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Strengthening DevSecOps Pipeline: An End-to-End Guide to Integrate Continuous Security in Your SDLC

5 Apr
5 Min

Table of content

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    DevSecOps emerged as a modern approach in software development, aimed at prioritizing security integration at every SDLC stage.

    In today’s environment, where the cases of security breaches are rampant, continuous security testing has become an essential component to achieve top-notch software quality.

    The traditional approach for software testing only focused on functional and performance weaknesses. Thus, security testing was highly neglected. However, organizations should now prioritize security testing as the number of security theft cases are rising at an alarming rate.

    So, DevSecOps is a combination of DevOps principles along with the security practices. Every SDLC stage such as development, design, deployment, maintenance, etc. are tested thoroughly.

    Thus, DevSecOps simply represents a major shift in the culture and mindset, where security is not merely a part, but an indispensable part of software development. It can help organizations mitigate the chance of security threats and produce reliable and secure software products in the market.  

    Table of Content
    1. Why integrating continuous security in the DevSecOps pipeline is important?
    2. Important Stages of DevSecOps to Enhance System Security
    3. Explore Best Practices to Secure Each Stage
    4. What are the Benefits of Continuous Security Testing in DevSecOps?
    5. Promoting the Mindset of Prioritizing Continuous Security Testing
    6. Partner with QAble today to elevate your software security and streamline your DevSecOps pipeline
    7. FAQs

    Why integrating continuous security in the DevSecOps pipeline is important?

    DevSecOps provides a proactive approach to security testing as vulnerabilities are identified at the earliest stage. Furthermore, its importance depends on industry type and continuous security testing sharing responsibility.

    • Government- Cyber-attacks target those applications handling sensitive government information. Thus, these apps require water-tight security which is easily possible through DevSecOps. It boosts the process of finding malicious entities and also protects the system.
    • Finance- DevSecOps also empowers the finance industry with its holistic development practices. So, finance is another major target for cyber-attacks. That’s why development firms are focusing on implementing the DevSecOps model for all-round protection.
    • Healthcare- So, DevSecOps is slowly becoming a prominent standard for designing applications for the healthcare sector. Healthcare organizations need to comply with HIPAA guidelines. The first approach lessens the chances of exposing patient data.

    Important Stages of DevSecOps to Enhance System Security

    Security integration in the SDLC cycle is the modern methodology that starts immediately from the testing phase. Continuous security testing sharing responsibility is the key aspect of this segment. It is applied in varied stages of the DevSecOps pipeline. Let’s discuss the important stages where continuous security testing is applied.

    Planning- The planning phase includes a comprehensive pre-production process like review, discussion, collaboration, strategy, review, etc. The development teams perform the security analysis and create a detailed plan for continuous security testing. ‘IriusRisk’ is a popular planning tool used for DevSecOps which helps organizations identify and prioritize risks to mitigate them through SDLC.

    Building- The building phase commences after the developers submit their code to the source repository. Automated security analysis of output artifacts is a crucial aspect of this phase which DevSecOps tools emphasize. Tools such as Checkmarx, OWASP, SonarQube, Dependency-Check, etc. are essential for DevSecOps building. Furthermore, these tools help write secure code and avoid security vulnerabilities.

    Test- DevSecOps in testing phase is triggered after deploying the build artifact to the testing environment. Experts use DAST for detecting real-time application flow like SQL injection, authorization, user authentication, etc. As the testing phase can be time-consuming, it's essential to complete it quickly so that other expensive tasks can be performed later.

    Deployment- After testing, the deployment stage is the ideal time to utilize runtime verification tools such as Osquery, Tripwire, Falco, etc. These tools fetch information from the system to verify the performance and hard drive failures during deployment. This can significantly improve the overall security of the system and reduce security breaches.

    Release- This release phase requires the testing team to create and manage audit trails. This step is essential to ensure standard and regulatory compliance and implement access control to protect data. Also, the team can reduce the risk of significant security issues and ensure the smooth deployment of software products with comprehensive vulnerability scanning.

    Monitoring and Operations- After deploying, the next stage is to monitor the software performance and security. A DevSecOps expert performs a thorough analysis of the security alerts and logs to detect any breach. Significantly, it guides them to take essential steps to reduce the impact.

    Incident Response- The last stage is to respond to security incidents and tackle them to mitigate security issues. Finding the root cause is the key to taking preventive measures and applying continuous security testing.

    Also Read: 7 Benefits of Security Testing In Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

    Explore Best Practices to Secure Each Stage

    These are some of the effective and best Continuous security testing practices for DevSecOps.

    Threat Modeling- It involves the process of identifying and eliminating potential threats and vulnerabilities in the earlier stage. It utilizes various tools and techniques to evaluate the security risks in the DevOps pipeline. Thus, threat modeling involves analyzing and identifying potential vectors, software design, etc.

    Securing Microservices- Prioritizing microservices security in DevOps empower organizations to secure their system from potential threats. Microservices are basically small and independent services that collaborate with each other to perform a huge task. Microservices have a distributed nature, thus securing microservices requires a significantly different approach.

    DevSecOps Metrics- These metrics are used to monitor and effectiveness of the development team. These metrics help in aligning development and security teams towards a common goal by promoting effective collaboration to produce high-quality and secure software products. DevSecOps metrics include coverage of code percentage by automated tests, number of security incidents found and resolved, and many more.

    Shift-left Security- The DevSecOps strategy for the Shift-left security approach is to implement security checks in the earlier stages. In this way, the issues can be resolved faster at a significantly lower cost. This approach also enables the developers to identify the vulnerabilities and fix them.

    Code Compliance- Code compliance refers to adhering software codes according to industry standards. This process involves reviewing and analyzing the software codes to ensure that it meets security, functional, and accessibility requirements.  Otherwise, ignoring those code compliances can lead your organization to face legal and financial penalties.

    Containerization- It is a popular technology to streamline the software development process by creating a consistent and isolated runtime environment for applications. These containers provide a secure way to package and deploy applications and enable fast and efficient resource scaling.

    What are the Benefits of Continuous Security Testing in DevSecOps?

    These are some of the fantastic advantages of continuous security testing in DevSecOps. Let’s have a look.

    #1- Cost-Effective Solution for IT Operations

    It is simple: vulnerabilities in the initial stages fasten the overall process. The team can work on drafting robust and practical plans to mitigate the issues.

    #2- Prevention of Unexpected Breaches

    Moreover, continuous security testing accelerates the task of regularly discovering any new vulnerability, which means the system is updated about any further errors. In this way, it is not mandatory to wait for the report of pen-testing to find the error.

    #3- Make Changes in Security Stack

    The IT infrastructure is evolving gradually. Apart from these, regular and inevitable changes can create a security gap in DevSecOps. To avoid that, the first task is to estimate the impact and change the security system accordingly.

    #4- Boost the Knowledge

    New threats evolve now and then. Hence, preparedness to manage the risks on time matters. Continuous security testing sharing responsibility also provides the best opportunity to boost the knowledge to prevent any vulnerabilities.

    Promoting the Mindset of Prioritizing Continuous Security Testing

    Continuous security testing is crucial to ensure the security of digital assets with the right steps. Encouraging continuous security at different stages is the key to success which can be achieved by promoting a positive mindset. These are some useful strategies that can help you build a security-first culture.

    Incorporating security in the development process- Companies should start embedding security testing at the start of the development process. Regular audits, utilizing the latest tools, test designing, etc. can help incorporate security processes.

    Provide ongoing training- Every growing organization should offer training sessions to keep their employees informed about the latest updates, security tools and threats. Conducting industry events can also make a lot of difference. That’s why QAble regularly hosts events to improve engagement in the QA industry.

    Set clear security guidelines and policies- It is essential to develop guidelines and clear policies which outline the expected goals of your company for security practices. These include data protection, a procedure for incident response, password management, etc. Establishing clear expectations for policies ensures that employees understand as well as adhere to them.

    Communicating the importance of security- One of the first steps is to educate employees about security at every level. Regular workshops and training sessions are effective for emphasizing communication for continuous security in DevSecOps.

    Giving Recognition- Employees having the right attitude for security testing should get recognition and praise. Doing this will motivate other employees to prioritize security testing. Giving a shout-out during team meetings, regarded as promotions, bonuses, and other incentives can have an amazing effect.

    Partner with QAble today to elevate your software security and streamline your DevSecOps pipeline

    Our QAble experts have put together some tips that can help you achieve this seamlessly.

    Firstly, including dynamic and static application security testing, vulnerability assessment, and container scanning can help identify and fix security issues early on. Additionally, developers must adhere to coding guidelines that prioritize input validation, error handling, and access control.

    Automating security testing is another effective way to promote early detection of security issues, which can help save time, resources, and mitigate potential risks. DevSecOps tools such as container security tools and security scanners are also incredibly helpful in integrating security into the development process into CI/CD pipelines.

    At QAble, we understand that the journey to success is not always easy. We started small in 2018, with nothing but our unwavering spirit towards work and a vision that we believed in. We have come a long way since then, and we owe our success to the passionate people who share the same ideology as ours.

    Our team has grown from 4-5 people to an ABLE army of 40-50 people, and we have worked on countless projects, learning important lessons along the way. However, one thing that has remained constant is our commitment to delivering innovative quality engineering and growing alongside our clients.

    We firmly believe that our people and process are the key to our success, and we are confident that we will make a noticeable mark in the world of software development. With QAble, you can expect a partner who is dedicated to providing quality engineering solutions while prioritizing your security needs.

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    Written by Nishil Patel

    CEO & Founder

    Nishil is a successful serial entrepreneur. He has more than a decade of experience in the software industry. He advocates for a culture of excellence in every software product.


    What does DevSecOps mean?

    DevSecOps is a software development approach that integrates security measures into every stage of the DevOps process. By building security into the software development lifecycle from the start, DevSecOps aims to prevent vulnerabilities and reduce the risk of security breaches. This approach promotes collaboration between developers, operations teams, and security professionals to ensure that security is a shared responsibility, leading to faster and more secure software delivery.

    What are the essential DAST tools you can use for DevSecOps?

    Some of the essential DAST tools that you can choose for DevSecOps are Burp Suite, AppScan, OWASP ZAP, Acunetix, Netsparker, and many more, These tools can help in scanning the issues, the web applications for vulnerability inspections, cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and many more.

    What is the difference between DevSecOps and DevTestOps?

    The main goal of DevSecOps is to build security from the outset rather than bolting it in the end. Team members must take responsibility to work collaboratively to identify and eliminate security issues. However, DevTestOps involves a culture shift towards testing to find security issues with the team members.

    How can DevSecOps certification be helpful?

    DevSecOps helps in improving work productivity and boost your career. You achieve better understanding and greater visibility automation to resolve issues and reduce complexities. But, it is important to find a recognized institution for certification to get the best career opportunities in the future.

    What is the importance of DevSecOps?

    DevSecOps strategies help in shortening the time taken for developing the product by enhancing the efficiency and solving problems right away.

    What are the advantages of DevSecOps?

    DevSecOps helps in smoothing the development process, conduct verification checks, easy scalability, and provide uniform security.

    What is the DevSecOps pipeline?

    The DevSecOps pipeline is like building a secure house from the ground up, not just adding security features later. It integrates security practices throughout the software development process, from planning to deployment, including testing, code reviews, and vulnerability scans. This catches security flaws early, leading to more secure, reliable software that protects users and your business.

    How to build a DevSecOps pipeline?

    Building a DevSecOps pipeline is like building a secure house, not an afterthought. It involves: planning security goals, choosing automation tools, integrating security checks throughout development, fostering team collaboration, and continuously monitoring and improving the pipeline. This collaborative approach helps you create a secure and efficient development environment for building high-quality, trustworthy software.

    Is DevSecOps pipeline the same as DevOps?

    While both aim to improve software development, DevOps prioritizes collaboration, automation, and speed to deliver software faster, while DevSecOps builds upon DevOps by adding security throughout the process, making software more secure from the beginning. Think of DevOps as optimizing construction and DevSecOps as building a secure house from the foundation up.

    Don't Wait to Secure Your Development

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