Endpoint

3/9/2018
10:30 AM
Robert Hawk
Robert Hawk
Commentary
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail vvv
50%
50%

DevSecOps: The Importance of Building Security from the Beginning

Here are four important areas to tackle in order to master DevSecOps: code, privacy, predictability, and people.

The second part of a two-part post on DevSecOps. The first part is here.

In recent conversations surrounding the intersection of DevOps and security, you may have heard the term "shift left," which entails integrating security before (that is, to the left of) firewalls and other secondary measures. Shifting left is a proactive approach to risk that avoids spending valuable resources on threats that could have been prevented. Building security into your development processes and testing cycles from the beginning is the basis for DevSecOps, and these practices can save your organization countless hours, dollars, and headaches. Here are four important areas you should tackle in order to master this.

Code
Perhaps 80% of security is properly writing, patching, and documenting code. Code can be a maintenance nightmare because its components throughout your system are so interdependent. Changing a single piece could break an entire application, for example, and this is not a viable foundation for DevSecOps. A modular approach to writing code allows you to easily bake in critical security measures from the get-go and amend the code when necessary for continuous improvement.

Never forget that tack-on elements like firewalls or antivirus software are only backup measures — you should not and cannot ever rely on them as your only defense! Security by design is about implementing a risk-based approach to development that focuses on continuous assessment, analysis, improvement, and validation to create safer practices and better safety nets. Think of high-quality code as a moat and drawbridge, and the tack-on elements like your foot soldiers. If your moat and drawbridge are in good standing order, you should only require your army in true emergency situations.

Privacy
It's crucial to understand that security by design also entails privacy by design. With regulations like the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) making headlines recently, lawmakers are finally enacting policies that affect technology use under the context of privacy. Your organization's security strategy should take into account the compliance requirements and laws that apply to you, and put processes in place — e.g, controls — for verification and validation of compliance.

Of course, different types of data will require different types and levels of protection, whether technical, physical, administrative, or all of the above. Organizations should know the laws and regulations governing the type or types of data they specifically deal with. If GDPR applies to your organization, for instance, you would appoint a dedicated data protection officer, create a detailed data map, implement continuous monitoring, etc. And remember that a proper privacy plan always accounts for the worst, so you'll need an action plan for recording, tracking, and reporting all privacy data complaints, incidents, and breaches in a timely fashion. 

Predictability
Another major part of good security is predictability, and a new model of dynamic data systems via analytics-driven security incident and event management (SIEM) platforms is filling in the gaps. Static data only allow teams to make slow, reactive, and manual decisions; they need a simple way to correlate critical information across all security-related data to maintain and manage their security posture.

Rather than merely watching events after they occur, your organization should be equipped to anticipate their occurrence and rapidly implement measures to limit their vulnerability in real time. Modern SIEMs offer invaluable, contextualized threat intelligence — whether external or internal — to minimize or even avoid the damage from major incidents.

While SIEM systems have largely been thought of as security tools for intrusion detection, a sophisticated SIEM can actually act as the nerve center for monitoring within an organization. Alongside real-time communications and targeted notification delivery, using a SIEM system to monitor change management and automating pipelines for development is an excellent way to achieve the situational awareness needed in a DevSecOps environment.

People
And finally, we can't forget the people component. Creating a culture conducive to successful DevSecOps practices involves awareness, training, and full immersion. Know the privacy rules that affect your organization and enforce them through regular training sessions. Implement the right tools and processes and build toolchains that bring structure and standardization to collaboration within and between teams.

Unlike the bureaucracy of traditional security approaches, DevSecOps is a cooperative method that distributes the burden of security more evenly. The organization can operate more nimbly and with less friction and improve its handling of security issues on the whole. Finding success with DevSecOps may seem like a daunting challenge, but just remember that it all starts with gradual, piecewise changes and improvements at the ground floor of your organization's security practices.

Related Content:

 

Black Hat Asia returns to Singapore with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier solutions and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

Robert Hawk is Privacy & Security Lead at xMatters. He has extensive experience in information systems security, computer security, cybersecurity, information assurance, as well as governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) management. He specializes in frameworks and standards ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
6 Ways Greed Has a Negative Effect on Cybersecurity
Joshua Goldfarb, Co-founder & Chief Product Officer, IDRRA ,  6/11/2018
Weaponizing IPv6 to Bypass IPv4 Security
John Anderson, Principal Security Consultant, Trustwave Spiderlabs,  6/12/2018
'Shift Left' & the Connected Car
Rohit Sethi, COO of Security Compass,  6/12/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-12026
PUBLISHED: 2018-06-17
During the spawning of a malicious Passenger-managed application, SpawningKit in Phusion Passenger 5.3.x before 5.3.2 allows such applications to replace key files or directories in the spawning communication directory with symlinks. This then could result in arbitrary reads and writes, which in tur...
CVE-2018-12027
PUBLISHED: 2018-06-17
An Insecure Permissions vulnerability in SpawningKit in Phusion Passenger 5.3.x before 5.3.2 causes information disclosure in the following situation: given a Passenger-spawned application process that reports that it listens on a certain Unix domain socket, if any of the parent directories of said ...
CVE-2018-12028
PUBLISHED: 2018-06-17
An Incorrect Access Control vulnerability in SpawningKit in Phusion Passenger 5.3.x before 5.3.2 allows a Passenger-managed malicious application, upon spawning a child process, to report an arbitrary different PID back to Passenger's process manager. If the malicious application then generates an e...
CVE-2018-12029
PUBLISHED: 2018-06-17
A race condition in the nginx module in Phusion Passenger 3.x through 5.x before 5.3.2 allows local escalation of privileges when a non-standard passenger_instance_registry_dir with insufficiently strict permissions is configured. Replacing a file with a symlink after the file was created, but befor...
CVE-2018-12071
PUBLISHED: 2018-06-17
A Session Fixation issue exists in CodeIgniter before 3.1.9 because session.use_strict_mode in the Session Library was mishandled.