DevOps is to DevSecOps as Doctor Who is to the ''T.A.R.D.I.S.''

No takers? Ok, fine. How about, DevSecOps is to DevOps and Security as green is to the colors yellow and blue. It's a joint effort between previously ununited concepts — DevOps and Security — improving efficiency and quality.

By joining these concepts, we can maximize the agility and scalability of the DevOps lifecycle. In this post, we will discuss the benefits of DevSecOps versus DevOps, popular tools that a DevSecOps team use, and tips for managing a DevSecOps team at your business. Moving forward, we will use DevSecOps and DevOps Security interchangeably.

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DevSecOps vs. DevOps

The defining difference between the two is that DevSecOps strives to integrate security within the DevOps lifecycle — whereas, in the past, DevOps had been separate from the security in the information technology lifecycle. This method was fine when the lifecycle of web and software development was much longer, but not with the increased speed and shortened cycles in today's technology.

With these changes, our approach to security must adapt to keep up with the speed, agility, and scaling of DevOps. Enter DevSecOps. Integrating security into the DevOps process, we can keep it up to date along every step of the lifecycle. This process leads to a "Clean as you go" approach to security implementation.

Benefits of DevSecOps

DevOps Security comes with many benefits, all aimed at one concept: efficiency. Let's take a look at a few of these benefits

Time and Resources

Saved time and resources are arguably the best benefits that come with the DevSecOps lifecycle methodology. Saving time frees up assets which will lead to better productivity. It doesn't offer the same level as being a Timelord does, but hey, it's a start!

Accountability

Integration into the workflow means every stage of development can be held accountable for its role in the security of the project lifecycle.

Integrated Testing

Testing can be — and often is — done at any and every stage of the DevOps lifecycle. With this in mind, we may as well add a few security tests, too. Writing and running tests will establish clear guidelines for expected behavior and will help catch anything outside of those parameters.

Automation and Workflow

Automation is at the center of the DevSecOps approach and is the core benefit to maximize. Tools can help you automate almost all of the above tasks, turning them into assets instead of burdens. With automated processes, you can monitor and respond to tests, threats, and threat model changes during the workflow.

Integrated Threat Modeling and Monitoring

Threat modeling develops a better understanding of the threats a project may face, helping you stay prepared and ahead of potential issues. Threat monitoring supports this model through visibility via alerts and analytic/reporting, which leads to faster response time.

DevSecOps Best Practices

Incorporate a ''Shift Left'' mentality.

This phrase has become a staple of the DevSecOps methodology. Let's imagine the DevSecOps lifecycle as a straight line or even a clockwise rotating circle. In this vein, the phrase ''Shift Left" pushes us to move security away from the end of the lifecycle. This way, security starts at the beginning of the project and stays present throughout its lifespan.

Add team-wide security education.

Educating all members of your teams with basic principles for security and compliance will lead to smaller knowledge gaps and more consistent security measures.

Improve communication and transparency.

Efficient and transparent communication within teams as well as across teams helps eliminate delays and unresolved tasks. Transparency also helps foster a more fluid cross-role efficiency through understanding. When team members better understand the way their roles interact with those of others, efficiency and productivity are greatly improved.

Support team-driven workflow.

Encourage your teams to design their preferred workflow and tools as much as is feasible. Allowing them that freedom enables them to do their best work in an optimized way. Kinda like Doctor Who, the ''T.A.R.D.I.S'' and Companions, their way is usually the best.

Utilize reporting and analytics.

For most, this probably sounds boring or maybe even tedious, but the truth is that this is where all the power comes in. When paired with automation and the above tools, this becomes a powerhouse for the DevSecOps lifecycle.

DevSecOps Tools

When thinking about the best tools for your project lifecycle, it's easier to think of them in categories. In that vein, let's look at a few products through that lens.

Automation Tools

1. Codacy

Codacy offers a software tool that creates a unified standard for security and development across the project lifecycle. Robust and largely automation-based, this software can save time and drastically improve the quality of code.

2. SonarQube

Offers consistent automated code review to catch bugs, vulnerabilities, and "code smells" before they become problematic.

Multi-Purpose Tools

3. GitLab

An all-in-one DevOps platform, GitLab is built for collaboration and streamlining the project lifecycle. This out-of-the-box platform helps improve communication between developers, security, and Ops. GitLab helps to boost the DevOps Security processes without slowing down the pipeline. By unifying previously separate functions, the toolchain can be simplified, saving valuable time.

4. Contrast Security

This software is used for creating Self Protecting Software through RASP and IAST (Runtime Application Self-Protection and Interactive Application Security Testing). This software runs in the background checking for vulnerabilities and is complimented by a suite of other tools for addressing these issues. Some issues can be automated, while developers will be alerted to those that need intervention.

Threat Monitoring Tools

5. Acunetix

An All-in-One website security scanner designed to help developers catch vulnerabilities early in the DevSecOps process. This software boasts high-speed scanning with the lowest number of false positives.

6. Logz.io

Security analytics, through log management and analysis, this software makes it easier for teams to monitor and troubleshoot. It offers built-in reports, rules, and integration to assist with staying compliant with regulations throughout the pipeline.

7. OWASP

OWASP is an automated threat modeler which assists with minimizing and mitigating security threats. This software is open source and web-based, easy to use, and boasts seamless integration with other SDLC (Software Development Lifecycle).

8. Aqua Security

This Containerized Security Platform offers control of runtime environments, variables, and unauthed intrusion prevention. A benefit of this is the automation-driven approach which speeds up workflow while not sacrificing quality.

Productivity and Efficiency Tools

9. Digital.ai

Integrates seamlessly into the DevOps pipeline to unify the tools of the DevOps teams into a singular interface. This software allows for customized automation of repetitive tasks within the deployment process, including issue tracking and reporting.

Testing Tools

10. Synopsys Suite

This product offers a full suite of software tools to automate a battery of security testing throughout the DevOps process. This suite bolsters the "Shift left" attitude of the DevSecOps pipeline and helps ease the workload for developers.

Starting the DevSecOps Journey

The DevSecOps lifecycle is an improved way to look at DevOps and Security. It weaves security throughout the project which is far better than treating it as a lock on the police phone box door.

However, to do this efficiently it’s important to"Shift Left." Maximize the workload through automation of tasks and unified communication efforts. Follow best practices and utilize the tools to best suit your teams and projects, and the payout will be worth the effort.

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Originally published Nov 11, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated November 11 2021