What is DevSecOps and Why Do You Need It?

DevSecOps is a new concept your business should consider adopting. Find out what it is and why you need it.
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The tech industry creates something new for admins and developers to deal with on any given day. And over the past few years, that practice has accelerated exponentially. This phenomenon became widespread with the advent of containers and cloud-native technology. With both in place, technology was able to advance faster than ever.

Take, for instance, the idea of DevOps, which is the intersection of Development and Operations that was made possible (and necessary) when container deployments grew widespread. Another workflow is DevSecOps, which is the focus here. But before we get into it, it’s important to understand why these amalgamations came into being in the first place.

It’s All About Efficient Workflows

Prior to the coming together of Development and Operations, those departments worked in silos, which is a fancy way of saying those departments were isolated from one another. Given how intraoperative containers must be, working in these silos wasn’t an effective method of managing those deployments. To that end, those in development and operations had to come together and work as a team. 

With that in mind, DevOps is the practice that combines both software development and IT operations with the goal of shortening the system development life cycle.

This became necessary because the nature of containers is such that they must be developed and deployed quickly. This shortening of the development life cycle also made it possible (and even necessary in some instances) to automate much of the process. That automation led to Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD), which further bridges the gap between development and operational activity and enforces the need for automation. 

CI/CD makes it possible for your developers to not only deploy very quickly but for operations to deploy a system that makes it possible for updates to be tested and deployed as soon as the new code hits the company repository. 

You can’t get a more efficient development lifecycle than one that employs CI/CD. 

The inherent problem

All of this efficiency, automation, and lightning-fast lifecycle leads to a significant problem: security. Because Kubernetes and Docker deployments have so many working parts (such as images, containers, pods, control planes, and networks) and their manifests can get incredibly long and complicated, keeping things secure is a problem.

Your developers could base the entire project on a container image that includes considerable vulnerabilities. Should that happen, all security bets are off.

Or maybe there’s a misconfiguration (or several misconfigurations) within the project manifest. Those issues could lead to serious vulnerabilities which can be taken advantage of. Those containers might also work with APIs with known issues or include secrets that contain passwords for accounts. Should those containers be deployed to production, they could serve as a gateway for a hacker to access your network, your servers, or your cloud accounts. 

Take, for instance, the fact that while more and more companies are offloading workloads to cloud service providers, it turns out that 22.5% of security violations occur because of poorly configured managed services. 

When you rely on a third-party cloud host that offers poorly configured services, your data could be compromised.

DevSecOps to the Rescue

This is where DevSecOps comes into play. Where DevOps is the intersection of Development and Operations, DevSecOps injects security into the mix. Of course, it’s much more than just 3 disparate departments coming together for a meeting. DevSecOps automates the integration of security at every phase of the software development lifecycle. That means design, development, integration, testing, deployment, and delivery.

DevSecOps is a natural evolution from DevOps because security has become absolutely critical to CI/CD. The integration of security into every layer of the development lifecycle must happen seamlessly. With this in place, security issues are addressed as soon as they arise. With this in place, you can be sure that vulnerabilities are patched much faster than they’d be Sec was removed from the DevOps picture. 

And because DevSecOps spreads out the responsibility of security to all of those involved, it can make the DevSecOps motto of “software, safer, sooner” a reality. But keep something in mind: DevSecOps isn’t a cure-all for every vulnerability, nor will it always protect you from everything.

Benefits of DevSecOps

The benefits of DevSecOps are many, but the most important include:

  • Rapid and cost-effective software delivery – your software development lifecycle will be drastically shortened, which means it can be delivered faster and won’t be buried in traditional testing processes.
  • Proactive and inclusive security – since security is spread out through multiple departments, it will have a much more active focus, and code will be audited, scanned, and secured automatically.
  • Faster vulnerability patching – because DevSecOps aims to automate the entire process, vulnerabilities will be patched much faster.
  • Better integration with modern development processes – legacy development is still alive, but it’s falling far behind modern techniques. This is especially so within the world of enterprise business. You want your processes to integrate into these more modern solutions, otherwise, you’ll find yourself behind the curve.
  • Repeatable actions – when you work with this type of software lifecycle, you ensure that the actions within your development lifecycle are not only easily repeatable but automated. 

Conclusion

If your business is already working with DevOps, do yourself a favor and begin the process of integrating security into that mix. Not only will your deployments be more secure, but the software lifecycle as a whole will also be more reliable and the processes more repeatable. This should be the goal of every business. 

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