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Bridging the DevSecOps Application Connectivity Disconnect via IaC

By Anat Kleinmann, Senior Product Manager at AlgoSec

With customer demands changing at breakneck speed, organizations need to be agile to win in their digital markets. This requires fast and frequent application deployments, forcing DevOps teams to streamline their software development processes. However, without the right security tools placed in the early phase of the CI/CD pipeline, these processes can be counterproductive leading to costly human errors and prolonged application deployment backups. This is why organizations need to find the right preventive security approach and explore achieving this through Infrastructure-as-Code.   

Understanding Infrastructure as Code - what does it actually mean? 

Infrastructure-as-Code (Iac) is a software development method that describes the complete environment in which the software runs. It contains information about the hardware, networks, and software that are needed to run the application. IAC is also referred to as declarative provisioning or automated provisioning. In other words, IAC enables security teams to create an automated and repeatable process to build out an entire environment. This is helpful for eliminating human errors that can be associated with manual configuration. The purpose of IaC is to enable developers or operations teams to automatically manage, monitor and provision resources, rather than manually configure discrete hardware devices and operating systems.  

What does IaC mean in the context of running applications in a cloud environment   

When using IaC, network configuration files can contain your applications connectivity infrastructure connectivity specifications changes, which mkes it easier to edit, review and distribute. It also ensures that you provision the same environment every time and minimizes the downtime that can occur due to security breaches. Using Infrastructure as code (IaC) helps you to avoid undocumented, ad-hoc configuration changes and allows you to enforce security policies in advance before making the changes in your network. 

Top 5 challenges when not embracing a preventive security approach

  1. Counterintuitive communication channel - When reviewing the code manually, DevOps needs to provide access to a security manager to review it and rely on the security manager for feedback. This can create a lot of unnecessary back and forth communication between the teams which can be a highly counterintuitive process.
  2. Mismanagement of DevOps resources - Developers need to work on multiple platforms due to the nature of their work. This may include developing the code in one platform, checking the code in another, testing the code in a third platform and reviewing requests in a fourth platform. When this happens, developers often will not be alerted of any network risk or non-compliance issue as defined by the organization.
  3. Mismanagement of SecOps resources - At the same time, network security managers are also bombarded with security review requests and tasks. Yet, they are expected to be agile, which is impossible in case of manual risk detection.
  4. Inefficient workflow - Sometimes risk analysis process is skipped and only reviewed at the end of the CI/CD pipeline, which prolongs the delivery of the application.
  5. Time consuming review process - The risk analysis review itself can sometimes take more than 30 minutes long which can create unnecessary and costly bottlenecking, leading to missed rollout deadlines of critical applications

Why it's important to place security early in the development cycle 

Infrastructure-as-code (IaC) is a crucial part of DevSecOps practices. The current trend is based on the principle of shift-left, which places security early in the development cycle. This allows organizations to take a proactive, preventive approach rather than a reactive one.  This approach solves the problem of developers leaving security checks and testing for the later stages of a project often as it nears completion and deployment. 

It is critical to take a proactive approach since late-stage security checks lead to two critical problems. Security flaws can go undetected and make it into the released software, and security issues detected at the end of the software development lifecycle demand considerably more time, resources and money to remediate than those identified early on. 

The Power of IaC Connectivity Risk Analysis and Key Benefits

IaC connectivity risk analysis provides automatic and proactive connectivity risk analysis, enabling a frictionless workflow for DevOps with continuous customized risk analysis and remediation managed and controlled by the security managers. 

IaC Connectivity Risk Analysis enables organizations to use a single source of truth for managing the lifecycle of their applications. Furthermore, security engineers can use IaC to automate the design, deployment, and management of virtual assets across a hybrid cloud environment. With automated security tests, engineers can also continuously test their infrastructure for security issues early in the development phase.

Key benefits   

  • Deliver business applications into production faster and more securely
  • Enable a frictionless workflow with continuous risk analysis and remediation
  • Reduce connectivity risks earlier in the CI/CD process
  • Customizable risk policy to surface only the most critical risks

The Takeaway

Don't get bogged down by security and compliance. When taking a preventive approach using a connectivity risk analysis via IaC, you can increase the speed of deployment, reduce misconfiguration and compliance errors, improve DevOps - SecOps relationship and lower costs.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anat-Kleinmann 

Anat Kleinmann is a Senior Product Manager at AlgoSec. In her role, Anat leads the Cloud Platform and the new CI/CD tools for DevSecOps. Anat has more than 20 years of Network Security and Cloud experience in engineering, product management and product marketing.

Published Thursday, November 17, 2022 8:01 AM by David Marshall
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