How can I deliver software faster, more frequently, and with lower risks and costs?
Every software leader thinks about this question and relies on automation to fight the battle on all fronts. However, the DevOps culture often neglects security in favor of faster releases. While having faster releases is a huge win, faster releases resulting from little to no security checks is a critical problem. Cyberattacks are increasing in frequency and intensity worldwide. Therefore, security is no longer just a function of cybersecurity experts. It is a core responsibility of all who develop, test, and deploy applications.
The key to ensuring that security is an essential part of your delivery pipelines while maintaining faster releases is, again, automation. Therefore, we need to move towards automation of security policies, checks, and infrastructure.
Automating Security In Your SDLC
Let’s explore ways to automate security checks in your software development life cycle.
A pre-commit hook is a mechanism provided by the Git version control system. Git hook scripts are useful for identifying simple issues before submission for code review. You can set up these scripts to run on every commit to automatically point out issues in code such as possible secrets/credit card information, missing semicolons, trailing whitespace, and debug statements. By highlighting such issues before code review, pre-commit hooks reduce workload, allowing the code reviewer to focus on the architecture of a change instead of wasting time with trivial nitpicks.
IDE Security Plugins
IDE security plugins are a great example of the shift-left security approach. A critical pre CI/CD security tool, IDE plugin performs static analysis of a developer’s code directly from their IDE. This security analysis and feedback helps developers detect flaws in the early stages of software development.
Static Code Analysis
Static code analysis is a debugging method that examines source code before running the program. It does so by analyzing a code set against a set (or multiple sets) of coding rules. Unlike dynamic code analysis, static code analysis performs tests before running the program, creating an automated feedback loop for developers.
Read how one of our clients used GHAS to strengthen their CI/CD pipelines.
Infrastructure as Code Scanning
Infrastructure as code tools such as Terraform and CloudFormation, enable teams to focus on provisioning rather than individual configuration management. With this implemented, it is important to leverage IaC to enforce cloud security earlier in the development lifecycle. This helps minimize risk and maintain cloud compliance. You should also review IaC files for possible security vulnerabilities ranging from network misconfigurations to binaries installed in an OS.
Software Composition Analysis
Organizations are increasingly using more open-source software, and this trend will continue to accelerate. Therefore, it’s critical to track all open source components used by your application so that you can guard against issues and vulnerabilities in these components. Software Composition Analysis (SCA) is the process of automating visibility into the use of open-source software for risk management, security, and license compliance. SCA tools identify open source security risks and vulnerabilities of third-party components and provide licensing and vulnerability information for each of them.
Popular tools for SCA: GitHub Advanced Security’s supply chain security tooling, Mend, and Jfrog Xray.
The increased use of containers for scalable and portable deployments introduces an extra attack surface, and it is essential to ensure that containers are deployed as securely as possible. For example, a microservices architecture introduces new infrastructure components and unknown attack surfaces. Container security focuses on securing the container pipeline and the container deployment infrastructure.
You can integrate certain tools with your CI/CD pipelines to run scans on your containers before they are pushed to the production environment.
Automation significantly bolsters your overall security posture. Still, it doesn’t cover all potential security threats. There is still a need for firewalls, DDoS protection solutions, and frequent manual reviews. It is also important to constantly improve on the above tools to optimize pipeline capabilities and make changes when needed.
Integrating security into your CI/CD pipelines requires suitable tools and processes that enable cross-functional collaboration across the Development, QA, Security, and Operations teams. Automation, paired with regular threat modeling and security training programs, will help everyone stay abreast of emerging threats. This will help your organization stay a step ahead of cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities.
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