Performing AST (Application Security Testing) is a common and effective way to find vulnerabilities and weaknesses in an application and make it resistant to security threats. Traditionally, AST has been performed at the end of the software/application development process, more like an afterthought.
The reason why many software development firms use this technique is to develop a product quickly and push it to the market as soon as possible. While it can be beneficial for a business to stand out from the competition, it’s not the best approach, especially when it comes to security.
That’s where the DevSecOps strategy comes into place. Here, we’ll discuss what DevSecOps is, along with its benefits and challenges.
What Does DevSecOps Mean?
Definition from Google: DevSecOps is a development strategy that’s based on security integration throughout the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle). The goal of this strategy is to apply, automate, and monitor security in all software development stages, including planning, development, testing, deployment, delivery, and monitoring.
DevSecOps (Development, Security, and Operations) is more about a software development culture and shared accountability/responsibility. It aims to help organizations develop solutions quickly and find and resolve software flaws, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities during the development process.
Benefits Of DevSecOps
Using DevSecOps brings a vast array of benefits to the table, including the following.
- Improved Security Posture
The biggest benefit of DevSecOps is that it allows development teams to work in a fully secure environment. From securing pre-production stages and production environments to testing and software delivery, DevSecOps covers everything.
This strategy treats security as an integral part of software development rather than an afterthought or cloak. It starts by following basic security techniques such as integrating enterprise firewalls, adding and monitoring server logs, securing production workloads, and mandating VPN usage by employees.
- Quick Delivery
When security is working as an integral part of the CI/CD pipeline, it accelerates the entire process. It allows developers to find bugs and flaws in the system and resolve them timely. This way, the development team can focus on delivering features.
- Potential Cost Saving
As the security issues are detected and resolved on the go, it speeds up the development and software delivery process. It means that the DevOps teams will need fewer working hours to complete the project, which can help organizations to save costs.
Plus, the lower likelihood of a security issue can also reduce the number of people in operation teams to thoroughly execute a secure software development life cycle process.
- Secure Communication
One of the most important benefits of DevSecOps is that it breaks down silos between development teams. It allows the operational and development teams to join forces and share expertise, skills, and insights to improve each other’s processes and practices.
DevSecOps specialists can communicate with different teams and upskill them regarding security considerations. They use cloud-native technologies, such as encryption and reliable VPN services to ensure security while communicating with other teams. It helps them clarify and remove different hiccups, such as finding the best-suited person/team to fix a certain problem or how all team members can efficiently meet security targets.
- Automation Compatibility with Development
The specific organizational and project goals have a big impact on security automation. Using automated testing helps software development firms verify that all the incorporated software dependencies are patched properly.
Automated testing helps them ensure that security unit testing succeeds. Additionally, it can also use both dynamic and static analysis to secure code before it gets released to production.
- Ease of Scalability
Once the DevSecOps processes and tools are developed and tested, organizations don’t need to replicate them manually. It comes in handy when entire frameworks need to be placed in other locations or more computing resources are required.
DevSecOps ensure that security is implemented throughout the board as the environment adapts to new requirements. With the help of DevSecOps automation, it becomes easy to scale these security processes and systems downward/upward with just a few clicks.
- Increased Likelihood of Business Success
The increased confidence of an organization in the security of a software solution enables expanded business offerings and increased revenue growth. It also encourages businesses to embrace new technologies without worrying too much about security.
Challenges in DevSecOps
While DevSecOps comes with many benefits, there are some challenges as well that you must keep in mind.
- Collaboration and Communication
The security culture of teams in an organization is the biggest hurdle in implementing DevSecOps. The development and operation teams are constantly under pressure to keep up speed. But they usually have limited knowledge about the best practices of risk mitigation and security, which can slow them down. Whereas, the security teams focus on securing data, infrastructure, code, and apps. As a result, it becomes difficult for development, security, and operation teams to work together and deliver goals timely.
- Environmental Complexities
Most organizations rely on different public cloud services. Using the security protocols, these providers offer, leads to limited visibility, fragmented reporting, and inconsistent security controls.
Meanwhile, development and operation environments usually combine different platforms, open-source components, and coding languages together. Credentials and tokens are openly shared within these environments among microservices and apps.
It makes up a complex environment, and security teams need to utilize granular controls to address these complexities while ensuring that they don’t affect performance.
- Selection of the Right Security Solution
The more integrated and automated DevSecOps solutions are with the CI/CD pipeline, the less culture shift and training an organization will need to undertake. However, it’s not easy to find the right set of DevSecOps security tools because each organization can have a unique development environment.
Additionally, stats show that 70 to 90 percent of any modern software solution consists of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software). But traditional security tools aren’t built to find security flaws and weaknesses in open-source software.
DevSecOps is a modern practice that involves the seamless integration of security throughout the software development process. It allows your teams to develop more secure and high-performing solutions quickly with less effort.
While there are some challenges in using the DevSecOps approach, the benefits it offers outweigh them. It’s a secure way to manage your DevOps workflow and increase the likelihood of your business success.
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