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 shortly and effectively and to supply resilient and safe software program on a predictable schedule and price range. Regardless of rising proof and recognition of the efficacy and worth of those practices, the preliminary implementation and ongoing enchancment of the methodology could 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 practical 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 complete integration of all elements of a CI/CD pipeline involving stakeholders from a number of departments or teams.


Determine 1: DevSecOps Ecosystem

Our framework builds on derived rules of DevSecOps, corresponding to automation by the inclusion of configuration administration and infrastructure as code, collaboration, and monitoring. It supplies steerage for making use of these DevSecOps rules to infrastructure operations in a computing surroundings by offering an ordered strategy towards implementing important practices within the levels 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 primarily based 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 obtainable cloud providers.

The Framework in Element

The levels 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 method ensures that effort is spent implementing primary DevSecOps practices first, adopted by extra superior processes later. This strategy is per the Agile follow of manufacturing small, frequent releases in help of finish customers, which on this case are software-development groups. Not solely are there dependencies within the early levels, but in addition a particular development within the complexity and problem of the practices in every stage. As well as, our framework permits adaptation to altering necessities and supplies ample alternatives for downside fixing as a result of many items of {hardware} and software program have to be built-in collectively to realize the objective of implementing a completely automated CI/CD pipeline.

Our framework addresses technical actions that can most certainly be applied by technical workers. It doesn’t particularly deal with the group’s cultural modifications that can even be required to efficiently transition to DevSecOps. Such cultural shifts inside organizations are difficult to implement and require a special set of abilities 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 laborious to separate the 2 completely—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 think about as key to every stage, primarily based on our experiences deploying, working, and sustaining computing infrastructure in help of improvement groups. A typical theme throughout all of the levels is the significance of monitoring. There are myriad monitoring options, each handbook and computerized. Paying shut consideration to a crew’s present state of affairs is invaluable to creating sound selections. Your monitoring methods should due to this fact evolve alongside along 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 immediately comprise practices particularly associated to CI/CD pipelines.

Earlier than you possibly can have any potential to construct a pipeline, you need to have collaboration instruments in place, together with a wiki, an issue-tracking system, and a version-control system. It’s essential to have your identity-management system applied appropriately and be able to gathering logs of system and utility occasions and observing the well being of your collaboration instruments. These are the primary steps to enabling stable monitoring capabilities in later levels. For extra details about the method of deploying a computing surroundings from scratch in an on-premises or co-located knowledge middle, learn our technical be aware.

Stage 1—Normalization

This stage focuses on getting organized by the adoption of DevSecOps practices and the minimization of redundancy (corresponding to 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 modifications 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 help—begins monitoring system points, bugs, and person 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, try to be cognizant of the variables inside your surroundings that could possibly be redundant. For instance, you must start to restrict help of various working system (OS) platforms. Every supported OS provides a big burden in relation 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 suitable with—and supplies good help for—the techniques they’ll be administering. Make sure to monitor different affordable alternatives to eradicate overhead.

Stage 2—Standardization

This stage focuses on eradicating pointless variations in your surroundings. Be sure that your infrastructure and pipeline elements are properly monitored to take away the massive variable of questioning whether or not your techniques are wholesome. Infrastructure monitoring can embrace automated alerts relating to system points (e.g., low disk-space availability) or periodically generated stories that element the general well being of the infrastructure. Outline and doc in your wiki commonplace working procedures for widespread 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 would possibly use the identical configuration settings for log assortment, authentication, and monitoring, it doesn’t matter what providers these techniques present. Cut back the complexity and overhead of working your computing surroundings by adopting commonplace 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 software for metrics gathering. Lastly, institute units of ordinary standards for the definition of executed to make sure that groups have accomplished all crucial work to contemplate their duties totally full. Along with monitoring the infrastructure, proceed monitoring remaining alternatives to normalize and standardize software utilization throughout groups.

Stage 3—Steady Integration and Steady Testing

This stage focuses on implementing steady integration, which permits the potential of steady testing. Steady integration is a course of that frequently merges a system’s artifacts, together with source-code updates and configuration gadgets 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 regularly replace documentation within the groups’ wiki areas and in tickets when applicable, primarily based on the kind of work being documented. This strategy permits and encourages the codification and reuse of deployment patterns helpful for constructing functions and providers.

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

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

Our expertise exhibits that it’s simple to overlook sure failure modes and move non-functioning code, significantly while you’re not diligent about including error checking and testing for widespread failures. In different phrases, your monitoring techniques have to be mature and sturdy sufficient to speak when issues are occurring with the modifications made to infrastructure or code. Furthermore, groups’ definition-of-done standards ought to evolve to make sure that commonplace practices additionally evolve primarily based on particular person and crew experiences to keep away from widespread failure modes from occurring regularly.

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 potential of capturing infrastructure deployment directions in a textual format. This strategy lets you shortly and reliably deploy components of your surroundings on both a bare-metal server, a digital machine, or a container platform.

Steady supply is the follow of robotically making use of modifications (options, configurations, bug fixes, and so forth.) into manufacturing. IaC promotes surroundings parity by eliminating creeping configuration modifications 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 lets you implement the requirement that every one assessments achieve success earlier than modifications are deployed into manufacturing. In flip, this lets you

  • 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 modifications are confirmed out
  • robotically provision hosts to broaden your present compute capabilities.

At this level, your infrastructure and the product below improvement turn into a tightly built-in system that lets you totally perceive the general state of your system. To repeat a key follow from the earlier stage, all these prospects are enabled by a strong monitoring system. In truth, advancing previous this stage into the following stage is just about inconceivable with no steady monitoring functionality that shortly and precisely supplies details about the state of the system and the system’s elements.

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 robotically be certain that your techniques are compliant with relevant laws and situation 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 probably outline necessities for the safety controls, which supplies the chance for technical folks to automate adherence to these controls. There are lots of software program items that come collectively to make this work, so you actually need the earlier 4 levels in place earlier than endeavor this effort on this stage.

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

Stage 6—Automated Compliance Reporting and Vulnerability Remediation

This ultimate 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 possibly can deal with automating safety patches and steady suggestions by the use of automated report technology or notifications throughout DevSecOps pipelines. Compliance with safety laws typically includes periodic evaluations and assessments, and having stories available which were robotically generated can drastically scale back the hassle required to organize for an evaluation. Precisely what stories must be generated relies on your particular surroundings, however just a few examples of helpful stories embrace

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

Furthermore, new vulnerabilities typically turn into identified at random intervals primarily based on vendor releases and analysis bulletins. The flexibility to robotically generate stories about system standing, safety points, and the influence of recent vulnerabilities in your techniques and functions signifies that your crew can shortly and effectively prioritize the work that have to 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 utility configurations and might scale back the variety of findings in your automated vulnerability scans. Likewise, with the ability to robotically monitor the outcomes of all these automated processes ensures that the folks 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 help groups that deploy and preserve computing environments upon which different groups will design and use CI/CD pipelines. This attitude is much like—however finally contrasts with—the standard 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 fulfill 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 help the manufacturing surroundings on which the software program product is deployed. This expertise permits for fascinating insights, like “Launch X triggered instability at manufacturing scale as a result of it elevated CPU utilization by 50 p.c.” This perception can then be shortly and effectively fed again to the builders who can work to handle the underlying situation. In different phrases, the operations personnel and the event personnel are linked carefully by the use of the DevSecOps suggestions loop. Finally, builders, safety personnel, and operational personnel are carefully knit by a standard enterprise mission and work towards a standard objective of offering the absolute 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 supply 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 vital separation of the operations crew from the product-development crew. In distinction to the standard situation described above, when the operations crew notices {that a} new launch breaks one thing of their surroundings, they will enchantment to the builders of the product for a repair that might get applied if it impacts sufficient clients. In different phrases, the operations groups don’t collaborate with the event groups below the identical enterprise mission, however as a substitute are merely clients of the distributors who present the merchandise in use.

What’s extra, when the unpredictability of infrastructure failures and person bother 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 folks used to working in a improvement surroundings, the place the whole crew is targeted 100% of the time on a single challenge. However with just a few diversifications to that conventional DevSecOps mannequin, this framework could be utilized to supply 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 help a DevSecOps ecosystem is bold, in the identical method that “develop working software program” is an bold—but important—objective. Nevertheless, the advantages of implementing DevSecOps practices—together with CI/CD pipelines—typically outweigh the prices of these difficulties.

Correct planning on the early levels could make the later levels 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 levels 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. You need to periodically consider your present practices in opposition to the obtainable data, instruments, and assets, and alter as essential to proceed to help your group’s mission in the best method doable.


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