I get DevOps, but what is DevSecOps?
The goal of DevSecOps is to bring security into the development and release process, with rapid and secure code delivery.
DevOps brings Developers and Operations teams together, and implements the right processes and technology to deliver software quicker. Currently many organizations focus on speed to market, emphasizing collaboration between developers and operations, but overlook security. At that point, the code is almost fully developed, so security measures are usually retrofitted or tacked on as an afterthought later in the deployment process. If a security threat is discovered at that late stage, engineers will have to rework countless lines of code, further delaying the release, or create a patch.
DevSecOps emphasizes security at all stages of the software lifecycle, from planning, design, development, QA/testing, release and when operating on a production environment. By bringing the security team into the loop at all stages of the development process, they can actually find and resolve vulnerabilities sooner and cheaper, without delaying time to market.
Each year, there are more security risks, like cybertheft, data leakage, phishing, ransomware, and denial of service attacks. As platforms become more connected, the cost of each incident (and the potential liability to software companies) increases exponentially. The costs of these cyberthreats are simply too high to leave until the end of the development process.
“The time to market is shorter every year and older security practices slow down development. Teams had to find a way to speed up without compromising security. This is how DevSecOps started. The ultimate goal is to unite security teams and developers while ensuring fast, safe delivery of code.”
- Sonatype’s 2020 DevSecOps Community Survey.
DevSecOps was created “to bring individuals of all abilities to a high level of proficiency in security in a short period of time,” ensuring that all collaborators who work on the application are responsible for the security of their contribution. As a result, code is more secure as it’s being written, the application is continuously validated for common security threats, and possible breach points are detected as part of the application deployment. When all collaborators incorporate security principles throughout the process, the organization can ultimately deliver a better, more secure product, which has many benefits for the entire organization. Ultimately, this will require some additional implementation and training on the front end, but will save the organization time and money in the long term, and even increase employee satisfaction. According to Sonatype’s 2020 DevSecOps Community Survey, “developers who receive training on how to code securely are 5x more likely to enjoy their work.”
Benefits of DevSecOps
The benefits of DevSecOps include the same advantages of DevOps, while delivering even more value:
- Increased quality, stability and security
- More collaboration and happier teams
- Faster time to market
- Less downtime
- Reduced risk and improved security posture
So how do you implement DevSecOps in your software development lifecycle?
How to implement DevSecOps
The good news is, if you are already using DevOps, you are already most of the way there. The biggest difference is shifting security to the left.
- Educate all stakeholders about DevSecOps and security best practices. In order for everyone to be responsible for security, the entire culture of the organization must change. Executives and individual contributors need to understand the value of DevSecOps and be committed to the process. Make sure you have buy-in from senior management and find champions at your organization to evangelize the importance of DevSecOps. If security is not a priority for the entire organization, individual contributors will not integrate the recommended security measures.
- Integrate continuous automated security checks. Implement gates in the CI/CD pipeline to make sure applications with vulnerabilities are not allowed to be deployed. When there are multiple collaborators on a project, as each piece of code is uploaded, enable automated testing for security on code dependencies and core. By testing code in small chunks, vulnerabilities can be discovered more quickly. Automating actions with scripting, APIs and CI plugins ensures that security is simplified and streamlined to provide value for developers. By using tools that can scan code as you write it, you can find security issues early.
- Use KPIs to create transparency and align teams. The best way to make sure that all teams are on the same page and have access to the same information in real-time, is with data. Security dashboards ensure that your developers are practicing secure coding, and enable the security team to monitor activity and identify trends that may need further attention. If part of the code does not meet security standards, then it cannot be deployed. In addition, building feedback loops that give you visibility into the process help you track and analyze the key performance indicators (KPIs) that help you consistently iterate and improve on processes.