Security in CI/CD Pipelines

Security in CI/CD Pipelines

Failure to incorporate security scanning in the CI/CD pipeline is akin to leaving your front door wide open to intruders. While you may not suffer an attack today, it’s only a matter of time before an opportunist exploits the vulnerability.”

Introduction

As organisations continue to adopt DevOps practices, the importance of security in the Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipeline cannot be overstated. The CI/CD pipeline is designed to automate software delivery, enabling teams to build and deploy applications faster and more frequently. However, this speed can come at a cost if security is not given the attention it deserves throughout the pipeline.

Neglecting security within the CI/CD pipeline can leave organisations vulnerable to cyberattacks, data breaches, and other security threats. Security scanning should be implemented into the DevOps pipeline to detect and remediate vulnerabilities before they are deployed to production. In today’s interconnected digital landscape, where the consequences of a security breach can be financially, legally, and reputationally catastrophic, organisations should ensure security best practices are followed within their CI/CD pipelines.

An example

This example covers container and code scanning specifically in a Kubernetes platform Gitlab CI/CD pipeline. However, it’s worth mentioning that many other options are available for different archetypes. Integrating security scanning into the CI/CD pipeline is a crucial step that involves conducting scans at different stages of the build and deployment process. These include static code analysis (SAST), container vulnerability scanning, and other relevant checks.

This automated approach empowers development teams to detect vulnerabilities early in the development cycle, allowing teams to address them before deploying to production. By implementing security testing as part of the CI/CD pipeline, organisations can reduce the risk of costly security breaches and minimise the expenses and resources associated with remedying security concerns later on.

Security scanning in a pipeline

As an example, the diagram below depicts a Gitlab CI/CD pipeline with integrated container scanning. The report displays a sample of critical and high-severity issues that constitute a failed scan. This will result in the deployment failing and will provide the developer or relevant team an opportunity to rectify the issue before building again.

An example container scanning report

Tooling

Container scanning functionality can be achieved in Gitlab by integrating tools such as Trivy and Grype. By leveraging these tools, security teams can scan containers for vulnerabilities and compliance issues and detect and report risks in the container’s components. This Gitlab documentation article provides more information on how to integrate container scanning into your CI/CD pipeline.

SonarQube is a platform for continuous code inspection and analysis that helps developers and teams improve the quality of their code. It identifies issues such as bugs, vulnerabilities, and code smells, and assigns a grade to each issue based on its severity. By using SonarQube, teams can identify and fix potential issues early in the development process, reduce technical debt, and deliver better software more quickly. You can learn more about the Sonar products here: SonarQubeSonarCloud, and SonarLint

This article explores GitLab, Trivy, Gripe, and SonarQube as tools for enhancing code quality and security. However, it’s worth noting that there are many other toolsets available in the market.

At Adroit, we prioritise utilising the most fitting toolset for our customers, taking into account their specific application archetype and workflow. Our goal is to provide the best possible solution to enhance code quality and security for our clients.

How Adroit can help

At Adroit, we’re proud to be led by engineers and have a thorough understanding of what works when it comes to security in the DevOps pipeline. Security is a crucial aspect of any CI/CD process, and we make it a priority to mitigate the risks of security threats. We work closely with our clients to ensure that all our implementations include the best security practices. If you have upcoming CI/CD projects or are concerned about security in your current pipelines, please do get in touch with us. Our team has the expertise to advise you on the best security practices and help you implement security measures tailored to your specific needs. By partnering with us, organisations can be assured that their software development process is secure, scalable, compliant, and robust.

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