Information security and compliance are essential for businesses around the world, especially given past examples of data breaches and threats to cybersecurity. Still, compliance has long been considered the group that slows things down, often requiring a more conservative approach as a means of mitigating risks. 

Traditionally, DevOps has been seen as a risk by security teams. Its higher speed of software delivery is seen as a threat to governance, security, and regulatory controls.

Despite some initial resistance, companies that bet on DevOps have consistently shown that DevOps practices actually mitigate security problems as they discover and deal with threats more quickly. This led to a faster adoption rate for automation and DevOps practices. 

DevOps offers a great opportunity to improve security. Many of the practices that come with DevOps, such as automation, testing emphasis, quick feedback loops, visibility, collaboration, and more, are fertile ground for integrating security and auditing as an embedded component of your DevOps process.

In this article, we talk specifically about two practices required for DevOps: version control and automation. Our goal is to present how these practices should be strengthened in your DevOps process in order to ensure compliance with Information Security frameworks. 

Keep reading and learn how to evolve your DevOps process today.

Version Control

Let’s start with version control, as it is one of the basic components of any DevOps operation. Most companies already keep their codes, settings, and more under version control. So, why not include security itself?

Imagine that you have dozens of teams and developers and would like to control their access to your environment. Security best practices determine that you need to set permissions as granularly as possible to avoid any incidents. However, the burden of following all of these rules without any control mechanism may well result in disasters. The simplest solution to improve the visibility of your rules is by putting them in a version control system, except for confidential information, of course.

That way, you can easily follow, modify, or remove rules while obtaining a better collaborative contribution. Not only are permissions important for security, but your settings are too. 

Automation

The second most important element is automation. When provisioning a resource within your environment, you must make sure that it has the correct permissions and security patches. Doing this manually is a big headache, especially when your company has a lot of resources and assets. Instead, you can avoid many problems in advance with automation and version control. For example, when you add a new server to your environment or when you want to remove a user’s access to certain components, with automation and version control, you can be sure that no security holes will be overlooked.

Specifically, with automation, you can easily control almost any component in your environment, such as operating system patches, firewall rules, user permissions, and more. While it may seem like a burden to automate all of these components at first, when you are done, your management and security will go to another level. In addition to making management easier, automation is your best friend when it comes to human errors. Security must have a zero-tolerance policy to omit even a single component, as this exposes the company to risks. Although we all forget things from time to time and make innocent mistakes, with proper automation in place, you just need to remember to start the automated process and the rest is done without errors.

How does a PAM solution assist DevOps compliance?

While there are many applications of DevOps concepts in security, automation and version control are two great places to start with. It is important to note that DevOps best practices help to build a secure environment from the start, with a more collaborative approach.

Privileged Access Management (PAM) is an alternative technique preferred by an increasing number of companies. PAM provides centralized and granular control over how users and applications can access tools and databases. It generates unique credentials for each developer and for each tool that uses automatically-generated tokens. As a result, the user does not need to remember their login details or, in fact, not even know what they are.

The main benefits of using a PAM solution in DevOps processes are:

  • Privileged access control and management: it granularly controls who can access your development resources, how they access those resources, and what actions are allowed. 
  • Increase in application security: it blocks privileged system and service accounts, stores and manages secrets, and enables secure communication between applications, containers, and microservices.
  • Automation and promptness: it avoids manually establishing service accounts for each application. 
  • Activity audits: it automatically records, monitors, and audits administrative activities in its development and production environments.

senhasegura, voted one of the best PAM solutions for DevOps in the world

Gartner, one of the most respected technology research and consulting institutions in the world, has recently released a new report called Critical Capabilities for PAM, in which PAM technologies and their ability to run and provide the functionalities needed for the cybersecurity universe are assessed. The document that assesses the three critical pillars of PAM (PASM, PEDM, and Secret Management) placed senhasegura in the top 3, among the main global companies that offer these resources for DevOps processes.

Among the main benefits provided by senhasegura for strengthening the compliance and security of DevOps, we highlight:

  • Ready, scalable, and security-centered solution: senhasegura is ready to handle all secret data such as passwords, API keys, and SSL certificates.
  • Centralized secrets protection, management, and auditing: automatic management and guarding of user and machine secrets from the moment they are created. All events related to secrets are recorded automatically and definitively for auditing purposes.
  • Granular least privilege access control: assists your organization in implementing minimum access policies by controlling DevOps resources. Privileged users can access and limit what they are authorized to do with these resources, based on their roles and tasks.
  • Integrated Cloud IAM: as an exclusive feature in relation to competitors, senhasegura offers a Cloud IAM integrated to the solution, allowing provisioning, deprovisioning, and access flow for users and access keys.
  • Controlled and monitored access to sensitive DevOps resources: centralizes access to DevOps resources to maximize control and visibility.

This is an important report to assist leaders in risk and security management to gain more technical knowledge when choosing any of the PAM providers present in the Magic Quadrant.

Download Gartner’s 2020 Critical Capabilities report here.