Traditionally, security was known as the “team of no” and often siloed from development and operations teams. Additionally, security was often only prioritized near the end of the software development lifecycle (SDLC), making it expensive and time-consuming to address threats. DevSecOps bucks that trend and provides a security strategy that allows enterprises to integrate security earlier in the SDLC, break down silos, and improve software quality.
Even though DevSecOps is often considered the best application security strategy, many enterprises are still slow to adopt it. Here, we look at why enterprises should adopt DevSecOps and 7 DevSecOps best practices to help jumpstart adoption across an organization.
The idea that DevSecOps is the best approach to modern enterprise application security is effectively a consensus across the industry. However, enterprises shouldn’t adopt a practice simply because everyone else is doing it.
So, why should enterprises consider DevSecOps essential? There are a number of reasons:
Improves product quality: Shorter feedback loops mean enterprises can fix bugs and implement features faster. As a result, customers (or internal end-users) are happier and more productive.
DevSecOps is a mix of culture, strategy, and technical implementation. As a result, understanding where to start and how to “get it right” can be a challenge. Below, we’ll review the 7 DevSecOps best practices for 2022 to help enterprises get the most out of DevSecOps.
Traditionally, security scanning and evaluations were implemented once a software product was built and ready to be deployed (or even already deployed) to production. This made correcting security issues difficult, expensive, and likely subject to deadline pressures. Shift left security emphasizes integrating security into the software development lifecycle (SDLC) as early as possible to help address these challenges and make security a priority.
From a technical perspective, that means developers writing code with security best practices in mind and leveraging code scanning solutions like static application security testing (SAST), dynamic application security testing (DAST), interactive application security testing (IAST), and source composition analysis (SCA) to help detect insecure code before it’s deployed to production. However, shift left goes beyond just code. It also means making security a priority in the planning, analysis, and design phases of the SDLC.
By shifting security left, enterprises can detect security issues and misconfigurations early on to increase product quality and security, while decreasing the time and effort required to address vulnerabilities.
Manual processes are error-prone and difficult to scale. Additionally, too many manual processes increase the likelihood of misconfigurations. And misconfigurations are one of the biggest security threats facing enterprises today. For example, in 2021 the Check Point Research (CPR) team found that misconfiguration of cloud services exposed data of over 100 million users.
Automation helps ensure security practices are implemented and validated throughout a CI\CD pipeline. That’s why automation is one of the most important DevSecOps best practices. To avoid misconfigurations and prevent/detect and remediate vulnerabilities, enterprises can and should automate everything from code being written in an IDE to IAM roles in production.
Security as code is the codification of security policies, scans, and validations. In many ways, the benefits of security as code are comparable to infrastructure as code (IaC). With security as code, enterprises can ensure that they are consistently implementing secure policies across their infrastructure, streamline deployments, leverage version control, and enable automation throughout their pipelines.
Like automation, and other DevSecOps best practices, security as code has the dual benefit of increasing security and improving operations. Once security implementations are codified, they’re significantly easier to repeat and scale.
While effective DevSecOps requires organizational buy-in and a culture that prioritizes security, enterprises still need the right tooling to implement DevSecOps security best practices. For example, modern security-conscious enterprises often use appsec tools like SAST, dynamic security application testing (DAST), interactive application security testing (IAST), and source composition analysis (SCA) to help improve their overall security posture.
Additionally, because microservices and containerization are cornerstones of modern application infrastructure, DevSecOps tools that can provide functions like image assurance, intrusion detection, and runtime protection for containers are essential for robust security.
Of course, simply having the latest tools isn’t enough. Enterprises need to effectively integrate DevSecOps tools into their pipelines. That’s why DevSecOps security platforms with a robust API are so compelling. They make it possible to extend and integrate tools into a wide variety of platforms and use cases.
“Security is everyone’s responsibility” is a fundamental truth of DevSecOps. Everyone involved in designing, approving, building, maintaining, or funding modern software projects must be responsible for prioritizing security.
In practice, developers and engineers are often responsible for the tactical implementation of DevSecOps best practices. However, for security to be robust, product owners, project managers, and even the C-suite must do their part from a strategic perspective.
Communication silos are one of the biggest threats to enterprise security. While security and observability tooling can provide the information enterprises need to detect threats, clear, timely, and direct communication across teams is a must.
That means ensuring all relevant stakeholders are involved in decisions, responsibilities are clear, and security is legitimately a priority for all business units. Additionally, avoiding alert fatigue is an important aspect of maintaining solid DevSecOps communication. If there are too many trivial alerts or false positives, it may be unclear when to actually escalate a serious security issue.
The cloud abstracts away some complexities because service providers are responsible for “security of the cloud” (e.g. physical security and operating system patches). However, with the shared responsibility models AWS and other cloud providers use, individual enterprises are still responsible for the “security in the cloud” (e.g. secure configurations and serverless functions).
Therefore, enterprises must ensure their teams are educated on the “why”and the “how” of DevSecOps. For engineers and developers, part of security education is staying up to date on DevSecOps methods and implementing that knowledge day-to-day. However, effective DevSecOps education in an enterprise also means stakeholders, including the C-suite, need to understand the benefits of DevSecOps so they can help drive adoption across the organization.
To implement DevSecOps best practices, enterprises need security solutions purpose-built with modern DevSecOps pipelines in mind. The CloudGuard Cloud Native Security platform offers enterprises a full suite of tools to provide end-to-end infrastructure security at scale, even in complex multi-cloud environments.
For example, with CloudGuard’s Cloud Native Security platform, enterprises also benefit from:
Did you know? CloudGuard AppSec is the ONLY security solution to protect customers from Log4Shell (CVE-2021-44228) exploits before it was discovered?
To learn more about modern DevSecOps best practices, you can sign up for a CloudGuard AppSec demo today. In the demo, a CloudGuard security expert will show you how to automate application security for modern multi-cloud environments. You’ll receive expert guidance on topics including zero policy administration, application self-protection, and automated deployments.
You can also sign up for a free instant security checkup using our Network Detection and Response (NDR) or Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) solution and explore our RESTful API and code samples.