Secure It. Ship It. 5 Critical Steps to Release Secure Products Faster

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By Baksheesh Singh Ghuman

For the month of April, we are kicking off a series of posts here at Rezilion to celebrate our new partnership with GitLab.

Our theme is: Secure it. Ship it. Why? Because the GitLab CI and Rezilion partnership is the answer to meet the needs and demands of modern developers and security teams who want to both innovate quickly and ensure the products they create are secure.

When security leaders think about risk mitigation and the ever growing threat landscape, one area of focus that must be prioritized is software development. Incorrect and often lazy software development practices can lead to weaknesses in code, which can result in exploitable vulnerabilities. With ever growing sophisticated attack techniques that take advantage of software bugs, it is critical for developers to ensure that they adopt the right security controls and practices end to end, from development to production. These best practices must be adopted to ensure the secure and quick release of products. 

#1 Shift Left: We all have heard about shift left – a term that is used to describe the need and importance of using security controls early in the software development process in order to detect and remediate vulnerabilities sooner. Adopting a shifting left practice is one approach that developers can use in order to ensure that the applications/software being developed undergoes a security gate at the beginning of the process. With the right security tools, shifting left allows developers to identify, prioritize, and remediate vulnerabilities without adding extra work.

#2 Avoid Shortcuts: As the pressure on developers to deliver products quickly grows, it is often the case that developers choose shortcuts in order to release products on time. Such shortcuts often involve skipping certain security steps. This can be disastrous for security as it leaves room for new attack vectors that can lead to breaches. One of the challenges is the need for multiple security controls that slows the developers down; an automated control that is part of the development workflow can help alleviate this challenge. 

#3 Avoid Components with Known Vulnerabilities: According to recent study 70% of the code within a software is comprised of open source components. What is even more troubling according to this report is that 91% of the codebases use components that are either out of date for 4 years or have not seen any development in 2 years. What this tells us is that developers should pay close attention to such components as they represent an attack vector for threat actors and can lead to exploits which can be disastrous for any organization. It is important to avoid such components or have security controls that detect such vulnerable components. 

#4 Automate Security: For any software product development organization, it is important to deliver products quickly and securely. Innovation and security go hand in hand and sometimes cause friction because of pressures to release quickly and release securely. This does not have to be the case. What product development teams should do is use and incorporate tools that are part of their development workflow so that security testing is an automated gate as part of the process. This combination of integration and automation will ensure timely security reviews, necessary remediations, and secure releases.  

#5 Use a Dynamic Software Bill of Materials: A Dynamic Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) can be a great security tool for all developers and product security teams alike. A dynamic SBOM provides a continuous, complete, and comprehensive list of all software components such as packages, files, images, OSS, and third party components present in a software/application/ across the entire environment from dev to production. A dynamic SBOM will also provide you information on which components are vulnerable and exploitable in your environment so that they can be prioritized and remediated. A dynamic SBOM can be used to drive security and compliance through the entire SDLC. The real-time capability of a dynamic SBOM means that at any given moment and any change that happens product security teams know about it and can take action swiftly. 

The above practices can help developers and product security teams ensure that products are developed securely – and at the same time, security will not slow down innovation. These steps will allow teams to work together toward both innovation and secure products.

Start Building Secure Products Today
Use Rezilion in GitLab CI to innovate at the speed your business requires, without extra risk – and without extra work. Learn more about our new partnership with GitLab and how you can get started now at our GitLab partner site.

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