10 Best DevSecOps Practices for Building Secure Applications

A quick rundown of how to effectively run DevSecOps within your organisation | Blog | 4 min. read

With the rise in the rate of cyberattacks over the past few years, the need to adopt security is increasing. Such damage from cyberattacks pushes more organizations to implement DevSecOps within their production environment.  

DevSecOps is a game-changing approach combining the functions of development, security, and operations teams. It integrates security throughout the software development life cycle to create an efficient and secure software engineering pipeline. With DevSecOps, numerous application development challenges for the organization have been reduced.  

Implementing this framework will benefit your organisation, such as minimizing the need for large-scale security fixes. But, before implementing DevSecOps in your organisation, there are a few DevSecOps practices that you need to consider.

According to Gartner, more than 80% of businesses will fail to adopt the modern security approach by 2023.

So, it is essential to move to the modern security approach properly. Keep reading this comprehensive blog to learn the following:

  • What are the best DevSecOps practices?
  • What is needed to follow the best DevSecOps practices?
  • Conclusion

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What are the best DevSecOps practices? 

The main aim of DevSecOps is to integrate security controls and practices into the software development lifecycle. Implementing the DevSecOps framework in an organisation offers many benefits, such as:

  • Faster deployment
  • Improved security posture
  • Better patching for a security vulnerability
  • Cost-effective software delivery
  • And many more! 

However, implementing DevSecOps is not as easy as it sounds. It requires a cultural shift in an organisation. There are a number DevSecOps best practices that you must follow for building secure applications.

This blog will teach you the 10 best practices you must consider while implementing DevSecOps. 

1. Automate as much as possible

Misconfigurations are one of the major security threats faced by several software development organizations. In 2021, the misconfigurations of third-party cloud services exposed around 100 million users’ data. Automating software security is essential because several manual processes can increase the chances of misconfiguration. Misconfiguration can be avoided, as well as finding and fixing the vulnerabilities, with security automation.

DevSecOps automation integrates code, security and testing into CI/ CD pipeline, which helps in delivering secure and high-quality software quickly. To adopt the DevSecOps best practices, you automate the security tools and processes.  

2. Integrate threat modelling  

Before implementing the DevSecOps framework, it's essential to document the known security threats to the software and make rational decisions to fix them. It'll help you better understand the existing security threats to your application and the security controls that need to be addressed.  

Other approaches (like antivirus, network security, etc.) may miss the security issues in the infrastructure and design of your open-source software, but threat modelling can identify all of them.  

3. Check coding practices  

Reviewing the coding standards against the security policies regularly will help you find the vulnerabilities as soon as possible. Also, you need to check and test all the modifications in the code against the security guidelines. It will help you resolve the issue immediately, as it is identified early in the application development process.  

4. Adopt security as code  

Security as code is codifying the security policies and socializing them with all team members. Security testing is implemented into CI/ CD pipeline to continuously detect vulnerabilities and bugs. It makes security practices an essential part of the workflow. Adopting security as code ensures the implementation of security policies consistently across the deployment and infrastructure throughout the software development cycle. 

Like DevSecOps's other best practices, security as code offers several benefits, including enhancing security and improving operations. Once you codify the security in the development process, you can easily detect and fix the vulnerabilities. 

5. Security is a shared responsibility  

In DevSecOps, security is a shared responsibility among all the team members rather than a single department. This is a fundamental value of DevSecOps. Everyone involved in the software development cycle, such as designing, approving, developing, maintaining, or delivering the applications, should be responsible for security.  

With shared responsibility across the organization, it's easy to find and fix the vulnerabilities and scales the delivery of secure products.  

6. Train your developers 

Let’s face it, anyone, including the developers, can make mistakes during application development. Humans create most errors in the code. These coding errors are responsible for the occurrence of vulnerabilities in the code. This is why training developers on security is so essential.  

Most developers don’t know about common software weaknesses. So, the best way to fix this is to train your developers weekly.  

Using the code standards helps the developer learn secure coding best practices and learn from mistakes by checking their code against the coding standard. 

7. Segmentation strategy 

The segmentation strategy restricts access to the application resource server and addresses vulnerabilities during the software development process.

With this strategy, you can eliminate attackers and hackers. It's the best method to employ the divide-and-conquer practice. Dividing the network into different segments makes it too difficult for hackers to access the data illegally. 

8. Minimum the administrative rights  

Keeping administrative rights to a minimum is one of the DevSecOps best practices to minimize internal threats and reduce mistakes. The principle of least privilege ensures that the data is only accessible by a single party to keep security threats at a minimum level.   

9. Scan your source code  

Use static application security testing, SAST, to scan the source code thoroughly during the application development cycle. It will help find and resolve the security bugs and vulnerabilities as soon as possible.  

10. Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) 

DAST, short for Dynamic Application Security Testing, is a process that analyzes the application through the front end to detect vulnerabilities. The DAST scanners can easily be integrated into CI/ CD pipeline. This makes it easier for the developers to scan the vulnerabilities and gain an understanding of the security threats so that they can be quickly fixed.

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What is needed to follow the above DevSecOps practices?  

DevSecOps helps create such an environment where security tests start from the beginning of the software development cycle. Integrating security into the application development process ensures that the application code is not exposed to security threats. 

Adopting DevSecOps is difficult; it requires technological, cultural, and organizational changes. All the development, operation, and security teams must work together to take security measures. While implementing DevSecOps in an organization, it is essential to consider the best practices to reduce mistakes. These practices correctly ensure successful DevSecOps implementation.  

There are numerous benefits of considering the various DevSecOps practices during its implementation. Let’s have a look at each of them: 

  • Enhance Visibility 

DevSecOps enables organizations to visualize and protect applications in a productive environment. Integrating security into every phase of the software development lifecycle provides you with greater visibility of vulnerabilities, significantly improving security posture. 

  • Boost the Security Postures  

A drastic security improvement can be seen in an organization by prioritizing security from the initial phase of the software development lifecycle. 

  • Shorten Development Cycles 

The DevSecOps practices are built on the basic foundation of automation and collaboration. It makes the application development process efficient and secure by reducing the development cycles.  

  • Improve the Product Quality 

The shorter development cycles mean the organization can detect and fix vulnerabilities faster. It makes the development process faster and more efficient.  

Conclusion 

Adopting DevSecOps can be a long journey, and you need a lot of patience to improve your security practices. Implementing DevSecOps is not simple as it sounds since it is full of challenges. But, with a proper plan and approach, you can implement it successfully in your organization. Thus, it is essential to consider the best practices before implementing the framework in your organization to build secure applications.  

Hopefully, this blog helped you understand the DevSecOps best practices you must consider while implementing DevSecOps. 

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