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.

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