September 25, 2023

How to Get Started with DevSecOps 101 for Embedded Software

Security & Compliance

DevOps has helped bring software development and IT from the more rigid Waterfall methodology to a more flexible Agile approach, enabling development teams to resolve issues faster, reduce code complexity, and accelerate product delivery. 

With so many benefits to DevOps, it's natural that a focus on security, using a similar approach, would be the next step for development teams wanting to secure the software development process. 

Here, we explain how organizations can bring security in line with the speed of modern development by integrating DevSecOps into your embedded software development lifecycle (SDLC). 

Read along or jump ahead to the section that interests you most: 

➡️ Use the Right Tools for DevSecOps

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What Is DevSecOps? 

Development, security, and operations: DevSecOps brings these practices together to identify and address security issues as they occur, from the first line of code to the last product update.

While DevOps processes help expedite a software release cycle, this race to the finish can introduce vulnerabilities that lead to cyber attacks caused by malware, cryptographic issues, and improper access control and validation. That's why it's so important to secure your software as early as practical, or adopting DevSecOps to take a "shift-left"approach to security

DevSecOps is the continuous process of integrating security into DevOps workflows to help streamline development and reduce the time it takes to get to production. The goal of DevSecOps is to identify and remediate vulnerabilities as they occur within continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) pipelines. Remediation in the moment means that flaws are easier, faster, and less expensive to fix, reducing the impact on release timelines and developer efforts. 

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How to Get Started with DevSecOps 101 for Embedded Software 

With the rise in advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), the Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud-based systems, the need for securing software through DevSecOps is growing — and most organizations understand the urgency. According to a Cloud Security Alliance report, 90% of organizations are in the process of moving toward a DevSecOps approach, with nearly half of respondents already implementing or refining their approach. 

Ready to Get Started with DevSecOps 101? 

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But embedded software presents unique security challenges: 

  • CPU and memory limitations constrain options for security apps running on the target. 
  • Library and hardware dependencies tie overall application security to the weakest link. 
  • Increased connectivity increases potential attack surfaces. 
  • Long product lifetimes in the field allow hackers more time to study devices. 
  • Developers don't necessarily have the cybersecurity expertise to deliver secure code. 

To compete in the embedded software market and build security into modern workflows, embedded software development teams can adopt DevSecOps pillars starting with people, process, and tools. 

3 Pillars of DevSecOps 101 for Embedded Software

  1. People. To ensure code is secure, ensure that each individual and every feature team is responsible for the security of the product — not just the security team.
  2. Process. Embed security into every development task — that way, security tasks will become a habit. 
  3. Tools. Enable a path to success by integrating technology — such as a static analysis tool like Perforce's Klocwork — into the existing CI/CD pipeline, with relatively low effort. 
📕 Related Resource: Protect Your Embedded Software from the Top 10 Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities 
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7 Best Practices of DevSecOps 

DevSecOps promotes automation over manual processes to enable the following best practices: 

  1. Fostering a Culture of Collaboration. Security is a shared responsibility between people, processes, and tools. Developing a DevSecOps mindset means DevSecOps leaders should foster transparency, respect, and trust among your teams, so that security decisions happen efficiently and as far to the left as possible.
  2. Integrating Security into Incremental Development. Breaking down efforts into small, manageable portions supports testing earlier in the process and boosts the overall efficiency of the secure SDLC. 
  3. Using Infrastructure as Code (IaC). IaC for DevSecOps is the provisioning and management of security resources through code instead of manual processes, which reduces the effort and expertise required to run security checks. 
  4. Enforcing Application Security Testing (AST). AST improves code coverage, reduces manual effort, and keeps the code base secure. For example, SAST is ideal for testing earlier in the development lifecycle, whereas DAST helps to identify vulnerabilities that are found later when the software is running. 
  5. Collecting Metrics and Measurements. Security metrics help teams fine-tune vulnerability identification and remediation practices. 
  6. Traceability.Traceability is the capability to follow software components throughout the SDLC. This process is essential for auditing code, minimizing vulnerabilities, and aligning with secure coding standards and customer expectations. 
  7. Continuous Feedback. An effective monitoring and feedback framework helps stakeholders make decisions and trade-offs between the functionality, quality, cost, and impact of DevSecOps components — ideally in real time, as issues occur. 
📕 Related Resource: Review This DevSecOps Checklist for Reliable, Automated Security 
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How SAST Helps You Build Your DevSecOps Foundation

A SAST tool — like Klocwork — helps embedded software teams identify defects, vulnerabilities, and compliance issues as you code. 

SAST tools fit into the entire development pipeline, delivering results in a connected, central database that is in-context to where you work, with capabilities such as IDE plugins, CI/CD integrations, and nightly scans. 

In addition, Klocwork helps automate processes in your DevSecOps pipeline while also enforcing key security standards such as CWE, CERT, and OWASP

See for yourself why Klocwork is essential for DevSecOps 101. Request your free trial. 


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