InfoSec 2022 guide: How DevSecOps practices drive organizational resilience

As organizations transition to the cloud and adopt DevSecOps practices, they can move more quickly and flexibly. They can develop software applications rapidly and gain access to extensible cloud resources without having to sink costs into IT plumbing or managing this infrastructure themselves.

But with this speed, agility, and innovation come new challenges.

Risks include performance problems and outages in cloud-native environments, application security vulnerabilities and poor digital experience for customers and other users. Open source code, for example, has generated new threat vectors for attackers to exploit. A case in point is Log4Shell, which emerged in late 2021 and exposed open source libraries to exploitation. Considering open source software (OSS) libraries now account for more than 70% of most applications’ code base, this threat is not going anywhere anytime soon.

To combat these challenges, organizations need an IT culture that addresses security resilience from the outset—also known as security by design—which, in turn, supports business resilience. This approach, however, requires more extensive collaboration between developers, security teams and IT operations teams.

Not surprisingly, the theme of Infosec Europe 2022 Conference is “Stronger together,” putting an emphasis on IT collaboration. The conference’s theme recognizes that IT collaboration, DevSecOps culture, and business resilience are mutually reinforcing the role of DevSecOps teams in addressing application security threats, system downtime, and digital user experience issues.

This guide explores the impact of identifying vulnerabilities in development and in runtime. That means “shifting left” to identify bugs in development and “shifting right” to identify threats that compromise live applications. By improving their DevSecOps practices and capabilities, teams can increase their security resilience.

Resilience in a world of chaotic cyberattacks

As large-scale vulnerabilities such as Log4Shell emerge, building resilience against malicious cyberattacks is more critical—and trickier—than ever. Adopting cloud-native technologies and open source software makes applications more feature rich and scalable, but it also increases IT complexity. Security teams need their vulnerability management approach to be seamless. Because of this IT complexity, security teams are on the front lines of organizational success and resilience.

In recent years, the number of vulnerabilities has overtaken the ability to effectively monitor IT environments manually. As a result, it’s challenging for organizations to catch up after a DevSecOps transformation, as vulnerabilities proliferate and morph in an environment. Similarly, teams can’t rely on human efforts alone to identify and fix the increasing number of vulnerabilities. Instead, they need to enlist software intelligence to monitor their systems end to end to identify and prioritize remediation efforts.

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Open source software security

Don’t trade flexibility and features for vulnerability. As organizations adopt cloud-native and open source technologies, their environments become more flexible. However, these technologies can increase complexity. Cloud environment toolkits —microservices, Kubernetes, and serverless platforms — enable business agility, but also create complexity for which many security solutions weren’t built for.

Additionally, real-time visibility into production vulnerabilities helps to secure sensitive consumer and employee data. Today, organizations can move faster and innovate more easily through software development. But some of this agility involves enlisting third-party code libraries that can also contain vulnerabilities. If undetected, these threats can wreak havoc once applications are live and in production. Consider, for example, the recent Log4Shell and Spring4Shell vulnerabilities.

According to recent data, the average time to identify and patch a vulnerability can be more than 200 days. How can organizations get ahead of runtime vulnerabilities before they affect sensitive data?

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DevSecOps: Security by design

A core principle of DevSecOps practices and culture is security by design, which considers cybersecurity at the outset of software development, not as an afterthought. DevSecOps teams need to build security into their development plans earlier in the software development lifecycle to enable code testing for vulnerabilities—not only in development but also in production.

DevSecOps practices build on DevOps, ensuring that security concerns are top of mind as developers build code. Integrating security into the DevOps workflow helps organizations improve their application security, so they can better protect users and businesses from cyberattacks and data breaches. For example, advanced DevOps observability tools that incorporate DevSecOps principles can spot and address dangerous zero-day vulnerabilities, such as Log4Shell, preventing malicious actors from executing commands on certain Java processes that are accessible to the outside world. By automating DevSecOps release validation through quality gates, organizations can even ensure that their releases are secure by default.

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