10 Best DevSecOps Practices for Building Secure Applications

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

With the rise in the rate of cyberattacks over the past few years, the need for the adoption of DevSecOps is increasing. According to cybersecurity magazine, cybercrimes damages increased to $ 6 trillion in 2021 from $3 trillion in 2015. Such huge 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 its introduction, numerous application development challenges for the organization have been reduced.  

Implementation of the DevSecOps framework will provide many benefits to your organization such as minimizing the need for large-scale security fixes. But, before implementing DevSecOps in your organization, there are a few DevSecOps practices that you need to consider. According to Gartner, more than 80% of businesses will fail to move to the modern security approach by 2023. So, it is important to move to the modern security approach properly. 

Keep reading this comprehensive blog to learn the following:

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

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What are the DevSecOps Best Practices? 

The main aim of DevSecOps is to integrate security controls and practices into the software development lifecycle. The implementation of the DevSecOps framework in an organization offers many benefits such as faster deployment, improved security posture, better patching for a security vulnerability, cost-effective software delivery, and so on.  

However, implementing DevSecOps is not as easy as it sounds. It requires a cultural shift in an organization. There are a number DevSecOps best practices that you must follow for building secure applications. Here, you will learn about the ten best practices that you need to consider throughout the process of implementing DevSecOps: 

1. Automation  

DevSecOps automation integrates the 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 are required to automate the security tools as well as processes.  

It's important to automate the software security because several manual processes can increase the chances of misconfigurations. Today, misconfiguration is one of the major security threats faced by several software development organizations. In 2021, the misconfigurations of the third-party cloud services exposed around 100 million users’ data. It's important to automate the software security because several manual processes can increase the chances of misconfigurations.  

Automating the development process is vital for avoiding these misconfigurations as well as finding and fixing the vulnerabilities. 

2. Adopt Threat Modeling  

Before implementing DevSecOps, it's essential to document the known security threats to the software and make rational decisions to fix them. It'll help you gain a better understanding of 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 modeling can identify all of them.  

3. Check Coding Practices  

Another thing that you need to consider while implementing DevSecops is to review the coding standards against the security policies regularly. It will help you in finding 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 to resolve the issue immediately as it is identified in the early phase of the application development process.  

4. Adopt Security as Code  

Security as code is the process of 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 the 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 Shared Responsibility  

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

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

6. Educate Security Developer 

Let’s face it, anyone can make mistakes during the application development process, including the developers. Most errors in the code are created by humans. These coding errors are responsible for the occurrence of vulnerabilities in the code. This is why training the security developers on secure coding is so important.  

Most developers don’t know about the common software weaknesses. So, the best way to fix it is to train the developers about the common security mistakes and the common vulnerabilities.  

The use of the code standards helps the security developer in learning secure coding best practices. It helps them learn from their mistakes by checking their code against the coding standard. In this way, they also learn how to handle security vulnerabilities.  

7. Segmentation Strategy 

Use the segmentation strategy to eliminate the attackers and hackers. It's the best method to employ the divide and conquer practice. This strategy restricts access to the application resource server and addresses the vulnerabilities originating during the software development process.  

Dividing the network into different segments makes it too difficult for hackers to access the data illegally. It is the best DevSecOps practice that prevents hackers' threats and keeps security errors at bay. 

8. Minimum 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 the security threats at a minimum level.   

9. Scan Source Code  

Use the static application security testing, SAST, to scan the source code thoroughly during the application development cycle. It will help in finding and resolving 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 they can be quickly fixed.

Check, check, check and check
Visual graph showing increases in efficiency
 

What is the Need to Follow Above DevSecOps Practices?  

DevSecOps helps in creating such an environment in which security tests start from the beginning of the software development cycle. The process to integrate security into the application development process ensures that the application code is not exposed to security threats. 

Adopting DevSecOps is not easy, it requires technological, cultural, and organizational changes. For this, it is essential that all the development team, operation, and security teams work together as a team in taking the security measures. While implementing DevSecOps in an organization, it is important to consider the best practices to reduce mistakes. These practices ensure the successful DevSecOps implementation in a correct manner.  

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, allowing for a significant improvement in 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 the vulnerabilities faster. It makes the development process faster and more efficient.  

Conclusion 

Adopting DevSecOps can be a long journey, where 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 important to consider the best practices before implementing the framework in your organization to build secure applications.  

Hopefully, this blog helped you in understanding the DevSecOps best practices you need to consider while implementing DevSecOps. 

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