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5 March, 2021


DevOps best practices for vulnerability scanning

Considering the market dynamics and increasing competition in various industry segments, organizations seek to minimize their applications’ time-to-market. Companies adopt DevOps principles for improving the delivery speed and enhancing the agility in their workflows. While DevOps is not a new concept, it focusses on collaboration between development and operations within an organization. Due to this collaboration, it becomes possible to streamline processes and deploy products quickly. However, in this quest of deploying products at a rapid pace, security is often left behind.
There is a relatively new concept called DevSecOps (development, security, operations) available to address this drawback. DevSecOps seeks to integrate security with development and operations to ensure that security considerations are adequately addressed. Keeping security tests at the end of the development process may delay the launch unnecessarily. It is also possible that security teams miss out on critical vulnerabilities due to a lack of sufficient time to perform the required tests. DevSecOps helps organizations ensure that their code is checked for security issues throughout the continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline. This article looks at some of the best practices for vulnerability scans in a DevOps pipeline.

DevOps best practices for vulnerability scanning

DevOps best practices for vulnerability scanning

1.    Add continuous monitoring.

Continuous monitoring lies at the core of DevSecOps. With the help of automated tools, security testing activities can be performed quickly with human oversight. Even in cases where you have not strictly implemented DevSecOps and continue to follow DevOps, automated vulnerability scanning tools like BreachLock can help improve your security posture. Ideally, automated tools should not require substantial efforts on your part, and it should be easy to configure them with your CI/CD pipeline. The goal here is to perform security tests without interrupting application development practices.

2.    Vulnerability database.

Good vulnerability scanners rely on well-known vulnerability databases for providing efficient scans. For example, tools utilize the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) to identify previously known vulnerabilities. NVD is the largest database of reported known vulnerabilities in commercial as well as open-source vulnerabilities. Your vulnerability scanning tools should be capable of identifying top-level code vulnerabilities that are present in the code due to insecure coding. These vulnerabilities can allow an attacker to take total control of your applications and their servers.

3.    Importance of configuration management.

You should closely track your application for configuration changes. This will help you prepare a baseline of what your organization’s development process looks like. However, for continuous monitoring, automated tools are a must. Automated tools can prevent unnecessary human errors and avoidable delays between scans. With the help of continuous monitoring, you can avoid security issues because of misconfigurations.

4.    Vulnerability coverage.

Incorporating security practices within a DevOps pipeline helps in patching flaws in time and preventing any exploitations or resultant disruptions. Security teams should not limit themselves to code files while checking for vulnerabilities. Beyond code, they should also consider container and cloud infrastructure for vulnerability scans. While it is true that your cloud service provider has the best practices in place, there is no harm in checking that nothing is left out.

5.    Automation is the key.

With the help of automation, you can introduce security right on day 1 of your development process. Automated tools will continue to perform scheduled scans and report the findings promptly. Alongside the development of new components, your team can address the existing issues and move forward. Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) tools help organizations run automated vulnerability scans when an application has been deployed. On the other hand, Static Application Security Testing (SAST) tools examine your code files to identify what’s wrong.

Endnotes

When you develop an application or software, you cannot have a lackluster attitude towards its security. While it is a genuine concern that the deployment time should be minimal, organizations need to incorporate security into their development process. A successful cyberattack not only results in financial losses, but also disrupts your business operations and effects your market reputation. The right solution here is to introduce automated vulnerability scans using tools like BreachLock Cloud Platform in your DevOps pipeline. Once this becomes a regular practice, our security experts can help you move to DevSecOps to ensure that security becomes a crucial component in your development process.

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