DevOps Risks and Challenges

Today, DevOps is ubiquitous among modern enterprises. Development teams of all sizes recognize the benefits of a DevOps culture, and most made DevOps-inspired workflows part of how they build, test, and deploy software. Overall, this has enabled enterprises to deliver better software faster.

However, even for reasonably mature DevOps organizations, there are still many security risks enterprises must address to protect their infrastructure. Shifting left and integrating security into the software development lifecycle (SDLC) with DevSecOps is the right way for enterprises to address these challenges. But getting it right requires understanding what DevOps risks and challenges exist within an organization and adopting the right tools, processes, and practices to address them. 

Here, we take a closer look at DevOps vs. DevSecOps, and what enterprises can do to address common DevOps risks and challenges. 

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DevOps vs. DevSecOps

Fundamentally, the difference between DevOps and DevSecOps is simple: while DevOps performs security checks at the end of the SDLC, DevSecOps automates and codifies security throughout the entire SDLC from beginning to end. 

Generally, with DevOps, security was something that happened at the end of development. Security issues may be detected at the QA — or even production  — stage of development, but generally not sooner. 

With DevSecOps, enterprises implement security checks at every stage of the CI\CD pipeline. Security is a priority during planning and design. Unit tests and static application security testing (SAST) ensure security in early development. Source composition analysis (SCA) helps detect security risks in libraries and dependencies. Black box security scans validate the security posture of every environment. 

Common DevOps risks and challenges

By not shifting security left, organizations face several DevOps risks and challenges that can compromise enterprise security posture. Some of the most common DevOps security issues are:

  • Developers writing insecure code: Without security checks as part of the process of creating code, it’s easy for issues like cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injections to make it into code that is compiled and deployed. 
  • Malicious or vulnerable container images and repositories: Public container registries like Docker Hub and Linux repos like the Arch User Repository (AUR) are a great source for useful container images and packages. But they’re also a security risk. Many container images on public repos contain vulnerabilities and in some cases packages from public repos and registries may even be malicious. 
  • The complexity of container and Kubernetes (K8s) security: Containers and container orchestration platforms like K8s come with a wide variety of attack vectors and security risks that traditional security appliances can’t address. For example, the ephemeral nature of containers makes traditional IP-based security policies ineffective. Additionally, many K8s default policies aren’t the most secure setting leaving administrators to proactively opt-in to higher security. 
  • Security gaps due to manual processes: When security isn’t integrated into the CI\CD pipeline, it’s often up to individuals to manually detect, triage, and correct security issues. In practice, this leads to misconfigurations, oversights, and errors that can lead to a breach. For example, auditing an environment to ensure it meets CIS Kubernetes Benchmark recommendations can be a time-consuming manual task. The same is true for compliance audits related to standards like SOX, HIPAA, and PCI DSS. Because a manual audit is a point-in-time occurrence, configuration drift may lead to new vulnerabilities that go undetected between manual audits. 

How CloudGuard enables enterprises to address DevOps risks and challenges

Check Point CloudGuard for DevSecOps provides enterprises with a holistic platform to help address DevOps risks and challenges.  Specifically, CloudGuard offers enterprises:

  • A wide range of DevSecOps tooling to automate and codify security: CloudGuard includes multiple DevSecOps tools that enable enterprises to automate and codify key security functions and shift security left. For example, continuous code scanning helps enterprises immediately detect and remediate insecure code before it makes it to production. Similarly, infrastructure as code (IAC) scanning helps automatically enforce custom and regulatory security policies across enterprise infrastructure. 
  • Deep visibility across multi-cloud and hybrid environments: CloudGuard is purpose-built for modern enterprise environments with security perimeters that span multiple cloud environments and vendors. With CloudGuard Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) enterprises can automate governance and improve visibility across all their cloud assets using features such as security posture assessment and visualization, misconfiguration detection, and enforcement of compliance policies. 
  • Robust container and K8s security: CloudGuard provides enterprises with a variety of features to reduce risk across their container workloads. Image assurance leverages CI tooling to prevent insecure image deployment, admission controller sets guardrails and policies to protect K8s clusters, and runtime protection proactively detects and blocks threats across container lifecycles. 
  • Simple integration and management: With CloudGuard, enterprises gain a single point of control for security across a multi-cloud environment which simplifies security management and reduces the possibility of costly errors and oversights. Additionally, with support for over 300 cloud native service integrations, CloudGuard seamlessly integrates with a wide variety of tools and platforms modern enterprises depend on.
  • Threat detection and prevention using contextual AI: CloudGuard’s application security powered by contextual AI provides enterprises with an automated and intelligent approach to appsec and API protection. With contextual AI, enterprises don’t need to define specific rules or waste time tuning policies, leading to lower TCO. Additionally, CloudGuard’s intelligent threat detection provides precise threat mitigation to reduce false positives without compromising security. 

If you’d like to see what CloudGuard can do for your enterprise, sign up for an application security demo today. Alternatively, if you’d like to quantify the security issues in your environment for free, sign up for a no-cost Cloud Security CheckUp.

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