Skip to main content

3 min read

DevOps to DevSecOps: a secure evolution

Melissa Hales
Melissa Hales
29 November 21 DevOps
How to evolve DevOps to DevSecOps

Get up to speed on all key processes to help you implement DevSecOps and transform your SDLC.

If you’re still unsure about DevSecOps and what it’s all about, we suggest reading our previous article, which covers all the basics and explains what sets it apart from DevOps. If you’re already in the loop, then this post is for you. DevSecOps sounds great, right? But what’s it like to put into practice? Here we take a look at the key steps you’ll need to take to implement DevSecOps across your organisation. 

DevSecOps requires a mindset shift

If you’re looking for a quick fix, you’re in the wrong place. DevSecOps doesn’t come with a simple one-size-fits-all solution. It’s an elaborate process that will take some time and be unique to your organisation. But whatever your roadmap looks like, a culture change is inevitable. 

Rather than worry about security, everyone needs to take ownership and be accountable for security at each stage of the software development life cycle (SDLC), bringing security into the collaborative fold already shared by development and operations. To kick start that process, security needs to shift left. Integrating security much earlier in the SDLC will have a serious impact on security outcomes. 

That means development teams work with security engineers during planning and design, helping to build a secure software development life cycle (SSDLC). To enable this end-to-end ownership of security objectives, teams must lean on automation and incorporate fast feedback cycles into their workflows. This ensures developers can make necessary changes efficiently without requiring further input from security engineers. 

DevSecOps

Seamlessly integrate security into DevOps

Want to know why security should be so much more than an afterthought? Download our free eBook to find out more.

Download eBook

Key steps to DevSecOps success

While no two DevSecOps implementations look the same, there are a number of common processes that will probably be involved, starting with planning through to scaling your approach. So let’s take a closer look at what each step entails.

1. Plan

Proper planning can make all the difference, and it’s essential that security and performance are front and centre from the start. Your plan should set out all the security actions that need to take place across the pipeline, with metrics built in to help team members take the necessary steps to meet requirements. Rather than simple feature-based descriptions, threat models and user designs should be established, alongside clear acceptance test criteria.

2. Develop

Where previously developers might have raised questions about security with little certainty, it’s vital that the dev team codes securely to avoid a whole host of software risks. Take a look at your existing development approach and research widely to see how it compares to other organisations’. Invest time and resources in training people up and commit to specific practices and code review systems, so everyone is on the same page.

3. Build

DevSecOps is not possible with automation and automated build tools are a big part of that, offering a wide variety of helpful features that speed things up and combine source code with machine code. Working towards testing, these tools can help detect vulnerable libraries, replacing them with new ones as you build. Whatever tools you introduce, make sure developers don’t have to go out of their way to run them or triage results. Make the most of plugins and APIs to integrate tools and reduce disruption.

4. Test

Incorporating a set of tests into a reliable framework ensures that code and security standards are aligned, and vulnerabilities are caught early. Testing practices should include front-end, back-end, database, API, and passive. Some options include:

  • Dynamic application security testing (DAST), which identifies program vulnerabilities, such as SQL injections.
  • Interactive application security testing (IAST), which analyses the app and keeps track of code execution in memory.
  • Static application security testing (SAST), which checks source code without executing it, finding potential vulnerabilities based on official databases of common security weaknesses.

5. Deploy

Consistency and speed are key when it comes to deployment, and thanks to infrastructure-as-code (IaC) tools, you can achieve both. These DevSecOps tools automate your deployment process, performing the necessary audits and configurations to secure your infrastructure.

6. Operate

Operations teams keep tabs on software–looking out for any breaches–and ensure necessary upgrades take place with minimal disruption. DevSecOps makes their lives easier by removing human error from the equation. By utilising IaC tools, they can secure and update infrastructure with ease. 

7. Monitor  

Speed and efficiency are nothing without constant and continuous monitoring and there are helpful tools to keep on top of this, flagging irregularities so you can prevent major breaches before they occur. Once your DevSecOps implementation is underway, you should consider using your teams’ security expertise to conduct 24/7 proactive monitoring.

8. Scale

And finally, make the most of virtualisation tools and cloud deployment to scale your IT and security frameworks, rather than wasting money on large data centers and clunky infrastructure. That way, in the case of a serious threat or breach, you’ll be better positioned to manage and resolve it.

Secure your pipeline’s future

Interested in implementing DevSecOps but aren’t sure where to start? Speak to our expert team to find out how we can help.

Get in touch


About the authors

Melissa Hales

Melissa Hales

Senior Partner Marketing Manager