How to Make DevOps Pipelines More Secured?

How to Make DevOps Pipelines More Secured

Measures for continuous growth of an organization are imperative for successful business execution. Besides core DevOps, where these measurements are already uplifted, monitoring of the pipeline is also necessary; this does not merely include tool-based assistance to gear up processes, in fact, DevOps itself does not mark it as necessary. Instead, understanding the human needs of the security team, going through their workflow to grasp the limitations and pressures they endure, helps in securing the DevOps pipelines.

Additionally, explaining how a deployment pipeline works and what controls are in place — such as ensuring functional adherence performance and reliability; describing how these controls are visible to everyone and how the pipe stops when problems are found, can further enhance utility and security.

Therefore, it’s essential not only to secure the application and its runtime environment but continually enhance and secure the delivery toolchain and the build and test environments which are also equally important. Confidence should be boosted concerning the integrity of delivery and the chain of custody, not just for securing compliance for enhancing security, but also to ensure that necessary changes are made safely.

A continuous delivery toolchain is also a potential target of attacks: it becomes vulnerable in providing a clear path for making changes and pushing them automatically into production. If the toolchain is compromised, attackers have an easy way into the development, test, and production environments.

From stealing data or intellectual property to injecting malware anywhere into the environment, the attack can bring it all down. It even, in a sense, cripples the organization’s ability to respond to an attack by shutting down the pipeline itself. Thus, continuous delivery and continuous deployment effectively extend the attack surface of a production system to the build and automated test and deployment environment.

It is thus imperative to safeguard the pipeline against such attacks. But, the measure is not limited here, one also needs to protect the pipe from insider attacks by ensuring that all changes are fully transparent and traceable from end to end. Advanced automated steps mean that an informed insider cannot make a move without being detected and that they cannot bypass any checks or validations.

As the initial step, a threat model on the continuous delivery pipeline should be formed. Spotting weaknesses in the setup and controls, and loopholes in auditing or logging. After this, the following steps to secure the configuration management environment and the continuous Delivery pipeline must be taken:

• Strengthening the systems that host the source and build artifact repositories, the continuous integration and continuous delivery server/s, and the systems that host the configuration management, build, deployment, and release tools. Having absolute knowledge of what is done on premises and what is in the cloud helps in clearly understanding the environment potential and gain better control.

• Strengthening the continuous integration and continuous delivery servers by continuing to update the tools and plugins, and testing considering that simple tools like Jenkins are designed for developer convenience and are not secure by default.

• Configuration management tools are at the core that manifest system management. These need to be securely encrypted, locked down, and hardened for enhanced security.

• Often sensitive information such as keys, credentials, and other secrets are saved here and there. Such potential data must on a regular basis be taken out of scripts, source code, and plain-text files, and an audit must be performed through secure managers such as Chef Vault, Square’s KeyWhiz, etc.

• Securing access to the source and binary repositories, and auditing access to them.

• Implementing access control across the entire toolchain and disallowing anonymous or shared access to the repos, the continuous integration server, or the confirmation manager.

• Changing the build steps to sign binaries and other build artifacts to secure against tampering.

• Periodically reviewing logs to ensure that they are complete and tracing a change through from start to finish. Also, ensuring that the records are immutable and cannot be erased or forged.

• Ensuring the monitoring of all these systems as part of the production environment.

Through constant monitoring and taking these management steps, the DevOps pipeline is engaged in a continuous harmony towards a more secure platform. Indeed, tool cantered measures are essential, but taking considering the workforce into consideration also calls for equal care.

Also Read

How can Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Help with DevOps?
The 5 Best Practices for DevOps in the Cloud

The Future of DevSecOps

The Future of DevSecOps
2015 was the year of predictions; Gartner predicted the rise of DevOps and how it would go mainstream, only to be adopted by a series of companies. By the beginning of 2017, DevOps had indeed become the talk of the town, as more and more companies began to realize the benefits of adopting DevOps within their processes.

The adoption of new technologies is a boon for companies since they get to enhance their productivity using the procedures of DevOps. However, where do the considerations of security stand in between all of this? With a total of 64, 000 incidents and 2,300 breaches in the year 2016 (and still counting), protecting personal data has become a priority and a necessity rather than just an option.

By 2019, close to 70% of companies who are using DevOps will realize the importance of security within their development procedures and will start incorporating the practices within their DevOps foundation itself. For this very reason, even the “normal” DevOps would need to be tuned to security procedures to protect the data from being stolen or misused.

To infuse security at every step, and to remain faithful to the spirit of DevOps, security needs to be inbuilt right from the beginning of the delivery process; this would mean that companies need to embrace the very culture and philosophy of teamwork and coordination while keeping agility and shared responsibility in mind.

The Need of Security Within DevOps Procedures

Simply put, if you want to save time and money at the same time, you should employ security measures within your DevOps procedures. If the appropriate security procedures are tuned in from the beginning itself, teams can provide the necessary feedback at the initial stage, instead of waiting for the lifecycle to end.

In large organizations, last level security checks often take endless stretches of time, which causes not only a delay in rollout time but also a delay in the feedback and the resolution time; this would mean that the company would need to spend an additional amount of time waiting for the final launch of the products and services, which in turn can mean losses for the company.

Building Security Into DevOps Foundations

Understand the consequences of not having security within DevOps: Answering simple questions can go a long way in helping one understand the implications of not having the right security measures within the DevOps cycle. While cost is one major influencer, time and money come just close enough. Add reputational damage to the list, and everything will get impacted on an immediate basis.

Focus the efforts in the pain areas to make them useful: Resources should be channelized into areas which need the most attention. Consider the worst case scenarios, to understand the extent of the damages, so that the appropriate tools of remediation can be devised. This way, if you are prepared for the worst scenario, every simple yet complex security breach can be handled with utmost ease.

Provide a free hand, but don’t stop monitoring: The progress of the inclusion of security should be of utmost importance. During the inclusion process, freedom of operation should be of utmost priority. Teams should be given a free hand to perform as they please. However, this does not mean that everything goes unsupervised. Keep a strict vigil on what is right and what is not; provide feedback for rectification, wherever necessary. This way, everything goes as per plan; the teams will be happy, and security will also not be compromised.

Automating will help estimate vulnerabilities: Automation is an essential tool within the very fabric of DevOps. Not only can businesses rapidly change, but they can work more efficiently and effectively. Security should be infused within the very structure of DevOps, which means it should be effectively included within Development, QA, Operations, and infrastructure. Automate as much as possible; the lesser the human intervention, the more secure your operations would become. Consider every manual process as a security hazard and consider opportunities for automation as a pain area.

Main Obstacles During the DevOps Procedure

A difference in priorities: Security teams often don’t count as one of the DevOps stakeholders; this means that there will always be a difference in opinions, which can cause a slowdown in deployment procedures.

Setting the pace: Going at a breakneck pace during the deployment stage can upset the very essence of DevOps. While automation is an essential factor during the deployment stage, high speed should not bring the whole process down to its knees.

Maintaining a protocol: More often than not, to implement security, specific protocols would need to be changed during the building process; this might mean ruffling up a few feathers to get the required approvals. However, obtaining the needed approvals can be a challenge, especially since higher management is actively involved in the DevOps development and implementation.

Security has slowly but steadily become a keyword within the DevOps world. It has become a significant segment, which is often considered to be a substantial part of the DevOps lifecycle, and should be followed to the tee.

Also Read

Idexcel Achieves AWS DevOps Competency Status
Artificial Intelligence to Make DevOps More Effective
True Business Efficiency Combines the Power of Cloud Computing and DevOps Practices

What’s Next in DevOps: 5 Trends to Watch

The term “DevOps” is typically credited to this 2008 presentation on agile infrastructure and operations. Now ubiquitous in IT vocabulary, the mashup word is less than 10 years old: We’re still figuring out this modern way of working in IT.

Sure, people who have been “doing DevOps” for years have accrued plenty of wisdom along the way. But most DevOps environments – and the mix of people and culture, process and methodology, and tools and technology – are far from mature.

More change is coming. That’s kind of the whole point. “DevOps is a process, an algorithm,” says Robert Reeves, CTO at Datical. “Its entire purpose is to change and evolve over time.”

What should we expect next? Here are some key trends to watch, according to DevOps experts.

Read more..

Doing DevOps Right

DevOps-right
DevOps has become the talk of the town these days. With a lot of organizations beginning to employ the tactics on a day to day basis, there are a lot of options to explore from. While DevOps provides organizations an edge over the competition, the transition is not painless or easy.

How Can a Company Know if They are Doing DevOps Right?

Define Strategies: Strategies related to infrastructure use will help an organization gauge their resource requirements, thereby helping them capitalize on their needs and wants.

Implementation in Stages: In order to make DevOps a success story for your organization to live by, it is best to avoid implementing the techniques in the whole organization in the same go. Do it in pieces to measure the success in a step by step situation.

Cost Management: Define a process which showcases the costs involved in the deployment phase. Expenses need to be mapped to each process, so that there is a detailed costing procedure available to every process, making DevOps clear and concise.

Rapid Release Cycles: Release management encompasses the process of managing, scheduling and controlling software’s production phase and guiding it through the various stages, which includes software testing and software deployment.

Seamless Integration on Different Platforms: Software development is all about seamless integration and deployment. This is not limited to cross platform integration only. This includes maintaining uniformity in all possible stages, from beginning to end, wherein the software has to be tested effectively in order to achieve operational excellence.

Application Life Cycle Management: The software production cycle begins with requirements gathering, and ends with the software hitting the market post production. The whole procedure is dependent on rigorous testing using effective tools, which helps accelerate the operations process.

Performance Monitoring: Through performance testing and monitoring, a product’s functionality can be gauged, to achieve the desired results. Performance monitoring includes making sure no external factors are able to influence the working of the product or software.

Continuous Delivery: The process of continuous delivery can be manual as well as automated. User acceptance testing enables automation, which can ease out the product delivery.

Helping Organizations Develop DevOps the Right Way

Using Social Media: Employees can grasp the various nuances of DevOps through social media, which makes it all the easier to be abreast of the changes and the upcoming trends.

Conference Sessions and Events: DevOps themes can go a long way in educating employees of the trends prevailing in the technical industry. Companies and organizations should concentrate on bringing employees together to make sure the concepts of DevOps are done right.

Leverage Log Analysis: It’s important to notice a trend of failures and follow it to make amends. This trend would often involve a common point between users, decision makers as well as developers and implementers.

Working in Tandem with Operations and Developers: Understand the problem, and develop the solution. This is the key to successful implementation. When operations provide the problems, the developers need to find the solution and make sure it is implemented in the right manner. While ops have the burden of maintaining the up time, their focus can dwindle from the right approach, which is why it’s essential to let the developers work on what’s important.

Use Data for Analysis and Feedback: Log analysis data should be the common point for all people out there in an organization. Since data talks majorly about the loopholes in a process, it can go a long way in simplifying the problems and helping implement the solutions effectively.

Commitment to DevOps can really pay off, if implemented correctly. Since people form the backbone of DevOps strategy, they should be kept in focus at all times. Developers are needed to take onus of their product development so that quality does not take a hit. Once all the strategies are in place, companies and organizations alike can define and measure their DevOps procedures and identify the gaps which need to be plugged in eventually.

5 Ways DevOps and Automation Bolster Software Security


The fusion of DevOps and security goes hand in hand; a well groomed DevOps structure ensures faster and smoother software releases. Multiple releases might have been a farfetched dream 10 to 15 years ago; however, the true reality of today is that many software companies are functioning differently now.

DevOps has changed the very existence of how companies develop apps. However, what is important to note is that in the quest to get the software ready for deployment, the security of the launch should not be compromised. Fortunately, DevOps takes care of all the security nuances, since it has been fine tuned to provide risk free deployment, provided the right measures are taken at all times.

By fusing security measures into the working of DevOps, companies can ensure that maximum security measures are taken at all times. At the same time, it is also important to note that as developers and operations people start working together, there are a lot of security controls which can be affected or compromised in the long run. This show why DevOps tools are often met with resistance during the implementation stages.

When it comes to security, DevOps can be configured to secure all the phases of software development:

  • Security right from the start: Security, as a measure, does not have to be implemented at the last development stage only. It can be embedded from the initial stages itself, since it is a quality requirement. Through DevOps, one can incorporate automated security testing procedures efficiently and effectively to achieve compliance listed norms.
  • Automation security: As more and more tests are automated using DevOps, there are lesser risks of security flaws caused by human errors. With automation in place, the tests are more secure and efficient, making the development process more predictable and consistent.
  • Through security – through and through: DevOps security is implemented at every stage, which makes the process all the more consistent and useful. Right from development and testing to ops and security, everything is taken care of by DevOps, making the process simpler yet efficient.
  • Fix things quickly: Unfortunately, even DevOps implementation is not 100% security breach proof. However, since the deployment accelerates the lead time, it helps reduce the errors, since everything is following a consistent setup approach.
  • Enhanced governance for developers: DevOps is all about securing the governance for the developers involved in the production capabilities. Through consistent development, testing and release practices, developers are able to control the governance policies and provide utmost security to the software development and deployment. When everyone is aligned on the procedures and policies, a strict governance regime can be followed, in order to make the production stream more productive and conclusive.

Through DevOps, there are a lot of opportunities which can be explored with respect to software security. Automation, emphasis on software testing, feedback loops, collaboration and consistent release practices, companies are able to secure their software testing lines and provide faster