Critical Controls for DevOps: Best Practices for Continuous Security

Critical Controls for DevOps: Best Practices for Continuous Security
In relentless pursuit of automation and velocity, DevOps teams can reduce the software development cycle and ensure that their products are responsive to client feedback. However, this quest for perfection may compromise security, leaving room for vulnerabilities or misconfigurations that can create huge problems later on.

Ensuring security integration throughout the life cycle while retaining agility and speed is necessary to avoid DevOps security risks.

How can this be achieved? The short answer is understanding the human needs of the security team and realizing the limitations in the workflow.

Given the following trends, experts are predicting that DevOps adoption will reach its peak this year.

  • Firms have been showing a rising interest in adopting DevOps-related practices and technologies. Between 2017 to 2018, there has been a 7% spike in DevOps adoption, according to Statista.
  • Notably, the DevOps software market is projected to rise to $6.6 billion in 2022 from $2.9 billion in 2017.

DevOps Security Challenges

DevOps teams can be confronted with various unexpected challenges from cybercriminals, including:

  • Unsecured credentials: Intellectual property, such as a company’s source code, can be destroyed if attackers find a way to take advantage of unsecured credentials in a DevOps environment.
  • Overworked team: Since DevOps calls on the software developers to take on multiple roles and discharge a great variety of challenging responsibilities simultaneously, becoming overworked is a strong possibility.
  • Easy-to-access admin credentials: Controlling administrative credentials is difficult in the DevOps model, as everyone can administer systems and debug production issues. Inadequate security may allow hackers to gain complete control over a firm’s IT architecture.
  • Lack of business acumen among security professionals: Owing to the rapid rise in cybersecurity concerns, professionals must be well-versed in business fundamentals to realize how their firm’s threat management strategy is linked to the overall business goals. However, there is a skills gap in the cybersecurity field, which might pose issues for IT companies.

Key Security Practices to Follow During the DevOps Process

Having a successful and secure DevOps process requires the company to integrate security practices into each step of the process, from inception to maintenance. A few of these practices are:

  • Providing training to employees from the hackers’ perspective, teaching them how the attacker will take advantage of coding and configuration mistakes or architectural weaknesses, and giving proper DevOps security tools will go a long way in ensuring safety.
  • One of the best DevOps security practices involves regularly updating IT protocols and governance policies. It is worth noting that transparency is a must with DevOps security policy, as it allows employees to feel safe while reporting suspicious internal behavior.
  • Ensure that the engineers behave the way you intend by clearly specifying DevOps security and compliance metrics they must follow.
  • Performing threat modeling in a structured manner is also crucial for a safe development process.
  • Easy to use tools that are integrated into the CI/CD pipeline and intelligent automation solutions can also help achieve security goals without overloading the engineers.
  • Continuously learning and monitoring your applications, infrastructure and network utilizing advanced analytics tools can bolster security measures.

Adopting a DevSecOps model will enable you to embed code review, identity and access management, configuration and vulnerability management. Although there will be DevSecOps challenges, such as a clash of tools and reluctance to integrate by the employees, these are minor compared to the security benefits.

Bottom Line

Implementing security in DevOps is riddled with challenges. Overcoming application vulnerabilities and data breaches during software releases with the above-discussed security practices can help keep DevOps processes, data and teams more secure.

Originally published at DevOps

Critical Controls for DevOps: Best Practices for Continuous Security -
The speed of DevOps may compromise security, leaving room for vulnerabilities or misconfigurations and creating huge problems later on.