Exploring DevSecOps: Integrating Security into Development and Operations

Allison Bokone
Allison Bokone
Last updated on November 16, 2023

While DevOps promotes collaboration between development and operations, it often neglects security, which can result in risks both during development and in production. Today, we want to help you understand the core principles of DevSecOps and how you can ensure that security is no longer an afterthought but an integral part of your team’s development lifecycle.

What Is DevSecOps?

DevSecOps stands for Development, Security, and Operations. While DevOps brings together the development and operations teams in an iterative development loop, it sometimes falls back on the traditional SDLC (software development lifecycle) method of relegating security checks to the end of the development cycle as features are being handed off to operations.

Though a DevOps model has the development and operations team work more closely to ensure handoffs and feedback are passed from one team to another accurately, without involving security early in the development stages or in the post-release stages there is still inherent risk. DevSecOps solves this by adding security elements at each phase of the DevOps lifecycle. This ensures security is kept up to date on how features are changing during development and can propose security improvements before the team has already invested heavily in their design and coding.

Who Uses DevSecOps Methodology?

Teams that use an Agile SDLC can leverage DevSecOps as a way to quickly release updates that are also as secure as possible. Teams that have already adopted DevOps as a way to continuously improve their products in quick, iterative releases can add security into all stages of their process so that everyone plays a part in creating a secure product.

Why Is DevSecOps Important?

With traditional security testing done at the end of development, any bugs or gaps that were found had the potential to require going back to the beginning of the SDLC to redesign, recode, and retest the features that required security changes. With DevOps, shorter iterations and time to release helped reduce that cost because the changes were more likely to be small, but catching a security bug just before deployment is still a costly error to correct. If security is injected into all stages of development, ideally issues will be caught early in the SDLC iteration and will be much easier to correct during the planning or coding stages – and you’ll be improving the overall security of your product while reducing cost.

Having security integrated at each stage of your DevOps SDLC means you’ll have closer security monitoring across your pipelines at all times and can catch and react to security threats quickly. DevSecOps is also an important way to ensure your team and products remain compliant with a constantly changing set of industry-standard regulations in areas like privacy.

How to Implement DevSecOps Processes Successfully

Change is always hard, and bringing three distinct job functions together can be difficult to navigate. Consider the following areas when planning your DevSecOps implementation.

Managing Cultural Changes

DevSecOps is a different approach to the full SDLC that has implications for everyone on the team. For these reasons, you should be clear about what cultural changes will need to happen in your company for DevSecOps to succeed. Having regular communications from the top that are reinforced by managers and team leaders will keep everyone on the same page. Because DevSecOps changes the way dev roles function and interact with operations and security, it can be especially stressful for your development teams. For this reason, managers may need to take extra time to ensure they understand their role in the new model and the benefits of this transition.

You should also give employees different spaces to ask questions and be as transparent with your answers as possible. You may not have all the answers immediately, and that’s okay. This type of transformation introduces new elements for everyone, and setting an example of curiosity and openness in management can inspire others to learn more and embrace change.

Choosing DevSecOps Software

Choosing the right toolset for your team – one that will help automate security checks without creating too much overhead – is another key area to focus on when planning DevSecOps adoption. Evaluate what tools and processes everyone is using, where there is overlap or duplication, and where there are gaps. Taking the time to understand the broader team infrastructure and carefully planning a tools transition to minimize impact goes a long way towards making the transition smoother and having employees more readily accept the new approach to development and collaboration.

Consider tools in potentially new areas such as Static Application Security Testing (SAST), Software Composition Analysis (SCA), Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST), and Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST).

Leveraging Best Practices

As you’ve probably gathered, security is really a team effort, so having ongoing communication about everyone’s security responsibilities is important to keeping awareness high. Talking with your teams about the “shift left” and “shift right” concepts can help grow security awareness. Shift left refers to moving security practices and discussions earlier in the development cycle so that issues are detected while the product is still being built. Shift right is about continuing to prioritize security after deployment so that the team can quickly identify and respond to any security bugs in production that were missed.

How Assembla Can Aid Your DevSecOps Process

Assembla has industry-leading compliance and security across their platforms. Advanced User Permission Controls give you the ability to customize permissions per project as needed, and Assembla supports the LDAP protocol with Active Directory (AD) for user account management and the SAML protocol for Single Sign-On (SSO).

Shift left by leveraging Assembla’s integration with Kiuwan Code Security Scanner. Once you enable the integration, Kiuwan will automatically run SAST once a week to look for vulnerabilities and security threats. You can also use AlphaScan to automatically scan commits for hardcoded passwords and access keys in your source code.

Assembla partners with AWS, Perforce, and SVN to employ the latest security best practices to keep your data centers, source code, and asset management systems monitored and protected. With detailed user activity and workflow logs, audits and investigations are easy to conduct, and you can set up automation and notifications to ensure projects are following the latest compliance policies.

Start a Free Trial Today

Experience the advantages of fully managed cloud hosting with Assembla’s comprehensive solutions. Start a free trial today and discover how Assembla’s dedicated cloud hosting services can help your team streamline DevSecOps processes, increase security, and improve collaboration.

Get Source Code Management Tips in Your Inbox
The reCAPTCHA was invalid. try it again.
By registering, you confirm that you agree to the processing of your personal data by Assembla, Inc. as described in the Privacy Statement. Assembla, Inc. is part of the Idera group and may share your information with its parent company Idera, Inc., and its affiliates. For further details on how your data is used, stored, and shared, please review our Privacy Statement.
Allison Bokone
Allison Bokone
Allison Bokone is an instructor at Miami University in Ohio for the Computer and Information Technology department, specializing in process and DevOps. Prior to teaching, Allison worked at Microsoft for 18 years, first as a Technical Writer, then as a Program Manager and Director at Xbox. In her last role she was a regular contributor to MicrosoftGameDev.com.
© 2024 Assembla - All Rights Reserved

Select AWS Region

Pick the region closest to your team for faster performance.

Select AWS Region

Pick the region closest to your team for faster performance.