Blog
August 5, 2020

Adding Security Into CI/CD Pipeline

Adding Security Into CI/CD Pipeline

Andrii Lysyuk
Author: Andrii Lysyuk, Head of Cyber Security at Ciklum

Robust cybersecurity practices are among the most important considerations for today’s software developers. Even the largest and most powerful organizations in the world aren’t immune to the threat of data breaches, intellectual property theft, or crippling pieces of malware that can grind business to a standstill.  

At the same time, the pace of software development has never been faster. Agile development practices, such as DevOps, continuous delivery (CD), and continuous integration (CI), foster a cooperative environment that makes it easy to quickly implement quality code, enabling customers to make the most out of new software tools in record time. 

Although these practices create an environment in which software is quickly and continuously tested and improved upon, it’s also essential to ensure that applications — and the manner in which they are built — adhere to established cybersecurity principles. Any application is only as strong as its weakest point, and without taking proper care to develop solutions that are secure from the inside out, critical information can remain at risk to the many cyber threats posed by bad actors. 

DevSecOps has emerged as a development model leveraging the success of DevOps to ensure that security also has a front seat in the development process. As applications continue to demand greater safeguards to protect user data and critical systems, DevSecOps stands out as a secure, easy-to-implement practice for organizations already familiar with the DevOps structure. 

What is DevSecOps?

DevSecOps takes the DevOps model and adds an additional layer of security. Rather than implementing security measures in the latter stages of development, application and infrastructure security is integrated from the start to ensure that security is top of mind throughout the development process. 

Like DevOps, DevSecOps is a set of cultural principles by which development, operations, and security teams cooperate and collaborate throughout the development process. Building on the belief that everyone is responsible for security, DevSecOps teams help ensure that security is not a separate consideration to be addressed outside of the traditional development process. DevSecOps employs automated security tools to help maintain a streamlined development process, such as automated security testing, software updates, and system configuration management. 

Just as DevOps increases an organization’s ability to quickly deliver high-quality applications through greater cooperation and visibility, DevSecOps ensures that security is an essential consideration from day one. Integrating comprehensive security directly into the development process can help ensure that no stone is left unturned when it comes to safeguarding application development.  

What risks are companies facing today and why is comprehensive security critical? 

Because so much of today’s business takes place over the internet or on computing devices, safeguarding and securing data is of paramount importance in order to keep customers and companies protected from the avalanche of digital threats. From data leaks to coordinated attacks, the ever-increasing sophistication activities from  bad actors can inflict serious damage upon companies of all sizes anywhere in the world. 

Computer viruses and worms have existed since the dawn of computing, but the internet has made it possible to spread powerful forms of malware through download attacks, phishing schemes, and ransomware. Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks can intentionally overload and crash servers, greatly disrupting business at high costs. Data theft can also compromise private personal or business information, breaching consumer trust, jeopardizing operations, and potentially leading to harsh government fines in countries with strict data regulation policies.

Because organizations face such a wide range of different digital threats, implementing high-quality security practices is essential to safeguarding information and operations. Security isn’t simply adding a layer of antivirus software, integrating endpoint protection, or running secure and up-to-date software — it’s all of those things and more. Keeping information safe requires a holistic approach that covers any and all contingencies. 

From a CD/CI perspective, this means ensuring that best security practices are followed throughout the entire development cycle. The DevSecOps model means that security teams are equal stakeholders throughout the development process, allowing security matters to be addressed from the very start. 

What are the key principles of implementing continuous security?

Just as DevOps touches upon every aspect of the software development workflow, continuous security requires best security practices to be followed through on an ongoing basis. Many of the key principles of continuous security include the implementation of automated security controls, the integration of security tools directly into the CI/CD pipeline, and requiring that systems storing important intellectual property can be accessed only by trusted users. 

Beyond continuous security itself, a DevSecOps approach integrates critical security practices into the entire development process. Training developers on secure coding, for instance, can help ensure that software is protected at the ground level. Comprehensive application security testing, code analysis tools, and automated application configuration scanning can also safeguard development without intruding on the process itself. 

What is the future of security? 

No matter the application, the future of security requires a holistic approach that protects developers, users, and everyone in between. As cybersecurity attacks continue to evolve in sophisticated and unexpected ways, organizations must stay vigilant in order to keep vital information from falling into the wrong hands. 

As Agile principles such as DevOps, CI, and CD continue to proliferate throughout the development world, integrating comprehensive security practices can no longer be considered an afterthought. From day one, applications must be designed with an emphasis on keeping data safe and secure in order to protect intellectual property and maintain user privacy. 

The emergence of DevSecOps suggests that organizations have recognized the growing importance of data security and are taking valuable steps to ensure systems and processes are protected in all contexts. Whether an organization has fully adopted the DevOps model or is considering a shift to an Agile process, DevSecOps is a logical progression that goes the extra distance to build high cybersecurity from start to finish.

Contact Ciklum to learn more about a successful approach to integrating Security into DevOps.