How to get Security-as-code right

Nov 19, 2021
4 min read

Modern industry and society are increasingly reliant on software. As a result, customers have grown accustomed to receiving immediate satisfaction. As a result, companies are focusing more on innovation and getting products to market faster. Businesses that cannot compete in the hyper-competitive market of speed-to-value will be left behind.

However, quick software delivery comes with a higher risk. As a result, businesses are reducing time to market, which has led many to switch from a waterfall to a DevOps strategy. In this strategy, security cannot be a gate at the end of the development process but must be a part of it, or security as code. You're employing security as code when you extend security into the stage of development and automate security checks at every code change. It reduces deployment times and ensures that security checks are not missed. Security as code will become increasingly important as the world prioritizes speed.

What is Security-as-Code?

Teams have been working in silos, whether they are developers, operations, or security. Previously, the Dev and Ops teams worked independently, giving birth to DevOps, where both Devs and Ops could handle some of each other's work. Now is the time for DevOps and security teams to collaborate, bringing some of the DevOps attitude, concepts, and agility to the forefront of security. In addition, security must be integrated into the whole pipeline, beginning with development and deployment from code to cloud.

As a result, security isn't an afterthought; it doesn't arrive at the end of the development process, it's non-intrusive, and doesn't stifle or slow it down. In addition, Security-as-code aims to break down divisions between Ops, Dev, and Security teams so that everyone is security-conscious and collaborates rather than competes.

What Are The Fundamentals Of A Successful Security-As-Code Program?

Assign specific ownership and responsibility.

The first rule requires a focus on ownership and responsibility and an internal structure that can map individuals and roles to specific challenges. It can be challenging to define ownership or control, particularly in large enterprises with several territories, jurisdictions, divisions, or teams. However, defining and maintaining roles is critical to simplifying security and risk management throughout an organization.

Design & Manage Codified Controls

The second concept is the creation and administration of control objectives to solve the set of discrete problems listed. It's ideal for keeping the defined rules distinct from the code that will regulate the application and cloud services. This allows security policy to function autonomously and adapt to new demands without the participation of developers. Create policy material that is precise enough to fulfill cloud control criteria and the capacity to manage a rising inventory of codified intellectual property. These are the pillars of a successful Security-as-Code program.

Implement A Complete Set Of Cloud Security Safeguards

The last concept includes switching from a security and risk strategy that uses a single control plane to one that uses APIs to inject security into as many sections of the SDLC process as possible. This complete solution allows for implementing cloud security guardrails throughout development, within CI/CD pipelines, and during runtime to identify risks related to drift, attack, and abuse. Additionally, organizations will continually audit cloud services and workloads for security, resilience, and regulatory compliance and develop a single framework for visibility, control, and collaboration across multi-cloud environments. Finally, a robust basis for ensuring the usage of public cloud services is provided by agile and automated policy enforcement inside dynamic workflows.

For most firms, Security-as-Code represents a considerable cultural and technological transformation. It necessitates changes in people, processes, and technology that may be diametrically opposed to current techniques and disruptive in the early implementation phases. On the other hand, Security-as-Code is required to protect against the growing complexity of public cloud usage. While such a program needs careful consideration and transparent leadership, it has been shown to produce significantly better results than standard security measures.

Safeguarding the SDLC with Security as Code

When you use Security as Code to protect your SDLC, you're supporting a culture shift in your organization that values security over needs, allowing for more chances to automate security.

Here are some best practices for making sure your SDLC is secure with Security as Code:

Evaluate security needs early and codify them -

Security as Code is a strategy that demands DevOps stakeholders and team leadership to systematically prepare for security with a codified set of practical solutions that automate or must be implemented across the SDLC.

Create user scenarios and conduct a security audit -

User stories are an agile approach that encourages developers to review feature needs from the end user’s perspective. This ensures that no crucial elements are overlooked mistakenly. For establishing a SecDevOps environment, the same must be done for security.

Check that the code is suitable for continuous delivery -

Security checks and tests are performed early and too frequently, ensuring that software projects are ready to meet the demands of continuous delivery because security is automated across the development process and infrastructure.

Automate regular compliance checks -

Along with security scans, it's critical to conduct compliance checks to verify that your development adheres to regulatory requirements and industry best practices.

In the test environment, finalize security-related tasks -

By the time the product reaches the testing team, much of the compliance and security has already been taken care of through automation during the development phase. Using tools and resources like those provided by BMC, development teams may fine-tune and optimize application security and compliance.

Bottom Line

Shifting left helps organizations uncover faults faster, and the harm and expense of repairing them is lower than when developers launch an application or after it's delivered to production.

However, the need for speed makes security by design more challenging. DevOps teams are responsible for quickly validating security needs. "Security as code" can help with this since it helps to automate the secure deployment process, making it faster and easier.

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