The traditional approach to application testing has always been fairly linear, one could even say one-dimensional. This meant that applications were built in their entirety before any functionality or security testing would take place. With this paradigm, testing teams are tasked with the enormous responsibility of ensuring that the application is fully functional. Security testing often took a back seat since it was assumed that developers would, during their planning, include sufficient security mechanisms into the software.
The downside to this approach is that applications often took a long time to get to the final build. If the testing team found bugs, the application had to be pushed back into the SDLC for developers to investigate the reported issues. Unfortunately, pushing the application back often results in extended man-hours wasted on the deconstruction of code and troubleshooting of functions.
Testing in DevOps
In recent years, this linear paradigm is being replaced with the Agile methodology, by more software houses. Agile brought with it the principles of DevOps, DevSecOps, and AppSec. For the first time in history, developers were freed from restrictive one-way workflows, allowing all teams to become part of the development process. DevSecOps, for example, is an approach to development culture, automation, and platform design that allows integration of security as everyone’s responsibility throughout the entire development lifecycle. The latest approach of application security testing, aptly named AppSec, is a cloud-native approach to security testing. AppSec vendors such as Oxeye offer automated cloud-native application security testing. Their solutions assist cloud developers to automate application security testing.
These kinds of solutions highlight security vulnerabilities in the code and even promise to match the speed at which the code is being developed.
Applying pipeline orchestration to the process of application security testing has its roots in the basics of DevOps. At its core, DevOps allows developers to build workflows for tasks that can, and in the case of application security testing, should be automated.
Automating application security testing has various benefits.
Firstly, automated security testing can be introduced into multiple points in the SDLC, thus allowing developers to screen applications at any part of the development process. This is true about cloud-native solutions too. Cloud-native security testing would be able to dynamically screen each iteration of the software as it’s being developed. This holds true for code being deployed to the cloud from localized repositories too.
Secondly, automated application security testing only remains effective when such testing is carried out utilizing up-to-date security heuristics. Imagine, if you will, utilizing an automated security testing application that dates to the 1990s. That would simply not suffice. The entire ecosystem of security practices has vastly evolved since then and keeps on evolving every day. Third-party systems that perform automated security testing are regularly kept up to date and relevant by the vendor. Removing this responsibility from the application development team, entirely.
By removing the human element from security testing, the efficacy of security testing is improved vastly. Not only do organizations no longer need the necessary in-house skillsets for security testing, but oversight due to fatigue is eliminated entirely. This speeds up the turnaround time for applications from the start of development through to final production deployment and signoff. Allowing organizations to confidently stand behind their product, adding value to both the client and the organization’s reputation.
Although automated security testing holds great value, it should be noted that it will not be able to detect and point out defective logic within applications. This task needs to be handled by either a traditional testing team or another automated testing mechanism. Developers need to define key application metrics to be tested and validate those metrics using other in-house or cloud-native tools.
It should also be noted that existing processes and policies might be affected by the introduction of automated security testing, and organizations need to plan accordingly. To bring a new functional element into an already stable development environment might cause some unwanted ripples.
Ultimately, implementing automated security testing, whether localized or in the cloud, can be a highly effective way of ensuring the safety of applications and protecting both the client and the application development organization.
What is security testing in DevOps?
A software test that ensures that applications and systems are safe and secure from threats, vulnerabilities, and risks. Essentially, it involves identifying all possible weaknesses in the system that could lead to the loss of information or data.
What is orchestration in DevOps?
DevOps orchestration involves automating numerous tasks that run simultaneously to minimize production problems and time to market. Automation is generally applied to common functions in several areas, like launching a web server, integrating a web application, or changing a database entry.
What are the elements of continuous security?
Security and compliance tests are performed during continuous deployment processes, including:
- Ensuring only essential services are enabled and only ports that need to be open are.
- Policies are enforced regarding permissions on files, audits, and logging.
- Check that development tools aren’t installed in production.
When Should security testing be done in DevOps?
DevOps maturity enables the detection and patching of bugs or issues in production quickly; the same approach should be taken with security. Developers understand their applications, and a DevSecOps engineer embedded within the team should proactively monitor for potential vulnerabilities.
What is the best time to perform a security test?
Pen tests should be done before a system is put into production after the system has stopped being constantly changed. A system or software should always be tested before its implementation.
How does continuous integration benefit you?
The concept of continuous integration (CI) simplifies, speeds up, and reduces software development risks. When developers automate builds and tests, they can commit changes with confidence. This increases the overall pace of innovation because developers get feedback sooner.
In DevOps, what is continuous security?
Continuous security adds a new layer of security across containers. The DevOps movement introduced various development processes such as continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD). By doing so, code can be delivered quickly and tested thoroughly during development.
Thank you for reading!