3 Important Aspects of CI/CD Security

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CI/CD is a practice that enables the development team to release software faster, with less risk, and more reliably. In this way, CI/CD can help to ensure that the product or service is released on time. CI/CD security ensures that the development team can deliver high-quality software which is also easy to maintain, update, and control by following the principles of continuous integration security and continuous delivery.

It helps them to have a fast feedback loop and make sure they are developing features in an incremental manner rather than one big release. In this article, we’re going to explain what CI/CD security is, and the 3 most important aspects/sectors of it.

What is CI/CD security?

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CI/CD stands for Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery. The CI/CD security process is a set of practices that can be used to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of an organization’s software development. The CI/CD process involves many steps, each one with a different focus on security. This includes things like penetration testing, vulnerability analysis, static code analysis, and so on. If you are interested in this, visit Apiiro for more information about CI/CD security.

The process of CI/CD security is a set of practices that are used to protect your software and ultimately your organization and business against cybercriminals. Today, the fifth greatest threat to the world’s stability – according to the World Bank – is cybercrime. Over the last couple of years these kinds of threats have quadrupled and today cybercriminals are incredibly resilient, resourceful, and crafty.

It’s a million-dollar corporation and practice — one with huge payouts and one on which they invest wisely. That’s why CI/CD security is so important nowadays. Criminals are stepping up their game, and constantly updating their protocols, creating and perching their own feedback loop, and integrating what worked and what didn’t into their practices.

Aspect of CI/CD security

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CI/CD is a process that is used in software development. It is a process where the developers can check their code, build the code and deploy it to the production server. A CI/CD model has some security concerns that need to be addressed. Most successful enterprises and start-ups, particularly software developers, have begun to add a shift-left model that secures applications from the beginning.

This reduced the chance of not only products being released with exploitable flaws, but of finding a pivotal issue a day from launch and having to backtrack — which in many cases means either launching a product with a known security debt to the client, one they will have to address ASAP with an update, or fixing the issue – in which case it might cost the company over 7x more than if it had been discovered earlier. Why? Cost overruns mostly. Like, for example, will have to pay programmers, vendors, and your staff to fix the issue and work on their off-hours.

CI/CD security streamlines a company’s process flow and integrates, seamlessly, into the work/chain testing cycles. In many cases, such a model even mitigates staff frustration; software developers, studies have shown, detest product testing phases since it puts a brake on their “creativity.” Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery naturally integrate these phases, in parsed sequence, into a product’s lifecycle in a natural less intrusive manner.

CI/CD security can be broken down into three categories:

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Secure pipeline configuration

A secure pipeline is a set of software and hardware that takes care of the transfer of information from one place to another. The pipeline’s purpose is to keep the information safe and secure.

There are three main components in a pipeline: data sources, data processing nodes, and data sink. Data sources are where the raw data comes from. Data sinks are where the processed data goes. Data processing nodes are what actually does the processing of the raw data.

Pipelines are target-rich environments that cybercriminals adore. To many companies, it is incredibly hard to maintain security in this environment.

Some preventive steps that can be taken to secure your pipeline are:

  • Map threats — understand all your vulnerable points.
  • Tighten access controls — regulate who can access what and to what degree.
  • Keep authentication credentials safe — use a password to protect passwords and create redundancy measures with multiple authentication methods.
  • Monitor — always analyze and monitor CI/CD environments.
  • Stay on top of trends — Always be informed of today’s trends and attacks.

Code and Git history analysis

Code and Git history analysis is a very useful tool for programmers. It helps them to find bugs, identify the cause of the bug, and figure out how to fix it.

The analysis process starts with a code review. This is where the programmer reviews the code that was written by another programmer. The goal is to find any errors in the code and to improve it.

During this process, programmers need to be able to quickly find any errors in their code as well as in someone else’s code.

Security policy enforcement

The truth is that each company is different. Some of what makes you unique also opens you to breaches and security risks.

That’s why it is important to have specific policies in place. To run models and have risk assessment consultations that are focused on your practices, your environment, and your employees. These policies need to be confined with checks and balances – metrics – that can be taken into account.

Some tasks can be automated, others need to follow strict manual compliance checks.

CI/CD – why does it matter?

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Did you know that discovering a security flaw late in the game, during the testing phase, for example, may end up costing your company millions? Over 5x more than if that same flaw was unearthed earlier. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Most companies, if they do discover a fault, late in the game, will release the product with the issue still in place or hardly patched, because they have a schedule to maintain — shareholders and stock prices to appease. They live under the axiom “we’ll fix it next week with an update.” Having this kind of security debt with your consumer exposes you.

Not only to liability issues but branding landmines and PR landmines. Adopting a secure development stance, with CI/CD security compliance benchmarks and CI/CD security tools, safeguards your organization and boosts the quality of products you are releasing.