DevSecOps is considered the gold standard in application development. Integrating security earlier on in the development process, DevSecOps aims to allow for secure, continuous service delivery, and the prevention of the all too common siloes – the hoarding of information and lack of collaboration.
Over the last several years, transitioning from DevOps to DevSecOps has been a top priority for leading companies. The responsibility gaps have become even more narrow and interconnected. Unless companies properly secure their DevOps environment, the space in which development occurs, then efforts to secure deliverables will inevitably fail.
In order to properly secure DevOps environments, it’s important for businesses to appreciate the differences between the security element of DevSecOps and what it means to create a secure DevOps environment. The security element of DevSecOps refers to the practice of shifting-left to ensure that security features are fully integrated into an application from the beginning. This is an important step for continuous application delivery, but the security component refers to the security of the application.
By contrast, securing the DevOps environment means that a business has created a safe space in which to do their application development work. If DevSecOps ensures that no one can break into an application, securing the DevOps environment can prevent issues during the development process, such as the wrong individuals accessing a section of code, or securing the containers commonly used to segment applications today.
When building applications, only certain members of the team need access to the build area, and it’s generally easy to use access tokens, multi-factor authentication, and other tools to limit use. Harder to control are those linked devices and virtual machines connected via the coding platform. Without proper configuration, these linked devices can gain unauthorized access, and that’s not the providers’ fault. Rather, although the provider generally secures these connections, they can’t control your business’s code.
Having security team members consult on configuration can help prevent these access issues, but this brings us back around to the problem of information silos. Developers and security team members don’t always work well together or speak the same language, in the technical sense. However, if your company has already successfully shifted towards a DevSecOps approach, then you may not find this to be a barrier.
A growing number of companies are using containers as an integral part of their development process, breaking down different parts of their applications into microcontainers. This can do a lot in terms of minimizing code issues, since it allows only those who absolutely need access to a container to work within it. Unfortunately, if your company is still new to using containers, containers can actually create more problems than they solve.
One of the most popular container styles in use is Kubernetes, and while widely used, many developers still don’t feel entirely comfortable with it. That’s no surprise since Kubernetes presents a high risk of misconfiguration, as it is characterized by an overwhelming array of buttons, levers, and settings. Despite this risk, Kubernetes is steadily emerging as the dominant container system. Using it in unison with Docker can make it easier to navigate for new container users.
Ultimately, when it comes to securing the DevOps environment, containers can be valuable, but those that don’t understand the system would do well avoid it until they feel more confident navigating the interface – just don’t wait too long. Everything is shifting in the direction of containerization, so companies should support training programs that will create a container confident workforce
Companies use access restrictions and containerization to try to protect the code within their development ecosystem. Containerization, for example, can contain coding mistakes, making it easier for developers to find the source of functional issues. That’s not enough to protect the code, however.
A better way to manage code security within the development ecosystem is to use built-in monitoring tools like Prometheus or Sensu. These, coupled with configuration management tools like CloudGuard Workload Protection, can provide an automated backup for the code, identifying problems by scanning the code for irregularities. This may seem rudimentary compared to the skill that top coders bring to the process, but sometimes you need a way of eliminating human error from delicate processes.
When choosing automated tools to protect your DevOps ecosystem, your businesses can also benefit from selecting unified management tools. Selecting tools from within the same suite allows for consolidated reporting and better control, whatever your choice of cloud infrastructure. The less dispersed your data, the easier it is to interpret and identify problems, create policy, and protect your code.
DevSecOps demands a kind of cultural change in that it forces teams within a given company to work differently in order to meet their goals, but when it comes to securing the DevOps space, developers need to foster a different kind of cultural change. As opposed to a shift in collaborative processes, this one focuses on the sort of adjustments that followed from personal device use. When coders are insufficiently cautious in their habits – leaving authentication information behind in the final product, for example – the DevOp space becomes a risky one.
Another part of creating a dominant security culture within your organization is by simplifying elements wherever possible. The more components are in play, whether that’s multiple servers and containers or too many development phases occurring at once, the more likely it is there will be security issues. You should even minimize the number of computers your team does development on, and enforce the use of virtual operating systems.
DevOps has always been about continuous deployment, but when businesses try to move too quickly, they risk leaving themselves open to security threats. That’s why every company needs comprehensive security support. Contact Check Point today to sign up for a demo or free trial of the ultimate incident response automation system, CloudGuard. CloudGuardoffers companies native threat prevention based on their cloud use logs, provides a valuable audit trail, and so much more. It also provides vulnerability scanning during CI/CD to ensure code is secure prior to launch, and with the ability to create templates and customized rules and policies. It’s personalized security for all your DevOps needs.