In the past, IT professionals would have to carefully manage on-premise servers. These sensitive machines would have to be kept in cool, dark places and only a couple of people would even know how to manage critical systems. All that has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. Now, cloud providers are able to manage vital infrastructure from their own warehouses. There is no need for businesses to make physical changes or be in the server room, which has given rise to the DevOps field and allowed for a continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) pipeline for Infrastructure as Code in the cloud. At the same time, these rapid developments have presented new security challenges that demand better Infrastructure as Code compliance practices. Keep reading to learn more about IaC and how companies can ensure security and compliance without slowing development.
One of the biggest challenges of IaC and CI/CD is that developers and security experts can sometimes find themselves at odds. While developers are pushing innovation, they may not be taking security into consideration as they build new infrastructures. It is difficult to wear both hats, which is why it is important for developers and security professionals to collaborate and mitigate risks before investing the time and effort in building an infrastructure and pushing the systems into the production.
Ideally, the developer will choose the tools through which they want to receive feedback from the security team. By using familiar tools, they won’t have to learn new programs or change their behavior. This helps maintain maximum productivity while also ensuring that IaC is not creating unnecessary security or compliance risks.
When developers and security experts are on the same page, Infrastructure as Code compliance can actually be preventative. Instead of having to react to security issues once the infrastructure is already being run, developers can actively integrate controls into the CI / CD pipeline to ensure that the infrastructure is safe and secure from day one. The easiest way (and not the best one!) to achieve is to have the security team create IaC templates for developers, but there are even more advanced ways to integrate preventative measures.
Developers already use a variety of security compliance testing throughout the CI/CD process. Moving forward, businesses will need to implement even more cloud security tools in order to achieve an accurate view of security risks. This includes the compliance tests for Infrastructure as Code, which looks at code in isolation and identifies any compliance issues in the IaC template. It will also require advanced IaC analysis in order to go beyond the template and make sure there aren’t any compliance violations before the provisioning job reaches the cloud. Aligning compliance, DevOps and security is key to reducing security risks, allowing for better developer productivity and strengthening compliance.
Usually companies achieve this balance by gaining a detailed understanding of their existing system and what it might look like in the future while also thinking about what public clouds they are currently using and could use down the line. At the same time, it is important to take into account the various IaC tools you are using and keep in mind that multiple tools can complicate security issues for developers. Finally, you will want to make sure that you have both preventative and reactive security measures in place based on the security and compliance needs of your business. Ultimately, IaC compliance will require a comprehensive approach that encourages collaboration between developers and security experts.
To help find the right balance and streamline project for developers, prancer created a cloud validation framework that includes pre-defined compliance tests available for your IaC that can be enabled for your code base. IaC compliance is important, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. At Prancer, we specialize in helping businesses experience continuous cloud compliance by providing a pre and post deployment cloud validation framework. We can help you get the most out of Infrastructure as Code while also ensuring security and compliance. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.