Security and Compliance automation has become a necessity to realize the promise of automation without human intervention.
Gartner recommends Automating Security and Compliance into each pipeline as part of Tool Modernization.
As technology is evolving, so are security threats. In 2020, over 22 billion records of confidential personal information or business data were exposed, according to Tenable’s 2020 Threat Landscape Retrospective Report. Organizations looking to modernize their software delivery cannot overlook security and compliance. We must integrate it throughout the software development process.
But what exactly is the security compliance process?
Security Compliance is an ongoing process of defining policies that help the organization maintain security standards, perform periodic audits to check security practices are in compliance in line with the policies defined, and to ensure that compliance violations (if any) are quickly resolved.
Regulatory Compliances usually differ for each organization and for each industry. And any violation to compliances must be managed according to policies developed for the specific organization. This naturally leads us to the next question…
How do you automate security compliance?
There are numerous tools to define compliance policies and automate their enforcement. Compliance management tools such as OpsMx Secure CD, AWS Config, Azure Policy, or Google Cloud Security Command Center can be used to enforce pre-defined compliances and verify if those rules and standards are adhered to.
Security & Compliance in Software Delivery
Even though security is often a bottleneck to faster releases, it is too risky to de-prioritize or ignore them altogether. To securely deliver software, security practices must evolve faster than the evolving security threats.
As per DevOps Report 2021 by Google, teams who have accelerated delivery while maintaining their reliability standards have found a way to integrate security checks and practices without compromising their ability to deliver software quickly or reliably. Besides exhibiting high delivery and operational performance, teams who integrate security practices throughout their development process are 1.6 times more likely to meet or exceed their organizational goals. Let us understand how OpsMx helps development teams to integrate security into their delivery pipeline.
Security & Compliance automation in a CI/CD pipeline and why is it needed?
Software supply chain attacks are on the rise, and the most common point of entry is the CI/CD pipeline (or delivery pipeline). A secure and compliant CI/CD pipeline does not compromise the multistage process of the software development to internal and external threats. We achieve this by automating most of the security and compliance rules and performing the security guidelines at every stage of this multi-stage process rather than leaving it till the end of the software delivery.
DevSecOps is key to achieving this automated, secure and compliant pipeline. Implementing DevSecOps will foster collaboration and avoid late handoffs to security professionals. In an environment without DevSecOps, a release may be insecure at the last step, causing last-minute firefighting and a lot of unhappy customers. The result is sometimes a tarnished brand image.
With DevSecOps there will be cases where an issue is detected at the last-minute of release, but the probability of that happening will be drastically lower. Over time DevSecOps will bring down the count of last-minute failures and save a lot of money for the organisation. The added security in your delivery process enhances credibility in the market and builds trust with customers.
Benefits of establishing DevSecops and automating Security Compliance
With an automated security and compliance framework integrated with CI/CD stages, security becomes a shared responsibility for everyone in the value chain. This significantly reduces the last minute burden on the security team while approving releases. It also means automating some security gates to keep the DevOps workflow from slowing down.
- Reduced human toil: A major chunk of checklist items are automated which in turn frees employees from the mundane and repetitive tasks. In turn, they can focus on details where it is most necessary.
- Early detection of security incidents: DevSecOps ensure that vulnerability can be detected and resolved at the source of the issue.
- Accountability and Responsibility: We can assign Security incidents to respective owners, instantly ensuring accountability. Automation takes uncertainty out of DevSecOps. Automated scans can also advise corrective options that the assigned owners can quickly sift through, ensuring pipeline velocity is not hampered.
How can organisations achieve automated security and compliance?
Developers at all leading companies must deliver software without compromising the security posture, while strictly complying with org-specific and industry-specific policies. These initiatives may appear to be at odds with the concepts of ‘faster release cycles’ and ‘rapid delivery’, since compliance efforts concentrate on ensuring safety at the expense of speedy software delivery.
While DevOps accelerates the delivery process, DevSecOps is the perfect initiative to automate security and compliance into the delivery process. The emphasis on continuous testing and faster feedback mechanisms with improved visibility and collaboration is a perfect mix for integrating security and compliance into the CI/CD process.
OpsMx customers have successfully improved both speed and security by addressing the below challenges with the help of OpsMx SSD (Secure Software Delivery):
1. Eliminating inconsistent Policy management
Compliance with internal and regulatory policies (for example, SOX) is a non-negotiable requirement in software delivery, but it is frequently difficult to assure. Reasons include:
- The number and complexity of policies seem to continually increase
- Policies change on a frequent basis, so updating them and incorporating them accordingly is a continuous challenge
- Policies differ between different geographies and different applications.
- Enforcement and validation of the policies across all teams and all updates is usually manual and therefore slow and prone to error
2. Tracking the growing number of security vulnerabilities
Preventing security breaches in software delivery has similar challenges to policy management, but with one extra addition. Security compliance is complicated by the presence of the security team. Although development, delivery, and security teams share common goals, overlapping responsibilities and skill sets sometimes slow the overall deployment process.
3. Securing software delivery
Recent news – the security breach at hundreds of organizations through the vulnerability introduced through SolarWinds1 – has highlighted the importance of ensuring that the delivery process itself is secure.
Organizations must secure the entire software delivery system and processes, with tools and best practices, across three dimensions: securing access to the system, securing the system itself so that no malicious software can be introduced, and ensuring that all teams follow security protocols.
4. Improving traceability and observability
There are two main issues in policy and compliance that can be solved with improved visibility.
4.1 Observability and traceability
The first issue is overall traceability and observability. This is needed to ascertain the who, what, when, and where of any specific update or any group of updates. This information can increase security by locating all services that are dependent on a given artifact, help identify the probable root cause of errors, and identify trends that need to be addressed.
4.2 Reducing time and effort of audit
The second issue is reducing the time and effort of audits. Maintaining policy compliance is difficult enough. Organizations must also be able to prove that they are compliant. Reducing the cost and time of required audits is key to successful software delivery governance.
Success story of a leading financial SaaS provider:
The SaaS provider’s business lies in providing top notch security. The Expectation was that the new CD solution would not hamper any regulatory rules , policies and protocols that were earlier being followed.
As part of the regulatory process, our customer is audited regularly. OES speeds the audit process and reduces the impact on developer productivity. Additionally, compliance with internal policies and security protocols are easily proven to internal and external stakeholders.
The resulting secure CD solution provides confidence to the entire organization that updates are not only fast, but also secure and compliant. Further, it enables the company to use enhanced security as a competitive differentiator.
Automated Provisioning and infrastructure management.
A leading Telecommunication provider
Software security has always been a top concern for this telecommunications firm. Strong security is one reason they chose Red Hat OpenShift as their container platform for new applications. They also implemented a new continuous delivery solution to deliver updates more quickly.
OpsMx means simplicity, speed, and security. ISD enabled built-in traceability and observability, reducing the effort and time required to track down details about specific updates.
Autopilot, the ML-based module of ISD automatically verifies the new releases for quality, performance, and policy checks. If any policy or security vulnerability is found, the system notifies the SRE team so they can evaluate whether the update should be promoted.
Automated Policy and Compliance.
Success story of a 150 year old banking institution:
With operations in some of the world ‘s most dynamic markets, the bank was concentrating on improving the customer experience in their retail banking division. They needed to maintain the highest standards of security throughout the delivery process. As part of their security protocol, their important customer-facing applications run in an air gapped environment.
Open-source Spinnaker does not support air gapped environments.
In addition to addressing the air gap requirement, the company implemented an automated verification process using OpsMx Enterprise for Spinnaker. This automatically evaluates the risks of any update before deployment to production. If the risk is too high, OpsMx Enterprise for Spinnaker will fail the pipeline and send the update back to the team for further evaluation.
A secure continuous delivery process in an air-gapped environment.