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What is devsecops
What is devsecops
What is devsecops

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What is DevSecOps?: Introduction to DevSecOps, its evolution, and significance.

The Digital Revolution

We stand on the threshold of a new digital epoch, one characterized by unprecedented transformation and possibilities. Early 2023 has seen pivotal AI trends, including Large Language Models reshaping our everyday lives. Businesses are pivoting to AI-first strategies and product companies are shipping code faster than ever. The cumulative impact of years of tech revolutions is accelerating the uptake of digital technologies. The world as we know of today, won’t be the same by the end of this decade. However, this fast pace of innovation is not without peril. As we sprint toward a digital horizon, the attack surface broadens, increasing cybersecurity threats that traditional measures cannot counter.

Cyber Threats Escalate in Scale and Sophistication

  1. 2,200 cyber attacks happen per day, with an average cyber attack happening every 39 seconds.

  2. There has been a 600% spike in cybercrime since the 2020 pandemic began.

  3. IoT attacks are expected to double by 2025 [1].

  4. 43% of SMBs were attacked, but only 14% were prepared.

The Costs of Breaches Continue to Rise

  1. The average cost of a data breach was $4.45 million in 2023, according to IBM.

  2. It takes an average of 200+ days to identify and contain a breach.

  3. The projected global cost of cybercrime is $10 trillion by 2025.

  4. In the US, a data breach costs an average of $9.44M.

The long-term costs of breaches, ranging from data loss to reputation damage, underscore the imperative for immediate, comprehensive cybersecurity measures. These insights underscore the critical need for robust security strategies and the businesses must adapt swiftly. Safeguarding against cyberattacks is no longer a choice but a necessity and DevSecOps emerges as the optimal strategy.

What is DevSecOps? The Path to Secure Innovation

DevSecOps is an approach to software development that integrates security practices and controls throughout the entire development lifecycle. This ensures that security is not an afterthought and is instead a fundamental aspect of the development process. Let's consider a hypothetical online e-commerce platform as an example of DevSecOps in action:

1. Planning & Design: During the early stages, the product team decides to introduce a new payment method for the e-commerce platform. The DevSecOps team gets involved right from the beginning. They collaborate on threat modeling for the new feature to identify potential security risks.

2. Code Development: As developers write the code to integrate this new payment method, they're given guidelines by the security team on secure coding practices specific to payment processing. For example, they might be reminded to avoid storing any sensitive credit card details and instead use tokenization.

3. Continuous Integration (CI): The CI pipeline is set up to automatically check the code for vulnerabilities every time a change is made. Tools like static code analysis, software composition analysis, and more detect any potential security issues.

4. Continuous Delivery (CD): Before deploying the new code to a staging or production environment, dynamic application security testing (DAST) tools simulate cyberattacks to identify vulnerabilities. If any issues are found, the code is sent back to the development phase for fixing.

5. Deployment: Once cleared, the feature is deployed to a staging environment first. This environment closely mirrors the production setup, allowing the operations and security teams to monitor and catch any unforeseen issues before the feature goes live.

6. Monitoring: Even after the new payment method goes live, the work doesn't stop. Monitoring tools keep an eye on real-time traffic, looking for any signs of suspicious activity or potential breaches.

7. Feedback and Iteration: The security and operations teams provide feedback to the developers based on what they've observed in the staging and production environments. For instance, they might notice an increasing trend of failed login attempts, suggesting the need for additional security measures like multi-factor authentication.

8. Incident Response: Despite all precautions, if a security incident occurs (like a data breach), the DevSecOps approach ensures that there's a clear protocol in place for response and remediation. The teams collaboratively work to contain the issue, notify affected parties, and implement fixes to prevent future similar incidents.

In the above example, by building security into every phase of the development lifecycle, DevSecOps ensures that software is not only innovative and efficient but also secure and safe from cyber threats.

Its relevance is underscored by the growth in DevSecOps startups.

This DevSecOps Guide Will Cover

  1. The evolution from Traditional DevOps to DevSecOps

  2. Defining DevSecOps and its importance, especially in API Security

  3. Key benefits and a case study of Company A's transformation with DevSecOps

  4. APIs as the core of modern solutions

  5. Assessing a career in DevSecOps and challenges in adopting DevSecOps

  6. Our call to action, conclusion, and additional resources

You'll gain insight into DevSecOps as more than a trend. It's an essential aspect of aligning with technological growth and ensuring responsible innovation.

Historical Context: Traditional DevOps to DevSecOps

In the initial phase of software development, there existed a distinct divide between developers and operations teams. Developers were solely focused on writing code, while operations were responsible for deploying and managing software in production. This separation often resulted in friction, miscommunication, and frequent deployment failures, hindering the agility and efficiency required in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Emergence of DevOps: Bridging the Gap

Responding to the inherent challenges of this siloed approach, the DevOps movement emerged in the late 2000s. With practices like continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) at its core, DevOps aims to foster collaboration between development and operations teams. By aligning their goals and methodologies, DevOps significantly enhanced the speed and quality of software releases. It was a breakthrough moment, aligning teams that had previously struggled to communicate and cooperate.

DevOps to DevSecOps: A Pivotal Transformation

While DevOps succeeded in improving efficiency and collaboration, security often remained on the periphery. Traditional security measures like occasional audits and penetration testing were disconnected from the daily development lifecycle. Vulnerabilities were often detected too late in the process, resulting in delays and compromised software integrity. Below is a pictorial view of DevOps vs DevSecOps.

Devops to DevSecOps evolution

And hence Security was needed for DevOps.

Recognizing the need to bring security to the forefront, DevSecOps emerged as the natural evolution of DevOps. This integrated approach bakes security into every phase of the development lifecycle, transcending mere collaboration to forge a seamless fusion between development, operations, and security teams. DevSecOps aspires to "Shift Security Left," meaning addressing vulnerabilities early in the development process. The rise of DevSecOps underscores the industry's acknowledgment that security isn't just a checkbox but an integral part of the process. For businesses, staying competitive means shipping code at accelerating speed. And to do so, while also keeping systems secure, we need DevSecOps.

DevSecOps is essential for the following key reasons:

  1. Exponential increase in cyber attacks makes security an imperative, not an afterthought.

  2. Breaches completely derail companies and consumers lose Trust.

  3. The speed of software development today widens the threat landscape exponentially if security isn't automated and embedded into pipelines.

  4. Relying solely on manual security processes like penetration testing causes massive delays and friction increasing MTTD and MTTR.

  5. DevSecOps provide guardrails as companies adopt new platforms and architectures like cloud, containers, microservices, AI and Web3.

  6. For highly regulated industries like finance and healthcare, DevSecOps is especially crucial for balancing compliance with the need for software innovation.

  7. For startups disrupting technology, implementing "secure by design" principles from the start prevents disastrous breaches.

A key quantifiable objective for cybersecurity teams is minimizing the Mean Time to Detect (MTTD) and Mean Time to Respond (MTTR) to security incidents.  Let’s look at some stats to understand the importance behind such metrics.

  1. The average cost of a data breach was $4.24 million per incident in 2021, and the average time to detect and contain a data breach was 287 days (212 to detect, 75 to contain).

  2. The global average cost of a data breach reached an all-time high of $4.35 million for studied organizations in 2022, and the average time to identify and contain a breach was 287 days.

  3. From 2020 to 2021, the average cost of a data breach increased from $3.86 to $4.24 million.

  4. According to the SANS 2019 Incident Response survey, 52.6% of organizations had an MTTD of less than 24 hours, while 81.4% had an MTTD of 30 days or less.

  5. Once an incident is detected, 67% of organizations report an MTTR of less than 24 hours.

Thus, by automating security testing, continuous monitoring, and collaboration between teams, DevSecOps help organizations detect and respond to security threats more efficiently and effectively and reduce MTTD and MTTR.

The future will be written in code and DevSecOps ensures our future is secure along with the catalyst for growth and progress.

Integrating DevSecOps across SDLC

DevSecOps is a “Security First” strategy. DevSecOps integrates security practices and controls across the entire software lifecycle. By leveraging specialized tools or building custom tools at each phase, businesses can build security into applications from the ground up rather than introducing it later.

Here’s an overview of how security can be ingrained into each stage of the development process:

  1. Planning and Design: At the heart of a secure development process lies robust planning. By leveraging tools like ThreatModeler and Microsoft Threat Modeling Tool, security requirements are identified and aligned right from the inception, paving the way for a security-centered development journey.

  2. Development: Security in coding is no longer an afterthought. With SonarQube and Checkmarx, developers can infuse secure coding practices into their workflow, building a strong defense against potential vulnerabilities.

  3. Continuous Integration (CI): Early detection is key to efficient security management. Akto in Jenkins enables automated security testing within the CI pipeline, turning potential crises into manageable fixes.

  4. Continuous Deployment (CD): By employing AWS CodeDeploy and Octopus Deploy, the continuous deployment phase can be fortified with rigorous security checks, ensuring a seamless and secure transition to production.

  5. Monitoring and Operation: Real-time responsiveness can be a lifesaver in the fast-paced digital landscape. Tools like Splunk and Datadog allow immediate detection and action, keeping security incidents under control.

Integrating these stages and tools, DevSecOps offers an unbroken security shield, optimizing both efficiency and compliance costs.

Here’s an infographic to understand “Security in SDLC”

Security in SDLC

Overview of DevSecOps Techniques

Below is a streamlined toolkit of DevSecOps techniques that focus on key areas from code to cloud. These techniques equip you to manage vulnerabilities and ensure robust deployments by fortifying your software development lifecycle (SDLC).

  1. Patch Management: Quick and decisive action is facilitated by WSUS and Ivanti Patch Manager, which help in reducing both Mean Time to Detect (MTTD) and Repair (MTTR).

  2. Secret Scanning: With GitGuardian and truffleHog, organizations can act as gatekeepers of sensitive data, scanning repositories and ensuring that secrets remain uncompromised.

  3. Configuration Analysis: Chef InSpec and Nessus empower businesses to comb through infrastructure configurations, identifying weak points, and reinforcing them without delay.

  4. Deployment Security: Docker and Kubernetes introduce an additional layer of scrutiny during deployment, guarding against unintended exposures and deployment-related vulnerabilities.

  5. Software Composition Analysis (SCA): Stay ahead of potential risks with Snyk and Semgrep by analyzing code dependencies for optimum security assurance.

  6. Static and Dynamic Application Security Testing (SAST, IAST & DAST): Utilize Snk and Akto for end-to-end security testing, keeping development phases free from lurking threats.

  7. Supply Chain Attacks: Trust in tools like Symantec Endpoint Protection for an all-encompassing defense against increasingly prevalent supply chain attacks.

The future is API-driven - Is your DevSecOps strategy ready?

In modern architectures like Microservices or SOA, APIs are the most foundational element that drive today's digital transformation initiatives from Tech to Finance to HealthCare to IoT. However, flawed APIs can expose organizations to threats like the following to name a few.

  • Data breaches through unauthorized access

  • Denial-of-service attacks due to lack of rate limiting

  • Financial or reputational damages if regulatory data is compromised

That's why API security requires specialized attention in DevSecOps programs. Unlike monolithic applications, APIs have distinct security needs:

  • Authentication and authorization mechanisms differ for remote access control

  • Their wide distribution and partner integration increases risk surface

  • Common vulnerabilities like SQLi operate differently in APIs

  • Popular API standards have unique considerations (REST, SOAP, GraphQL)

A separate OWASP API Security Project just focusses on API security shows its criticality and importance. These factors make external API attack surfaces fundamentally different from internal app risks.

Addressing the API security challenge requires focusing on:

  • Discovering all APIs, managed and shadow alike. Inventory management is key.

  • Testing: Rigorous and customized testing of authentication, encryption, business logic, and parameter handling.

  • Monitoring: Logging, analytics, and alerting to identify anomalies, abuse, and zero-days.

  • Remediation: Fixing flaws requires tight integration with existing dev workflows.

Taken together, these capabilities allow organizations to release APIs safely at the speed of DevOps. API Security is An Integral Part of DevSecOps. Like infrastructure as code and test automation, API security tooling must integrate seamlessly into DevOps pipelines. By embedding security scanning, monitoring, and protection for APIs, DevSecOps programs can deliver innovation with confidence rather than apprehension.

API Security with Akto

Akto is an open-source API security platform that helps security teams and developers secure their APIs in the development pipeline. With the growing importance of API security in the DevSecOps process, Akto offers a powerful solution for discovering, testing, and securing APIs in real-time.

Akto provides a comprehensive API security solution by discovering all your APIs in various formats, such as REST, GraphQL, gRPC, and JSONP. It comes with 100+ built-in tests covering OWASP Top 10, HackerOne top 10, and all the top business logic vulnerabilities in simple YAML templates. Akto's powerful testing engine runs a variety of business logic tests by reading traffic data to understand API traffic patterns, leading to reduced false positives.

Integrating Akto into the DevSecOps process is simple and efficient. The platform can be deployed in less than a minute, creating an automatic inventory of APIs that security teams can use to detect PII data leaks and test for misconfigurations during development. Akto can integrate with multiple traffic sources, such as Burp Suite, AWS, Postman, GCP, and gateways.

By incorporating Akto into the DevSecOps process, organizations can:

  1. Maintain a continuous inventory of APIs.

  2. Test APIs for vulnerabilities and find runtime issues.

  3. Integrate with CI/CD tools, enabling developers to run checks before deploying APIs.

Purpose-built API security solutions like Akto fill this critical gap through -

  1. Automated API discovery and lifecycle tracking

  2. Custom YAML templates for flexible API security testing

  3. Native CI/CD integration to shift security left

  4. Intelligent alerting and clear reporting

In conclusion, Akto is a powerful open-source API security platform that can be easily integrated into the DevSecOps process.

Comcast's DevSecOps Transformation: A Technical Case Study

Comcast, a global telecommunications leader, recognized the urgent need to integrate security within its software development process. This led to the exploration and implementation of DevSecOps, transforming their software architecture and development approach. Here's how Comcast overcame its challenges and emerged with a more robust and efficient process.

Part 1: Identifying the Need for Change

  • Lack of Security Assurance: Inadequate security controls in the development process.

  • Organizational Barriers: Alignment issues between various teams.

  • Quality Deficiencies: Subpar standards in development practices.

Part 2: The DevSecOps Transition Journey

  • Analysis, Education, and Training: Assessment of existing processes followed by a knowledge enhancement program.

  • Piloting a Program: Small-scale trial to validate the DevSecOps integration.

  • Scaling DevSecOps: Expansion of DevSecOps across organizational units.

Success Metrics:

  • Reduced security incidents.

  • Rapid vulnerability detection and resolution.

  • Enhanced cross-functional collaboration.

  • Shorter application delivery timeframes.

The DevSecOps transition at Comcast serves as a vital example of how security integration within the development process can lead to tangible benefits in security, efficiency, and collaboration.

Critical challenges in adopting DevSecOps

To successfully implement DevSecOps, overcoming a multitude of challenges is key. These challenges can broadly be categorized into three areas:

  • Organizational: Budget constraints and reluctance to change processes. Open-source tooling can help alleviate budget limitations.

  • Technical: The complexity of integrating disparate toolsets and platforms.

  • Cultural: A prevailing perception that security measures slow down the release cycle.

Navigating these challenges not only enriches the technical DevSecOps skills but also provides valuable learning experiences in soft skills and people management. There are always ample things to do but  mitigations include starting small, prioritizing high risk applications, providing training, and incrementally driving culture change.

Conclusion

Today's complex threat landscape requires a new approach. DevSecOps is the past, the present and the future of cybersecurity. If you're drawn to high-velocity innovation balanced with protection, there's never been a better time to embark on an exciting career in DevSecOps. DevSecOps is more than a trend; it's a necessary transformation that balances innovation with security. While the journey to DevSecOps can be challenging, the rewards are substantial. Whether considering a career in this promising field or adopting it within an organization, DevSecOps offers a roadmap for the future. A future where security is not an afterthought but a guiding principle, making our digital frontier as secure as it is promising. Join the movement, and be part of the solution.

How to have a Career in DevSecOps ?

DevSecOps is one of the hottest roles in tech. By integrating development, operations, and security, DevSecOps engineers architect the future of application development. What does a career in this high-demand field look like?

The Skills to Pay the DevSecOps Bills. Mastering DevSecOps requires diverse expertise including:

  • Coding in Java, JavaScript, Python or more.

  • Cloud platforms like AWS, Azure and GCP.

  • CI/CD tools like GitHub Actions and Jenkins.

  • Infrastructure as code with Ansible and Terraform.

  • A security-first mindset and understanding of risks/controls.

  • Practical knowledge in Secure SDLC and integrating SAST, DAST, and SCA tools into CI/CD pipelines are indispensable.

This fusion skillset allows DevSecOps engineers to embed security across the entire development lifecycle - from designing robust architectures to hardening production environments.

Skyrocketing Demand

LinkedIn lists DevSecOps engineer as a top emerging job with 33% annual growth. And salaries can reach $150K+ for senior roles.  Given the enormous demand, those skilled in DevSecOps are positioned to grow into security architecture, CISO and other leadership roles. It's an exciting time to get involved with this cutting-edge field.

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Gartner estimates that by 2025, less than 50% of enterprise APIs will be properly managed.

Gartner estimates that by 2025, less than 50% of enterprise APIs will be properly managed.

Protect your APIs from attacks now

Protect your APIs from attacks now

Protect your APIs from attacks now