DevSecOps: Creating an innovative cyber security strategy

by Riversafe

DevSecOps is the modern and proactive approach to cyber security. It prioritises catching and fixing vulnerabilities in your software as soon as possible. This way, instead of plugging full-blown breaches or battling an attack, both of which can be expensive and time consuming, businesses are empowered to mitigate the possibility of cyber attacks in the first place – saving them resources and preventing more serious damage.

What is DevSecOps?

DevSecOps is the business approach or culture of incorporating software development, IT operations, and cyber security practices. The goal is to consider and implement cyber security practices as early on in the development pipeline as possible, in order to create more secure software.

In a DevSecOps approach, code would be proactively scanned for security issues and fixed as it was being written, plus software developers would be encouraged to implement different security codes or keys during the software development process.

There’s also the option to identify architectural issues and cyber security priorities before the coding process through pre-emptive threat modelling sessions.

Why are DevSecOps practices important?

There has been a recent uprising in the amount of vulnerabilities found in code. This is partly due to the rapid evolution of code and software, and partly because cyber security threats themselves are developing.

While, traditionally cyber security was seen as an area that was completely independent of other fields, the changes being seen in the threat landscape and organisations’ digital infrastructures has necessitated that they start to work in harmony.

This is why the ‘shift left’ approach was introduced; moving application quality and security considerations closer to the developer in order to mitigate or avoid potential security issues sooner in the delivery chain. This creates a more efficient and cost-effective process that results in fewer security incidents.

DevSecOps practices aim to support the shift left movement, by not only ensuring code is more secure before it’s committed through advanced testing, but also by training software developers on cyber security considerations so they can create more secure software long-term.

What are the benefits of implementing DevSevOps?

DevSecOps or shift left approaches help businesses identify and rectify security vulnerabilities much earlier, with many tools providing actionable security feedback in real-time. By integrating the process with software development, software delivery becomes quicker, with the scanning process included in the initial timeline, and more efficient, as developers can fix issues as they code while continuously gaining training on how to write secure code.

How can you incorporate DevSecOps into your business?

DevSecOps is more than deploying a software tool; it requires the right solution for your business, good training, and an accommodating organisational culture.

Here are several key factors to consider in order to successfully implementing a DevSecOps programme into your business: 

1. Consider your programming language

Different tools may provide additional compatibility and support for certain programming languages, so it’s important to consider which tools will work best with your most common language.

Plus, The OWASP Top Ten provides a list of known security issues that are present within well-used programming languages, such as Java. This is a great reference point for identifying weaknesses in code.

2. Work with your digital infrastructure

Make sure you choose security tools that fit your overall network infrastructure and business environment. DevSecOps is designed to make cyber security more seamless but this only works if your technology is working harmoniously.

3. Build the Culture

The overall goal is to encourage a cultural change towards earlier security consideration rather than enforce strict structures. DevSecOps and shift left are therefore reliant on the engagement of your software development team for successful implementation. Templates and support from the cyber security team can help developers consistently create more secure code.

4. Use Experts

An external partner can help you implement or strengthen your DevSecOps practice, by helping you identify the right tools and then incorporate them into your infrastructure and pipeline. Find out about our DevOps services here. 

What are some key DevSecOps tools?

  •  Static Application Security Testing (SAST): SAST solutions, such as Checkmarx, analyse source code to help identify, track, and repair technical and logical flaws, such as security vulnerabilities, compliance issues, and business logic problems.
  • Open Source Scanning (OSS): These tools look at third party things that your app is using to identify any license, operations, or security risks then provide a solution to fix these vulnerabilities.
  • Container Scanning: These tools vet your containers and analyse any associated vulnerabilities.
  • Secret Detection and Management: This is the method of using digital tools to store sensitive information, some of which can automatically rotate your passwords and secrets for additional security.
  • Threat modelling: This is a service, rather than a tool, that can be embedded into your DevSecOps strategy; it involves running a workshop to identify your digital architecture, weak points, vulnerabilities, and issues, and creating actionable items to fix them.
  • EZE: EZE is an open source free to use tool created by RiverSafe and designed to help developers secure applications without burning too much time. Find out more about it here. 

How can RiverSafe help you implement DevSecOps strategies?

With our cyber security experience, we can help businesses understand every critical element of their current infrastructure and tools that can inform their DevSecOps strategy, including automation and programming languages. Using this information, we can identify which tools will work best for your needs and your environments.

Our RiverSafe experts can further support you to implement these solutions effectively with supporting pipeline templates and security steps. Through continuous monitoring, training and improvement we will help your business and your team shift left seamlessly, for more secure software from day one.

Get in touch today to discover how DevSecOps can empower your business to be more cyber secure.


By Riversafe

Experts in DevOps, Cyber Security and Data Operations