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Vardhan NS

last updated on August 22, 2023

In one of my previous blogs, I had extensively detailed out What is DevSecOps, and why companies should embrace the cultural and tooling changes that it advocates. In case you haven’t read it, I recommend you to read that blog first. But in case you are aware of the basics, then you can continue reading this blog on the top 10 most important DevSecOps best practices to implement now.

Nevertheless, I’ll give a brief introduction to DevSecOps before I delve into the primary focus of this blog.

What is DevSecOps?

DevSecOps (short for Development, Security, and Operations) is an approach to software development that integrates security best practices into existing DevOps workflows. This ensures that security is a fundamental aspect of the software development life cycle rather than just being an afterthought. 

There are numerous reasons why security best practices need to be prioritized before any software is facilitated for end users to use. The increasing frequency of cyber attacks, the growing sophistication in attack vectors, ever-growing reliance on software systems, the financial impact on individuals and organizations alike, and reputational damage are some of the prominent reasons. In case you need more context on this subject, I would recommend you to read why CI/CD pipelines need to be secured by security professionals.

In the interest of time, now let me delve straight into the best practices that organizations need to keep in mind while implementing DevSecOps. I have broadly classified these best practices into cultural changes and tooling changes. 

Top 10 DevSecOps Best Practices

1. Embracing Shift-left philosophy 

2. Improved Collaboration between Dev, Ops, and Security teams 

3. Maximize Automation 

4. Developer Education and Awareness

5. Leverage Application Security Testing tools

6. Prioritizing Container security & Infrastructure as Code security 

7. Embrace Cloud-native technologies and tools 

8. Compliance and Auditing

9. Continuous Monitoring

10. Incident Response Planning

Let me explain each of these in more detail. 

Best Practices for Implementing DevSecOps

1. Embracing Shift-left philosophy

The philosophy of ‘Shift-Left Security’ in DevOps refers to considering & implementing security best practices during software design and development instead of waiting until later stages. By considering security best practices from the early stages of software development, devs are well aware of security expectations/ restrictions from the inception, rather than later in the process which can be costly and time-consuming to fix. This not only results in devs writing secure software code, but it also avoids friction with other teams.

2. Improved Collaboration between Dev, Ops, and Security teams

Effective collaboration between devs, ops, and security teams is key because each of the teams have expertise in a specific area, and it is the amalgamation of all of these skills that solves the business problem! Thus, breaking down team silos and enabling open communication channels between these three teams not only allows for early identification and mitigation of security risks but also in addressing joint ownership of security concerns.

3. Maximize Automation

Automate as much as possible’ as the saying goes, is not restricted to just DevSecOps. It applies to technical operations in general. Speaking of automation, it is imperative that teams maximize automation as much as possible because it allows teams to invest precious time working on high-value tasks instead of manual toil.

Specifically in the case of DevSecOps, automation of security testing and compliance checks as part of your continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline will help you identify vulnerabilities and security issues early in the development process.

4. Developer Education and Awareness

When it comes to making systems more secure, ‘nip it in the bud’ strategy is the way to go. Training your employees in security awareness should be considered a ‘must-do’ activity, especially for developers writing code. By providing security training to developers, you can ensure they become aware of common security risks and best practices, thus empowering them to write secure code and make informed security-related decisions.

5. Threat Modeling & Code analysis using AppSec Testing tools

Threat Modeling is an important activity that needs to be performed on a regular basis in order to identify the weakness (vulnerabilities & security risks), and in turn strengthen the security posture of your application. This activity includes the use of numerous tools for application security testing. 

Static Code Analysis and code reviews are a useful means to identify vulnerabilities such as code injection, insecure coding patterns, and more by scanning the codebase for security gaps. You can leverage various Static Application Security Testing (SAST) tools for the same. 

You should also conduct dynamic testing of applications in runtime environments to identify vulnerabilities that might not be caught through static analysis. This involves testing the application as if it were being attacked by an actual malicious actor. Various Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) tools can be used for the same.

Alongside these tools, security teams are also advised to leverage tools to frequently conduct penetration testing. Such efforts will improve the overall security posture by helping you prioritize threats, and make informed security decisions. 

6. Prioritizing Container security & Infrastructure as Code security

A common mistake that security teams make is, overlook the importance of container security and infrastructure security. 

In an era where the use of containers & microservices model has become mainstream, ensuring that containers and their images are built securely using trusted base images is a must. This will minimize the attack surface, and address vulnerabilities in third-party dependencies.

You should also apply security practices to your infrastructure code to prevent misconfigurations and vulnerabilities. Implement tools that assess the security of your cloud infrastructure templates and configurations.

7. Adopt a Cloud-first strategy

The use of Cloud-native technologies and tools is on the rise. The whole world is moving to the cloud, and so should you. Since cloud native technologies are scalable, fault-tolerant and easy to manage, they are the preferred tooling solution for not just DevOps, but DevSecOps too. 

The biggest challenge teams will face with ‘on-premises’ technology is the lack of inter-connectivity and compatibility with security tooling. Hence, going Cloud-first will not only improve your DevOps practices, but will also improve your security posture. 

8. Compliance and Auditing

Conducting regular security audits form an integral aspect of DevSecOps. They help in shoring up security in DevOps processes by identifying weaknesses and ensuring that security controls are effective. But audits alone are not enough.

Being the team that is aware of security best practices, it is imperative that DevSecOps teams provide security gates or guardrails that can be followed by developers like a playbook. With the right tooling in place, Policy-as-Code can be used to secure workflows that ensure CI/CD pipeline compliance.

Thus integrating compliance checks and audits into your CI/CD pipeline ensures that your applications and infrastructure meet the relevant industry standards and regulations.

9. Continuous Monitoring

Implement continuous monitoring of applications and infrastructure to detect and respond to security events and anomalies in real time. This helps in identifying and mitigating potential security breaches at its infancy.

For this purpose, various Logging and Monitoring tools can be used. Be it open-source or proprietary, these logging and monitoring tools can track system activity, collect them in the form of logs which can later be used to detect and investigate security incidents.

10. Incident Response Planning

This may be the last DevSecOps best practice on the list, but don’t mistake its importance to be any less than the others. Infact, the best DevSecOps teams will have a robust plan in place to fall back on during emergencies.

As a part of your DevSecOps workflows, you should have a well-defined incident response plan to address security breaches effectively. The role of each member in the incident response team must be well-defined; and the members taking up those roles must be familiar with their responsibilities and priorities at the time of a security incident. This will help your DevSecOps team manage vulnerabilities effectively with appropriate incident response measures. 


I hope this comprehensive list of DevSecOps best practices will help you structure your DevSecOps processes or atleast improve it in the slightest. The important thing to remember is that DevSecOps is an evolving practice, and it should be customized to your needs and priorities.

Most importantly, your DevSecOps team must regularly review and refine your DevSecOps practices based on lessons learned from past incidents, newer security threats, and update the processes based on emerging best practices.

About OpsMx

OpsMx helps companies implement DevSecOps by finding the right balance between Security and Software Delivery. Our Secure Software Delivery (SSD) offering helps enterprises prevent potential security issues, discover and resolve vulnerabilities in their environment, and demonstrate secure software delivery and deployment.

We work with large organizations such as Apple, Google, Salesforce, and Cisco to implement CI/CD processes and secure their software delivery process at the same time. If you’re curious to know more about the offering, talk to one of our CI/CD experts.

Tags : devsecops

Vardhan NS

Vardhan is a technologist and a marketing professional, currently working as a Sr. PMM at OpsMx. His strength lies in understanding complex technologies, and explaining them in un-complicated ways. Vardhan is a passionate Product Marketer with a keen focus on Content, helping brands Position themselves uniquely with clear messaging and competitive differentiation. Outside of work, he is an athlete that is passionate about Football, Swimming and Surfing.



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