two executives explore devsecops essentials for their business

Technology use for businesses has rapidly accelerated during the recent pandemic. As remote work becomes the new normal and software moves to the cloud, companies may struggle to keep their data and intellectual property.. The technological shift could lead to vulnerabilities for companies lacking a solid DevSecOps strategy and implementation plan. 

DevSecOps is a holistic approach to automation and security that companies can (and should) build into their overall program. Unfortunately, many business leaders aren’t extremely familiar with this approach or know just the basic ins and outs of information security. By partnering with  New Context, businesses can address gaps in their architecture and security infrastructure.

Setting a Framework for Risk Management 

The federal government has established a Risk Management Framework that addresses risk management within information security. The framework sets requirements for federal agencies, but can serve as guidance for private businesses. The framework consists of six phases: 

Categorize

The basic audit of existing information assets, processes, transmission methods, and storage. Key parties with a stake in this information are also established. The information categorized is weighed based on priority and risk level. 

Select

Baseline security controls are established based on the risk categories and information discovered in the Categorize phase. Controls are also built for stakeholders based on their level of authority and need. 

Implement

The selected controls are rolled out based on a schedule that minimizes disruptions while prioritizing protection. 

Assess

An unbiased third party reviews the controls that are implemented, allowing gaps to be discovered and resolved. 

Authorize

The certification stage where a complete system is granted the Authority to Operate within government networks. If not given, remedial measures are required. 

Monitor

Protocols for ongoing system maintenance and monitoring are established.

 

While this framework reflects key aspects of security philosophy, the government recommended process may be too linear for most companies. A more agile approach to security would be to adopt a DevSecOps strategy. 

5 DevSecOps Essentials to Remember

As information is not static, security can’t be either. The system requires updating with every new program or piece of information added. This process could be incredibly burdensome if there isn’t a strategy in place that’s just as dynamic as the program itself. Here’s how to stay on track:

#1: Start with a Security Audit

At the “assess” stage in the Risk Management Framework, there is already a problem that’s going to require resolution. A third-party security assessment in the beginning stage will allow for guidance on how the entire system can be improved. It can act as the change catalyst that improves security from the bottom up. 

#2: Embrace Automation and Orchestration 

In a study of data breaches, human error was a contributing event in 22% of incidents. Automation reduces the risk of failure because it eliminates the human component and puts the onus to manage threats on unbiased technology. Security orchestration, meanwhile, simplifies monitoring by allowing the administrator to collect information about threats from multiple sources at a single time and manage vulnerabilities more effectively. 

#3: Integrate Cyber Threat Intelligence 

On average, a hacker attacks a system every 39 seconds. While many attack methods are old and planned for, there are always emerging threats. Just look at ransomware attacks. Before the emergence of Bitcoin, they rarely occurred. Now, they are among the most prevalent threats industry-wide. With that in mind, it’s likely some of the biggest threats to come haven’t even been thought of yet. 

Cyber threats aren’t just a business problem. They are an industry problem. This is where integrated cyber threat intelligence is crucial. Critical infrastructures can be protected in real-time, as threats happen. It’s a proactive measure based on what’s happening in the industry, rather than a reactive one that depends on the company already being the target of bad actors. 

#4: Implement Strong Data Governance Policies

At its heart, data governance is about access–providing the right level of access to the right people. This is for the entire lifecycle of the data, from the moment it’s first submitted to the point where it’s purged from the system. The tricky thing about data governance is the ability to balance the need to keep information flowing with the ability to protect it. A good data governance framework will enforce policies automatically for data in all its forms, whether it’s being accessed, stored, or transmitted. 

#5: Infrastructure as Code: Kubernetes & Terraform

Containerization has been gaining in popularity as a way to rapidly scale the development and deployment of code and services. Kubernetes implementations and Terraform integrations are ways to detect misconfigurations, runtime errors, and other vulnerabilities associated with containers and infrastructure.

These five DevSecOps essentials replace traditional linear security and risk management models with agile solutions where continuous improvement is possible. It’s a method of proactively managing security at all stages, and working with a dynamic DevSecOps partner like New Context can help ensure you have confidence in the solid foundations of your businesses security practices.

New Context offers the DevSecOps essentials you need to protect your company. Contact us by email or call 1.888.773.8360 for more information.

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