Before agile development became an accepted approach to delivering software, companies waited until software contained all desired features before releasing it. Imagine waiting a year before a needed feature became available. Yet, that was how most software releases occurred.
Once the software was released, companies prepared an annual or semi-annual update that incorporated new features and fixes. In the rush to deliver a feature-filled update, security concerns were pushed aside. Security features were added at the last minute or delayed until the next update.
This waterfall approach contrasts with continuous deployment methods (CD) for software releases. The automated CD process enables developers to release updates faster and with fewer errors. The methodology, when combined with continuous development and integration, improves the entire development and delivery process. Automated platforms such as Armory help ship software faster and with fewer errors using continuous delivery and deployment frameworks.
While the development process changed, the approach to security did not. Security continued to be an afterthought when it came to development. Out of this environment came the security-by-design methodology, where cybersecurity concerns are incorporated into software design. Rather than addressing cybersecurity through patches and updates, DevSecOps allows for security to be designed into the software, making for a more secure solution.
What is DevSecOps?
DevSecOps resides at the intersection of development, security, and operations. Unlike DevOps, DevSecOps focuses on security rather than the entire development process. DevSecOps is responsible for integrating security testing into the development process to deliver more secure software.
With DevSecOps, developers have fewer patches or updates to deliver as more vulnerabilities are identified and corrected during testing. Fewer corrections mean developers have more time to devote to developing new products and new features. More secure product releases improve the customer experience. They have fewer updates to install and minimal compromises to address.
Three Pillars of DevSecOps
Collaboration, automation, and security are three pillars of any DevSecOps implementation.
Cybercriminals already use artificial intelligence to create more sophisticated attacks. They are innovating their threats 24/7/365 while development and operations struggle to stay ahead of possible threats. Most DevOps teams have more than enough to do to ensure their code meets customer requirements. Adding security responsibilities contributes to the security-as-addon approach to software development.
Collaborating with a security specialist means injecting security testing at every step of the process. Because their focus is cybersecurity, they know what the latest threats are and where cybercrime is trending. With that information, they can develop more comprehensive test tools, making it possible to deliver better-protected code.
More secure software requires rigorous testing. If development uses manual processes for security testing, the efforts are inconsistent. The accuracy of the testing depends on the individual tester. With automated tools, testing is consistent and quick. It doesn’t take hours to test for vulnerabilities.
Automated practices not only reduce time-consuming manual processes but also improve delivery efficiency by minimizing rework. They increase the software quality through comprehensive testing without slowing the time-to-
Security is more than building defenses. It is a mindset that permeates a culture. Security is a shared responsibility. Although DevSecOps is in place to help secure code, everyone in the process should be security aware. If they find a possible vulnerability, they can work with the DevSecOps engineer to design security into the code.
Understanding how poor security adds to the cost and delivery of software helps coders realize that security should be part of the developer’s mindset. It should not be code that’s added at the last minute because inadequate security impacts everyone in the development to deployment cycle.
Why DevSecOps Matters
Traditional development attitudes placed security at the end of the process rather than the beginning. Security was not designed into the application; instead, security was addressed with patches and updates. The problem with that approach is a customer probably suffered a cyberattack because a vulnerability wasn’t identified before the code was
Security compromises of client systems are bad for business. They damage customer relationships and a company’s reputation. By incorporating DevSecOps into the development process, organizations reduce the chance of a significant vulnerability being released. Reducing the number of after-release corrections keeps costs down. According to a recent article, bug fixes that center around software design are the most expensive to address and take the longest to fix.
Incorporating DevSecOps into the development process companies can reduce the chance of a significant flaw being released. Using security-by-design frameworks in conjunction with DevSecOps can eliminate the most costly
DevSecOps Best Practices
Automation is essential to a successful DevSecOps implementation; however, automation should be used thoughtfully. Decide what processes and tests to use when. Some solutions are better used at the end of the process, while others should be performed daily. Striking the right balance ensures an efficient pipeline.
Monitor code dependencies. Using open-source or third-party tools can save time as long as the code is checked. Unchecked third-party code can introduce security flaws. Many times developers are unaware of using external unchecked code.
DevSecOps tools are not created equal and few are 100% accurate. False positives can consume valuable development time, so make sure you have the best tools for your environment. For comprehensive testing, multiple tools may be required.
Start small. Many development departments take on too large of a project for their first DevSecOps deployment. By keeping initial efforts small, teams are able to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the process and make adjustments. With a large project, it may be difficult to monitor and adjust, especially if time pressures exist.
Armory’s DevSecOps Approach
Armory’s expertise in continuous deployment eliminates manual security processes. Security testing and automated scans integrate into the process, ensuring that no software is released until all tests and scans are clean.
With Armory’s platform, customers such as Launch Darkly have experienced significant increases in deployments with fewer vulnerabilities over their original continuous delivery and deployment processes.
Tesouro is another customer that leveraged Armory’s platform to deliver software with fewer change requests. As a fintech company, Tesouro needed a continuous deployment cycle that minimized the risk of a cybersecurity event. With Armory’s assistance, Tesouro reduced their change request rate to 4.5%.
To learn what Armory’s approach can do to secure your development cycle, explore our solutions today.