The current state of application development is both interesting and problematic. Today’s scalable, cloud-based applications have adopted DevOps, whose tools are maturing rapidly. DevOps has provided organizations with a methodology to respond more quickly to business needs, but at what cost? Costs can be taken into account and often measured by the increased complexity and reduced safety. This price is too high and many of them are not willing and should not be willing to pay it.

Security issues prevent or delay the introduction of container applications in many organisations. However, the answer cannot lie in a return to outdated development practices. We need to focus on improving DevOps and integrating security and automation throughout its lifecycle. We need to make security and automation an integral part of the process – not just a single step, but part of the whole application lifecycle. This image shows a high level picture of the life cycle of DevSecOps.

Please note that the security is not displayed as a separate component, but is simply integrated everywhere. Ideally, security should be largely automatic and somewhat invisible to the staff involved in development and operational activities. This is very different from the way most organisations today integrate security, which is often very manual and intrusive.

The term DevSecOps has been removed, as if someone could alternate a little security with poof here and there. DevSecOps is there as if by magic! Ta-da! Sorry, uh, no. Most things called DevSecOps today are parts, but not a complete solution. Let’s talk about what it is.

Place the second one in DevOps.

Many organizations are implementing security in certain areas of DevOps.

Mary: Hey, I heard you moved to the left last week… Is everything okay now?

Bob: Yeah, we took DevSecOps and we love it! He got a huge bonus and told the SOC that they could take the rest of the block if they paid in full.

If it was that simple, right?

DevSecOps is not just a shift to the left. The aim is to integrate safety into the entire life cycle of DevOps. We weave safety from the inside out, using a variety of methods to ensure proper roadside control and verification. In this way we minimized the surface area during production in case bad actors enter or enter the parameter. That’s easy to say, but not so easy to do.

So now you’ve decided to take a walk… Cool. Let’s talk about the road. It’s all about technology! Really? No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Culture First

If everyone rows in the wrong direction, the boat will rotate in circles. It is therefore very important to develop a culture of cooperation between developers, operators and, just as importantly, security teams. The first step is to understand your organizational structure and determine where everything works well and where people already work together – and where not. Use the areas they work in as a success story to engage people in areas where cooperation is less intense.

The key is to help everyone understand why and how safety should be integrated into the entire DevOps lifecycle. It is important that safety is up to date in all respects. This includes things like: how to manage resource management, how to select basic images for container development, how to protect data during development and production, and much more. Help them understand that collaboration not only addresses weaknesses in security design, but also creates opportunities to respond more effectively to security challenges. Better and more visible security in the early stages of a cycle should be an advantage in operations with fewer incidents and faster recovery.

For example, operational (O&C) teams do not always see the problem as a potential security breach. For them, it is a matter of looking for bad software or hardware settings or infrastructure problems. The security teams (SOC) immediately look for a breakthrough. Both parties must therefore work together to analyse both potentials at the same time, because one problem may have caused or enabled the other.

Now let’s talk about your secure encryption methods. What? Encryption is technology, not culture! Really? – No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

An early stage is a good time to evaluate and update your coding practices for DevSecOps. While you cannot expect your developers to be security experts, they must be trained in secure encryption, even if it costs time and money. In addition, developers must be able to program securely and think it’s important. Establishing and adhering to coding standards helps maintain consistency and helps developers write clean code.  All this is a big part of the culture.

I bet you think I understand. Can we talk about technology now?

No, not yet.

Procedure, process

Did I mention the lawsuit? Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. This is also important. Not so long ago, it was common to develop applications and then think about how to implement, operate and maintain them. Application deployment and updates were infrequent due to the pain associated with long test cycles and potential downtime. DevOps changed everything. It has accelerated development, increased and improved use and eliminated many surgical headaches. Nirvana, right?

Not so fast…

With the introduction of DevOps we were able to shorten long test cycles (reducing the number of errors and safety holes). We have also significantly increased the speed of updates, which increases the risk of errors and security breaches. In addition, the ability to run multiple versions of an application simultaneously increases the complexity of troubleshooting.

To realize your vision, you must either create a DevSecOps command or a virtual command with different disciplines. In both cases the teams have to perform different tasks in a random combination and using different tools. Imagine having a large environment with a dozen tools that create your coherent DevSecOps solution. You understand the importance of standardization, documentation and workflow automation. The design of the agreed processes and their implementation will increase efficiency and should improve safety throughout the life cycle.

Okay, let’s talk technology…

The art and science of weaving fabrics called DevSecOps

Once you have a piece of culture in your hands (I believe in you!), technology becomes important. I bet you’ll never guess!

See the platforms, tools and processes you use to develop, deploy and run your applications. Their goal is to turn it into a uniform and coherent system called DevSecOps. Are these tools adapted to one coherent system, so that your organisation can manage its activities as well as possible? Nothing is ready-made, so you have to do it yourself – although I strongly advise you to get help from experts.

So you have to answer the question correctly: How do we intertwine our tools and processes to create an optimal solution for my environment? It’s easy to imagine that we have to weave safety throughout the life cycle, but how can we achieve that?

The part itself may consist of several pages of discussion, so we will briefly discuss two important points. Determining the functionality and automation of the required tool must be done together in an iterative feedback loop, so that both are optimized for the previously developed process.

Whether you need to start over or use what you already have… Identify the capabilities of the tools you need at each stage of your lifecycle. Investigate whether the functions and capabilities of these tools can solve problems in your specific environment. Tools that solve similar problems do not solve them all in the same or optimal way for all environments. Find the holes, document them and make sure everyone knows they exist, and then work to fill them as quickly as possible. This can mean that you get more tools, more automation or more employees.

The following is an example of a framework describing the basic life cycle and safety methods that can be used in each area. So you can choose what you need for your environment and fill in what you have where.

Fig.

Notice anything missing from this painting? I hope so! I’ve often talked about automation of tools and processes, but it doesn’t exist, does it? That’s because it’s in different places, depending on the tools you choose and what you need to automate. In general, they see automation simply as a way to do more things faster and with fewer people. But automation can be much more than that.

This is where the feedback and optimisation cycle really starts. It is crucial to know if and how the necessary instruments work together. If the answer to the question of how this tool can be integrated into the system and/or automated poses a serious problem. You need to go back to your toolbox and reassess.

Do your tools and technologies work together, or do they require third party tools or custom (often proprietary) tools? Automate as much as possible. Analysis, compliance, configuration management, policy implementation, etc. So anything that is a consistent and repeatable process that does not require human intervention to make a decision is not a simple logical tree. With system automation you can significantly improve processes and reduce the number of human errors. Human error can lead to problems or safety deficiencies.

The way the pieces are interwoven is the most important thing of Ecosystem!

Does everything we discussed in the previous paragraphs seem simple to you?  If that’s the case, congratulations, you’re an expert – or you play on television. You can stop reading now and stop it!

If that previous comment doesn’t describe you… …please continue reading.

For most organizations that act alone, this situation is frightening and potentially dangerous. The selection of tools and vendors that work closely together and support the design of DevSecOps as a single connection is very important. The last thing you want to do is create something the manufacturers say we’ve never done, or seen used. So your DevSecOps are always scattered pieces that you have glued together, not woven.

Ecosystem problems. It is not only about certification on the platform, but also about the way in which all actors cooperate and support each other. Ask yourself: are your solutions the linchpin and the shelves, while your organization is the linchpin that connects all parts to itself? So you have all these connection points, and these points only speak through you! Or do you use a provider like Red Hat, where the security ecosystem is a cell and all providers work together, with each other and with Red Hat, to keep your organization out of the bag if a problem occurs? Or no problem, what about updates to important components such as the cloud platform, the container organizer, packages from large providers, etc.?

With this in mind, you can see Red Hat’s focus on our partner ecosystem for container lifecycle security and DevSecOps. This diagram gives you an overview of how we see the ecosystem:

You call that DevSecOps? Why your DevSecOps practice may be falling short
In the beginning we invite you to our DevSecOps webinars and seminars. Together with CyberArk, Palo Alto, Synopsys and Sysdig, Red Hat will present Red Hat’s DevSecOps framework and the key security technologies to integrate into your environment.

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