What is DevSecOps?
DevSecOps integrates software development (dev), IT operations (ops) and security (sec), to enable an organization to securely deliver software applications and services. DevSecOps incorporates the culture, practices, and tools necessary to achieve high development velocity together while ensuring a high level of security.
DevOps methodologies can be used to deliver new application features faster with frequent, incremental updates. The development, testing, and delivery process is highly automated, and applications are composed of small microservices, commonly deployed in containerized cloud environments. These modern systems are resilient, scalable, and easier to adapt to changing business needs.
At the same time, the rapid release cycle makes it very difficult to ensure software is secure. The old practice of performing a security evaluation at the end of development, just before release to production, is not effective and grinds DevOps pipelines to a halt. DevSecOps involves developers and operations teams in security concerts, and introduces automated tools that can help them test security from the early stages of the development lifecycle. This is known as “shifting security left”.
Why Should You Make the Move to DevSecOps?
Software vulnerabilities and misconfigurations are a primary cause of data breaches. A security breach can be catastrophic for an organization, leading to major financial loss, loss of business, and regulatory fines. This makes application security a top priority for any organizations engaged in software development.
The security environment has changed significantly in recent years due to the increasing complexity and number of cybersecurity threats. Increasingly, security measures are deployed during early development and testing, to ensure that all security considerations are taken into account before applications are deployed to production.
If security issues are only discovered at the end of the delivery pipeline, it is complex and expensive to resolve them, often requiring significant refactoring. This creates interruptions for development teams and can delay software delivery. Or even worse—in some cases applications are shipped without remediating all security weaknesses, leading to severe risks.
DevSecOps is a way to simplify and incorporate these steps into the development process. It can prevent security vulnerabilities from reaching a production environment and causing harm. DevSecOps creates a more efficient and faster way to deliver secure code within an agile framework. At the same time, it strengthens collaboration between operations, development, and security teams, creating shared responsibility and accountability for security.
What are the Challenges of DevSecOps?
The main challenges of implementing DevSecOps are:
- Teams are reluctant to integrate—DevSecOps aims to unite teams and drive them to work together. However, some in the organization might not not be happy to make the switch, because they are already familiar with current development processes, or because they are concerned the transition will make it difficult for them to meet their existing responsibilities.
- Tool war—initially, the development, operations, and security teams worked separately, each with its own metrics and tools. As these teams converge, it is hard to agree on which are the best tools for the combined effort. Naturally, each team will be a proponent of the tools it already uses. Integrating disparate toolsets is complex and also makes it more difficult to manage DevSecOps initiatives. Ideally, teams need to settle on one set of tools and ensure the entire team uses them.
- Implement security in the CI/CD pipeline—CI/CD pipelines are complex and have strict requirements. Developers should not be expected to adapt their processes to security. To be successful, DevSecOps should not attempt to adapt processes and tools to existing security approaches. Rather, DevSecOps tools should integrate with and enhance the existing CI/CD model.
How Splunk Can Contribute to Your DevSecOps Strategy
For DevSecOps to work, you need to be able to analyze activity across the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Splunk provides an open data platform that makes it possible to share data across multiple environments, ensuring all teams gain visibility into everything taking place across the development pipeline.
The central component of a Splunk system is Splunk Enterprise—software that lets you ingest large volumes of data from applications, sensors, devices, and logs, and allows you to search, analyze, and visualize it. Splunk also provides dedicated security solutions, including Splunk Enterprise Security, a security information and event management (SIEM) solution, and Splunk User Behavioral Analytics (UBA).
Here are a few ways Splunk solutions promotes observability for developers, operations teams, and security professionals:
- Splunk Infrastructure Monitoring—allows teams to track and analyze vulnerability scans and identify the effectiveness of the vulnerability management process.
- Splunk Enterprise Security—automatically identifies and alerts suspicious activity or downtime in CI/CD pipelines, code repositories, secrets management systems, container image registries, or any other part of the DevOps toolchain.
- Splunk Observability Suite—alerts on new production vulnerabilities and automatically triggers remediation.
- Splunk APM—provides full-stack monitoring to help track production incidents back to the code that originated them. Integrates with Splunk’s On-Call incident response tool.
In this article, I explained the basics of DevSecOps and showed a few ways a data solution like Splunk can support your transformation:
- Unify data from tooling across the organization
- Increase visibility of vulnerability scans
- Secure DevOps tooling across the CI/CD pipeline
- Identify production incidents and trigger automated responses
- Perform full-stack monitoring to rapidly remediate production issues
I hope this will be useful as you transition your organization to a full DevSecOps model
Working as a cyber security solutions architect, Alisa focuses on application and network security. Before joining us she held a cyber security researcher positions within a variety of cyber security start-ups. She also experience in different industry domains like finance, healthcare and consumer products.