A Technical DevSecOps Adoption Framework



DevSecOps practices, together with continuous-integration/continuous-delivery (CI/CD) pipelines, allow organizations to reply to safety and reliability occasions rapidly and effectively and to supply resilient and safe software program on a predictable schedule and funds. Regardless of rising proof and recognition of the efficacy and worth of those practices, the preliminary implementation and ongoing enchancment of the methodology might be difficult. This weblog submit describes our new DevSecOps adoption framework that guides you and your group within the planning and implementation of a roadmap to useful CI/CD pipeline capabilities. We additionally present perception into the nuanced variations between an infrastructure crew centered on implementing a DevSecOps paradigm and a software-development crew.

A earlier submit introduced our case for the worth of CI/CD pipeline capabilities and we launched our framework at a excessive stage, outlining the way it helps set priorities throughout preliminary deployment of a improvement surroundings able to executing CI/CD pipelines and leveraging DevSecOps practices. Determine 1 under depicts the DevSecOps ecosystem, with the total integration of all parts of a CI/CD pipeline involving stakeholders from a number of departments or teams.


Determine 1: DevSecOps Ecosystem

Our framework builds on derived ideas of DevSecOps, resembling automation by the inclusion of configuration administration and infrastructure as code, collaboration, and monitoring. It supplies steering for making use of these DevSecOps ideas to infrastructure operations in a computing surroundings by offering an ordered strategy towards implementing essential practices within the phases of adoption, implementation, enchancment, and upkeep of that surroundings. Our framework additionally leverages automation all through the method and is particularly focused on the improvement and operations groups, typically known as site-reliability engineers, who’re charged with managing the computing surroundings in use by software-development groups.

The practices we define are based mostly on the precise experiences of SEI workers members supporting on-premises improvement environments tailor-made to the missions of the sponsoring organizations. Our framework applies whether or not your infrastructure is operating on-premises in a bodily or digital surroundings or leveraging commercially accessible cloud companies.

The Framework in Element

The phases of our framework, proven in Determine 2, are

0. constructing the muse
1. normalization
2. standardization
3. steady integration and steady testing
4. infrastructure as code (IaC) and steady supply
5. automated safety and compliance as code
6. automated compliance reporting and vulnerability remediation


Determine 2: Our DevSecOps Adoption Framework

Breaking the work down on this manner ensures that effort is spent implementing fundamental DevSecOps practices first, adopted by extra superior processes later. This strategy is in step with the Agile observe of manufacturing small, frequent releases in assist of finish customers, which on this case are software-development groups. Not solely are there dependencies within the early phases, but in addition a particular development within the complexity and issue of the practices in every stage. As well as, our framework allows adaptation to altering necessities and supplies ample alternatives for drawback fixing as a result of many items of {hardware} and software program should be built-in collectively to realize the objective of implementing a totally automated CI/CD pipeline.

Our framework addresses technical actions that may most certainly be carried out by technical workers. It doesn’t particularly handle the group’s cultural adjustments that can even be required to efficiently transition to DevSecOps. Such cultural shifts inside organizations are difficult to implement and require a unique set of expertise and organizational mettle to implement than the practices in our technical framework. Whilst you might observe some overlap within the technical and cultural practices—as a result of it’s onerous to separate the 2 fully—our framework focuses on the technical practices that allow your DevSecOps ecosystem to evolve and mature. To learn extra about spearheading a profitable cultural shift, learn this weblog submit.

The next sections describe practices we contemplate as key to every stage, based mostly on our experiences deploying, working, and sustaining computing infrastructure in assist of improvement groups. A standard theme throughout all of the phases is the significance of monitoring. There are myriad monitoring options, each handbook and automated. Paying shut consideration to a crew’s present state of affairs is invaluable to creating sound selections. Your monitoring strategies should due to this fact evolve alongside together with your DevSecOps and CI/CD capabilities at every stage.

Stage 0—Constructing the Basis

We’ve numbered this Stage 0 as a result of it’s a prerequisite for all CI/CD actions, although it doesn’t straight include practices particularly associated to CI/CD pipelines.

Earlier than you’ll be able to have any potential to construct a pipeline, you have to have collaboration instruments in place, together with a wiki, an issue-tracking system, and a version-control system. You will need to have your identity-management system carried out accurately and be able to amassing logs of system and software occasions and observing the well being of your collaboration instruments. These are the primary steps to enabling strong monitoring capabilities in later phases. For extra details about the method of deploying a computing surroundings from scratch in an on-premises or co-located knowledge heart, learn our technical word.

Stage 1—Normalization

This stage focuses on getting organized by the adoption of DevSecOps practices and the minimization of redundancy (resembling when performing database normalization). Encourage (or require) groups chargeable for the deployment and operation of your computing surroundings to make use of the collaboration instruments you arrange in stage 0. The normalization stage is the place builders begin monitoring code adjustments in a version-control system. Likewise, operations groups retailer all scripts in a version-control system.

Furthermore, everybody—the groups managing the infrastructure and the event groups they assist—begins monitoring system points, bugs, and consumer tales in an issue-tracking system. Any deployments or software program installations that aren’t scripted and saved in model management must be documented in a wiki or different collaborative documentation system. The infrastructure crew also needs to doc repeatable processes within the wiki that can’t be automated.

On this stage, you ought to be cognizant of the variables inside your surroundings that may very well be redundant. For instance, it’s best to start to restrict assist of various working system (OS) platforms. Every supported OS provides a big burden relating to configuration administration and compliance. Builders ought to develop on the identical OS on which they’ll deploy. Likewise, operations groups ought to use an OS that’s appropriate with—and supplies good assist for—the techniques they’ll be administering. Make sure you observe different cheap alternatives to remove overhead.

Stage 2—Standardization

This stage focuses on eradicating pointless variations in your surroundings. Make sure that your infrastructure and pipeline parts are effectively monitored to take away the massive variable of questioning whether or not your techniques are wholesome. Infrastructure monitoring can embody automated alerts concerning system points (e.g., low disk-space availability) or periodically generated studies that element the general well being of the infrastructure. Outline and doc in your wiki customary working procedures for frequent points to empower everybody on the crew to reply when these points come up. Use constant system configurations, ideally managed by a configuration-management system.

For instance, all of your Linux techniques may use the identical configuration settings for log assortment, authentication, and monitoring, it doesn’t matter what companies these techniques present. Cut back the complexity and overhead of working your computing surroundings by adopting customary applied sciences throughout groups. Specifically, have all of your improvement groups use a single database product on the again finish of their functions or the identical visualization device for metrics gathering. Lastly, institute units of normal standards for the definition of executed to make sure that groups have accomplished all vital work to think about their duties absolutely full. Along with monitoring the infrastructure, proceed monitoring remaining alternatives to normalize and standardize device utilization throughout groups.

Stage 3—Steady Integration and Steady Testing

This stage focuses on implementing steady integration, which allows the aptitude of steady testing. Steady integration is a course of that frequently merges a system’s artifacts, together with source-code updates and configuration objects from all stakeholders on a crew, right into a shared mainline to construct and check the developed system. This definition can simply be expanded for operations groups to imply frequent updates to configuration-management settings within the version-control system. All stakeholders ought to incessantly replace documentation within the groups’ wiki areas and in tickets when acceptable, based mostly on the kind of work being documented. This strategy allows and encourages the codification and reuse of deployment patterns helpful for constructing functions and companies.

Adjustments made to a codebase within the version-control system ought to then set off construct and check procedures. Steady testing is the observe of operating builds and exams every time a change is dedicated to a repository and must be a normal observe for software program builders and DevSecOps engineers alike. Testing ought to embody all sorts of adjustments, together with code for software program initiatives, shell scripts supporting system operation, or infrastructure as code (IaC) manifests. Steady testing allows you to get frequent suggestions on the standard of the code that’s dedicated.

Unit, useful, and integration exams ought to all be triggered when code is dedicated. You wish to monitor the outcomes of your automated exams to acquire correct suggestions about whether or not the builds had been profitable. Likewise, these exams enhance confidence that code is working accurately earlier than pushing it into manufacturing.

Our expertise reveals that it’s simple to overlook sure failure modes and move non-functioning code, notably whenever you’re not diligent about including error checking and testing for frequent failures. In different phrases, your monitoring techniques should be mature and sturdy sufficient to speak when issues are occurring with the adjustments made to infrastructure or code. Furthermore, groups’ definition-of-done standards ought to evolve to make sure that customary practices additionally evolve based mostly on particular person and crew experiences to keep away from frequent failure modes from occurring incessantly.

Stage 4—Infrastructure as Code and Steady Supply

This stage accelerates your automated deployment processes by integrating infrastructure as code (IaC) and steady supply. IaC is the aptitude of capturing infrastructure deployment directions in a textual format. This strategy allows you to rapidly and reliably deploy components of your surroundings on both a bare-metal server, a digital machine, or a container platform.

Steady supply is the observe of routinely making use of adjustments (options, configurations, bug fixes, and so on.) into manufacturing. IaC promotes surroundings parity by eliminating creeping configuration adjustments throughout techniques and environments that might produce totally different outcomes. The chief good thing about utilizing IaC and steady supply collectively is reliability. The IaC functionality can enhance confidence in your surroundings deployments. Likewise, the continuous-delivery functionality will increase confidence in your automated change supply to these environments. Launching these two capabilities creates many prospects.

Because you began leveraging automated testing in Stage 3, Stage 4 allows you to implement the requirement that each one exams achieve success earlier than adjustments are deployed into manufacturing. In flip, this allows you to

  • leverage these capabilities to handle community gadgets with code in your version-control system
  • check newly constructed software program merchandise by deploying them into newly constructed digital environments or current environments
  • deploy into manufacturing when these adjustments are confirmed out
  • routinely provision hosts to increase your present compute capabilities.

At this level, your infrastructure and the product underneath improvement develop into a tightly built-in system that allows you to absolutely perceive the general state of your system. To repeat a key observe from the earlier stage, all these prospects are enabled by a strong monitoring system. The truth is, advancing previous this stage into the following stage is nearly unattainable with out a steady monitoring functionality that rapidly and precisely supplies details about the state of the system and the system’s parts.

Stage 5—Automated Safety and Compliance as Code

This stage advances your automation capabilities past infrastructure and code deployments by including safety automations and compliance as code. Compliance as code means you’re monitoring your compliance controls in scripts and configuration administration in order that instruments can routinely be certain that your techniques are compliant with relevant rules and concern an alert when non-compliance is detected. These efforts mix the work of the safety groups and the DevSecOps groups as a result of your safety groups will doubtless outline necessities for the safety controls, which supplies the chance for technical individuals to automate adherence to these controls. There are a lot of software program items that come collectively to make this work, so you actually need the earlier 4 phases in place earlier than endeavor this effort on this stage.

One device that’s important on this stage is a devoted vulnerability-scanning device. You’ll additionally need your monitoring system to alert the proper set of individuals when safety points are detected routinely. Different instruments might be leveraged to routinely set up system and software updates and to routinely detect and take away pointless software program.

Stage 6—Automated Compliance Reporting and Vulnerability Remediation

This closing stage is the final word in supporting DevSecOps ecosystems as a result of now that you simply’ve automated your system configurations, testing, and builds, you’ll be able to give attention to automating safety patches and steady suggestions by the use of automated report era or notifications throughout DevSecOps pipelines. Compliance with safety rules usually entails periodic evaluations and assessments, and having studies available which have been routinely generated can significantly cut back the hassle required to arrange for an evaluation. Precisely what studies must be generated depends upon your particular surroundings, however just a few examples of helpful studies embody

  • the output of automated vulnerability scans over time
  • logs aggregated out of your identity-management system
  • information of patches utilized to system firmware and software program
  • a abstract out of your community anomaly-detection system.

Furthermore, new vulnerabilities usually develop into identified at random intervals based mostly on vendor releases and analysis bulletins. The power to routinely generate studies about system standing, safety points, and the affect of latest vulnerabilities in your techniques and functions implies that your crew can rapidly and effectively prioritize the work that should be executed to make sure that your computing surroundings is as safe correctly. Furthermore, automating the set up of safety patches to your techniques and software program helps to cut back the quantity of handbook effort spent sustaining compliant system and software configurations and might cut back the variety of findings in your automated vulnerability scans. Likewise, with the ability to routinely monitor the outcomes of all these automated processes ensures that the individuals in your crew can step in to restore issues as they come up.

Divergence from Conventional DevSecOps Views

As talked about above, we created our DevSecOps adoption framework particularly to assist groups that deploy and keep computing environments upon which different groups will design and use CI/CD pipelines. This attitude is just like—however in the end contrasts with—the everyday use of DevSecOps practices. Determine 3 under focuses on the functionality supply department, whereas most builders and DevSecOps practitioners are centered on the merchandise department.


Determine 3: DevSecOps Platform-Impartial Mannequin

The DevSecOps Platform-Impartial Mannequin proven in Determine 3 explores this idea at an summary stage. Each the functionality supply department and the merchandise department are designed to satisfy the mission wants of the enterprise, however their designs produce two totally different plans: a system plan and a product plan. There are two distinct plans as a result of there are two distinct entities at play right here: the pipeline/system and the product that’s being developed. Although they’re associated, they’re distinct. Right here we provide one instance of the excellence between the 2, which is the huge distance between the product operators and the builders of these merchandise.

In an instance of a DevSecOps crew centered on the merchandise department, operations personnel work to assist the manufacturing surroundings on which the software program product is deployed. This expertise permits for fascinating insights, like “Launch X brought about instability at manufacturing scale as a result of it elevated CPU utilization by 50 %.” This perception can then be rapidly and effectively fed again to the builders who can work to handle the underlying concern. In different phrases, the operations personnel and the event personnel are linked intently by the use of the DevSecOps suggestions loop. In the end, builders, safety personnel, and operational personnel are intently knit by a standard enterprise mission and work towards a standard objective of offering the very best software program product.

Conversely, the DevSecOps groups centered on the functionality supply department are chargeable for the operation and upkeep of a improvement computing surroundings, they usually work to offer entry to a big variety of instruments to numerous stakeholders. The event personnel require entry to improvement instruments and software program libraries. The safety personnel require entry to vulnerability-scanning instruments and reporting instruments. The operations personnel themselves require entry to monitoring instruments, visualization instruments, and hardware-management instruments.

Few if any of those instruments are developed in-house—as a substitute they’re both open-source or commercial-off-the-shelf instruments. This dynamic supplies an essential separation of the operations crew from the product-development crew. In distinction to the everyday situation described above, when the operations crew notices {that a} new launch breaks one thing of their surroundings, they will attraction to the builders of the product for a repair that might get carried out if it impacts sufficient prospects. In different phrases, the operations groups don’t collaborate with the event groups underneath the identical enterprise mission, however as a substitute are merely prospects of the distributors who present the merchandise in use.

What’s extra, when the unpredictability of infrastructure failures and consumer hassle tickets are added, they will disrupt the Agile practices of backlog grooming, dash planning, and the metric of velocity. These dynamics are totally different from a pure DevSecOps technique they usually could also be uncomfortable for individuals used to working in a improvement surroundings, the place your entire crew is targeted a hundred percent of the time on a single challenge. However with just a few diversifications to that conventional DevSecOps mannequin, this framework might be utilized to offer the advantages of DevSecOps practices in an operationally centered surroundings.

Realizing the Promise of DevSecOps and CI/CD Pipelines

The objective of implementing a resilient computing surroundings that may assist a DevSecOps ecosystem is bold, in the identical manner that “develop working software program” is an bold—but important—objective. Nonetheless, the advantages of implementing DevSecOps practices—together with CI/CD pipelines—usually outweigh the prices of these difficulties.

Correct planning on the early phases could make the later phases simpler to implement. Our framework due to this fact advocates for breaking the method down into small, manageable duties, and prioritizing repeatability first, automation second. Our framework orders the duties in a logical development in order that the elemental constructing blocks for automation are put in place earlier than the automation itself.

The development by the phases will not be a one-time effort. These practices require ongoing effort to maintain your improvement surroundings and software program merchandise updated with the newest in technological developments. It’s best to periodically consider your present practices towards the accessible information, instruments, and sources, and alter as essential to proceed to assist your group’s mission in the simplest manner doable.