DevSecOps Best Practices for Building Secure Software

DevSecOps practices help organizations align security and development teams, and ensure that their fortifications are built into the software from the start. That security is prioritized in the model right from the very beginning. It’s not just about having a checklist of things to do. It’s about changing the way teams work and think about security. It also requires a shift in culture, mindset, and skillsets for developers and operations teams. The DevSecOps approach has been adopted by companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and Google because it improves agility while maintaining high levels of security.

What is DevSecOps?

DevSecOps is an approach to security that involves developers, operations, and security professionals. It is a methodology that emphasizes the need for collaboration between these teams. The term is an abbreviation of Development, Security, and Operations. It is at its core a shift in the company’s paradigm, value setting, culture, and mindset — “security is a team effort and it has to be upheld during the entire IT lifecycle.”

DevSecOps was developed in response to the increased number of cyberattacks in recent years. The idea behind it is that by combining the expertise of all three teams, they can create more secure applications and networks.

DevSecOps is aimed at securing an organization’s applications from threats, vulnerabilities, and cyber-attacks. It was developed to help organizations respond quickly to cyber-attacks. It also helps organizations identify, evaluate and mitigate vulnerabilities in the software they use. This methodology has many benefits that can be leveraged by different sizes of organizations. One of the benefits is that it can help lower costs by reducing the time taken by developers to fix vulnerabilities in their applications. By how much? By 5x. It also helps in identifying, assessing, and mitigating vulnerabilities before they are exploited by attackers.

And why are organizations increasing their adoption of the DevSecOps methodology?

Today, according to the World Bank, cyber-attacks are the 5th greatest threat to our overall global stability. They have increased exponentially over the years. No longer limiting themselves to ransomware attacks or monetary incursions but becoming act of terrorism and vandalism — a disruption for disruption’s sake. Today, attackers are better prepared, better financed, and with better tech. They are an industry with high-profit margins and one that is constantly on the prowl for opportunities.

Cybercrime has been on the rise for several reasons. The most prominent reason is the lack of cyber security measures that companies have in place. This is because some companies are not aware of the risks involved or they don’t have enough resources to invest in these measures. Another reason is that cybercrime has become more profitable than other crimes, meaning that it pays more to be a cybercriminal than a robber or drug dealer.

DevSecOps Practices — Building Secure Software

DevSecOps is mainly about understanding that at its core, at its root, security is as important as the product you’re selling as well as the business model you’re building. If the foundation is rotten, spoiled, or leaking you will sooner or later have a catastrophe. That’s not to say that by employing DevSecOps practices you’ll avoid attacks — no, it just means that you will be better prepared for when they do occur. No downtime, and no sneak attacks.

Employ automation whenever possible

Thanks to automation tools, algorithms, and AI, part of the oversight needed when it comes to DevSecOps is no longer manual. This means you can cut your staff some slack, while also improving your metrics. Why? Machines, if properly calibrated and constantly updated, are error-free.

Carefully plan automation processes

Machines might be error-free, but operators are flesh and bones. In other words, if sometimes fails, when it comes to automation processes, the likelihood of it being a configuration error is high. It’s important to have redundancy oversight at this critical stage.

Employ proactive approaches that enable quick vulnerabilities discovery

The best way to find out if you’re vulnerable is to attack yourself and your organization. Today, there are hundreds of proactive measures you can take to spot vulnerabilities. A great example is hacking contests, where you pay freelance independent coders and engineers bounties for every vulnerability they spot.

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Train developers on secure coding

The need for secure coding is a pressing issue. The number of cyberattacks has increased in the last few years. The 2018 Cost of Cyber ​​Crime Study revealed that the average cost per company to deal with one incident was $40,000. Train your team, all your team, in secure coding practices.

Treat security vulnerabilities as software defects

Most companies have a bad habit. They make distinctions between software glitches and security vulnerabilities. They need to understand that bugs are, well, bugs. Whatever puts your product at risk is a defect at its core. By changing the mindset, you alter the way you approach problems and the priority you give them.

Learn from failures

Your failures are great teaching opportunities. Think of them as a tax on your momentary ignorance. Pay it once, then have your team find a way to obfuscate it or avoid it.

Foster a DevSecOps culture and mindset

One of the biggest issues, when it comes to DevSecOps practices, is your team. The truth is that most teams regard security measures and protocols, when it comes to software, as roadblocks in their creative path. It’s important to change the culture and have them embrace DevSecOps — practices their importance and why, by following them, they will create better quality products.

DevSecOps practices — why integrate them?

DevSecOps best practices can be summarized in three main steps:

  1. Identifying potential risks and vulnerabilities.
  2. Automating the remediation process.
  3. Continuously monitor for any changes to applications or infrastructure.

By integrating these practices you will create better products, higher quality software, and do so while reducing costs. It’s a win-win situation.

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