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Top 5 reasons you need GitLab for security

Top 5 reasons you need GitLab for security
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Traditional application security tools were created for traditional development methodologies and struggle to stay relevant in today's Agile and DevOps-driven environments. With iterative development cycles – where code may be pushed to production, weekly, daily, or hourly – a security gate tacked on at the end of the development lifecycle becomes a bottleneck to delivery.

The complexity of integrating security is one of the toughest challenges facing DevOps today. DevSecOps aims to address this by integrating automated security scans and compliance controls within the CI/CD pipeline to prioritise security from the beginning instead of waiting until the final stages of the software development life cycle (SDLC).

The GitLab DevOps platform takes that a step further by seamlessly embedding security capabilities and compliance controls within the platform, strengthening collaboration between Dev and Sec and providing end-to-end visibility and control over the entire SDLC to build, deliver and run applications.

In this post, we'll delve into precisely why GitLab's end-to-end DevOps platform is a great choice to meet the security and compliance challenges of modern-day application development.

So, here are the top five reasons:

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1. Built-in security

Unlike traditional app sec tools, where the bulk of application security remains a separate workflow, GitLab offers a single application for the complete application development lifecycle, including automated application security testing in the pipeline.

Security checks are embedded into the development workflow and tightly integrated into the entire SDLC, with problems being reported directly in pipelines and Merge Requests (MRs).

This means code changes can be automatically tested with every code commit and actionable findings presented to the developer – allowing them to identify and fix vulnerabilities within their own workflow while working on their code.

Plus, both development and security can be united with a single source of truth that provides end-to-end visibility into risk across the DevOps lifecycle while strengthening remediation collaboration.

2. Robust security scanning capabilities within CI/CD

GitLab's embedded security tests scan the application source code and binaries to proactively identify potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses — without the need for additional tools.

Security scans like static application security testing (SAST), dynamic application security testing (DAST), dependency scanning, container scanning and licence management are automatically performed within the pipeline on the piece of code that changed before merging it with other code.

Plus, the merge request includes statistics and details on security vulnerabilities, allowing developers to remediate in real-time before they switch context to other activities.

Similarly, GitLab’s DAST capabilities facilitate comprehensive testing earlier in the development lifecycle by leveraging the review app, spun up by CI. This allows known runtime vulnerabilities to be reported to the developer before the code gets pushed into higher environments.

3. Integrated Security Dashboard to manage vulnerabilities

GitLab's Security Dashboard is a powerful tool in the hands of security pros for earlier risk visibility, easier vulnerability tracking and faster remediation.

The dashboard provides an overview of all vulnerabilities identified by security scanners in one place, alongside details about each finding and the current remediation efforts. These details are shown in pipelines, projects and groups.

Security pros can drill down into each vulnerability from the dashboard to view the code itself and make comments, thereby streamlining collaboration with the developer. The dashboard also provides additional insights, such as unresolved vulnerabilities across projects and/or groups, along with actions taken, by whom and when.

Besides providing an overview of security status, the A-F grading scale on the Security Dashboard helps security teams quickly spot projects with the greatest degree of risk so they can be more efficient in addressing them.

4. Threat Monitoring page for proactive risk analysis and mitigation

The Threat Monitoring page provides runtime security metrics and policy management for application environments. It supports statistics for security features like Web Application Firewall (WAF) and Container Network Policies.

The information provided can help you proactively identify and assess technology-related threats posed to the security and privacy of your organisation's systems, data and business processes and begin immediate remediation when necessary.

5. Auto DevOps for simplified security scanning

GitLab Auto DevOps is a collection of pre-configured features for building, testing and deploying applications as well as reviewing apps and setting up code quality. It eliminates the hassle of getting started with DevOps and configures CI/CD pipelines, including security auditing and vulnerability testing, using a prescriptive approach defined by GitLab.

The functionality of Auto DevOps is based on default CI/CD templates that auto-detect the language of your code and run tests for that specific language.

As DevOps continues to gain traction, more organisations would prefer to rely on a set of best practices that are predefined to make them simpler to consume. The prescriptive approach enabled by Auto DevOps can provide a comprehensive way to simplify scanning for potential vulnerabilities, security flaws, and licensing issues, as well as real-time monitoring of applications. This, in turn, can free developers to focus more effort on writing code instead of on managing the infrastructure employed to create it.

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Bonus points for being open source!

In addition to the above, another key benefit associated with using GitLab for security is that it is open source. This means the community can help improve, maintain and contribute features within GitLab.

When compared to other closed-source security vendors, this is a major advantage. With open security practices, you can get quick feedback from a much wider audience with diverse perspectives, helping you build more robust and comprehensive solutions.

Overall, with security automated throughout the developer's native workflow and DevSecOps delivered in a single application, GitLab's end-to-end DevOps platform can play a critical role in unleashing collaboration across the organisation. With it, you can unite Dev and Sec, which are traditionally disparate teams, to work concurrently from a single workflow and review changes together before pushing to production.

This means every stakeholder can contribute to a single conversation across every stage of the SDLC and focus on getting their applications to market quickly and securely.

As a Select GitLab partner, Adaptavist can help you maximise your GitLab investment and accelerate your DevSecOps transformation with bespoke solutions to fit your unique business needs.

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About the authors

Jobin Kuruvilla

Jobin Kuruvilla

Jobin Kuruvilla is a DevOps subject matter expert, and an experienced solutions expert and App developer. Jobin has several certifications under his belt, including Atlassian products, GitLab certified PSE, AWS, Kubernetes, Jenkins to name a few, and has spearheaded implementing Digital Transformation for teams and enterprises.