What is a DevSecOps Pipeline?

A DevSecOps pipeline, which is a CI\CD pipeline with integrated security practices and tooling, adds practices and functions like scanning, threat intelligence, policy enforcement, static analysis, and compliance validation to the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Instead of tacking security on to the end of projects with point-in-time audits and penetration tests after code is deployed, DevSecOps bakes security in at every step of the process. This includes building, testing, and deploying software where security was often an afterthought.

Enterprises that can build DevSecOps pipelines successfully can improve security posture, development throughput, and code quality. However, getting it right isn’t easy. Here, we take a closer look at exactly what DevSecOps pipelines are and how enterprises can build security into their CI\CD pipelines.

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The importance of DevSecOps

DevSecOps is essential to every development project because it has proven to be the most effective way to deliver secure, high-quality software in practice. The DevSecOps mindset brings security into the fold with operations and development, and creates an environment where security is “everyone’s” responsibility.

By adopting a security focus from the beginning of a project — a.k.a. shifting left — enterprises become more cooperative and productive. Traditionally, a disconnect between developers and cybersecurity teams leads to bottlenecks and expensive reworks at the end of projects. It also leads to cybersecurity being viewed as “the team of no” and developers doing just enough to get software approved for deployment. Shifting lift flips this paradigm and builds a culture that embeds security into everything it does, which increases throughput and quality in the long run.

DevSecOps Pipeline Phases

DevSecOps CI\CD pipelines focus heavily on integrating DevSecOps tools and practices into the process of planning, building, testing, deploying, and monitoring software. Specifically, a DevSecOps pipeline contains these five continuous phases:

  • Threat Modeling: This phase involves modeling the risks facing a software deployment. Threat modeling details attack vectors and scenarios, risk analysis, and potential mitigations related to the software DevSecOps teams create. It’s important to note that threats are constantly evolving, and threat modeling is a continuous process
  • Security scanning and testing: This phase is where DevSecOps pipeline tools like SAST and DAST become prevalent. Code is continuously scanned, reviewed, and tested as developers write, compile, and deploy to different environments.
  • Security analysis: The scanning and testing phase often leads to discovering previously unknown security vulnerabilities. This phase of the DevSecOps pipeline deals with analyzing and prioritizing those issues for remediation.
  • Remediation: This phase of DevSecOps pipelines deals with actually addressing vulnerabilities discovered in other phases. By analyzing threats and remediating the highest priority issues first, enterprises can strike a balance between delivery speed and threat mitigation that matches their risk appetite.
  • Monitoring: The monitoring phase of a DevSecOps CI\CD pipeline deals with security monitoring of deployed workloads. This phase can uncover real-time threats, misconfigurations, and other security issues.

The key to effective DevSecOps pipelines is that these phases occur continuously throughout the SDLC.

DevSecOps services and tools

While DevSecOps is about much more than just tools, DevSecOps pipeline tools are a key aspect of how DevSecOps pipelines get implemented. Here are some of the most important tools and services enterprises can use to build out their pipelines. 

  • Dynamic application security testing (DAST): DAST tooling scans applications during runtime to detect security issues. DAST tools can uncover vulnerabilities that source code scans can miss.
  • Interactive application security testing (IAST): IAST combines SAST and DAST into a single, more holistic solution.
  • Source composition analysis (SCA): SCA tooling identifies libraries and dependencies within an application and enumerates the associated vulnerabilities.
  • Vulnerability scanners: Vulnerability scanners are a category of tools that detect misconfigurations and issues that can compromise security and compliance.

ShiftLeft and DevSecOps tools for containers and cloud

Tools like DAST, SAST, and IAST are key AppSec tools that apply to workloads regardless of where or how they’re deployed. However, from a tactical perspective, deployment models may drive the need for specific solutions. For modern digital enterprises, container and cloud workloads are now the norm. As a result, ensuring the security of cloud and container workloads is vital to overall enterprise security posture.

For container workloads, solutions like Kubernetes Security Posture Management (KSPM) help enterprises bring security scans, threat assessment, policy enforcement, and misconfiguration detection to Kubernetes clusters. With KSPM, enterprises can identify role-based access control (RBAC) issues, compliance issues, and deviations from predefined security policies. Importantly, KSPM integrates into CI\CD pipelines to enable shift left and the transition to a true DevSecOps pipeline.

Similarly, AWS pipeline security and Azure pipeline security create unique challenges for enterprises. Purpose-built tooling that integrates directly into these cloud services helps enterprises implement DevSecOps pipelines in the cloud, including multi-cloud environments. For example, Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) solutions enable enterprises to gain granular visibility into cloud assets and security groups, support compliance and governance requirements, and enforce just-in-time IAM access policies.

Improve your security posture with CloudGuard

The challenges associated with securing workloads in the public cloud are difficult to address at scale. Enterprises need complete visibility, granular control, and active protection against security threats. In multi-cloud environments, achieving those security objectives comes with a variety of potential pitfalls and complications.

Check Point CloudGuard is purpose-built to address these challenges at scale. With CloudGuard, enterprises can:

  • Monitor and visualize public cloud security posture.
  • Leverage automatic risk assessment to remediate misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.
  • Detect high-risk IAM configurations.
  • Protect workloads using scalable agentless deployments.
  • Automatically enforce governance and compliance policies.

To see what CloudGuard can do for you, sign up for a free demo today.

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