DevSecOps, a combination of Development, Security, and Operations, is an approach that integrates security practices within the DevOps process. It emphasizes collaboration between development, operations, and security teams to ensure software applications are built securely, vulnerabilities are mitigated, and risks are minimized throughout the software development lifecycle.
DevSecOps promotes the “shift left” concept, which means incorporating security measures at the earliest stages of development, rather than addressing them as an afterthought. By automating security processes and creating a culture of shared responsibility, DevSecOps enhances a company’s overall security posture, reduces the time to market for applications, and fosters a proactive response to security threats.
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DevOps is an approach that combines software development and IT operations to streamline the software development lifecycle, fostering collaboration, automation, and continuous integration and deployment. It aims to reduce development time, enhance application reliability, and improve responsiveness to market changes.
DevSecOps, on the other hand, extends the DevOps methodology by incorporating security practices and measures into the development process. While DevOps focuses on speed and efficiency, DevSecOps emphasizes building secure applications by integrating security from the earliest stages of development. It shifts security to the left, promoting collaboration among development, operations, and security teams to proactively address vulnerabilities, minimize risks, and improve the overall security posture of the software.
Learn more in our detailed guide to shift left security
The DevSecOps model works by integrating security practices within the DevOps workflow, ensuring that security is addressed at every stage of the software development lifecycle. The typical DevOps workflow consists of the following stages:
DevSecOps introduces security hardening at each stage of the DevOps workflow:
DevSecOps tools are a collection of software solutions that help integrate security practices within the DevOps workflow, automating security tasks and facilitating collaboration among development, security, and operations teams. These tools encompass various aspects of security, minimizing risks in DevOps pipelines, identifying issues, and addressing security threats.
The main categories of DevSecOps tools include:
These tools play a crucial role in ensuring a secure and efficient software development lifecycle in a DevSecOps environment.
Learn more in our detailed guide to DevSecOps tools
DevSecOps can be defined by collaboration, automation, learning, measurements, and sharing (CALMS), a concept introduced by Jez Humble and later adopted by Meera Rao from Synopsys. The core of DevSecOps lies in fostering a culture where cross-functional teams align towards a common goal of continuous software security.
To instill a DevSecOps culture, start with self-driven project teams that share the organization’s strategic goals for DevSecOps implementations. These teams will find a balance between security, agility, and scalability by integrating the DevSecOps culture into everyday processes. Successful pilot teams serve as role models for other teams to adopt DevSecOps.
Promote a DevSecOps culture by proceeding iteratively, scaling up from individual project teams to the entire organization.
Though it seems logical to “build security in,” putting it into practice is challenging. Teams often face a lack of understanding and resources to incorporate security into their software. Helping teams overcome these obstacles is essential to facilitate secure software development.
Security starts even before writing the code. Threat modeling and architecture reviews inform security requirements and controls that will be implemented throughout the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Providing adequate training to development teams on secure coding practices allows them to address security vulnerabilities.
Increase awareness of security vulnerabilities by ensuring visibility to identify and fix them. For instance, using IDE-based scanners allows developers to spot insecure code during the development process, which enables them to code securely and rectify issues early.
When initiating security activities and scanners in a DevSecOps pipeline, organizations often attempt to cover too much ground. This negatively impacts DevSecOps adoption, as developers are overwhelmed by large numbers of security findings and solving them all becomes an uphill battle.
Starting small and early is crucial. Begin security testing as early as possible in the software development lifecycle (SDLC) and gradually expand the scope. Instead of exhaustive scans, limit the ruleset to a manageable number of vulnerabilities for pre-commit security checkpoints. Later stages of the SDLC can include comprehensive scans and reviews to ensure security before release.
Security vulnerabilities are often reported separately from functional and quality defects, leading to reduced visibility and the risk of overlooking key security problems.
By aggregating security and quality findings in one place, teams can treat both types of issues equally. Keep in mind that security findings from automated scanners may yield false positives. Refining security tools over time by evaluating past findings and adjusting filters and custom rulesets can help focus on critical issues.
Traditional governance models can hinder software delivery speed, contradicting the primary aim of DevSecOps – rapid, safe, and secure software delivery. As a solution, automate governance activities whenever possible.
Using governance as code helps implement checks throughout the software delivery pipeline, with required triggers for manual intervention to manage escalations, exceptions, and compensating controls. For example, sign-off gates can be used to assess security before crucial SDLC milestones. Encouraging collaboration and buy-in from development and operations teams ensures inclusiveness and adoption of the governance model. Implement various feedback mechanisms, such as:
Learn more in our detailed guide to DevSecOps best practices
With Calico, security and observability are treated as code. This means that security and observability are wired into the application and travel with the application through all stages of the development lifecycle. Integrating this approach into your CI/CD pipeline empowers developers and software engineers to make and implement security decisions, rather than pushing those decisions out to a separate team downstream.
Calico enhances DevSecOps in the following ways:
Learn more about enhancing DevSecOps with Calico.
Together with our content partners, we have authored in-depth guides on several other topics that can also be useful as you explore the world of CI/CD.
Authored by Bright Security
Authored by Codefresh
Authored by Codefresh
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