Some believe that “whatever can be automated, should be automated” and in general benefits include faster production, consistency in product and quality, rolling back from failures and allowing employees to focus on more creative and analytical tasks. The same can be said for the automation of quality assurance and security of developer coding and programming. As products and services become more complex, developers have to come up with more creative solutions, and fast, to gain and maintain a competitive advantage over the rest.
We’ve teamed up with mabl, a machine-learning test automation service, to show how automated security and quality assurance (QA) testing help teams sustain CI/CD practices. This article goes into how automated security scales up with DevOps practices, and to learn more about the benefits of machine-learning driven automated QA testing, visit mabl’s blog.
The growth of DevOps and how it affects Security in software development
The adoption of DevOps and Agile development has allowed products to go to market faster to meet business and customer demands. Part of this is the acceptance of automation to expedite repetitive processes and collect data for easier learning for improvements. In an ideal world, this model would also high-quality products to go to market quickly, free of bugs and security vulnerabilities, and in a cost-effective way. In reality, there’s mostly emphasis on getting to the market fast and meeting the business demand over the concern for smooth and secure user experience. As companies are competing against speed rather than cost, how will security testing be part of the cycle? Automate it!
Here are ways automation of application security scales up with continuous integration and continuous development practices (CI/CD):
Automated security checks throughout the CI/CD process
Today companies are hit by hacker attacks whether they are aware of it or not. On average a hacker can be lurking in a system undetected for around 205 days. Once in, hackers run scripts and automate hacker attacks in order to do things at scale. For example, SQL injection can be easily automated. No company would be able to conjure up enough manpower to stop the scale and speed of automated attacks from multiple actors, which is why using an automated scanner could be one way to continuously scan your code and locate vulnerabilities before they’re exploited by a malicious hacker.
Automated scanners can be SAST or DAST meaning they can check for code vulnerabilities during the various stages of development and even after it has gone live, giving security and developer teams instant feedback on the integrity of the code. Whether you deploy 100 times a day or less, security checks and improvements will be scheduled as part of the CI/CD process to keep up secure releases. Snyk’s Guy Podjarny delivered an informative presentation at QCon 2019 on how you can integrate such tools with DevOps.
Consistency and efficiency
Automation gives you better control of how processes are run as you program machines or technology to operate a specific way, and automation executes it with precision. This means high output is achieved with consistency and ideally minimal mistakes. Quality assurance and security testing can also be scheduled or programmed to be done the moment new code is pushed, removing security or quality assurance from being the blocker of production, and fewer bugs will be introduced to live products. Any new code or application released will always be audited wherever it makes the most sense in your development cycle. Security auditing becomes part of the workflow instead of only when someone finds time for it or when faced with a data breach emergency and executing incident response.
Higher confidence and skills in coding
This survey showed that 87% of developers are not confident in their own code. As mentioned, code reviews of 1000+ lines is a tedious task, which may be why flaws and bugs may never be eliminated. Automated tools audit code easily and quickly to give immediately to developers with peace of mind, instead of letting it up to chance for a broken user experience or worse, a hacker attack.
When using a security automation tool like Detectify, users are given feedback on where vulnerabilities exist in the code as well as remediation tips with a code snippet to encourage learning on the job and more about security. This helps reduce the barrier to learning more about secure coding and the turnaround time for fixes even faster. Developers can also start to gain better confidence in their code knowing there is a “spellchecker” for their code work before and after deployment.
Security is scalable together with development
As software development scales up in a company, security does not have to be a blocker or left behind. Like many other components, it can be automated to be part of the CI/CD pipeline. This can then enable developers to code more consistently and even improve their confidence for better performance and quick-release products.
Get started with automating security into your DevOps or CI/CD practices today using Detectify. We collaborate with 150+ white hat hacker to offer checks for 1000+ common web vulnerabilities. Sign up for your free 14-day trial.