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Gone are the days of waiting until the end of a development lifecycle to execute security testing and implement security best practices. The core principles of DevSecOps are no longer just a suggestion — they’re table stakes for most modern-day development shops.
And there are good reasons for why this is the case. Organizations reap numerous benefits by shifting security left. It creates more collaboration across previously siloed teams, reduces vulnerabilities, and leads to a higher quality product for end users.
When it comes to DevOps vs. DevSecOps, the former focuses on creating better collaboration and shared responsibility between development and IT operations. In comparison, DevSecOps culture goes a step further by adding a security component. This means that development and operations teams take responsibility for leveraging security tools and practices at every stage of the development process. It also means that well-established DevOps principles apply to security as well.
All in all, this requires a cultural and organizational mindset shift, along with developer-first DevSecOps tools that empower teams to take action in discovering and remediating vulnerabilities. If you have not yet implemented DevSecOps, you can read how to implement DevSecOps in 4 steps, here.
While many organizations understand the importance of DevSecOps best practices, some struggle to execute them. Your organization needs to think about how to integrate security in a way that makes sense across the entire SDLC, and works with — not against — what developers and IT operations are already doing.
Here are eight core principles of DevSecOps that can help your teams integrate security into every development stage:
Developers need to be empowered with DevSecOps technology that integrates with their existing processes. In order to do this, security needs to be as automated as possible within development workflows.
Snyk Open Source approaches this challenge by detecting vulnerable dependencies as code is written in an IDE or CLI, scanning pull requests before they get merged, adding automated tests to the CI/CD, and testing running environments on an automatic cadence.
Because security, development, and operations teams have different priorities, companies must make additional efforts to ensure that teams only get the information that is pertinent to each of them. Here are a few ways to do this:
Make information streams role-based
Optimize reporting for accuracy, actionability, and urgency
Improve the signal-to-noise ratio
Reduce false positives
This will empower teams to act on the information most relevant to them, without having to weed through alerts and memos.
Security alerts are all well and good, but non-security teams need clear direction on how to respond to them. This means providing context — the how and the why of a vulnerability — along with how to fix it within the IDE or CLI.
Security needs to be owned by someone or it just won’t get done. To do this, build a security champions program, giving each team a point of contact who’s responsible for security.
In addition, encourage collaboration between developers and security teams across the whole stack. Clear ownership delineations are essential, and they must be agreed upon across cross-functional teams. It's all about knowing which teams are responsible for each area of development, and who is responsible for securing it.
Where are your teams headed as they execute and mature your organization’s DevSecOps best practices? And what does your business roadmap to security success look like?
It’s important to establish a plan at the beginning of your efforts. Beginners can use industry-standard maturity models, such as OpenSAMM, to help them establish security guardrails and standardize incident response processes. Your organization should also regularly evaluate its security maturity level. This way, you can plan your next steps and identify wins.
The model of continuous improvement includes principles like identify opportunities for change, measure and systemetaize processes, and reduce variation, defects, and cycle times.
In a DevSecOps context, this translates to continuous security testing, improving work processes, and reducing resource waste. It also means that your team prioritizes the most important issues to fix first, and then continuously matures your security program based on new threats and shifting company priorities.
Collaborate with relevant stakeholders to work out which KPIs you will use to measure security. Then, use these consistent benchmarks as you work to improve security. A few examples of measurable KPIs could include:
The number of high severity vulnerabilities within your applications
The amount of vulnerability fixes applied (i.e. how many issues were fixed during production)
The Mean Time To Detect (MTTD)
In London, the public transport systems put up a one-liner for reporting any suspicious behavior on their trains: “see it, say it, sort it.” Along a similar vein, vulnerabilities need to be fixed in an open, straightforward way.
But this can only happen with good communication. Team members should be able to “see, say, and sort” security issues without being penalized for spotting them. Encourage a culture of open communication within and between teams, and reward team members for finding issues
Here at Snyk, we offer security tools that help developers achieve these best practices. Our solutions are developer-centric and easy to integrate into pre-existing CI/CD pipelines. They also enable developers to take actionable, contextual steps towards remediation, with results that can be exported and used to measure success.
We provide security for open source components, cloud, containers, IaC, and in-house proprietary code. In addition, our DevSecOps tools allow users to set up different alert setups for different teams, auto-assigning any incoming alerts by user groups, and integrating them with notification platforms and custom alerts. Snyk also makes it easy to set your own security policy rules to be enforced across the entire SDLC.
Snyk provides solutions that easily integrate with your development process, continuous scanning throughout your software pipeline, and quick fixes that only take a click. Schedule a demo to find out more about our developer-first DevSecOps tools.
Next in the series
DevOps becomes DevSecOps!
There’s some talk in the blogosphere about DevOps being overrated, but imagine the alternative: a world in which you could only release application updates every month, or every quarter.Keep reading