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Plutora Blog – DevOps, digital transformation, IT governance, software development
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The cybersecurity landscape is more dangerous than ever, with cyberattacks increasing at an alarming rate. In fact, research indicates that almost all cyberattack category increased in volume last year. And as we pointed out in a recent webinar, data breaches affected about 281 million people last year alone.
Thus, many DevOps teams incorporate ongoing security strategies to cover their attack surfaces and protect their software and infrastructure from intruders. Read on to learn what continuous security means and the benefits it offers teams like yours.
What is Continuous Security in DevOps?
Ultimately, there is no single standard definition for continuous security; definitions may vary across companies and environments. But through a DevOps or DevSecOps lens, continuous security refers to an end-to-end security strategy that spans the entire development and production spectrum.
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It is important to realize that continuous security in software engineering is a bit different from continuous security monitoring software. Although DevOps continuous security incorporates monitoring (more on this below), it encompasses a much wider range of roles, functions, and technologies. Continuous security monitoring is a strategy while security monitoring is an individual component or tool that companies deploy.
Why do you use continuous security?
DevOps teams use continuous security to strengthen software deliveries, deployments, and production. Here are some of the top reasons teams should consider deploying continuous security.
Maintain proactive security
Companies often experience cybersecurity incidents and data breaches because they fail to notice small vulnerabilities and weaknesses in development and production.
Continuous security helps uncover vulnerabilities before cybercriminals discover and exploit them. In other words, it prevents small problems from turning into bigger threats. At the same time, detecting issues earlier in the software development life cycle (SDLC) reduces the cost of security and remediation.
Closing security gaps
Many companies have silos between development and operations teams. And silos lead to security errors and overlaps that cybercriminals can exploit.
Continuous security helps discover and close these gaps, resulting in greater unification and protection throughout the software delivery lifecycle. This strategy improves communication and collaboration and creates a single unified security strategy with end-to-end visibility.
Enable continuous improvement
With the rapid evolution of cybercrime, it is important that security teams also learn and adapt their strategy.
A continuous security strategy ultimately provides engineering teams with the information they need to identify weaknesses and strengthen their security posture. This contributes to continuous improvement and the creation of a culture of safety and innovation.
What are the elements of continuous security?
In a continuous security framework, teams typically divide security responsibilities between DevOps and SRE, with DevSecOps securing delivery and SRE managing production. In this section, we provide a general breakdown of what continuous security entails.
Continuous security will not happen by itself. IT managers need to recognize the threat of cybercrime and the benefits of prioritizing security, such as happier customers, better reputation, fewer incidents, and higher profits.
It is also up to management to build a viable continuous security model and apply it throughout development and production.
In order to maintain an effective continuous security model, IT managers need to create a culture of security. In some cases, this may require upgrading team members’ skills and cross-training to develop software with security best practices in mind.
Of course, developing a culture of cybersecurity can take time, and a lot of it. But by striving to focus on security, leaders can more easily respond to threats and improve their overall approach to security.
In order to avoid bottlenecks, it helps train developers to master best practices for continued security. This way, developers can build and iterate safely and quickly.
Designers should always pre-verify source code changes, run component analysis scans, and document the security frameworks they use. It also helps scan third-party components for vulnerabilities in software builds.
Continuous integration is another important element of continuous security. This largely involves analyzing the impact of code changes on software security.
With this in mind, it makes it possible to centralize integration by using a software version management system. By doing so, you can track all code changes in one place. You can also avoid missing changes and updates.
Security teams need to move left and test earlier and more often. The more software you test during development and production, the faster and more affordable it is to find and fix errors.
Most teams now automate security testing throughout the development pipeline. This saves time and frees up security teams to focus on higher-level responsibilities. As such, test automation is essential for any rapidly evolving team that produces software at scale.
Policies, identities (human and non-human), and configurations can change during development, leading to security threats. Often, these changes can be difficult or even impossible to detect, especially for busy or understaffed teams.
Continuous monitoring helps teams identify changes in their software and cloud environments, so they can take action if needed. With this in mind, continuous monitoring plays a vital role in ongoing security and is something that all teams should use.
Continuous security also requires focusing on the underlying physical and virtual infrastructure that powers your software.
Security should take an active role in managing the IT infrastructure and ensuring that all systems have the latest updates, access controls and filtering protocols in place. Infrastructure is a prime target for cybercriminals, and security teams must take active steps to protect their systems from attack.
Best practices for deploying continuous security
Now that you have a better idea of what continuous security is and why it’s important, let’s look at some best practices to get you started.
Form a continuous security integration plan
Engineering teams often run into problems when they rush into new development and security models without understanding the implications.
As a best practice, take it slow when integrating continuous security and determine the overall readiness of your service. Once your team is ready, move on to a comprehensive ongoing security strategy.
Use real-time communication
Continuous security can complicate development and production because it requires the addition of additional monitoring, testing, and integration components.
As such, it’s important to have real-time communication in place to avoid bottlenecks and allow team members to work together and resolve issues. Using communication platforms such as Slack, Discord, and Microsoft Teams can reduce security friction and keep workflows efficient.
Deploy a robust enterprise continuous security dashboard
A continuous enterprise security dashboard provides end-to-end security visibility to all development and production stakeholders.
When implementing a platform, you’ll want to find a solution that integrates multiple value streams across the entire development and production spectrum. This platform should show you an overview of your security environment and allow you to explore the different components as needed.
How Plutora VSM Enables Continuous Security Monitoring
Plutora’s Value Stream Management (VSM) platform allows teams to see and optimize workflows at all stages, from initial planning to production.
With the help of our purpose-built security platform, you can view a variety of metrics from a central, user-friendly dashboard. This dashboard can help provide clarity, enable automation, and improve collaboration during ongoing security planning.
Plutora ultimately delivers the information you need to make impactful security decisions. Companies can use our VSM platform to accelerate continuous security monitoring and build trust between managers and engineers. At the same time, we enable DevOps and SRE teams to collaborate more effectively and operate as one cohesive unit. To see how Plutora’s VSM platform facilitates continuous security, try a demo today.