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10 DevSecOps Best Practices

Jul 10, 2023 by Adam Frank

Cyberattacks increased by 38% in 2022, and the trend is expected to continue in 2023. Ransomware is a primary attack vector, with 230,000 new malware types produced daily. Software vulnerabilities reached 26,448 in 2022 — an increase of 59% over 2021

Eliminating zero-day vulnerabilities has become a priority. For many companies, that means implementing DevSecOps, which integrates security testing into every stage of software development using DevSecOps best practices. 

Why is DevSecOps Important?

The earlier in the development process a vulnerability is detected, the easier and more cost-effective it is to fix. Research indicates that resolving security defects after the software is in production increases the cost to fix as much as 60 times what it would take if corrected during the design phase. 

Not only does DevSecOps minimize the risk of a vulnerability making it into production, but it also reduces the cost of fixing it. With the ongoing rise in cyberattacks, eliminating defects through early detection and correction strengthens an organization’s security posture. To ensure the software is as error-free as possible, development should consider the following these DevSecOps best practices. 

DevSecOps Best Practices

DevSecOps combines development (Dev), cybersecurity (Sec), and operations (Ops) into a single team that works together to deliver more secure software. The following best practices illustrate the comprehensive nature of a DevSecOps approach. 

Check Code Dependencies

Developers are incorporating third-party components to expedite the development cycle. However, borrowed components, such as open-source software, can contain undetected vulnerabilities. DevSecOps can help identify flaws before they reach production by evaluating contextual dependencies that may impact code. 

Automate Security Testing and Monitoring

With fast-paced continuous development, automated testing needs to be part of each phase of the process. Without automation, the software would stall in testing because manual testing is very time-consuming and labor-intensive. The following security measures should be in place to protect the environment: 

Protect the Production Environment

Production environments used for testing must protect against possible attacks. If hackers gain access to production code, they can identify areas to exploit before the application is released, placing customer systems at risk for zero-day vulnerabilities. 

Encourage Collaboration

DevSecOps, like DevOps, focuses on removing barriers so development, security, and operations can work together to deliver the most secure software. To be effective, the corporate culture may need to change its mindset. 

Assess Risk with Threat Modeling

Modeling potential threats is one way to assess risk. Gaps in existing controls are identified and addressed to prevent ongoing exploitation. Some threats that should appear in any threat modeling include: 

Implement CI and CD Tools

DevSecOps teams should use tools to help remediate potential vulnerabilities. These tools should be integrated at each step of the development process to support the continuous integration, deployment, and delivery of software. 

Automate Workflows

Teams should develop workflows that automate the creation and tracking of identified flaws. Trying to identify and track weaknesses manually is too time-consuming and lacks the reliability of an automated system. 

Educate and Train

DevSecOps is in its infancy as a part of the continuous development process. However, more organizations realize that security can no longer be an add-on that happens at the end of development. For software to be secure, it needs to be designed and developed with security in mind. 

Integrate Compliance and Regulatory Requirements

Governments and industries have regulations that companies must meet to remain in compliance. Failure to comply can result in fines, penalties, and loss of business. A comprehensive test plan that includes security requirements should be part of every environment. 

Implement a Recovery Plan 

To protect against data loss because of natural or human-made disasters, every DevSecOps should have a recovery plan. It should include detailed steps to follow to secure impacted systems and ensure business continuity. 

Future Trends in DevSecOps

The future of DevSecOps is hard to predict as the concept is still in its infancy; however, there are several areas that require attention. Moving technology to the cloud still presents a fertile ground for cybercrime so DevSecOps will need to ensure that cloud weaknesses are addressed. 

As more development shifts left, DevSecOps will need test tools that exercise the code at various stages in the process. These may incorporate key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure performance. 

Cloud Native Technologies

With more businesses using cloud-based solutions, their tech stack becomes more complex, leaving the door open to attack. In many cases, it’s a lack of understanding of cloud operations; however, that does not absolve DevSecOps of the responsibility of making the code as secure as possible.

Because cloud technologies are scalable, fault-tolerant, and easily managed, DevSecOps will find increased use of containers, microservices, and serverless computing. NoSQL databases are often used in cloud environments. 

Shift Security Left

Shift left in the development cycle means moving security integration closer to the beginning of the process, where corrections cost less and have less impact on the software. Moving security concerns to early development stages helps ensure security is built-in and not added to the software. 

Measuring Metrics

What is important to measure varies. However, tracking information on the following are examples of possible metrics: 

These are just three examples of the KPIs that can help DevSecOps improve its processes. 

Ready to Implement DevSecOps Best Practices?

Cybercriminals work 24/7/365 to find ways to exploit weaknesses. With a DevSecOps structure, preventing zero-day vulnerabilities from reaching production is crucial for ongoing success. If your organization is ready to learn how to deliver more secure code, explore our suite of products here

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