What is DevSecOps? Definition, Benefits, and Tips
DevOps helps businesses speed development and improve software quality by building fast and continuous software delivery pipelines. But the advantages of DevOps are undermined without a focus on integrating security into those pipelines. That’s where DevSecOps comes in. By making security a core part of the development lifecycle, DevSecOps helps teams produce safe software more quickly.
What is DevSecOps?
DevSecOps is a software delivery strategy that aims to maximize collaboration between developers, IT operations engineers, and security specialists. It encourages the integration of security into the work that software developers and IT engineers perform.
On its own, DevOps focuses on collaboration between just developers and IT engineers. When your organization embraces DevSecOps, however, it becomes easier to make security an integral part of all stages of the software development lifecycle. From code design and implementation, to staging and testing, to deployment and runtime, DevSecOps bakes security into the software delivery process.
That level of integration of security into DevOps processes isn’t just a nice-to-have feature, by the way. It’s an essential requirement for any business that wants to ensure that the speed of DevOps software development doesn’t come at the expense of security. Because DevOps encourages speed and continuous change within software delivery pipelines, it can increase security risks. For example, it’s easy to make configuration mistakes that could enable a breach or incorporate insecure third-party code into an application in an agile, fast-moving DevOps pipeline. DevSecOps offers safeguards against risks like these by ensuring that developers and IT teams address security risks on a continuous basis, rather than treating security as an afterthought.
It’s worth noting that — like DevOps — DevSecOps is a philosophy more than a specific set of practices. There are a variety of tools and procedures that can help businesses get started with DevSecOps, but there is no single set of steps to follow or a particular tool to use when operationalizing DevSecOps. What matters most is adopting a mindset that makes security a top priority, then finding ways to reflect that mindset within your software delivery operations.
The Benefits of DevSecOps
DevSecOps confers a variety of important benefits. They add up to software that is more secure produced by a pipeline that moves faster.
Instead of waiting until software has been designed, implemented and deployed to check it for security risks, DevSecOps makes security a priority during development. This leads to an enhanced ability to find vulnerabilities early on and applications that are more secure when they are deployed into production.
By integrating security processes into software development processes, DevSecOps encourages a standardized and repeatable approach to security. Rather than leaving it up to individual security engineers to assess an application’s risk manually, DevSecOps enables consistent, automated security checks at all stages of the development lifecycle.
Automating security tests and audits is a core DevSecOps practice. Automation leads to faster security processes, earlier detection of risks, and a reduction in the time that engineers have to devote to manual security operations.
Broader Security Teams
By requiring software developers and IT engineers to play an active role in security, DevSecOps provides organizations with a deeper bench when it comes to identifying and responding to security risks. It ensures that security is not the sole domain of one or a handful of specialists.
When you discover security risks early in the software development lifecycle, it’s often easier to fix them. For example, if you detect a vulnerability in source code prior to compiling the code, you can simply fix your source code, without having to rebuild your application afterwards. In this way, DevSecOps boosts efficiency and reduces the potential for delays or application rollbacks due to security issues.
How to Get Started with DevSecOps
While DevSecOps is a philosophy rather than a rigid set of practices, there are actionable strategies that can help you get started in bringing DevSecOps to your organization.
Make It a Part of the Entire Development Process
Integrating security across the software development lifecycle is a core goal of DevSecOps. Look to implement tools and processes that help your team discover and respond to security risks at each stage of the software delivery pipeline. For example, you might use software composition analysis (SCA) tools to check for vulnerabilities in source code early in the development lifecycle. Dynamic application security testing (DAST) tools are useful for finding security bugs during the staging phase of development. When your application is in production, security information event management (SIEM) and security automation, orchestration and response (SOAR) platforms will help you detect security vulnerabilities that may have slipped past earlier tests.
Stay Flexible and Adapt to Your Environment
Every business’s technology stack and IT environments are different, and so your DevSecOps strategy should suit your organization’s specific requirements. For instance, if you use containers, you’ll want to make sure your DevSecOps strategy includes tools like container image scanners, which would not be useful if you deploy applications in virtual machines. Likewise, if you use a public cloud, practices like cloud security posture management (CSPM) scans can help you detect configuration risks that may create security vulnerabilities. CSPM is not as important in less complex, on-premises environments.
Prioritize Transparency and Communication
Any healthy DevSecOps practice requires seamless communication between developers, IT engineers, and security analysts. The best way to enable this communication will vary. If your business is remote-first, for instance, you’re more likely to rely on virtual collaboration channels than you would if your engineers can meet in person. Whichever approach you take, what matters most is ensuring that every stakeholder can quickly reach other stakeholders to raise or discuss security issues.
You should also strive to provide all engineers with transparency into the development lifecycle and security risks that arise during it. Sharing access to testing and monitoring tools, logs, and incident response data helps you achieve this level of visibility.
Use the Right DevSecOps Tools
In part, the right DevSecOps tools for your organization depends on the types of environment you use and the nature of your team. But you should also consider factors like how easy security tools are to use for stakeholders, like developers and IT operations engineers, who don’t specialize in security. Your tools should be scalable and flexible enough to evolve along with your technology stack. And you’ll want them to be as automated as possible.
Finally, choosing the right hosting platform and support team can play an important part in strengthening your DevSecOps tool set. Platforms that are designed to be secure from the start offer expert support services help you hit the ground running as you adopt DevSecOps.
DevSecOps and Your Company
Although every DevSecOps journey is different, any successful DevSecOps strategy requires the right mindset, tools, processes, and — last but not least — support services to help businesses identify and remediate security threats, no matter when they arise within the software development lifecycle. With a range of DevOps and DevSecOps services on offer, Contegix’s team of experts provide the knowledge that businesses need to thrive in the face of any modern security threat while keeping software delivery operations smooth and efficient. Learn more about how Contegix can supercharge your DevSecOps journey by contacting them today.