Five Tips to Optimise Your DevOps Processes for Both Speed and Security
As a methodology, DevOps emphasizes collaboration and communication between development and operations teams, with the goal of delivering software quickly and iteratively.
However, this speed and agility can sometimes come at the expense of security. For instance, in a typical DevOps environment, developers are often working tight deadlines to deliver features quickly, which can lead to shortcuts and treating security as an afterthought.
In DevOps, code changes and deployments are more frequent, making it more challenging to track and mitigate security vulnerabilities. Plus, the adoption of cloud computing means a wider attack surface wherein a small misconfiguration or human error can expose critical resources to public networks.
Fortunately, there are ways and tools to combat this and strike a balance between speed and security in your DevOps processes. In this post, let’s look at five quick and actionable tips to optimise your DevOps for both speed and security.
1. Adopt end-to-end testing
In DevOps, continuous testing helps identify bugs and security issues early in the development process when they are easier and cheaper to patch.
Adopting end-to-end testing essentially means using tools and processes to automate the testing of the different containers and third-party integrations, from start to finish.
A continuous testing strategy typically involves different types of testing such as unit tests, integration tests, functional tests, performance tests, penetration tests, and regression tests.
Adopting an automated testing tool like Katalon allows you to script and run these tests automatically whenever new code is pushed to the repository, helping speed up the testing process. This makes it easy to monitor the results of the tests and analyse any identified issues or failures for easy fixing.
2. Streamline secrets management
Secrets management refers to the process of securely storing, distributing, and managing access to sensitive information such as passwords, API keys, certificates, and other credentials.
DevOps environments typically work on limited privileged access and secret management. Teams, automated processes, and software tools use secrets to communicate across containers, run microprocesses, and access sensitive data. Poorly managed secrets or weak access controls can compromise these credentials, enabling cybercriminals to gain access to your DevOps infrastructure and steal company data.
By automating secrets management in DevOps, you essentially minimise the element of human error and thus, reduce the risk of security breaches and improve your overall security posture.
Adopting SaaS-based secrets management platform Akeyless lets you centrally secure certificates, credentials, and keys on a unified platform. It provides developers with a secure vault to store all secrets and role-based access for better control and autonomous team use. It enables secure secrets sharing (internally and externally with third parties for a limited time), tracking, and auditing, along with automated secrets rotation and compliance maintenance.
3. Automate configuration management and deployment
Yet another automation that helps optimise DevOps for speed and security is that of configuration management and deployment. In essence, this helps to streamline the SDLC and improve the reliability of software deployments.
Automation makes it easier to manage and deploy software across different environments, ensuring consistency and reducing the risk of errors or configuration drift.
For this, integrating a configuration management automation platform like Puppet into your DevOps workflow can help. Puppet provides a framework for managing software configurations and automating software deployment across different environments. It lets DevOps teams define and manage infrastructure as code (IaC), so they offload repetitive tasks and deliver faster.
With a powerful reporting and monitoring system built-in, it helps teams track changes and identify potential security issues (such as drift) before they become serious concerns.
4. Foster collaboration between teams
Cross-functional collaboration is crucial to integrating security across the SDLC. It means building a culture where every team member is accountable for security. This requires having developers work closely with security specialists in all phases of development, from architecture design and planning to testing and deployment.
A great way to achieve fast and transparent collaboration is to adopt popular DevSecOps platform GitLab. It provides a single platform for all aspects of the SDLC, including source code management, continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD), and security.
With an integrated toolchain that includes various tools teams need to collaborate effectively, such as issue tracking, code reviews, and wikis, GitLab helps avoid context-switching between multiple tools. Less context-switching translates into greater productivity and delivery speeds while reducing human lapses in terms of security.
Put simply, collaboration helps to break down silos and promote a culture of shared responsibility. When development, operations, security, and product teams collaborate effectively, they can work together to deliver high-quality software faster and with fewer errors.
5. Regularly review and update security policies
Finally, frequent security policies and governance updates are vital to successfully thwart security risks in enterprise DevOps environments.
Developers, IT operations, and cybersecurity teams must work together to establish a set of clear and understandable policies and protocols for access control, configuration management, code reviews, testing, and security tools. All teams must then strictly adhere to these policies in their day-to-day deliverables throughout the SDLC.
That said, threats and vulnerabilities are constantly evolving. Plus, as your software and the tools and workflows used to build it evolve over time, all things considered, it’s critical to establish a regular schedule for security policy reviews.
Involve all relevant stakeholders in the review process, providing training and support where necessary to ensure adherence to the updated policies.
Ultimately, you need to integrate a security-first mindset into every aspect of your DevOps processes.
From automated security testing and using secure coding practices to involving security experts in the development process and establishing clear security policies, all team members need to understand their roles and responsibilities when it comes to prioritising security while delivering software at speed.