Secure IaC

Infrastructure-as-code (IaC) is a powerful partnership accelerator. As businesses and organizations scale into the cloud to realize its full production-enablement potential, security often struggles to keep up. The ultimate goal on the security horizon is, of course, to prevent risks and misconfigurations before runtime. This won’t always happen, but teams can still get into a rhythm where runtime mistakes become the exception rather than the rule.

Customizing an IaC solution means many things. Declarative statements that define code infrastructure is the basic gist. From a compliance standpoint, it means leveraging security-approved templates that make it easier for developers to take over certain highly repeatable tasks. Even properly stood up, this isn’t a completely cut-and-dry process. A continuous loop of developer feedback and security guidance is necessary for success. Let’s take a look at the benefits of successful IaC and how it enables teams to come together in a more holistic way.

Benefit #1: Strong security and compliance

It’s often called a “virtuous cycle:” the notion that teams will ultimately work perfectly together. They’ll create a sense of shared responsibility, owning a project in totality, with developers seamlessly integrating cloud-security tasks into application builds. But we’re all human. So your virtuous cycle might have some imperfections, and that’s ok. The goal is to increase cloud security while maintaining or accelerating builds. InsightAppSec by Rapid7 supports this process in the following ways:

  • Running scans of your web apps and, depending on the results, determining the pass/fail status of the build
  • Automating handoffs between developer and security teams
  • Simulating an attack on the application to uncover vulnerabilities

When one team begins to understand the priorities and workflow of the other, strong security and compliance progress can be made. To enable greater transparency, InsightAppSec integrates with JIRA so cross-functional teams can share vulnerability scan results through familiar tools, create and assign tasks based on pre-configured rules, and pre-establish parameters within certain ticket types so they can be reused across projects.

Benefit #2: Empowered developers

Fixing vulnerabilities before they become real problems is something we can all support. It will only create more work for everyone if deployment gets off track due to a runtime issue. Plus, with regular security-team check-ins and guidance, developers quickly obtain the insight they’ll need to resolve problems before pushing to production. In this way:  

When security meets developers where they already are—within the tools they regularly use—it’s easier to facilitate a closer working partnership. By leveraging functionality such as that in the last bullet point above, the security organization can rest (no pun intended) well knowing that a particular protective measure is integrating directly with familiar build-and-production tools. Everyone then stays on the same page, and development cycles can accelerate in a secure environment.

Benefit #3: Reduce cloud security risk

You’ve most likely heard it lots of times by now, but we’ll say it again: shifting cloud security left will reduce the likelihood of vulnerabilities and exploitation. By implementing strong IaC tools that work with the organization, as opposed to upending it, it’s possible to reduce noncompliance and security risks prior to runtime.  

  • Frequent integration of IaC security templates into Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) means fewer large code breaks
  • Automating this process allows for time savings and faster time-to-market
  • End users and customers experience continuous application improvement

On that last point, let’s zoom out to recap why this is all important in the first place: to bring a great experience to the marketplace—whatever that may be in your specific industry—by creating a great experience between DevOps and Security. Once fully integrated, security testing should go smoothly, executing automatically before anything goes into production.

Coefficiency

When DevOps and Security share the common goals of efficiency, security, and speed, there’s no DevSecOps heights they can’t reach. As market thirst inevitably changes (read: accelerates) due to a variety of factors—global pandemic remote workforce anyone?—traditional approaches are becoming obsolete. And short-term solutions to address gaps in those traditional approaches are just that: short term.

Shifting security left into the larger production pipeline keeps applications compliant, and reduces misconfigurations and ever-growing vulnerabilities and risks. Want to learn more about improving CI/CD by playing to the compliance strengths of your security and DevOps teams? Read the article below for more context about maintaining continuous cloud security and compliance while accelerating processes and partnerships.  

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