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Automate security: DevOps integrations for risk detection and remediation

Charlotte Freeman

Sep 19, 2023 / 4 min read

One of the most critical aspects of software development is ensuring that the applications you create are secure and reliable. As the pace of development and deployment continues to increase, manual testing and security checks are no longer sufficient to keep up with the pace. To address this challenge, DevSecOps teams are deploying security testing and risk prioritization, deeply integrated into CI pipelines to bolster security measures, to make their testing processes more efficient and accelerate delivery of clear remediation guidance to developers.

Using integrations to gather security data

Organizations use integrations that enable them to efficiently gather security risk data for two primary purposes: to make testing more efficient by catching potential security issues early in the development process, and to minimize risk exposure later in the pipeline and into production. By detecting and fixing security issues before they propagate downstream, they reduce the chances of these vulnerabilities escaping into the wild in production.

The process begins with gathering relevant insight about risks present throughout the pipeline. There are two crucial aspects to consider in this phase. First, security and development teams must adequately detect potential security issues, which include weaknesses in proprietary code written in the IDE, as well as vulnerabilities in open source and third-party components brought in from repositories and resolved during a build. Second, risk identification requires understanding the nature of the vulnerability or weakness, its defining characteristics, and its risk severity. This information allows you to cleanse your scan results, eliminating unnecessary noise that could lead to alert fatigue and security backlogs that can distract security teams from truly critical risks.

Having a clean dataset with prioritized risks aligned with business goals and risk tolerance is essential. This data becomes the foundation upon which organizations build their DevSecOps programs, ensuring that security becomes an integral part of the development process.

Using integrations to deliver fix guidance to developers

Once you have gathered and prioritized the risk insight, the next step is delivering clear guidance for fixing prioritized risks directly to developers and other stakeholders responsible for mitigating risks. Integrating this data into issue-management and notification workflows ensures that developers receive the information they need to address security issues in a timely manner, in the tools they’re most familiar with and the workflows they use daily.

Centralized and correlated risk information, gathered from various testing tools and platforms, elevates your efficiency and effectiveness when aligning the efforts of security and development teams. Confidence in the results and risk prioritization allows developers to make informed and secure code changes. Additionally, direct access to remediation guidance and developer security training, enabled via integrations with issue-management tools (e.g., Jira) and IDEs (e.g., VS Code, IntelliJ), empowers developers to quickly fix detected issues and avoid introducing new risks in future development.

Optimal integration of security risk intelligence extends beyond developers and includes the security team and DevOps or Ops/Cloud Ops teams. Security personnel need to be aware of any detected issues so they can adjust or enforce security standards where appropriate, while DevOps or Ops/Cloud Ops teams must be informed about new vulnerabilities that could impact software already in production. Ensuring seamless collaboration and communication between these teams enhances the overall security posture of the application.

Automation: The backbone of DevSecOps

Once integrations are configured to gather up the loose ends of security across CI pipelines, automation is key to ensuring that security keeps pace with the rapid, dynamic nature of DevOps. Automating security scanning based on various development actions and pipeline stages, as well as automatically disseminating clean and actionable risk insight, ensures that security is built into every step of the development life cycle in a way that does not impede existing workflows.

Automation allows you to enforce security standards, support regulatory compliance, and adhere to your organization’s risk tolerance thresholds consistently across applications and environments. Policies within application security solutions and pipeline tools are the main mechanism for realizing automation. Policies, configured by AppSec teams and aligned to the various needs and success criteria of each contributing team, ensure uniformity regardless of an individual’s security risk awareness or security capabilities. Centralizing these policies eliminates the need to manage separate policies for different tests and tools, streamlining the process and reducing the risk of inconsistency.

Policy is the guiding principle of automation, ensuring that your risk tolerance is aligned according to the application, the data the app handles, and other factors. This means you can apply policies across the entire SDLC, from development to deployment, initiating scans and issue-management workflows based on the specific ruleset.

How Synopsys can help

A completely integrated application security program for DevSecOps requires automated mechanisms to gather security risk intelligence from each stage of the CI pipeline and deliver clear, actionable remediation guidance to stakeholders from development, security, and operations directly within the tools and workflows they use daily. This allows organizations to build more-secure and reliable applications while fostering seamless, transparent security collaboration between teams. Embracing these practices will not only enhance security but also lead to faster and more efficient software delivery, keeping pace with the evolving technological landscape.

The Synopsys suite of application security testing solutions ensures comprehensive risk detection across proprietary code, open source components, third-party libraries, compiled binaries, APIs, and running workloads. This powerful AppSec portfolio can be deploy on-premises or as-a-service atop the Polaris Software Integrity Platform®. Synopsys ensures deep integration for each of these solutions across the CI pipeline and DevOps workflows, and they are optimized for leading DevOps platforms and repositories with Synopsys GitHub Action, the Synopsys GitLab Template, and Synopsys Azure DevOps Extension. Each of these purpose-built integrations allow security teams to establish uniform control over security risk detection and delivery of remediation guidance without encumbering development and DevOps teams.

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