The Integration of Devops and Security | DevSecOps Explained

The Evolution Of Security: DevOps Integration

Cybersecurity spending is up — a recent survey found that 64 percent of companies plan to increase their security budgets next year. But the cost of a data breach is also on the rise; organizations lose $3.86 million on average in the aftermath of network compromise.

The result? Security teams are looking for ways to improve response times, decrease risk and take the fight to hackers instead of waiting for IOCs. The answer? DevSecOps integration — linking current development/operations partnerships with security to boost corporate defense. Let’s break down the potential impact.

DevOps Divide

IT news over the past five years has focused heavily on DevOps — combined development/operations teams — to improve speed without sacrificing quality. While initially met with resistance from both sides of the IT aisle, effective implementation of DevOps principles such as continuous software testing and continuous deployment allows companies to “shift left” and produce better IT outcomes in significantly less time.

At first glance, security seems like an outlier here, with fast and flexible often considered the hallmarks of missing best practices. The notion of DevOps security tools, therefore, often seems like an oxymoron to IT teams, since creating a DevSecOps team runs the risk of either slowing application development to a crawl or reducing the overall security of networks and services.

Add the functional divide between security and DevOps personnel — infosec pros often have little knowledge of coding best practices and developers are more concerned with getting solutions to market than plugging potential holes — and it’s difficult to imagine a world where development, security and operations work in tandem to improve business outcomes.

In fact, integrating DevOps into cybersecurity has the potential to fundamentally change the nature of corporate IT. Here’s how DevOps improves security when properly implemented.

Agility

Hackers move at the speed of application development. As soon as new vulnerabilities are discovered and made public, attackers leverage them to create new threat vectors and exploit systems in never-before-seen ways. From using insecure IoT devices to create massive DDoS botnets to developing malware capable of detecting and evading even top-tier antivirus programs, hackers never take a break.

The challenge for cybersecurity professionals? Keeping pace. Traditional infosec best practice focuses on slow and steady protection: Find vulnerabilities, eliminate them and then thoroughly test to ensure they’re really gone. But given the breakneck speed of technology, and by extension attack development, security teams are doomed to fall behind.

Implementing DevSecOps, however, makes it possible for cybersecurity teams to go on the offensive by leveraging continuous development practices to deploy continuous defense mechanisms. In effect, it’s an agile response to a static concern: Implementing DevOps security tools can help organizations dynamically respond to changing the evolving security landscape.

Automation

Next on the list of DevSecOps benefits is automation. The sheer number of potential vulnerabilities and entry points for attackers now makes it impossible for organizations to manually identify and test every potential weak spot.

Automated testing tools, meanwhile, empower security teams to concentrate on application-breaking defense issues while getting continuous feedback on the state of evolving app protection during the development process. By working with DevOps to tackle these issues before software goes into production, the result is a slightly longer build time in exchange for post-production applications that are naturally stable and secure, requiring fewer emergency patches and significantly reducing the chance of companies having to recall and redesign apps from the ground up.

Role-Based Application Hardening

Effective DevSecOps hardens applications and reduces risk, but effective implementation of DevSecOps requires two critical shifts:

  • Recognizing the potential of any point in the development process as a security checkpoint. For example, the planning stage is ideal for basic security analysis, while initial coding is great for GIT and IDE controls testing. During the build process, infosec teams can implement static app testing followed by dynamic testing during the formal security review stage.
  • Developing clear, role-based segregation of duties. By empowering development, operations and security to share data and resources but ensuring each retains responsibility for its sphere of influence, it’s possible to “harden” applications without watering down the impact of any IT specialization.

DevOps is the new standard in application development and deployment. The rise of adaptive, aggressive malware, however, demands cybersecurity integration to deliver testing agility, security automation and effective application hardening.

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