DevSecOps – short for development, security, and operations – is an extension of DevOps and applies security practices throughout the software development lifecycle (SDLC) to deliver more secure code faster. To take their career forward in this fascinating field and ship secure software on time to end users, there are a few things that DevSecOps people need to excel at.
In this post, we’ll look at five essentials that all DevSecOps professionals must have. But first, we need to understand what are DevOps principles and culture.
To successfully implement a DevSecOps culture, people must be well-informed about its core principles. This development practice has six fundamental principles which are a sound basis for delivering software securely:
When it comes to culture, DevSecOps has four core pillars defining its culture that derive from the well-established DevOps manifesto:
Communication is the backbone of DevOps. Historically, engineering organizations used to be siloed. Security and development teams struggled with the lack of communication, which impacted the speed of software delivery. Today it is well understood that communication and transparency must be present on all levels, from the executive level to the ICs doing the work. Strong communication and collaboration methods enable high-velocity engineering organizations to deliver fast and securely.
This practice seeks to eliminate the barriers between different disciplines and create a naturally-collaborative environment where everyone shares responsibility for a product’s security and quality. In addition to building, testing, and deploying code, software developers work closely with operations teams and security experts to enhance security throughout the development phase.
DevSecOps changes the typical process of developing software by moving security from the end of the SDLC to becoming an integral part of each person’s work. With this, software teams perform automated security evaluations, security-centric unit testing, extensive monitoring, and defensive coding. Coders check for security breaks while writing the code, which speeds up feedback loops. Vulnerabilities surface earlier in the product lifecycle and can be handled quickly.
While software teams leverage technology for automated security testing at the time of development, DevSecOps teams use it to examine the application for security flaws with no effect on the delivery timeline. Subsequently, software teams solve any issues before releasing the final application to end users.
This shift-left approach requires a technology toolkit that supports all kinds of tests throughout all phases of the CI/CD pipeline. Managing them can quickly become a problem, especially as engineers are not security experts and have other responsibilities. Continuous Security Monitoring platforms like Jit can integrate all the security tools and controls into a single interface, automating them and making security monitoring easier for everyone.
By now, you have a good understanding of DevSecOps’ principles and culture, so how do you implement it in your organization? There are a lot of moving parts and rethinking needed, but these are the critical aspects you need to get right:
DevSecOps interact with cross-functional teams instead of being a siloed department, so everybody will need to be more involved in and familiar with business processes, product development, and support.
Effective communication and teamwork can be the difference between success and failure in a DevSecOps environment. These engineers must be able to express ideas and share knowledge of threats with their peers and employers. Collaboration tools are vital to ensuring that your team is always aligned.
Like DevOps teams, DevSecOps teams need to be as fast and efficient as possible. For instance, firms use various application security testing (AST) tools, which are essential to ensure the written code comes with minimal risk and to prevent malicious packages from being introduced. These applications can be static (SAST), dynamic (DAST), and interactive (IAST). DevSecOps professionals must have a good, up-to-date understanding of AST tools, manual security, and penetration testing.
Development, the dev part of DevSecOps, is a significant part of an engineer’s everyday work. To develop customized tools for security purposes, a DevSecOps person needs a comprehensive understanding of popular and newer programming languages. On top of this, proficiency with modern development workflows and processes, such as Git (and its modern tooling - Github, Gitlab, Bitbucket), is critical, as is integrating tools into the toolchain to ensure coding best practices through the CI/CD pipeline.
From the Ops perspective (at the tail of DevSecOps), this also requires a solid working knowledge of today’s popular cloud-native and infrastructure services––this can be anything from AWS, Azure, and GCP to containers Docker and Kubernetes. Note that the tooling is changing all the time as new tools are introduced and business needs shift - so continuous learning is required.
We have named various security tools, workflow tools, and infrastructure services in the last section. Integrating and managing these tools can get overwhelming, especially if developers lack security expertise and frequently change tools and strategies.
While it is fundamental to have high-level knowledge of each tool you are using, engineers shouldn’t be expected to master a completely different area. And they don’t have to, either. Continuous security platforms like Jit are a one-stop shop for seamlessly embedding security tools and control into your workflows. You can manage your entire DevSecOps toolchain across your IDE, code, pipeline, cloud, and runtime. This is crucial to ensure you create a unified experience and make security easier for all team members while speeding up development and delivery.
DevSecOps are responsible for including security practices in the application development process, identifying security threats, and configuring the network infrastructure. Professionals in this area should have up-to-the-minute details about risks and risk assessment frameworks to implement risk assessment techniques and best security practices that match new attack trends.
Besides, all cyber security professionals must understand threat modeling methods, which includes being able to look at a security system and finding not only existing vulnerabilities but also other ways in which it can get exploited in the future.
Cyberattacks are going anywhere, making DevSecOps the unavoidable future of software development. A DevSecOps person needs to understand DevOps processes, secure SDLC practices, cloud infrastructure, and application security. Most importantly, they must know how to work together and take the initiative. With this, they can extend information security across a small team of security professionals and alleviate threats/attacks that make it to the end user. If you’re interested in seeing how Jit can help your team, you can start for free.