DevSecOps: Integrating Security into Your DevOps Pipeline

Angelika Agapow
Angelika Agapow
Content Marketing Specialist
June 26
18 min
Table of Contents

What is DevSecOps?

DevSecOps is a critical practice that ensures security testing is incorporated at every stage of the software development process. By fostering collaboration between developers, security specialists, and operation teams, DevSecOps enables the creation of software that is both efficient and secure. This cultural transformation highlights that security is everybody’s responsibility in the software development process. DevSecOps—short for development, security, and operations—automates the integration of security at each phase of the software development lifecycle. From initial design to integration, testing, deployment, and software delivery, DevSecOps ensures that your application is security-enhanced at every stage.

The evolution of software development practices has demanded a shift in how we approach security. In the past, security was tacked onto the end of the cycle as an afterthought, creating a bottleneck and increasing costs. However, with DevSecOps, security is integrated seamlessly into the Agile and DevOps processes. This ensures that security issues are addressed early on when they’re easier, faster, and less expensive to fix. By making application and infrastructure security a shared responsibility, DevSecOps enables the delivery of secure software, sooner. With automation, the software development cycle isn’t slowed down, allowing for safer software to be released faster.



Professional software development teams specialize in creating and refining new applications. Their repertoire includes crafting custom-made programs to suit singular needs, bridging connections between outdated systems and modern services via API technology, and utilizing open-source code to expedite the development process.

In today’s development world, success depends on agile models that prioritize constant growth over stagnant, linear approaches. However, working in isolation without considering operations and security can lead to costly and time-consuming issues with both application functionality and security vulnerabilities. To stay ahead of the game, it’s important to prioritize collaboration and comprehensive planning in the development process.



In software development, security is the arrangement of tools and techniques that fortify against attacks and allow for quick detection and response to intrusions or defects. Until recently, development teams addressed security after completing the project, with a separate team of experts handling the task. Unfortunately, this approach slowed down the development process and weakened reaction times. Historically, security tools were confined to specific applications, with tests only looking at singular source codes. This approach failed to provide an organization-wide view of security risks or the overall context of the production environment. However, by integrating application security into a holistic DevSecOps process, organizations can unify the three aspects of software development: design, delivery, and security.



Operations are the essential management of software functionality from its delivery to end-of-life usage. It involves constant monitoring of system performance, repairing defects, thorough testing after updates and changes, and fine-tuning of the software release system.

DevOps has emerged as a powerful approach to seamlessly integrate essential operational principles into software development cycles. By prioritizing the coexistence of these two processes, siloed post-development operations can be eliminated. With this, it becomes easy to identify and address potential issues. However, developers may need to circle back and solve software problems before moving on to new development. This often creates a complex road map, hindering streamlined software workflow.

Implementing parallel operations alongside software development processes is crucial for organizations to achieve a seamless and efficient workflow. In doing so, they can significantly reduce deployment time and boost overall efficiency.


DevSecOps framework

A DevSecOps framework builds on the essential elements of DevOps, including Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD), and integrates them with security practices for a comprehensive approach to software development and deployment.


The difference between DevSecOps and DevOps

DevSecOps takes the principles of Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD) from DevOps and adds crucial security practices throughout its framework. By leveraging agile-based SDLC, DevSecOps delivers apps that are as fast as they are secure. It aims to create a secure codebase by integrating security into every part of the software development process—from build to production.

The main focus is on collaborative responsibility between the development, release management, and security teams, making every stakeholder accountable for security throughout the DevOps value chain. DevSecOps helps maintain the speed of app delivery while prioritizing security with a Zero Trust Security model implemented through all tools. Faster software delivery with security? DevSecOps has got you covered.


What is Zero Trust Security Model?

Zero-trust security is a proactive and sophisticated cybersecurity approach that blocks automatic access to a business’s digital assets and only permits approved users and devices to access specific apps, services, data, and systems that relate to their job duties. According to Gartner research, over 60% of organizations will adopt the zero-trust security system by the year 2025.

In a zero-trust environment, credentials and permission take place continually throughout the network rather than just once at the perimeter. This mechanism limits undesirable lateral movement within systems, applications, and services, which accounts for both internal risks and the prospect of a malicious attacker exploiting an authorized account. This approach limits the number of people who have privileged access tremendously, thereby reducing opportunities for unauthorized cyber intrusions.

Although the zero-trust concept has been around for more than ten years, it has gained greater recognition and use in recent years. In 2010, Forrester analyst John Kindervag introduced the groundbreaking security model. Over time, companies such as Google and Akamai adopted the zero-trust philosophy internally before eventually offering commercially available zero-trust products and services to the public.


DevSecOps and waterfall approach

The conventional approach to software development, referred to as the waterfall approach, involves a sequential and segmented process where each stage, from design to final approval, starts only after the completion of the previous stage. This method is now replaced by the Agile methodology that breaks down projects into sprints. However, the conventional process of delaying security checks until the end of a sprint creates a waterfall-like setup. This involves developers going back and forth in remedying security issues, which is time-consuming and prone to errors.

However, DevSecOps presents an ideal solution. It allows for seamless and automatic security testing to be incorporated in the same timeframe as development and other testing procedures. Security checks can be conducted in real time during the development stage, reducing the risk of spending time on context-switching. This method can also significantly reduce the time it takes to identify any vulnerability present in production, soon after it gets announced.


DevSecOps and different industries

DevSecOps is a crucial practice that prioritizes security in the software development lifecycle. By embedding security from the outset, vulnerabilities can be identified and addressed before they lead to costly issues in production. This methodology can be applied in a wide range of industries to streamline collaboration between development, security, and operations teams, resulting in faster release of more secure software.

  • In the automotive industry, DevSecOps reduces cycle times while ensuring compliance with software standards such as AUTOSAR and MISRA.
  • Healthcare organizations benefit from the digital transformation enabled by DevSecOps, all while adhering to patient data privacy regulations such as HIPAA.
  • In the financial, retail, and e-commerce industries, DevSecOps addresses web application security risks outlined in the OWASP Top 10 and upholds PCI DSS compliance for secure transactions.


The architecture of DevSecOps: components

Achieving a successful DevSecOps practice involves several crucial elements: code analysis, change management, compliance management, threat modeling, and security training.

  • Code analysis involves scrutinizing the application’s source code to detect vulnerabilities and maintain security best practices.
  • Change management tools help teams manage software changes to prevent inadvertent security vulnerabilities.
  • To comply with regulatory requirements, software teams can use AWS CloudHSM.
  • Threat modeling is essential in identifying security issues before and after application deployment, which DevSecOps teams then fix and release an updated version.
  • Security training provides software developers and operations teams with the latest security guidelines to make informed security decisions during application building and deployment.


DevSecOps tools

DevSecOps tools are essential components for companies implementing a DevSecOps framework. These tools can include IDEs (Integrated Development Environment), defect tracking and management systems, SAST solutions (Static Application Security Testing), and automation and orchestration pipelines. They play a crucial role in enhancing the security and agility of enterprise software development.


DevSecOps methods and technologies

SAST – Static Application Security Testing

Security vulnerabilities often enter systems during the coding stage, but they can be identified and remedied with strong development practices such as code reviews. Static Application Security Testing (SAST) is utilized to dissect the application’s source code, bytecode, and binaries without activating the application. The Secure Software Development Lifecycle Project, developed by OWASP, provides helpful security guidelines for developers. By adopting these best practices, you can bolster the security of your coding projects.


DAST – Dynamic Application Security Testing

Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST), also known as black box testing, is a valuable tool for identifying security vulnerabilities in web and mobile applications. It seeks to identify patterns that indicate that there is a security problem in a running app. When testing mobile applications using DAST, it is important to evaluate the platform, such as iOS and Android, but also the interaction with device-specific functions like camera, GPS, and Bluetooth.


RASP – Analyze & Self-defense at Runtime

Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) is a powerful solution that seamlessly integrates with your application to detect and prevent real-time cyber attacks. With RASP, the application is equipped with a runtime agent that actively monitors and controls execution, enabling the software to detect malicious inputs and behaviors in real-time. This allows for continuous security analysis and immediate reaction to potential attacks. RASP analyzes the behavior and context of the application, and if certain safety criteria are met, it gains control of the system and implements protective measures to safeguard your software.


IAST – Interactive Application Security Testing

IAST combines DAST and RASP to enhance application security. During the testing phase, the RASP runtime agent analyzes application behavior, while DAST simulates attacks on the system. The agent is integrated with the application’s runtime engine, which allows it to monitor the application’s logic flow, data flow, and configuration. By analyzing test attacks triggered by DAST, the agent can report any possible weak points in the system.


SCA – Software Composition Analysis

With Software Composition Analysis (SCA), businesses can easily identify any third-party or open-source components used in their applications. SCA checks for open vulnerabilities (CVE) in open-source frameworks and locates the latest updates. Thanks to its advanced tools, SCA enables companies to track down which open-source components are currently in use in their source codes. This information is then aligned with community databases, advisories, and issue trackers to flag any potential code vulnerabilities.


DevSecOps challenges

Implementing DevSecOps can lead to some significant challenges. Here are 3 of the most common ones to keep in mind:


#1 Teams prefer legacy over something new

DevSecOps is all about fostering collaboration between teams, but some may be hesitant to make the switch due to familiarity with existing processes. The goal is to integrate and optimize workflows, enhancing efficiency and security across the board.

#2 Battle of the tools

When development, operations,, and security teams work independently, their use of different metrics and tools makes integration a challenge. Combining tools from various departments on one platform can lead to disagreements on where to integrate them. The challenge, then, becomes selecting the appropriate tools and integrating them correctly to ensure seamless building, testing, and deployment of software on a continuous basis.

#3 Implementing security in CI/CD pipelines

Traditionally, security measures have been an afterthought in the development cycle. However, with the advent of DevSecOps, security is now a core component of continuous integration/continuous delivery. To achieve success with DevSecOps, organizations must not rely on legacy security practices and instead integrate security controls into their existing DevOps workflows. Doing so will unlock the full potential of CI/CD, ensuring that access control technologies are fully aligned with the flow of development. By prioritizing security right from the outset, companies can better safeguard their applications and mitigate the risk of security breaches.


DevSecOps best practices

Incorporating security measures into your development, delivery, and operational processes is essential to create a successful DevSecOps framework. By prioritizing security controls from the outset, you can ensure that your systems are resilient to attacks and stay ahead of potential cyber threats.

According to the 2021 Puppet State of DevOps Report, organizations with mature DevOps practices are more likely to integrate security throughout their development process. In such organizations, 37% of respondents reported that security considerations were integrated from the beginning of the development lifecycle. The same report found that teams with strong DevSecOps practices were 3 times more likely to discover security vulnerabilities during the design and build phases, rather than in production.


Shift left

DevOps engineers should prioritize security by shifting it from the end to the beginning of the DevOps process. In a DevSecOps environment, cybersecurity is incorporated into the development process from the outset. This integration involves cybersecurity architects and engineers working alongside the development team to ensure that every component and configuration item in the stack is securely configured and documented.

By moving security “left,” the DevSecOps team can uncover security risks and vulnerabilities early in the development cycle. This approach goes beyond just efficient product development, as it also integrates security into the building process.


Security education

Effective security for organizations involves both engineering and compliance. This requires collaboration between development engineers, operations teams, and compliance professionals to ensure everyone is aware of the company’s security protocols and adheres to the same standards.

All individuals involved in the delivery process should understand the fundamental principles of application security, including the OWASP top 10, application security testing, and other relevant security engineering practices. Additionally, developers specifically must have a knowledge of threat models, compliance regulations, and the ability to measure risks, exposure, and implement effective security controls.


Communication, people, processes, and technology

Effective leadership in an organization promotes a positive culture that embraces change. In the world of DevSecOps, it is significant to clearly communicate the responsibilities for ensuring secure processes and owning product development. This empowers developers and engineers to take ownership of their work.

To achieve this, DevSecOps teams must design a system that is tailored to their specific needs, using technologies and protocols that work for their team and project. This approach encourages team members to become invested stakeholders in the success of the project.


Traceability, auditability, and visibility

Introducing traceability, auditability, and visibility to DevSecOps enhances security and fosters deeper insight.

By using traceability, configuration items can be tracked across the development process from requirements to code implementation. This helps ensure compliance, reduce bugs, and maintain secure code.

Check our article about Infrastructure as Code

Auditability is key to verifying compliance with security controls, making it necessary to document technical, procedural, and administrative measures and uphold them across all team members.

Moreover, visibility is critical for the success of DevSecOps, as it enables organizations to monitor their operations, detect and manage threats, and improve accountability throughout the project lifecycle.


The benefits of DevSecOps

DevSecOps offers significant advantages of both speed and security. With this methodology, development teams can produce superior, secure code in less time, leading to more cost-effective outcomes. A 2020 GitLab survey revealed that 56% of developers and operations professionals believed that DevSecOps saves time by finding and fixing issues earlier in the development process.


Rapid, cost-effective software delivery

Developing software without DevSecOps can cause significant delays and expenses when addressing security issues. However, adopting the DevSecOps method saves time and reduces costs by minimizing the need for redundant security reviews and rebuilds. Integrating security during development produces more secure code and is a more efficient and cost-effective approach.


Improved, proactive security

DevSecOps integrates cybersecurity measures throughout the development cycle, including code review, audits, scans, testing, and prompt issue resolution. Collaboration among development, security, and operations teams improves incident response, reduces patch time, and frees up security teams for higher-value tasks. These practices also ensure compliance and avoid retrofitting projects. The Snyk 2021 State of Open Source Security Report showed that 59% of organizations surveyed were adopting DevSecOps practices to improve their application security.


Accelerated security vulnerability patching

DevSecOps quickly manages newly discovered security vulnerabilities by integrating scanning and patching for CVEs (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) throughout the release cycle. This reduces the window of opportunity for threat actors to take advantage of vulnerabilities in production systems that are public-facing. According to a 2020 survey by ESG, 68% of cybersecurity professionals believe that the most significant benefit of incorporating security into the DevOps process is reducing the risk of a data breach.


Automation compatible with modern development

Automated testing can enhance cybersecurity as part of a continuous delivery pipeline for software deployment. Tests verify proper patch levels of software dependencies, confirm security unit tests, and analyze code with static and dynamic analysis before updates are made to production.


A repeatable and adaptive process

DevSecOps allows organizations to improve their security postures by creating repeatable and adaptive processes that consistently apply security measures across the environment, including automation, configuration management, orchestration, containers, immutable infrastructure, and serverless computing environments.


Catch software vulnerabilities early

Software development teams prioritize security controls in each stage of development to earlier detect vulnerabilities, minimize user disruption, and improve security post-production.


Integrating security into your pipeline

DevOps organizations rely on continuous integration and deployment systems through a CI/CD pipeline. This pipeline is the ideal starting point for automated security testing and validation, eliminating the need for human intervention. Inculcating security in the development of an application should be started before any coding.

Increase your security measures by integrating threat modeling into the early stages of system, application, or user story development. Run a static analysis, linters, and policy engines anytime a developer checks in code to quickly address easily detectable vulnerabilities before they become larger problems. Stay ahead of potential threats with proactive security practices.

With holistic software composition analysis, ensure open-source dependencies are compatible and free from vulnerabilities. Developers benefit from immediate feedback on the relative security of their code, resulting in a sense of ownership over application security.

After building and checking your code, it’s time to run security integration tests. These tests can be automated by using an isolated container sandbox, which allows for testing the input validation, network calls, and authorization. With this approach, you can quickly identify any issues and make necessary improvements without disrupting your workflow. If any red flags occur, such as unexplained network calls or unsanitized input, the tests will fail and generate feedback for teams.

After passing the initial integration tests, the deployment artifact progresses to the next stage where it will be deployed to a smaller version of the eventual production environment. This provides an opportunity to perform more comprehensive security integration tests with new objectives.

During this stage, testing will focus on specific aspects such as logging accuracy and access controls. The goal is to ensure that the application correctly logs critical security and performance metrics, and that access is restricted to those who require it. Any issues identified during this phase will be addressed by the appropriate teams.

After development, the application is now in production. However, the work of DevSecOps is not over yet. Through automated patching and configuration management, the team has to ensure that the production environment consistently uses the latest and most secure versions of software dependencies. Additionally, the infrastructure is frequently replaced, ensuring it is tested at every step of the pipeline.

Using a DevSecOps CI/CD pipeline facilitates the integration of security goals at every stage, without cumbersome bureaucracy or gatekeeping hindering the swift delivery of business value.


DevSecOps and digital transformation

In today’s business landscape, implementing a digital transformation is essential for every enterprise. This shift involves three important components: increased use of software, adoption of cloud technologies, and the implementation of DevOps methodologies.

As organizations rely more heavily on software, their digital risks increase, putting application security in the spotlight. Moving to the cloud introduces newer technologies that come with unique risks, making it more challenging to maintain secure perimeters. At the same time, infrastructure risks are redefined, emphasizing the importance of access management.

In the face of ever-increasing demands, security teams are struggling to keep up with the pace of organizational evolution. Outdated application security tools and practices meant for a slower era have created a bottleneck that prevents the delivery of high-quality applications. This problem is exacerbated by a shortage of qualified security talent, leading to burnout and frustration among security professionals. The result is a conflict between development teams, who prioritize speed, and security teams, who prioritize safety.

In a 2020 Red Hat survey, 72% of IT leaders saw DevSecOps as a critical or important part of their organization’s digital transformation efforts.

To address these challenges, we have DevSecOps. A DevSecOps culture integrates security into the DevOps process, permitting development teams to secure their creations at their own pace while promoting greater collaboration between development and security professionals. As a supporting organization, security teams provide expertise and tooling to increase developer autonomy and provide the necessary oversight for business success.


Why DevSecOps is so important?

With the constant demand for quicker timelines and rapid software updates, traditional security practices may not be effective. The recognition of the value of DevSecOps practices in improving security, reducing risk, and streamlining the development process is growing. As the adoption of DevSecOps continues to increase, the importance of integrating security into every stage of the software development lifecycle becomes even more apparent.


Software development lifecycle

The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a well-organized process that enables software teams to build top-notch applications. Through SDLC, teams can minimize errors, reduce costs, and ensure that the project’s goals are met. The process leads software teams through a series of stages that include requirement analysis, planning, architectural design, software development, testing, and deployment.


DevSecOps in the SDLC

Traditional software development approaches viewed security testing as an isolated procedure outside of the SDLC. This method often resulted in the security team identifying security vulnerabilities after the software was built. However, with the introduction of the DevSecOps framework, the SDLC has made significant strides in identifying potential weaknesses at every stage of the software development and delivery process, promoting enhanced security standards.

Angelika Agapow
Angelika Agapow
Content Marketing Specialist
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