. A sound approach to security covers all avenues. 

The Goal of DevSecOps

DevSecOps ensures security and compliance throughout the whole of the development process and makes it easy to integrate security into your organization's working practices. It uses tools and processes to make it easy to prioritize security without sacrificing speed or scalability in the workplace.

For too long, the security team has been the sole party responsible for security in many organizations. This does not make sense. Security professionals should be offering insight and oversight, but cannot make up for deficiencies in other areas. By making security everyone's responsibility, the workload is shared and problems are identified before they become serious.

DevSecOps integrates well with test-driven deployment, continuous development and other practices to produce a continuous delivery pipeline. Once a clearly defined workflow is in place, the IT team can work more efficiently.

An Example Workflow for DevSecOps in Cybersecurity

DevSecOps strategies can be beneficial for a business in many ways, because they encourage continuous delivery, testing, and development best practices. Let's take a look at an example workflow:

  • A developer writes code in their IDE.
  • The developer then commits their code to a version control system (such as Git or SVN). 
  • A different developer "checks out" the code from the version control system and performs tests and analysis to confirm that the code is secure, bug-free, and of good quality.
  • The application is deployed to an Infrastructure as Code platform such as Ansible, Chef or Puppet, where security configurations can be applied.
  • Test automation suites such as LambdaTest, TestProtect or Qualibrate are used to test the deployed application, ensuring that the front-end, back-end, API, integration and security of the application meet the required standards.
  • If any tests are failed, a bug report is filed and development continues.
  • If the application passes all of the tests, it is deployed to the production environment.
  • The production environment is continuously monitored to ensure there are no current security threats.

Implementing Security in Your Business

Implementing DevSecOps in your business may require some training for your development team and sysadmins. DevSecOps is not just a set of tools, it is a mindset that ensures developers, operations, security teams, QA and technicians are all working together.

Once everyone in the IT department understands how DevSecOps works, it allows for rapid development and deployment. However, compared to the 'old way of doing things', DevSecOps does require a mental shift.

Best Practices for Everyone

For DevSecOps to run efficiently, your team should consider the following:

  • Automation makes sense: There are several security controls, checks and balances that need to be applied at each stage of the development and deployment process. Automating these checks reduces the risk of errors and keeps the system running smoothly.
  • Know your infrastructure: To implement security best practices, your team must have a sound understanding of the threats that it faces. Model your infrastructure and map out the threats that it could face. Consider which activities are 'high risk' in terms of data and network security, and plan tests around those.
  • Find problems early: DevSecOps is focused on making security a part of the workflow. The sooner problems are found, the sooner they can be fixed.
  • Trust no one: Using a zero-trust policy in your IT systems and networks reduces the risk of intruders gaining access to your systems, and also helps to reduce the risk of malware propagating inside the organization's systems.

Modern applications are vulnerable to attack from many avenues. Not only are most company networks now connected to the Internet, there is the issue of BYOD policies meaning that unknown devices are allowed to connect to those sensitive networks. In addition, there are other cybersecurity threats, such as the ever-present threat of complacent users and social engineering.

Another common attack vector is your application's API. According to research performed by Akamai, 83% of web traffic today is API traffic. Does your development team properly vet all API requests? Yes, APIs glue applications together, but calls to your API cannot be naively trusted.

Developers should be implementing security as standard in every single piece of their code. This means sanitizing input, verifying all calls, and embracing the idea of policy as code.

When implemented properly, DevSecOps can save developers, operations, and QA workers time and effort, and will help to create better and more robust systems in the long term.

Deploying Your Software to a Secure Environment

Secure software needs to run in an equally secure environment, otherwise, the development work is all for nothing.

At Illumio, we offer zero-trust endpoint protection and an Adaptive Security Platform that allows you to confidently deploy your software and apps into a secure environment. We take care of the ecosystem side of things, allowing your developers and admins to focus on securing other parts of the system.

Our systems can help you achieve security and compliance with data protection and security rules, whatever industry you are in. We have worked with financial institutions, law firms, healthcare businesses, and many other industries, protecting their data and helping their systems run smoothly. Call us today if you would like to know more about our zero-trust ASP platforms and how we can help you implement DevSecOps in your business.

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