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CI/CD and Security Testing Integration

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Introduction

CI and CD = Continuous integration & Continuous delivery OR Continuous deployment.

CI/CD is the modern-day software development process in which we can release updates at any time in a sustainable way. The code changes are made frequently and dependably based on customer requests and the sprint life cycle. A CI/CD pipeline, popularly known as the DevOps pipeline, builds up code, executes tests (CI), and wisely deploys an updated application version into the following environment. It also ensures that code changes being merged into the repository are efficient to deploy into the live environment to meet the final goal, i.e., ship software with swiftness and effectiveness.

 

CI/CD and Security Testing Integration

 

The Pros

  1. CICD is a low-risk option – as the process is completely automated. There are no manual interventions for setup or even config changes.
  2. Releases can occur in defined frequencies and with the client’s feedback. So, this ought to be a faster & optimum way.
  3. Smaller, more recurrent software releases are less disruptive and are easier to troubleshoot or roll back in case of any problem.
  4. The process with a structured manner increases productivity; a product will be released independently of other objects, and in the case of multiple series of code- we can release changes independently. This will increase development effort with productivity.
  5. A CI/CD pipeline allows teams to analyze builds and test results in detail, leaving little room for last-minute bug surprises.

 

The Cons

  1. Team dependencies – Infrastructure, including servers, could be managed by different teams, and when the need arises to access those, it can cause unnecessary delays. Thus, all groups need to be well coordinated with each other all the time.
  2. Procedure orientation delay– If defined for any pre-approval process in a project, like no direct access to the infrastructure, it can sometimes delay troubleshooting.
  3. New skill sets must be learned – Multiple tools to be used and vendor dependency on those require people with a different skillset in your team. This demands a severe intellectual investment to learn these tools.

 

Why do we need to infuse security validation in our CI/CD pipeline?

Continuous integration and Continuous delivery are about speed, repetition, and automation. Development and QA teams are constantly under pressure to deliver releases as fast as possible – provide any new feature(s) or fix the critical bug(s) or an enhancement. But the need for speed repeatedly ignores the importance of security testing, which leaves you at risk of failing to secure your application. Vulnerabilities or flaws found in the live version of an application can cause a breach of confidentiality and expose the software to malicious activity, which costs time, money, and resources to fix and eventually will delay future releases.

Integrated security testing makes life simpler for software development teams. That is why DevOps teams habitually embrace the concept known as DevSecOps, which promotes security integration into core DevOps practices.

To lessen the chances of vulnerabilities going unobserved during the SDLC, all organizations must add security testing to their existing CI/CD pipeline. Undoubtedly, adding security checks will initially slow down your development cycle. Still, we all need to understand that these steps will improve the security of your organization’s CI/CD pipeline and adds another layer of oversight to ensure security for the end-users.

Velocity is the key for every business, where security testing integration is a terrific cream over CI-CD. Thus, it is important to introduce security best practices throughout the build/release pipeline.

Conclusion:

It is not a secret that security is hard to get right. Still, security is the key in this technologically fast-moving world; therefore, performing security testing is no longer a preference. It should be performed frequently, especially with all critical releases, and should be added to the build/release pipeline for top results. With strong CI/CD security in place, teams can find and fix security issues without notably slowing down the pipeline flow or having to delay/roll back releases.

Securing your CI/CD pipelines at every stage and environment that comprise the pipeline should be a priority for any organization that embraces DevOps.

 

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