Development, security, and operations are referred to as DevSecOps. DevSecOps combines crucial security principles with the regular DevOps cycle by coordinating between engineers, security teams, and various authorities.
In DevSecOps, engineers, security teams, and various places of authority work together to integrate security rudiments into the regular DevOps cycle.
In software development life cycles (SDLC), DevSecOps refers to a security-focused continuous delivery process. As a branch of general DevOps, DevSecOps builds on DevOps’ insights and best practices. Software applications should focus on reaching their potential clients faster than ever before. The DevSecOps pipeline provides these benefits to any plan that utilizes a software cycle to lessen the dangers in each form and expedite the delivery of the result to the client.
Continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) are exemplary of a culture, set of working principles, and a variety of practices that enable application development teams to convey code changes as often and as reliably as possible. CI/CD pipelines are also called continuous integration and continuous delivery pipelines.
5 Fundamental activities for Optimizing the DevSecOps Pipeline
The importance of integrating security into your continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment pipelines should not be underestimated, regardless of what you call, SecDevOps, DevSecOps, or DevOpsSec. How to develop a secure pipeline will be shown in the following steps.
1. Conduct pre-commit checks
Pre-commit checks are steps that must be completed before code is checked into the source code repository, the first step in the DevSecOps pipeline.Its purpose. Before changes are committed to source code repositories, pre-commit checks are used to find and fix common security issues.
The benefits: There are many advantages to using pre-commit hooks. For example, they can increase productivity and automate manual tasks. IDEs also allow security checking with a limited number of rules using static analysis tools.
The key enablers: By performing pre-commit checks, activities such as modifying a threat model can be performed when controls or assets are added to an application. Manual code reviews are also enabled when a large change is detected in the codebase. The checks can also be used to identify security vulnerabilities.
Use case: Code Sight allows development teams to run scans in their IDE using these checks. During the coding process, the tool provides ‘just in time’ security guidance. As opposed to scanning for bugs after the code has been written and committed to your source code repository, Code Sight acts as a desktop security consultant. It provides guidance automatically when a developer creates code where risks are present.
Develop hooks to trigger activities like threat modeling, architecture risk analysis, and manual code review. Review your configuration files for hard-coded credentials by adding hooks.
Last but not least, you can use these hooks to distribute email notifications to your application security team or software security group (SSG). Provide them with updates on critical code changes that have been incorporated into source code repositories.
2. Checks at commit-time
Commit-time checks are the next step in the DevSecOps pipeline. Check-ins to source code repositories trigger this activity.
The purpose: To build and test the application using automated methods. For developers who have committed the changes to the repository, these tests provide fast results.
The benefits: The commit-time check ensures that code is compilable and buildable at all times. Additionally, it alerts developers to critical security issues.
The key enablers: A well-defined process for software security activities is identified by these checks. As a result, development teams are empowered to resolve critical issues. Security tests are also empowered.
Use case: Build and compile the code first. Run a static analysis based on a limited set of rules next. A recommendation is to run your firm’s top three vulnerabilities (identified annually). An example of a vulnerability is SQL injection, which can reflect and store cross-site scripting (XSS). To identify security issues in static applications, use software such as Coverity. Developers receive instant feedback after this quick, incremental scan.
The next step is to automate security testing and collect metrics. If the build is compromised, alert the relevant teams.
3. Checks at build time
In DevSecOps, build-time checks are triggered automatically by successful commit-time checks.
The purpose: Performing advanced automated testing on the application. In addition to SAST, open-source management, security testing, and risk-based security testing, we sign binary releases with PGP signatures and store artifacts in repositories.
The benefits: When a build fails for any reason, such as:
- When code fails to compile
- due to failing unit tests
- failures of SAST
- There are a lot of findings
- Whenever vulnerabilities are discovered (e.g., SQL injection or XSS)
Using tools (e.g., SCA), these checks identify dependencies and determine if any vulnerabilities have been publicly disclosed.
The key enablers: A well-defined process for various software security activities is facilitated by these checks in QA security testing. As new critical or high-risk issues are introduced, they empower development teams.
Use case: When it comes to web applications, users can configure more comprehensive OWASP Top 10 rule sets with build-time checks. Using tools such as Black Duck, they configure jobs to identify risks associated with third-party components. Automated security testing is performed using these tools. Based on the risk profile of the system, risk-based security testing runs specific security tests.
Using risk analysis, each test is intended to probe a specific risk. The results alert the development teams to issues that pose a high risk. Digitally signed artifacts are stored in your artifact repositories. A final point of importance is the build-time checks.
4. Checks at test time
A successful build-time check triggers test-time checks, which are triggered by successful tests.
The purpose: Select the most recent ‘good’ build from the artifact repository and deploy it to the staging or test environment. This build includes functional, integration, performance, advanced SAST, and DAST tests.
The benefits: Testing is the final step before releasing a product into production. Stage environments are most representative of production environments.
The key enablers: Well-defined software security processes are required for test-time checks. Developers are empowered to fix critical and high-risk issues as soon as they are introduced. Their security testing methods are additionally empowered. Additionally, out-of-band penetration tests and SAST tools are used to perform a manual code review.
Use case: SAST’s full security rule set could be used here to configure a broader set of rules. Considering you already ran SAST in the earlier checks, run tests that haven’t yet been performed. Set up DAST. Rulesets should test for issues that are common to the OWASP Top 10 and are critical or high severity.
Tools like Defensics can be used for fuzz testing. Fuzz testing involves injecting random data into the program’s input parameters to cause an error. Malformed input can be a security threat if not handled correctly.
Create an automated process to deploy the latest ‘good’ build to the staging environment. Initiate alerts for critical and high-risk problems. Measure the results of these activities.
5. Checks at deploy time
Deploy-time checks, which include additional security checks pre-and post-deployment, conclude the DevSecOps pipeline after all previous steps have been completed.
The purpose:A post-deployment test ensures that changes to the production environment have not introduced security issues. Implementing a process to periodically trigger security testing is a good strategy.
The benefits:It is often possible to find bugs that slipped through pre-production testing during deployment-time checks. Organizations can gain insight into what types of traffic their applications receive by continuously monitoring their traffic. They can also identify malicious patterns using application-level security metrics.
Threat intelligence programs can also help teams respond proactively to newly discovered applications and platform security issues.
The key enablers:By identifying defects through this activity, developers can change their behavior and get better results.
The pre-deployment phase
The post-deployment period
- During continuous monitoring, collect application-level security metrics
- to schedule security scanning
- Perform vulnerability scanning
- Participate in bug bounty programs
- Prepare an incident response plan
- Develop a threat intelligence program with the DevSecOps team
The focus of this workflow is on just a few security tasks. We could cover many more topics (e.g., detecting malicious code as part of the DevSecOps pipeline). In addition to unit tests, functional tests, user acceptance tests, and integration tests, this workflow assumes you have already automated other activities.
Automating DevSecOps processes is a valuable takeaway. It is equally important to have a DevSecOps pipeline with such valuable security activities. Adding one or more application security tools and automating those tools will not solve the problem. This will most certainly backfire if they are not configured properly.
DevSecOps must integrate security activities into its pipeline. Just like development and operations, security must be owned by the DevOps team.
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