DevSecOps Best Practices

You’ve decided to integrate DevSecOps into your software development operations. That’s an important first step to improving your product’s overall security by including it into the development workflow, rather than trying to build it in later in the lifecycle.

However, developing secure software quickly and at scale is easier said than done. Here are some best practices that should make the DevSecOps integration process smooth and efficient.

The Right Culture Is Essential

Support for DevSecOps must start at the top. Corporate leadership is the financial backbone of DevSecOps, providing budget, staffing, and time. Leadership’s support—or lack thereof—will determine how DevSecOps is received throughout the rest of the company. But culture goes beyond leadership support; it is also changing the internal attitude about security. Everyone involved in development and deployment needs to buy in to the concept that security won’t hinder software releases but instead will enhance the application’s overall performance. Best practices for creating the right culture will include ensuring that the security team isn’t a separate entity but part of the collaboration process throughout the lifecycle. Deploying a Security Champions team will allow you to cultivate the right culture, as well as provide triage for any bugs or security issues.

Support Security Awareness across the Organization

Security needs to be an organizational effort. Everyone needs security awareness training at some level. On the DevSecOps team, it isn’t only the security pros who should understand how to recognize common threats or build secure code. The DevOps side need to know that too in order to develop a security-first product. When given ownership of security, everyone within the organization, but especially on the DevOps team, will be better equipped to address critical issues as they arise. And the more versed everyone on the team and within the organization is about basic security practices, the more trust you gain from your customer base. They will be more confident that you are able to address any security concern they have.

Use the Right Tools

Simple is better than complex. There are so many tools available that it can be overwhelming and become inefficient. Also, security tools are constantly changing and upgrading in order to keep current with the threat landscape. Have tools that best integrate with your development system and that allow you to quickly identify and mitigate potential risks in a timely manner. Toolsets for testing your applications include:

  • Static application security testing (SAST), which, as Gartner explains, is “a set of technologies designed to analyze application source code, byte code and binaries for coding and design conditions that are indicative of security vulnerabilities. SAST solutions analyze an application from the “inside out” in a nonrunning state.” It allows for early discovery of potential vulnerabilities.
  • Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST), according to Gartner, “are designed to detect conditions indicative of a security vulnerability in an application in its running state. Most DAST solutions test only the exposed HTTP and HTML interfaces of Web-enabled applications.” Testing is done as if the security team are hackers with no inside knowledge of the application software in order to locate potential vulnerabilities.
  • Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) uses runtime testing techniques to identify vulnerabilities. Testing monitors and measures performance of the application as it runs, using a hybrid combination of SAST and DAST tools.
  • Application Security Testing as a Service (ASTaaS) relies on an outside partnership similar to any other as a Service model. ASTaaS can involve a variety of testing models and can cover services and toolsets not available inhouse.

This list is just a starting point for DevSecOps and integrating tools into the Software Development Lifecycle. As you integrate DevSecOps into your environment, you will learn what practices that optimize security and efficiency.


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