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DevOps, Security challenges, Passwords, and DevSecOps

Chaitanya Jawale
Posted by Chaitanya Jawale on July 22, 2021

DevOps culture is rapidly gaining popularity. when it comes to application delivery. The main reason behind this is the inherent advantages it offers over the traditional methods. According to previous predictions by Markets and Markets, with rising interest from organizations across all the industries, the DevOps software market is foreseen to increase to USD 10.31 Billion by 2023. These astonishing figures point to a lot of things. One of them is the increasing speeds of application delivery. And the increasing speed of application delivery points to the security concerns that will come with it. From time to time, the industry leaders have highlighted the need to address security right from the start of any DevOps process. DevSecOps is a cultural shift that addresses security as an essential and integral component rather than a 'cooked-up later' thing. It aims to integrate security into the release cycles of modern application development and deployment. It encourages engineers to move security from the right (end) to the left (beginning) of the DevOps (delivery) process. This will certainly help to bridge the gap between development and security teams. However, this comes with different challenges. Let's have a look at these challenges.

DevOps Security Challenges

Apart from the usual security challenges in DevOps such as collaboration, matching the dev speed, complicated security for CI/CD, DevOps teams can be confronted with various unexpected challenges. Some of these may sound very naïve. However, often ignored or paid less attention to, these challenges may turn into significant security threats:

  • Unsecured credentials and easy-to-access admin credentials: Intellectual property like the company’s source code can be destroyed by attackers once they are able to take advantage of unsecured credentials in your DevOps environment.

    Controlling administrative credentials is crucial in the DevOps model. If you don't manage your access controls well, it can allow an attacker to steal the data, disrupt operations, and get access to your IT infrastructure.

  • Overworked team: DevOps requires software developers to take on multiple roles and challenging responsibilities, leading to an increase in coding mistakes, undetected bugs, and errors. Attackers usually look for coding mistakes they can exploit to get access to digital assets.

  • Lack of business acumen among security professionals: With the rapid rise in cybersecurity concerns, professionals must be aware of the business fundamentals to understand their firm’s threat management strategy, which is directly linked to the business goals. Having expert personnel can ensure that teams don't overlook security protocols.

To implement secured DevOps without any hassle, you should follow the cultural shifts and practices that will help strengthen security in your DevOps processes. DevSecOps is all about built-in security and not security that functions as a perimeter around apps and data. Suppose security remains at the end of the development pipeline; in that case, organizations adopting DevOps can perceive themselves back to the long development cycles they were trying to bypass in the first place. Particularly, DevSecOps highlights the need to invite security teams and partners at the origin of DevOps initiatives to build information security and set a plan for security automation. It also emphasizes the need for developers to code with security in mind, which involves security teams sharing visibility, feedback, and insights on known threats.

In one of my earlier blogs, I have talked about the practices that will strengthen your DevOps security. Now, let’s check out how you can secure DevOps with some of the easiest yet the most powerful ways, by securing your passwords and other aesthetic security practices.

DevSecOps and Passwords: Automating and simplifying the security of DevOps might not be helpful for the users and contributors. When you automate the protection for your application, you ensure the safety of your application and development processes. However, security from individual contributors, teams, and within organization may still remain unaddressed. Employees often repeat the same password or write down the passwords, which allows the attacker an easy way in. Keeping these parameters in mind, you should make use of password managers in your DevSecOps. There are many available in the market that would help you to generate complex passwords and remember them for the user. Give employees password managers, this may reduce the chances of their password getting hacked. The investment is small, and choices include vaults that are local or hosted. It helps integrate security throughout the DevOps process with less user hassle.

Other security practices: Now, the following may sound very negligible, but believe me, they significantly impact. These are like housekeeping rules or aesthetic practices that will definitely bolster security.

  • Train your employees to think from the attacker’s perspective. Highlight them the importance of clean and efficient coding. Educate them on how the attacker can take advantage of coding and configuration loopholes or architectural weaknesses.
  • It is worth incorporating a clear, easy-to-understand set of policies and procedures for security functions such as access controls, code review processes, configuration management, vulnerability testing, and firewalling. Your teams should be familiar with these security protocols, and you should support operational visibility to keep track of compliance.
  • Determine DevOps security and compliance metrics for engineers and make it mandatory to follow the same.

Implementing security in DevOps is riddled with challenges. During software releases, overcoming application vulnerabilities and protecting in advance against possible data breaches is the best possible way to go with. Regular analysis of the entire CI/CD pipeline and intelligent automation solutions to understand the weak points and integrate security accordingly should be standard practice. Making use of advanced analytics tools for continuous monitoring of your applications, infrastructure, and network bolster security measures.

Organizations using DevSecOps tools and practices build a robust foundation for digital transformation. Opcito has a suite of DevSecOps-ready practices and services that enable secure continuous delivery, integrated security testing, and cloud-native delivery pipelines. To integrate security in your DevOps process, talk to our SecOps experts today.

Topics: DevOps, DevSecOps, Security

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