Oct 11 · 9 min read
DevOps is now the default approach to agile software development and deployment in most tech companies. With the promise of speed and quality, it seamlessly integrates the functions of development and operations teams to ensure that applications can be continuously pushed out to production. However, the emphasis on speed often comes at the cost of security. Critical vulnerabilities are addressed only late in development, with security patches often being tacked on right before deployment. This is where DevSecOps, also known as Secure DevOps, comes in.
Simply put, DevSecOps is the future of DevOps. DevSecOps involves integrating application security testing earlier in the software development lifecycle (SDLC). This notion of shifting security to the left is commonly called “shift left.”
There are quite a few reasons for the shift left approach.
1. More secure software: DevSecOps allows tech companies to spot critical risks and potential breaches as code is written, resulting in a more secure product.
2. Less costly remediation: Monitoring and addressing security issues early on in the SDLC also saves companies money, since less code is required to remedy issues. By continuously checking for vulnerabilities throughout the development process, companies are saved from having to make costly, time-consuming fixes toward the end of development.
3. Less time to market: Fostering a culture of collaboration among development, operations, and security teams results in security risks being patched speedily, reducing the time for software to hit the market. Furthermore, the elimination of security bottlenecks means that updates to software can continue to be released without much delay.
4. Better compliance: If software is being released to an industry that has strict security regulations (e.g HIPAA, PCI, etc), then monitoring code for compliance throughout the development process can save companies from having to pay hefty fines.
Moving to DevSecOps requires teams to plan for the security of their applications and infrastructure from the initial stages of software development, which may involve cultural shifts such as security training for developers and adopting new tools and processes. Some critical components of DevSecOps include:
1. Visibility on every aspect of the CI/CD pipeline: It is crucial to gain visibility on code across the CI/CD pipeline. Certain DevSecOps tools allow you to automate the discovery, profiling, and monitoring of all activities, changes, configurations, and secrets throughout the pipeline. Any risks, threats, unauthorized changes, or anomalous activities are then immediately flagged and reported.
2. Customized and automated security remediation responses: Code needs to be continuously monitored across development for risks and vulnerabilities. Automating security remediation workflows allows you to immediately take action on security policy violations as soon as they are detected. Planning ahead for threats also limits the severity and scope of potential breaches or exposures. Several DevSecOps tools allow you to customize security rules and automate some security gates to ensure that your workflow runs seamlessly.
3. Open source security and runtime protection: Comprehensively implementing DevSecOps involves monitoring and addressing potential security threats in open source software and applications in production, two oft-overlooked areas of vulnerability. This includes protecting against container breakouts and preventing attacks from the inside.
4. Compliance across the pipeline: Special security protocols can ensure that at all stages of development and deployment, security practices are compliant with relevant regulations for HIPAA, PCI, GDPR, CCPA, and more.
Here are the top 21 DevSecOps tools (in no particular order) that can help you as you make the transition to a more secure approach to agile development.
Prisma Cloud focuses on cloud native security and compliance. It allows you to scan and secure applications and infrastructure in the CI/CD pipeline across hybrid and multi-cloud environments. By monitoring suspicious user behavior, exposed secrets, faulty configurations, and network threats, Prisma Cloud helps you quickly secure your cloud resources early in development.
Argon Security provides holistic security solutions across your CI/CD pipeline, and positions itself as the first unified security solution that protects your software throughout the DevOps software supply chain. It exemplifies DevSecOps in that it ensures end-to-end security for your software supply chain’s CI/CD pipeline without compromising on speed and output.
Argon provides you complete visibility on all assets, tools, activities, and users across the pipeline and also identifies misconfigurations, suspicious behavior, exposed credentials, and code leaks. Argon goes one step further and also automates the remediation of vulnerabilities based on compliance regulations and CI/CD security best practices, taking the burden off teams to manually intervene and address alerts.
Adaptive Shield’s specialty is security posture management for Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms. It proactively spots and fixes security threats in all your SaaS applications, while managing user permissions, and scanning for accidental exposures and misconfigurations.
DoControl is a SaaS-oriented security tool that addresses user access privileges, profiling and managing data exposure. DoControl gives you visibility on all your assets, users, and external collaborators. By automating data access controls, it enables security without compromising efficiency.
Application Security (AppSec) is the forte of Checkmarx, which is an award-winning AppSec Testing tool that integrates security policies into the DevOps workflow and ensures security across the application lifecycle. Checkmarx scans all your code and provides actionable insights for critical vulnerabilities. Checkmarx also offers developer-friendly AppSec training that makes the transition to DevSecOps more efficient.
Snyk is a developer-friendly security platform that sees developers as the first step in building secure applications and infrastructure. Snyk scans and secures components across the cloud native application stack through automated fixes, suggestions for preventive measures, and constant monitoring for vulnerabilities.
Reflectiz targets online businesses who are looking to secure their financial websites against advanced third-party attacks. Reflectiz gives businesses insight into the third-party applications running on their websites as well as the security practices and behaviors of these third-parties. Once a complete assessment has been made, the tool suggests measures for mitigating security threats from third-party applications.
Orca Security offers timely detection of cloud security risks across AWS, Azure, and GCP, with prioritization of alerts that require more immediate attention. Its interface is easy to understand, allowing any team member to access actionable insights, in turn, making remediation faster.
Qualys describes itself as a cloud platform and accompanying cloud agent that gives you a single platform for your IT, security, and compliance solutions. Its free Global AssetView app gives you instant visibility on all your known and unknown assets across your hybrid cloud environment. Several other apps integrated into its cloud platform allow you to analyze threats and misconfigurations, prioritize the most urgent vulnerabilities, and patch these risks with just a single click.
The “cyber exposure company”, Tenable, offers an independent assessment of weaknesses in your attack surface across your domains. Tenable not only provides visibility into exposures and the effectiveness of your current security practices, but it also predicts potential threats and generates actions to mitigate current and future risks. Tenable has a range of products covering security assessments for VMs, cloud platforms, containers, web applications, and IT/OT infrastructure.
Falco, aka The Falco Project, is a cloud-native runtime security tool that calls itself “the de facto Kubernetes threat detection engine.” Falco monitors malicious activity and suspicious container behavior at runtime and generates immediate alerts to violations of security policies. Right out of the box, Falco can detect and alert you to CVE vulnerabilities in your cloud architecture.
SonarQube is an open source project that gives development teams a tool for continuously inspecting code to detect risky bugs and suspicious behavior. SonarQube supports 27 programming languages and integrates with existing development workflows to help developers find and fix vulnerabilities.
Falcon Discover ensures IT hygiene by inventorying all your applications and assets in your network. It highlights those that are unmanaged and unprotected while also monitoring them for noncompliance. Furthermore, it provides account monitoring functionalities that allow you to gain visibility on all users in your network, track misused admin credentials, and monitor unusual behavior.
As the name suggests, CloudVisory is responsible for your multi-cloud security posture, giving you visibility into your multi-cloud infrastructure through a single console. It minimizes compliance violations and risk of cloud security misconfiguration by implementing cloud security guardrails, managing cloud vulnerabilities, and leveraging machine learning to automate risk analysis and remediation.
FortiWeb is a Web Application Firewall (WAF) by Fortinet that protects the rapidly evolving attack surface of your web applications and APIs against attacks on known and unknown vulnerabilities. FortiWeb blocks known and zero-day threats as well as malicious bots without blocking legitimate users and bots that are critical to your business.
Imperva offers to protect your data and all paths to it by managing the security of your applications and APIs, DDoS and DNS protection at the edge, and data security across your multi-cloud and on-premises infrastructure. It manages to accomplish this without impacting performance or creating security bottlenecks.
RadWare is considered a leader in DDoS protection across on-premises, data centers, and multi-cloud infrastructure. It secures your applications in any environment through an integrated WAF and bot and API protection. It also delivers public cloud security.
Rapid7’s tCell positions itself as “the next-gen cloud WAF and RASP tool” that promises “security at the speed of DevOps.” tCell provides complete visibility into all your applications through real-time application monitoring and offers multi-level web server and app server agents that automatically recognize and block attacks. It prioritizes alerts and sorts breaches that require immediate action from those that are being actively blocked. Furthermore, it allows applications to defend themselves from attacks in production.
WhiteSource addresses the security concerns of open source components and their dependencies throughout the SDLC. It can be integrated into developers native environments to generate security alerts that are prioritized according to whether vulnerabilities have been found in components that are used by your code or not. This allows you to enforce security policies without compromising on workflow efficiency.
Codacy is another tool that can seamlessly integrate into your development workflow to automate code reviews for your commits and pull requests. It supports over 40 different programming languages and gives you instant visibility into the quality of your project’s code. Your own security policies can be integrated to block merges of pull requests that violate quality conditions.
Built specifically for the Elastic Stack, Kibana is a free and open user interface that helps you visualize Elasticsearch data and the Elastic Stack. It allows you to visualize your data and analyze it in creative and coherent ways. Kibana can be used to create alerts that trigger specific actions once a critical threshold has been met.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of tools that can help you shift left to a culture of DevSecOps. Based on your enterprise’s needs and development workflow, you can pick and choose the tools that best suit your approach and culture. Security training for developers is often a crucial aspect of the shift to the left, but this transition can be seamless if you select tools that can be easily mastered and integrated into your pipeline without compromising on speed and efficiency.
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