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DevOps / Security

DevSecOps Tools That Offer Security, Efficiency, and Quality

Three different types of AppSec tools have the purpose of detecting, repairing, and preventing security vulnerabilities at the application level: Static Application Security Testing (SAST), Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) tools, and Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST).
Oct 13th, 2023 12:00pm by
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DevSecOps follows the template that the creation of DevOps established for modern, agile software development. Today, development and IT operations teams work, and software development lifecycle (SDLC) processes align. Task automation and management tools prompted the breakdown of silos between the teams. In turn, placing software development within the agile methodology shortened the development cycle and added efficiencies through testing after each code cycle. Combining more efficient processes, a shortened development cycle, and continuous testing allows applications to reach the marketplace at a much quicker pace.

Utilizing the DevSecOps methodology adds another key feature that moves beyond the DevOps culture. Rather than build in security during the last stages of development, DevSecOps solutions recognize that continuous delivery software environments have vulnerabilities and — as with testing — require integrated security measures at each stage of the SLDC.

Several examples illustrate the reasons for integrating security throughout the development cycle. Within the development pipeline, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and open source components can introduce weak points at the coding phase. Changes in code can also allow openings to malicious software to occur early in the development process.

DevSecOps Solutions Solve Vulnerabilities Early in the Development Process

To counter these and other threats, development, security, and IT operations teams use DevSecOps solutions to integrate security best practices at the beginning and throughout the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Without the DevSecOps methodology, testing and security occur after the development phase. Solving security vulnerabilities after development requires software patches. Once the application ages and customers seek improvements, though, the patches can become barriers to serving customer needs through code expansions or other services.

To solve vulnerabilities early in the development pipeline, DevSecOps solutions utilize Application Security (AppSec) tools to save time and resources. The three different types of AppSec tools have the purpose of detecting, repairing, and preventing security vulnerabilities at the application level. While Static Application Security Testing (SAST) tools evaluate application code and scan for vulnerabilities, Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) tools perform real-time analysis on running applications. Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) tools combine the best qualities of static and dynamic analysis and gather complex information about application execution flow and data flows. IAST tools also simulate complex attack patterns and test running applications for responses to simulated attacks.

DevSecOps Tools Provide Many Benefits

Because development and operations always have the goals of creating the best applications while shortening the time to market. DevSecOps tools respond to those goals through enhanced risk mitigation and a continuous emphasis on quality.

To preserve the efficiencies that enable faster development, DevSecOps tools must smoothly and seamlessly integrate into existing pipelines and processes while supporting the developer experience. The smooth integration of security into the development cycle also provides the greatest opportunities for continuous security. In turn, the emphasis on security, quality, and compliance leads to greater customer confidence in applications and support for applications.

However, the benefits offered through DevSecOps security tools go beyond the integration of security into workflows and improved workflows. Automated DevSecOps security tools also offer better methods for achieving and maintaining compliance with increasingly strict standards for security and government regulations. Within that larger objective, DevSecOps security tools provide self-monitoring capabilities for detecting possible bugs and for improved code verification.

Along with those toolsets, sophisticated automated AppSec testing tools can combine with machine learning and artificial intelligence tools to quickly identify possible security gaps, provide additional testing, and suggest code changes.

Create a DevSecOps Tools List Around the Development/Operations Cycle

Rather than offer one method for managing vulnerabilities, DevSecOps tools integrate security best practices in the first stage of development and throughout the entire development cycle. Managers and teams can select the best DevSecOps security tools by assessing security needs and then aligning those needs to the tools that easily integrate with development workflows.

Alignment of needs with workflows occurs through careful consideration of the DevSecOps tools list and how each type of tool fits within the purpose of each stage of the DevSecOps software development pipeline. For example, tools for design and threat modeling align with the design stage while repository controls and code reviews match with the development stage. The use of standardized tools across the agile framework applies a unified approach that improves delivery efficiency.

DevSecOps Security Tools Emphasize the Production of High-Quality Code

Intermingling development, security, and operations emphasize the quality of code at each stage. Within DevSecOps, “shift left” testing pushes testing and quality controls to the earliest stages of software development. DevSecOps companies may use several different methods for achieving “shift left” testing. Test-driven development requires developers to write tests before they write the actual code. Verifying the validity of the code involves writing the minimum code needed to pass the test and refactoring — or improving the design of the code. Enabling the success of test-driven development depends on the ability of teams to define the requirements for an application.

Development teams may also apply Behavior-driven Development tools to test and improve the quality of code. Behavior-driven development (BDD) tools move developers, testing engineers, and product owners back to the fundamentals of the DevSecOps methodology.

The BDD framework uses a simple text language to establish a common design language that serves the needs of technical and non-technical stakeholders. The use of a common design language allows teams consisting of developers, security analysts, team managers, and customers to determine the desired behavior of an application or software project, document the application, and set behavior-driven objectives for software development.

Behavior-specific tests verify the operation of a product at the start of a project, during the development of an application, and at the completion of the software development. As a result, DevSecOps companies can further shorten the development cycle and move applications to the marketplace.

DevSecOps as a Service Provides Another Option

DevSecOps as a Service and other DevSecOps services can offer another path towards shortening application development. DevSecOps as a Service (DSOaaS) shifts the cost and effort of implementation to subscription-based technologies available through cloud computing. Subscribers gain access to everything associated with the selection, management, and maintenance of tools, policies, and procedures without upfront IT expenditures. Application developers and users gain access to tools through portals or APIs.

The subscription also covers DevSecOps services by centralized, specialized teams. DSOaaS teams provide the professional expertise and resources that traditional deployment and security teams may lack. In addition, the standardized AppSec tools offered through DSOaaS respond to compliance requirements.

DevSecOps Software Builds Customer Confidence

As with the DevOps methodology, DevSecOps teams rely on feedback from customers about their experiences to improve product quality. Learning about customer requirements allows teams to focus on best practices and attain business objectives. As valued stakeholders in the DevSecOps model, customers can speak about business requirements and how software applications can provide innovative solutions for meeting those needs. Development teams can utilize that feedback to resolve issues in real-time and offer better applications.

By integrating the best security- and quality-focused best practices at the earliest stages and throughout all stages of the development cycle, DevSecOps teams cultivate customer trust. The continual mitigation of vulnerabilities establishes the foundation for retaining customers, maintaining a good business reputation, and increasing sales.

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