How DevSecOps Can Secure Your CI/CD Pipeline

Many companies today automate their software development life cycle with continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD). It’s part of the broader DevOps movement to speed software development while reducing errors. Continuous integration builds and tests code automatically, while continuous delivery automates the entire software release process up to production. In order to secure it, industry leaders produced the DevSecOps workflow. Take a look at how it works and why it matters.  

The CI/CD pipeline provides several benefits for software development. These include smaller code changes, faster mean-time-to-resolution for problems, greater test reliability, faster release rates, smaller software backlog and greater customer satisfaction.

Unfortunately, attackers are exploiting the weaknesses in the CI/CD pipeline and other DevOps infrastructure, too. They can steal information, mine cryptocurrency and inject malware into software.

Recently, threat actors breached an uploader popular with developers. They stole credentials and application programming interface tokens from customer environments. The attackers were able to export information stored in users’ CI/CD environments until the breach was discovered months later.

DevSecOps to the Rescue

DevSecOps addresses vulnerabilities in software development in this new environment. It builds on the best practices of DevOps to keep the development workflow from slowing down while ensuring security.

DevSecOps inserts security audits and penetration testing into the agile development process. So, the security is built-in, not an afterthought.

Security teams get involved at the beginning of DevOps projects to inject defense needs early on and develop a plan to automate some of their roles. DevSecOps underscores how important it is to help coding run securely. This is a process that entails teams sharing oversight, feedback and insights on threats.

DevSecOps creates one streamlined process. It corresponds with lean practices by carrying out security testing without slowing delivery cycles. It lets teams address issues when they are found, not after an attack has occurred. This enables all three teams to use the power of agile methods without derailing the goal of creating secure code.

Securing CI/CD Pipelines

DevSecOps helps clear up the bottleneck caused by older security models and tools on the modern CI/CD pipeline. It helps close the gap between IT and security while assuring efficient and safe code production. Silos break down and team leaders replace them with increased communication and shared responsibility between both teams. That way, software goes out the door safely.

Teams can also employ DevSecOps practices to respond to CI/CD pipeline security and reliability events. According to a report by the Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute, you can implement the following to improve CI/CD pipeline safety:

  • Strong physical access controls
  • Clear change management processes
  • Be able to attribute actions to individuals
  • Track security controls for each delivery
  • Compliance metrics
  • Security alerts
  • Automatic vulnerability fixes
  • Clear incident response procedures.

Be sure to integrate security tools best practices into CI/CD pipeline. Therefore, developers can be confident they are not introducing known problems into their codebases by mistake. Your team can be confident that they are meeting security requirements even at the same time as they improve software development speed and efficiency.

The bottom line is that securing the CI/CD pipeline entails close cooperation between developers and security professionals from the beginning of the software development process. 

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Author: Fred Donovan