DevOps has created a number of opportunities for businesses of all sizes. However, they have also opened the door for a number of security risks that have to be resolved at all costs. In 2017, Tech Republic published an insightful article on how DevOps went mainstream, but security did not follow suit.

Security Risks Coincide with Great Reliance on DevOp Projects

The growing demand for DevOps is understandable. Unfortunately, it has also increased seucirty risks too. In order to understand the security risks it has created, it is important to be aware of the underlying trends in DevOps.

The digital revolution demands greater adaptability from companies of all sizes. Organizations have to be ready to develop new digital products and services all the time. This requires them to take advantage of the capabilities offered by ICT to maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. DevOps is a new technology that has arisen in response to the growing demand for flexibility and rapid development. DevOps is the result of the convergence of two trends: the application of increasingly agile methods to develop software, along with a shift away from a centralized approach to programming.

Traditional programming approaches have made the collaboration between developers and IT staff too intermittent, which has reduced productivity. DevOps takes a more collaborative approach, which has proven to be remarkably efficient and eliminated many of the design flaws that they have traditionally encountered. They have used different tools such as jFrog plus Docker to make these projects more robust.

In addition, DevOps has led to the creation of a work ecosystem that focuses primarily on making the development of tools faster and more efficient. DevOps approaches integrate all the professionals who work with them during their life cycle. This includes several stages that range from conception, design, coding and testing, to implementation, administration and migration. They may also lead to other stages including replacement and retirement of outdated software.

Adopting this holistic work methodology has been very beneficial for countless organizations. It has helped companies employing DevOps methodologies become more competitive by shortening delivery times and maintaining the level of their performance, requires them to make security one of their priorities.

The problem is that security has not been a priority for DevOps team. A WhiteHat Security report shows that the window of exposure increased 33% in the span of a year, because DevOps increased these risks.

Minimizing Security Risks with DevOps

Working in DevOps environments does not have to increase security risks for organizations, as long as CISOs know how to take the following precautions:

  • They must carefully monitor the number of professionals involved. DevOps has created a cultural shift that focuses on open source development and compatibility. This conflicts with most security guidelines. DevOps environments will be more secure if the number of team members is limited.
  • Inadequate testing for security risks can also be a problem. DevOps teams are often focused too much on productivity and the performance of the final product. Security troubleshooting is often an afterthought.
  • Lack of trained security experts on the team is also a major constraint.

The advantage CISOs have in constructing a secure DevOps environment is that they can require the developers working in them to be aware of the importance of security. In fact, 91% of those surveyed in a recent study on the subject considered it part of their work. They need to make this a focus if they want to build a secure DevOps environment.

One of the top responsibilities of CISOs is providing appropriate support to the teams specialize in the subject. At the organizational level, CISOs are encouraged to offer developers constant support, especially during the early stages of development. They must take all necessary precautions and automate key tasks as soon as possible (which will enhance the much-desired acceleration in the delivery of applications).

Testing is undoubtedly one of the most important measures they can take to resolve security risks. They should develop a continuous testing process to ensure that all applications are working properly and free of any security glitches. They must recognize that accelerating delivery times is not their only objective. They must also have a testing process in place before the applications come into contact with networks and business data, because they could be unwittingly exposing them to major security problems.

As data in DevOps tool environments is constantly exchanged, it becomes difficult to keep all circulating information secret. Another measure CISOs can take to minimize risk is to centralize access control to confidential information, restricting permissions as much as possible, while still ensuring access to the right users.

Finally, ensuring that code repositories do not expose secret information is another key to avoiding vulnerabilities, which should be done without hindering developers from integrating their source code updates into a shared main line.