Posted on: 30 04 2024.

What is DevSecOps?

DevSecOps stands for development, security, and operations and represents an approach to software development that emphasizes security throughout every stage of development. DevSecOps proactively integrates security into the traditional development process (referred to as DevOps) to ensure security during every step rather than retroactively addressing vulnerabilities after the software has been completed. DevSecOps keeps software safe from the beginning of the building process to the final deployment.

DevOps vs DevSecOps

DevOps and DevSecOps have much in common, but they are distinct processes. While they both center on optimizing the software development process, the critical difference is that while DevOps focuses on collaboration, active monitoring, and automation to accelerate software delivery, DevSecOps integrates security practices into the DevOps workflow to ensure security is a priority throughout the software development lifecycle. In a DevSecOps approach, security is not just up to the security specialists — it is a shared responsibility among all teams involved.

To illustrate this, let’s consider the process of building a website. A traditional development approach would focus on efficiently meeting the project criteria through the planning and development phases. When the focus is on getting the website live, security might be an afterthought during the testing and deployment phases. Security may not come into play unless a problem is detected during one of these last phases.

In contrast, a DevSecOps approach introduces a focus on security from the beginning of the process. During the planning phase, developers think about potential security threats and vulnerabilities that might affect the web page. This forethought means that the website plan will include resolutions for expected security concerns before it even starts being developed.

During the development phase, developers write the code with security in mind. For example, they might write parameterized queries with the expectation that this will protect the site from future SQL injection attacks. This focus on security allows them to build the website to mitigate these vulnerabilities rather than trying to fix problems later on.

Automated security and functional regression tests check for additional vulnerabilities in the testing phase. Unlike in the traditional DevOps process, unexpected vulnerabilities are less likely to appear here since security has been closely managed since the beginning.

Security controls are also a main focus of the deployment phase. Security measures like firewalls and security patches are configured during the deployment process through a combination of automated scripts and manual labor.

The final step is the monitoring phase, where the website is run through various detection tools to identify and respond to security incidents. This allows the team to establish a feedback loop to ensure that all the findings from production are communicated back to the developers for continuous improvement.

Why is DevSecOps Important?

DevSecOps helps organizations build more secure, resilient, and trustworthy software systems while enabling them to deliver value to their customers quickly and efficiently. Incorporating security practices early in the software development process helps identify and mitigate security vulnerabilities before they become critical concerns. By addressing security issues from the beginning, organizations can strengthen their security position and reduce the risk of potential attacks.

With automated security testing and continuous monitoring, teams can quickly detect and remediate incidents, minimizing their impact and ensuring the systems’ resilience.

Many industries need to follow strict regulations related to data security and privacy, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and more. DevSecOps practices help organizations fulfill these requirements by integrating security checks and audit capabilities into their processes. In cloud-native architectures, such features are built-in.

By implementing DevSecOps, organizations can show dedication to security and build customer trust and confidence, increasing customer satisfaction and long-term relationships.

Finally, addressing security issues early in development is usually more cost-effective than fixing them later.

Best Practices for DevSecOps

Best practices for DevSecOps include a range of principles and strategies for integrating security practices into every stage of the software development lifecycle. Here are some key ones:

  • Shift–Left Security: Take security seriously and integrate it deeply into the processes from the start rather than treat it as something that can be addressed later. For example, establish security requirements and identify potential risks during the planning and design phases.
  • Automate everything: Automation is a crucial aspect of DevSecOps. It enables teams to consistently and efficiently implement the required security controls as part of the continuous integration/ continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines.
  • Use Infrastructure as Code (IaC): Use IaC principles to define and manage cloud infrastructure and configuration settings to facilitate uniform and repeatable deployments, with security controls and best practices codified into the infrastructure definition.
  • Use Secure Design Patterns: Use secure design patterns and architectural principles when designing and developing applications. This includes practices such as input validation, encryption, authentication, and separation of privileges to mitigate common security risks.
  • Encourage a Culture of DevSecOps: Organizations can build a robust DevSecOps culture that encourages ownership of security tasks and empowers all teams to work together to create secure software.

Building a DevSecOps Culture

A strong DevSecOps culture emphasizes collaboration and communication among development, security, and operations teams. When people understand the importance and benefits of adopting security practices, they take responsibility for security in their spheres instead of expecting someone else or the security team to be responsible.

To build a successful DevSecOps culture, continually provide education and training for all teams. Ensure that everyone involved in the DevSecOps process understands their role and is up to date on the latest security threats and best practices.

DevSecOps Tools

Organizations use different tools to implement DevSecOps effectively:

  • Static Application Security Testing (SAST) Tools: SAST tools scan the application code at rest to discover faulty code posing a security threat. They are a form of open-box testing that guides developers to begin testing their applications at early development stages without executing a functional component. This approach discovers code flaws early and avoids leaving them to later phases. Fortify is one of the most known SAST tools. Other examples would be AppKnox, Sonar, and Checkmarx.
  • Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) Tools: Compared to SAST, DAST tools have no access to source code. They are a form of closed-box testing that simulates the actions of a malicious actor trying to break into your application remotely. You can identify security threats like SQL injection (SQLi), cross-site scripting (XSS), eCommerce attacks, and insecure configurations using DAST tools. OWASP ZAP is perhaps the most popular DAST scan tool in the world. Other examples include Burp Suite, Nuclei, and Qualys Web Application Scanning.
  • The Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) tools integrate and automate security testing and compliance checks into the CI/CD pipeline. For example, consider integrating SAST and DAST into your CI/CD pipeline to achieve maximum security for your software application.
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM) Solutions, like Okta, manage user identities, access permissions, and authentication processes within an organization’s IT infrastructure.
  • Software Composition Analysis (SCA): SCA is an automated application-security process for analyzing open-source packages within a codebase. It is typically used to identify known vulnerabilities and license compliance issues. Examples include WhiteSource, Snyk, and Nexus Lifecycle.
  • As containers are widely used in DevSecOps environments, container security tools like Docker Bench scan container images for security issues and enforce security policies on them.


DevSecOps offers a transformative approach to software development, where security is integrated seamlessly into each phase. Organizations can build resilient and secure applications by prioritizing collaboration, automation, and shared responsibility while maintaining agility and innovation. Embracing DevSecOps is not just about adopting new tools but fostering a cultural shift where security becomes everyone’s obligation. To learn more about how our DevSecOps solutions can benefit your organization, schedule a consultation with Comtrade 360 DevSecOps engineers today.