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HomeArchitectureHow to Ensure the Security of Cloud Infrastructure in a DevOps Environment

How to Ensure the Security of Cloud Infrastructure in a DevOps Environment

The shift to cloud computing infrastructure has been pivotal in staying relevant and competitive in the constantly evolving digital world. With its lean programming capabilities and agile software development offering, DevOps has enabled businesses to push the envelope of software development and deployment while also focusing on the business value delivery. This is evident because an overwhelming majority of cloud development processes and projects employ DevOps. According to a global forecast report by marketsandmarkets.com, the DevOps market share is expected to reach USD 25.5 billion by 2028. 

But high-paced software delivery means smaller development cycles and higher chances of compromised security. Additionally, a cloud computing environment means a dispersed software development landscape and a vast opportunity for a cyber attack. Organizations now aim to evolve with time and infrastructure and change their tools and tactics to harden their environments, reduce the attack surface and try to stop the bad guys. 

In this article, we will discuss DevOps and security and how you can ensure the security of your cloud environments in today’s DevOps framework. 

DevOps and the cloud

DevOps and cloud computing go hand-in-hand and offer several benefits. Neither one can successfully survive without the other. While cloud helps eliminate the need to wait around for capital resources before deployment can begin, there are several advantages to building cloud applications using DevOps tools.

Unfortunately, security often takes a backseat amid the ever-blooming friendship between DevOps and the cloud and is only thought about at the final stage of the software development life cycle. This leads to friction between teams, increasing the need for rework and slowing down the development process.

Here are a few ways in which you can ensure the security of your cloud infrastructure in a DevOps environment.

1. Don’t overlook basic security 

A significant amount of breaches are due to human errors leading to overall poor digital hygiene. Organizations must define and manage any CI/CD pipeline access as a fundamental requirement of their connected security system. 

Enforcing the least privileged access control helps reduce the risk of errors and manage the scope of potential breaches. Privilege access solutions help ensure access is being granted strictly as needed.  

2. Automate everything

Ensuring security across the entire software development life cycle (SDLC) can be slightly finicky. Organizations can automate security tools and processes to scale, thus eliminating any errors emerging from manual intervention. 

Most security processes like configuration management, access management, code analysis, and vulnerability remediation can and should be automated. Updates and patches within a DevOps pipeline and most security regression testing can also be automated. 

With many security automation solutions available, enterprises need to find a combination that enhances cloud security without compromising the code quality or the rate at which it’s being deployed to the customers. 

3. Embrace DevSecOps

The best way to secure a DevOps environment successfully is to drive security throughout the SDLC and bake it into every code. There should be a clear definition of security policies and governance. A DevSecOps model helps achieve all of these things by enabling cross-functional collaboration. 

The DevSecOps approach allows security professionals and developers to work together. This means that security teams can implement and teach secure coding practices and write code, and developers can automate security tasks. DevSecOps enables the entire organization to be collectively responsible for security. 

4. Protect the secrets

No matter how careful organizations regard security, secrets are bound to leak. Oftentimes, developers end up simplifying access control tools, storing credentials, secure shell (SSH) keys, and encryption keys in prod environments. This can prove to be a crucial point of vulnerability as improper management of secrets can lead to breaches in security and overall disruption of operations. 

Therefore, passwords, keys, and other important credentials should be secured at a centralized location, changed frequently, and strong enough to resist attacks.

5. Configs and misconfigs

In a DevOps workflow, even the smallest misconfiguration can be significantly damaging. If these misconfigurations are not tended to correctly and in time, they can multiply exponentially and wreak havoc. 

Automated and continuous configuration scanning must be implemented across all servers and codebases. This can ensure misconfigurations are handled according to industry practices and eliminate the need to review every line of code. 

6. Segmentation

Organizations can group their assets and resource servers into various logical units so that they are segmented. This helps eliminate the risk of an infrastructure-wide attack by scattering and “hiding” exploitable resources. Segment-access-based controls and session monitoring can provide organizations with additional control. 

7. Penetration testing

Penetration testing is an authorized, simulated attempt to exploit vulnerabilities and evaluate the security of an organization’s infrastructure. It is essential to run penetration tests in development environments to ensure security is cohesively blended into the DevOps pipeline. You need to ensure that these tests are not slowing down the development speed but are enhancing data security. 

Conclusion

Modern enterprises need a new approach to security that does not slow down the SDLC. DevOps is an excellent way to achieve this, as it maintains agility while integrating security across the entire SDLC. 

Cloud environments are based on the premise that applications and infrastructure should be treated declaratively. This allows tying security use cases and functions together across the app lifecycle. 

While there are various ways to secure your cloud infrastructure in a DevOps environment, it is essential to identify your organization’s needs, consider its budget and analyze the pre-existing technologies before drafting your security strategy.

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