DevOps is a set of practices, processes and technologies that combines software development (Dev) and IT Operations(Ops). Its aim is to shorten the systems development life cycle(SDLC) and provide high quality software with continuous delivery.
SecDevOps is the process of integrating secure development best practices and methodologies into software development and deployment processes. SecDevOps is sometimes called “security at speed”. Here, instead of tools security is integrated into every stage and supported by the tools.
As software is becoming more and more complex security issues have an impact on operations. So a lot of software engineering departments are migrating from DevOps(short form of development and operations) and DevSecOps(short form of development, security and operations) to SecDevOps(short form of security , development and operations).
In SecDevOps developers consider security principles and standards while they create the app, thus security checks and processes are introduced early in the SDLC and during release he security is embedded. It enables to create survivable, available, defensible and resilient software in this world of ever-changing threats.
SecDevOps consists of two distinct parts:
Security as Code (SaC): In this approach rather than scanning the complete codebase, static analytical tools are used to check the bits of code that have changed.
Infrastructure as Code (IaC): In this approach DevOps tools are used for configuring and updating infrastructure components. Here coding rules govern the infrastructure, help eliminate inconsistencies and reduce complexity.
Why is SecDevOps necessary for your Organization?
The main aim of DevOps is to create and integrate more features in a shorter time. But here a risk lies, that is security testing is applied only at the end of the project. Since testing takes time and resources or seek security professionals, developers often skip the security test. Thus many companies release new software versions without basic security practices being performed. These untested versions become a prime target for the hackers. In order to overcome these fallacies companies are switching to SecDevOps. In this approach the security is taken care in all the processes of the SDLC. Everyone is responsible for security right from the start, even if they adopt an incident response system.
In SecDevOps developers need to make decisions with secure coding practices in mind. For this developers might use threat models and use a test-driven environment that includes security test cases. In this approach continuous integration and security testing needs are taken care of from the very first step of SDLC till the last stage of SDLC before deployment or release of the software.
Outlining, the importance of SecDevOps are
1. Tighter security integration
2. Fewer security issues: By the use of SecDevOps framework we get a software with very few vulnerabilities.
3. Lower Costs
4. Faster Production
5. Greater accountability of all the teams involved in the development.
6. Happy and satisfied customers: Security vulnerabilities can cause customers to lose faith in a product or they might seek out for other competitors. But the SecDevOps protect the customer experience and thus helps in retaining the loyal customers and repeat sales.
7. Tighter collaboration of all the teams involved in the development of the software.
Effective SecDevOps Approach:
SecDevOps approach merges security, development and operations in order to achieve common goal of making improvements in the processes, tooling and team collaborations.
There is no single approach to build a SecDevOps program, it depends on the organization’s approach. Some tips and effective approaches that might be helpful are:
Beginning with Secure Development and Training: This means that we train developers to inculcate security practices that will help safeguard the software they are developing.
Follow the Idea of People-Centric Security: It means that implementing security should not be the responsibility of just one team. This approach ensures that every individual takes responsibility for complying with security mandates.
Empowering the Development Team by Automating Regular Functionalities: Automation will help in reducing delivery time, eliminating latency issues and help in early identification of vulnerabilities and risks. Automating regular code tests would allow team to focus on tasks that require more attention.
Using Good Version Control Tools and Practices
Challenges faced in SecDevOps:
1. Resistence to change: DevOps team focusing on quick release may find it difficult to prioritize security.
2. Fewer Security Engineers: Finding talented security experts is one of the most challenging aspect. Teams often do not have enough members to review all changes and perform thorough code reviews.
3. Multiple types of Environments: Business applications are launched in different environments like cloud, on-premise or hybrid. Due to presence of different types of production environments enforcing security protocols becomes time-consuming effort, complicated and prone to errors.
For creating an effective SecDevOps environment, not only IT tools and technology are needed, it also implies that a culture should be followed to inculcate security in every step of software development. To summarize benefits of SecDevOps are that communication between teams improve, shared accountability of every person involved in the SDLC emerges and a culture of ‘security comes first’ develops. It also helps in getting more robust and secured application on deployment.