The Future of Security Testing Using DevSecOps



Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: May 21, 2021

Isn’t it frustrating that a simple app feature or a security vulnerability sometimes results in a multi-million dollar data breach? It is, indeed. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2019 Global Risks Report, cyberattacks were the 6th most devastating and 5th most likely to happen world events. Even scarier is the fact that despite the danger, only a handful of organizations have a strategy at hand to mitigate or handle such events.   

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That is why it becomes necessary for institutions to focus on security. A much better solution, on the other hand, is to develop a culture of integrating security into every aspect of performance, i.e., DevSecOps.

The conventional way of handling security can be expensive and time-consuming. But, with DevSecOps, more and more collaborations could be achieved on various levels with security at the heart of the overall process. It makes things more comfortable on a lot of fronts. So, let us navigate through the beauties of DevSecOps and understand how it could be the future of security testing.

How DevSecOps Can Be The Future of Security Testing

The Origin of DevSecOps: DevOps

It was the advent of DevOps, which paved the way for security to integrate into the delivery and deployment pipelines as DevSecOps. 

Around 10 years ago, DevOps was the buzzword in the IT industry. Everyone was talking about how it could take the traditional Waterfall approach and Agile methodology to the next level and how it could bring about a revolutionary change. This amazing intersection of development, testing, and deployment was beginning to draw the attention of everyone. 

As the word about DevOps was spreading, everyone, including developers, QA engineers, and system admins, was curious about its success. It’s okay to have questions, and with something as big a cultural change as DevOps, those questions were justified. But, as the years passed and DevOps got more and more mature, everyone seemed to appreciate how it had a plethora of opportunities for the industry.  

If implemented correctly, DevOps could work like a charm for the entire software development cycle. However, like everything else out there in the world, DevOps also needed something to make its implementation even more useful. Apart from many other things, the most obvious one was security. To make the DevOps workflow even more mature, businesses and experts felt the need to inject security into DevOps, and that is how DevSecOps was born.    

Is Security+DevOps the ‘Next Big Thing’?

There is no questioning the fact that DevOps makes software development and deployment cycles faster. Yet, waiting until the end of the cycle to address the security vulnerabilities could prove disastrous. DevOps without security testing would either result in delays in the CI/CD/delivery pipelines or shipment of insecure code. 

Apparently, adding Sec to DevOps becomes so essential. Adding DevOps’ notion of ‘shared responsibility’ with security could also help build a security-conscious culture and ensure complete security coverage.   

Assistance to Developers: Proactive Approach with DevSecOps

Security vulnerabilities can be introduced anytime during the development process. Even trained DevOps engineers and highly skilled developers may get tricked by security loopholes. However, DevSecOps implementation could change the picture.

If an organization treats security as necessary, which should be the case, it must make sure that security gets integrated or codified into the development process from the very early stages. In other words, developers must know the security parameters in advance and code accordingly. It would help fix a majority of errors at the time of code development itself. Sounds interesting, right?

The integration of security tools into the developer workflow is crucial. With these DevSecOps tools, developers could find security flaws at the beginning itself, rather than waiting till the security tests get completed. Developers could follow the best coding practices to write codes securely. They could use verified libraries, ensure that their code is tested thoroughly via code security tests, and so on.

Now to ensure that developers ship secure code, a combination of factors needs to be put in order. And at the top of those factors is automation. 

Automating Security with DevSecOps: The Secret to Efficiency 

Manual security tests can be daunting. They utilize a lot of time and effort, which could be used otherwise on more productive tasks. Also, organizations may have a ‘security first’ mentality and a collection of the best security tools. But, security can only be as strong as the newest developer or a QA engineer who is in a hurry to meet some deadline. Therefore, apart from integrating security tools into the pipeline, automating them also becomes essential.  

One of the best things about DevSecOps is that it brings the forces of DevOps, security testing, and automation collectively. Automating security tests makes the whole development and deployment process much more efficient, agile, and adaptable to dynamic market challenges.

The use of automated solutions like DAST and SAST also provides developers with faster and detailed feedback loops to manage vulnerabilities with the least possible efforts. With most of the tedious testing work now automated, the saved security working hours could be utilized in carrying out other high-priority tasks. 

Why could DevSecOps be the Future of Security?

In 2017, EMA published a report stating that the top benefits of introducing security into the business operations cycle are better ROI and increased efficiency throughout the organization. So, can we assume that DevSecOps is the future? 

With DevSecOps, two of the most contradicting business goals, i.e., ‘secure code’ and ‘speed of delivery,’ can be streamlined together. Without slowing down the delivery cycles, automated security testing is done, and critical security issues are dealt with even before they come to surface.  

Final Thoughts

The final question is very simple yet bold. If your organization aims at securing every aspect of your business, then why not transition from DevOps to DevSecOps? And the answer is pretty straightforward too. If you haven’t already started the process of blending security into your work culture, it’s high time that you should and enjoy the never-ending benefits.

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