What Is DevSecOps: Definition, Benefits, and Best Practices
Last updated on October 5, 2023
DevSecOps practices can help you to avoid sinuous workflows when it comes to software development security, earning you more time.
Security should not be an afterthought when you are creating your online product, especially if you want to work fast and durable. If you don’t want to have to retrace your steps to find every error in the development of your product, cybersecurity experts should be involved in the process from day one.
This article will explain the definition of DevSecOps, its benefits, and its best practices.
What Is DevSecOps?
DevSecOps it’s short for development, security, and operations. And this term refers to the automatic incorporation of security in every step of the software development lifecycle: starting with the design, through integration, testing, deployment, and delivery. The code is inspected, analyzed, searched, and tested for security concerns throughout the development cycle.
Having security issues in sight from the get-go, and not at the end of the development process, as a quality assurance (QA) procedure, DevSecOps deals with vulnerabilities as they appear. This makes fixing bugs an easier, faster, and cheaper procedure, as they are addressed before adding more details to the product.
This practice shifts application and infrastructure security from the exclusive task of the security department to a joint responsibility of the development, security, and IT operations teams.
DevSecOps represents a healthy evolution in the way development companies see cybersecurity without slowing the software development cycle.
To implement all these practices and for them to have a real impact on your business, you need this set of tools:
Static application security testing (SAST) – these tools scan custom code for any errors that could generate exploitable vulnerabilities.
Software composition analysis (SCA) – search for known bugs in open-source or third-party code. They can be easily integrated into creation processes for faster mitigation.
Interactive application security testing (IAST) – can be used to examine web application runtime behavior and dataflow.
Dynamic application security testing (DAST) – this type of box testing reproduces the way a threat actor could interact with your application.
The Benefits of Using DevSecOps
Keep two words in mind: fast and secure!
DevSecOps practices help development teams to deliver better code, in a shorter period of time. Implementing this will create the mindset that everybody is responsible for the security of a product.
But let’s dive deeper into the benefits of DevSecOps:
Making a security assessment only at the end of the development process can lead to huge delays in delivery as some steps of the lifecycle may have to be redone in order to fix the bug. So fixing vulnerabilities as they emerge – without interrupting the development cycle – can save a lot of time.
Integrated security eliminates redundant reviews and rebuilds, therefore is more cost-effective. Fixing already-made code can be very expensive for a development organization, so it is only logical to assure security as the code is created.
Better incident response
Having better collaboration between departments like development, security, and operations helps an organization to achieve a faster and stronger response when problems appear. Because vulnerabilities patching is so much smoother with the cross-team cooperation encouraged by DevSecOps, IT teams will have a more manageable workload.
Faster vulnerability patching
Common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) are identified faster and patched in the shortest time possible thanks to automation. This kind of behavior leaves fewer opportunities for cybercriminals to take advantage of a mistake made while developing software.
Cybersecurity testing can be done automatically by an organization, accordingly to its needs. Automated testing can help with both static and dynamic analysis. Many of the testing methods, tasks, and services required by cybersecurity practices integrate seamlessly with other automated processes from the application development workflow.
A malleable process
As an organization changes, its security needs change too. Fortunately, DevSecOps is a malleable process that can adapt to the new dynamic. This can be done by automation, configuration management, orchestration, containers, immutable infrastructure, and even serverless compute environments.
DevSecOps Best Practices
DevSecOps should not weigh on your internal processes but be a natural incorporation of security throughout the development cycle.
To make sure that things are like that, here are a few guidelines:
“Shift left” should be your organization’s security motto, meaning that security checks should move to the left (the beginning of the development process) in order to find bugs as early as possible and fix them.
Security is no longer the IT department’s “problem”. Everyone involved in the software creation process should benefit from security education. This way, your company’s security basics are common knowledge.
DevSecOps is also about good internal communication. Only if the ownership of every security procedure is a well-known thing, the company can function like a well-oiled machine with everybody taking responsibility for their work.
DevSecOps can offer you great insights regarding the security of your processes. In order to do that you have to keep in mind the traceability (trace items across the cycle), auditability (security controls need to be auditable for compliance reasons), and visibility (will allow you to adapt the process according to alerts, cyberattacks, etc.) of the development journey.
DevSecOps vs. DevOps
As you can imagine, DevSecOps means taking security a step further than DevOps.
DevOps focuses on the cooperation of the development and operations teams in the development cycle by creating tasks and goals. This way the operations crew can organize delivery more closely, receiving constant information from the development team.
DevSecOps takes the DevSec model but expands the coordination between development and operations teams in order to include also the security teams in the software creation cycle. Keeping application security in mind from the early stages makes the development process stronger regarding security and bug fixing.
To put it in other words, DevOps prioritizes speedy software delivery, while DevSecOps prioritizes security by delivering apps that are as secure as possible as rapidly as possible.
How Can Heimdal® Help?
By using an automated patch management software, you can be one step ahead in your journey, making sure that the vulnerabilities and threat actors will not interfere with your system.
Heimdal’s Patch & Asset Management comes to your help, as it is a complete, all-encompassing patch management solution that can inventory hardware and software assets, uncover historical vulnerabilities, and patch current applications.
This solution supports patches, updates, and hotfixes from proprietary, third-party, and OS-specific sources.
Install and Patch Software. Close Vulnerabilities. Achieve Compliance.
Heimdal® Patch & Asset Management
Remotely and automatically install Windows, Linux and 3rd party patches and manage your software inventory.
Implementing DevSecOps in your company and making security a common goal will trigger a change in culture, processes, and tools. This will especially affect the teams involved – development, security, and operations -, but will not stop there.
These high security standards will not delay the development process, especially if testing, triage, and risk mitigation appear early in the cycle.
Andreea is a digital content creator within Heimdal® with a great belief in the educational power of content. A literature-born cybersecurity enthusiast (through all those SF novels…), she loves to bring her ONG, cultural, and media background to this job.