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DevSecOps Tools

DevSecOps Tools

Blog Article Published: 04/26/2024

Originally published by Dazz.

Written by Noah Simon, Head of Product Marketing, Dazz.

The goal of DevSecOps is to integrate security practices into the DevOps process. While much of the narrative of DevSecOps has been around writing ‘more secure code’, the narrative has expanded recently. Mature DevSecOps practices now include:

  • Securing development environments themselves (i.e Source Code Management security)
  • ‘Code to cloud’ security - understanding how any issue introduced in the build process introduces risk in later stages of the software development lifecycle (SDLC)
  • Continuous improvement and reporting: automated reports which show which types of security issues are introduced, where in the build process, and how often they occur.

DevSecOps tools should be able to accomplish a few objectives:

  1. Minimize security risks in development pipelines - without slowing down the rate of software development and code commits.
  2. Allow security teams to ensure the security of development projects without needing to manually review and approve every release.
  3. Enable Security and DevOps teams to quickly make data-driven and proactive decisions to align on which issues to fix first, and which ones can be de-prioritized.
  4. Empower DevOps to fix security issues on their own time, with full context into what needs to be fixed and the expected impact of each fix.

There are many DevSecOps tools that can improve security practices and reduce software security risks. Here are the essentials.


Essential DevSecOps Tools

Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)

Tools like Jenkins, GitLab CI/CD, or CircleCI automate the build, test, and deployment processes, enabling continuous integration and deployment of code. Mature DevSecOps programs can plug security policies into their CI/CD platform to ensure code isn’t shipped to production unless it meets certain criteria – more on this below!


Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

Infrastructure as Code has become a popular CI/CD tool to automate the provisioning and management of cloud resources. Tools like Terraform, AWS CloudFormation, Azure Resources Manager, and more can be used with security scanners to ensure infrastructure configurations adhere to security best practices.


Application Security Testing (AST)

AppSec tools such as Software Composition Analysis (SCA), Static Application Security Testing (SAST), and Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) are essential DevSecOps tools. Depending on how your software development process looks like, you’ll need to consider which scanners make the most sense, and where in the process to deploy them.


Software Composition Analysis (SCA)

Software Composition Analysis (SCA) tools are used to manage and secure open-source software components within a software project. The primary functions of SCA tools include:

  1. Identification of Open Source Components: SCA tools scan a project's codebase to identify open-source components and their versions. This is beneficial because many projects rely on open-source libraries and frameworks, and keeping track of all these components manually can be challenging.
  2. License Compliance: They help ensure that the software complies with the licensing requirements of the open-source components it uses. Different open-source projects come with different licenses (like MIT, GPL, Apache, etc.), each with its own set of obligations and restrictions. SCA tools can automatically detect these licenses and help organizations maintain legal compliance.
  3. Security Vulnerability Detection: SCA tools are equipped to detect known security vulnerabilities in the open-source components. They typically have access to databases of known vulnerabilities (like the National Vulnerability Database) and can alert developers when a component in their project is associated with a known security issue.
  4. Dependency Tracking and Management: These tools help in tracking dependencies and sub-dependencies in software projects. They can provide insights into the dependency tree and help in understanding the impact of updating or replacing a particular component.
  5. Automated Alerts and Integration: Many SCA tools offer integration with existing development and deployment pipelines. They can provide automated alerts and reports about issues in real-time, facilitating quick responses to potential problems.
  6. Policy Enforcement: Organizations can configure SCA tools to enforce certain policies, like prohibiting the use of components with specific licenses or vulnerabilities, ensuring consistent adherence to organizational standards and risk profiles.

SCA tools are an essential part of modern DevSecOps practices, where the goal is to integrate security seamlessly into the software development lifecycle. By using SCA tools, organizations can manage the risks associated with using open-source software while benefiting from the agility and innovation that open-source can provide. Popular examples of SCA tools include Black Duck, WhiteSource, Sonatype Nexus, and Snyk.


Static Application Security Testing (SAST)

SAST (Static Application Security Testing) is a type of security solution that analyzes the source code of an application to find and identify security vulnerabilities before it is deployed. It scans the code for known patterns and common vulnerabilities and generates a report that highlights any issues that need to be addressed. Common examples include functions being called that don’t do validation on input.

When SAST is integrated into development pipelines, teams can define quality gates that define whether issues cause a build to fail or pass from being promoted to the next stages of the pipeline.

SAST can also be integrated into the integrated development environment (IDE) so that developers can see security issues as they write code, helping to create more secure software.

Some popular SAST products are Fortify by Micro Focus, Veracode, Checkmarx, Snyk, and Semgrep.


Dynamic Software Application Security Testing (DAST)

DAST (Dynamic Application Security Testing) is a type of security solution that tests the security of applications while they are running. DASTS often simulate an attack on apps from an external perspective by sending different types of malicious inputs to the application to monitor how it responds. DAST tools can identify vulnerabilities such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and broken authentication and access controls.

Some popular DAST products are Burp Suite, Tenable Web Scanner, Acunetix, and Checkmarx.


Container Security (K8)

In addition to AppSec scanners, Container Security solutions detect container image vulnerabilities and configuration issues. These detections can be more indicative of the software that is in “runtime”. Many Cloud Security solutions now offer Container Security solutions as part of their platform.


Cloud Native Application Protection (CNAPP):

Cloud Native Application Protection (CNAPP) tools play a crucial role in DevSecOps by detecting vulnerabilities and misconfigurations across cloud infrastructure. Some CNAPPs can integrate with CI/CD pipelines to automate security testing and validation for cloud-native applications.

CNAPP platforms provide a variety of solutions to safeguard cloud infrastructure, including:

  • Misconfiguration detection (Cloud Security Posture Management)
  • Entitle and Identity Management (CIEM)
  • Runtime Workload Protection (CWPP)
  • Container Scanning
  • Infrastructure-as-code (IaC) scanning
  • Detection and Response (CDR)
  • Runtime configuring scanning

Popular CNAPP platforms include: Wiz, Palo Alto Prisma, Orca, Lacework, and Aqua Security.


Secrets Detection and Management

Secrets Detection and Management tools help manage and rotate secrets such as passwords, API keys, certificates and more are helpful for ensuring services can’t be easily accessed by external actors. Moreover, secret detection tools can detect when these credentials are exposed in source code, and potentially exploitable from attackers.


Application Security Posture Management (ASPM)

ASPM is the latest DevSecOps tool that can drastically strengthen DevSecOps practices. ASPM tools take context from all of the tools above to contextualize risks into any software application you build. When risks and policies surpass custom thresholds, you can integrate ASPM tools into CI/CD pipelines to prevent code from being committed into production.

ASPM tools can also highlight security coverage gaps and redundancies that may exist across your pipelines, helping to optimize your stack of DevSecOps tools.‍

An example of how DevSecOps tools can be used across a software development lifecycle (SDLC)

An example of how DevSecOps tools can be used across a software development lifecycle (SDLC)


What to look for in DevSecOps tools

The best DevSecOps tools have a few things in common - keep these in mind when evaluating new technologies!

  1. Seamless workflow integration: many tools are designed for only one type of user - especially security technologies. Leading DevSecOps tools are leveraged by Security and Engineering professionals by seamlessly fitting into their existing workflows and processes. An integration-first approach is critical to ensuring DevSecOps tools provide the right data to the end-user in the right way.
  2. Ease of use: Many software engineers cannot be security experts - the same statement is true for security professionals: many of them aren’t “10X” engineers. DevSecOps tools that are intuitive to use regardless of experience and professional backgrounds are the ones that win over most teams.
  3. Automation: CI/CD pipelines exist to automate the software development process, so any DevSecOps tool needs to have robust automation technologies to be integrated into pipelines. Look for DevSecOps tools with rich automation capabilities and many actions that can be programmed to find and fix security issues with minimal human intervention.


Best Practices for Implementing DevSecOps Tools

Not all companies need all of the tools above - in fact, trying to implement every single thing may lead to overloaded processes and redundancies. To implement DevSecOps tools optimally, you should consider the following:

  1. Assess your current processes: where are there current bottlenecks, security gaps, and deficiencies? You’ll want to look at which DevSecOps tools can help plug those gaps first.
  2. Test across multiple stakeholders: nearly every DevSecOps tool is used by multiple consumers in Security and DevOps. Accordingly, any tool that’s tested should be tested by users in both areas to ensure that it meets their unique needs.
  3. Deploy to production: if tools solve the expected use cases, you’ll want to move from an isolated testing environment to your production environment - your actual applications, code repositories, container repositories, cloud infrastructure, and more.
  4. Automate as much as possible: when you’re comfortable with the integration of DevSecOps tools in your pipelines, you’ll want to look to automate as much as possible. This could mean automating tests, automating triage, and automating the remediation of code fixes back into your CI/CD process.