Closing the Security Gap in the Software Development Lifecycle

Speed ​​of security checks during the software testing process is essential for faster, higher quality software development and higher yields. Yet DevOps and security have always struggled to fit into the software development life cycle (SDLC). According to a Gartner studyThrough 2022, 90% of software development projects plan to follow DevSecOps practices, up from 40% in 2019.

With the increased risks of cyberattacks and the pressure on DevOps teams to deliver software in faster timeframes, the risks and consequences associated with faulty code and faulty infrastructure configurations cannot afford to be. missed in the early stages of development. So, the benefits of unifying these teams are clear, but the downsides are still costly, and their discord could hold organizations back by speeding up software deployment, but thereby releasing security vulnerabilities.

Why Security Testing is an Essential Part of SDLC

The modern DevOps security framework is an integral part of the automated testing process to help verify compliance requirements in early development stages. Performing post-development security checks carries an increased risk of vulnerabilities.

Security automation can accelerate software delivery, while minimizing the risk of security threats, which can lead to disruptions and delays of months in aggressive deadlines. In fact, a Progress survey reveals that security automation not only speeds up software delivery, but also improves quality. DevSecOps adopters are three times more likely than non-adopters to see security as something that speeds up software delivery and majority of organizations (84%) agree that the quality is also improved.

Without the security mitigation, the gap will continue to grow as software progresses if not resolved immediately. The speed of innovation is nothing without security in the SDLC. In an era of rapidly growing threats and ever-changing compliance frameworks, it is becoming increasingly alarming that it can take weeks or even up to two months to remediate these breaches or vulnerabilities. .

“All as code” has the answer

Using everything as code in the elements of compliance policies, infrastructure, and application dependencies can bridge the gap between teams in the software development lifecycle by allowing different teams to share, scale and automate. Specific testing can make it accessible to various parties, such as security engineers, auditors, and system administrators.

Left-shift testing can increase security earlier in the process, minimizing the rate of pre-production errors. This means developers are more involved in the workflow and invested in the process. Defining everything as code allows all teams to assess the cybersecurity strength of the software and can make any necessary changes to ensure feature compliance.

An approach based on best practices

Here are four checks to ensure best practices for SDLC integration with security to enable developers to be more agile and efficient:

  1. Define compliance as a code to be referenced as a clear and understandable concept that is scalable for all teams:
  • Create Custom Policies — Enable job capabilities for quickly writing custom policies or building on existing “desired state” policies in high-level, domain-specific languages ​​(DSLs).
  • Infrastructure-as-code (IaC) — Provide consistent infrastructure configurations with a compatible format for version control systems (VCS). This should enable peer code review, version control, change auditability, automated testing, and deployment through CI/CD processes and tools.
  • Limit human interference during the review and testing stages to minimize errors:
  • Rollback / grace period — It is important to set a grace period during which urgent configuration changes can be rolled back, when configurations may have been changed directly on the server.
  • Set up regular checks of secure coding practices to manage gap analysis and threat modeling, and be sure to create a security risk checklist:
  • Workflow/Case Management Tools — Ensure workflow tools are integrated. Such as ServiceNow, Jira and webhooks. This will allow for urgent manual intervention to remedy any discrepancies in compliance.
  • Exception Management – Enabling these same built-in workflow tools for exception management, allowing for individual approval/review of deviations from desired state configuration, two-person rule observations, and CI/CD pipeline visibility.

4. Confirm a set of easily customizable security baselines, such as CIS compliance benchmarks and DISA STIGs:

  • Configuration drift — Chief is an ideal tool for clients to compensate for any configuration drift issues, as it prevents the server from straying from a desired state (known state). Hosts can resolve issues by detecting configuration drift and performing automated remediation.
  • Monitor configuration — It is advisable to use IT automation software to detect and manage configuration on many different servers (Linux and Windows), ranging from physical machines to virtual machines.

Automating security and defining “everything as code” is the best way to solve the compliance problem by closing the security gaps in the SDLC. This common language shared across teams is the source of truth that can be used to codify infrastructure configuration, security, and compliance.

Image credit: donscarpo /

Heather Peyton is Director of Product Marketing at Progress, responsible for messaging around the Chef Enterprise Automation stack. Before Chef Heather held DevOps roles at CA and Worksoft. Heather began her technology career working for CompuCom, a large VAR/SI, where she focused on helping large organizations evaluate and deploy new and transformative technologies.

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