8 Strategies to Improve Your DevSecOps Practices

While DevSecOps is a relatively new term, the methodology it espouses has been used since the days of systems-level programming.

Also called “security-oriented development,” DevSecOps is a software engineering style that places security at the forefront and enforces it every step of the way. It uses dedicated teams and tools without human intervention based on predefined policies. 

If you want to know the answer to the question, “what is DevSecOps?”, read on. 

What is DevSecOps?

In DevOps, servers, applications, and networks are defined in code and versioned in source control alongside the application code. DevSecOps allows for automated testing, deployments, and scaling of infrastructure resources. And security is inbuilt into the applications and infrastructure when they are created.

The methodology it employs is also known as “continuous delivery” (CD), a software engineering approach that builds, tests, and deploys software in short periods. This technique ensures that the software can be reliably released at any time.

Here are eight ideas to use DevSecOps for your organization.

1) Implement Automated Security Testing

One of the critical pillars of DevSecOps is automated security testing. Security vulnerabilities must be discovered and fixed as early in the software development process as possible. Automated scanning and testing tools can help identify these vulnerabilities and provide feedback to developers so that you can fix them quickly. 

Ideally, you must integrate security testing into the pipeline of the software development process. The more frequently code is scanned, the more quickly security flaws will be detected and fixed.

2) Perform Risk-Based Testing

In DevSecOps, security testing cannot be limited to static scanning code or network devices. It must also include risk-based testing for vulnerabilities in deployed applications and systems.

A risk-based approach to testing requires that an organization identify its assets, understand which assets are most important to the business, and prioritize security testing accordingly. For example, an organization may have multiple applications running on its network. But without understanding which application is more mission-critical than another, there is no way to determine how much attention should be given to each application and which vulnerabilities should be prioritized.

3) Use Security Auditing as Part of the CD Pipeline

According to Forbes, with 3,800 data breaches, around 4.1 billion data records were affected in 2019.

One way to integrate security testing into your DevOps approach is by using automated tooling as part of the software development pipeline for continuous integration, delivery, deployment, etc.

The top benefit is that it ensures that security testing is done regularly, allowing your team to fix errors as soon as they’re identified, rather than waiting for a manual tester to locate it and report it later. 

4) Automate Configuration Management

To enforce security policies in an organization, automation of configuration files is necessary. It includes managing operating systems, web servers, application code, databases, and back-end processes. Configuration management tools provide capabilities that span different technologies to simplify compliance with security policies.

5) Enforce Secure Development Policies

One of the essential DevSecOps strategies is ensuring that your organization has a set of enforceable development policies in place before an application is released into production. These policies should include secure coding practices, vulnerability scanning, and static analysis.

6) Use a Threat Modeling Approach

Threat modeling is a process that helps you identify and understand the risks associated with an application or system. It involves creating a system model that shows how the system works, identifying threats to those systems, and determining how they could potentially impact the applications.

To create a threat model, you need to understand all of the components of a given application or system. It is necessary to understand what an attacker would see if they could access your network, what data is going in and out of the system, and what trust levels exist between components.

7) Perform Early Security Testing 

In a DevSecOps approach to application security, it is impossible to treat security testing as an add-on component or a “phase” of development that occurs later in the process after code has been written. Instead, the ideal approach to application security in a DevSecOps model is treating security as a core component of the development process.

8) Train Developers in Secure Coding Practices

The most vital aspect of a DevSecOps initiative is having developers aware of and understanding safe coding practices. Organizations should invest in training developers on how to write secure code from the start rather than trying to fix vulnerabilities after the fact. 

One of the right ways to ensure safe coding practices is to hire well-trained developers knowledgeable in security testing and the OWASP Top 10. Furthermore, hiring developers with real-world experience building secure applications can also be beneficial.

Now that you know the answer to the question, “what is DevSecOps?”, among other things, it is important to learn how to implement this in your organization effectively.  

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