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Why DevSecOps Needs Security as Code

January 20, 2022

The introduction of DevOps made software development faster and simpler. Many firms found this practice beneficial because it enabled development teams to be more productive.

However, DevOps had a challenge related to security implementation. DevSecOps was introduced to solve this problem.

DevSecOps utilizes security as code to bypass the security issues noted in DevOps. Security as code ensures that development teams define security at the start of the project. A software then undergoes repeated codification for consistent use.

This article discusses DevSecOps, security as code, and continuous delivery. It also describes how security as code is a solution to risks during development and runtime.

What is security as code?

Security as code constitutes a toolset of resources that codify security and policy decisions in a DevOps setup.

This practice aims to protect the software development lifecycle. Since DevOps is popular with many organizations, introducing security as code is crucial.

During the implementation of security as code, several scans and tests ensure that the continuous integration/delivery pipeline stays protected from security bugs and other vulnerabilities.

Security as code represents the next direction of DevOps in a time when businesses prioritize data safety.

It binds application development to security management, thus allowing developers to focus on core features and software functionality.

What is DevSecOps?

DevSecOps stands for development, security, and operations. It is an approach that modifies DevOps to incorporate security as a shared responsibility for the whole software development lifecycle.

DevSecOps is, therefore, a necessary practice for businesses. For many, the challenge of data security has been overwhelming. This is evident from the numerous security breaches in organizations.

Introducing DevSecOps’ security in the application development cycle is critical in minimizing risks and breaches that organizations experience.

DevSecOps integrates application and infrastructure security into DevOps and agile processes. It grants a functionality level that can address security bugs as they develop. This feature, therefore, boosts data security.

Continuous delivery as a foundation of security as code

Agile ideas and principles that facilitate continuous delivery and face-to-face collaboration are the foundation of DevSecOps.

Continuous integration and delivery are fundamental agile development practices that facilitate security as code.

When a developer makes a change during continuous integration, the entire system is automatically rebuilt and tested.

As a result, the process provides fast and frequent feedback about the health of the codebase.

Nevertheless, continuous delivery is more than just automating the building and testing process. It also supports automated provisioning and configuring testing environments that match production.

Developers package the code and deploy it for testing in continuous delivery. They run performance tests and communicate security status as code to the dashboard.

Continuous delivery forms a backbone for DevSecOps. It is an automated framework that makes secure software development more effective.

It simplifies the process of incorporating infrastructural changes in software and applications. Implementing a continuous delivery pipeline requires the collaboration of developers.

There must be a great understanding of how the system functions and how production appears. This mastery of the processes is vital in ensuring maximum cooperation between developers.

How security as code enables development teams to address security

Security as code enables development teams to address security issues more proactively. For instance, DevSecOps teams can describe code according to the security goals they aim to achieve.

With this practice, developers can customize the security of their software and applications according to a specific organization’s needs.

Initially, when DevSecOps was inexistent, there was a gap between security and development teams. It was common for development teams to ignore or subvert security processes that had not yet been updated.

Now that there is security as code, collaboration for these teams on different issues has yielded better results.

Today, developers and security teams can focus on the same code base which ensures that an application passes a test before proceeding to the next level.

Security as code has also helped development teams to address security by increasing visibility. This practice simplifies and centralizes data access.

Due to security as code, it is easy to track and request software changes according to an organization’s needs. By centralizing data access, security as code also reduces the redundancy of various procedures.

How security as code addresses risks in development and runtime

Security as code has become a driving force when it comes to software security. Many businesses investing in data security have found security as code crucial in implementing various protection measures.

In particular, this practice is helping highly innovative IT firms to address their security challenges better than in the past.

Security as code is critical in helping organizations strengthen their software development life cycle by shifting their attention to exploitable areas.

The practice automates meaningful test conditions in data pipelines. For instance, they could be set to break the software development process if it contains high-risk findings or is highly likely to expose sensitive data.

This automation makes software development swift because organizations can quickly identify and fix security threats.

Alerts by security as code point to a vulnerability in an application or software and necessitate its fixing. For this reason, security as code is a vital tool whose integration into DevSecOps boosts productivity.

Security as code is gaining popularity, just like DevSecOps. It is a good fit for several software systems that use automation to deploy information.

Security as code augments automated workflows to reduce security vulnerabilities before anyone exploits them.

DevOps had several security vulnerabilities that DevSecOps is now bridging using security as code. Developers can now eliminate manual steps required to strengthen application and software security.

This minimizes the mistakes that come as a result of manual coding. Security as code also enhances the speed and consistency of making configuration changes.

It bypasses the limitations of DevOps, which is why many firms are increasingly leaning towards integrating security as code in security systems.

Besides, security as code minimizes the risks of making errors during software and app development by reducing excessive reliance on individual decision-making.

Evaluation of security systems occurs from a central point, and its application is transferred to all the projects. It becomes easy to repeat the processes while following established standards.

All projects uphold a security level that matches every other application or software in a specific firm. However, there is a downside to this approach.

If someone tampers with the security as code that is applied to all the projects, an entire firm’s software development life cycle will suffer.

Conclusion

In the world today, cyber-security has become very crucial for every firm. Digitalization has made the need to protect data necessary to prevent unauthorized access.

With the acceleration of the software and application development cycles under DevOps, integrating security as code to create DevSecOps became paramount.

Security as code has been integrated into DevSecOps to improve proactive security. It has transformed DevSecOps to introduce more secure processes that bar cybercriminals from infiltrating company apps and software.


Peer Review Contributions by: Collins Ayuya