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Proactive Infrastructure as Code Security and Compliance Approaches

August 13, 2020

In the past, cloud security practices relied on developers catching misconfigurations, identifying risks, and compliance violations after the system has already been provisioned and is essentially up and running. While this is certainly an effective approach for implementing and managing IaC, it can also be time-consuming. Developers are put in a position where they have to fix mistakes when they should be focusing on the creation and feeding of new ideas into the DevOps pipeline. This is changing as security mores “towards the left.

Shifting Security to the Left

If you have been keeping up with IaC news, you may be coming across the idea of shifting security to the left. Essentially, this means that organizations are working to change the relationship between developers and security professionals in order to improve both security and productivity. The best way to achieve this is by making sure that cloud security is a part of the CI/CD process. It is also important to thoroughly evaluate IaC templates so that they are addressing the compliance and security issues that can sometimes be ignored until runtime.

This shift helps to create a more collaborative relationship between security and developers. Security concerns can be addressed at the right time and place without interrupting the workflow. Traditionally, even a small misconfiguration could trigger compliance issues. Security teams would have to spend time trying to isolate the source of the problem before determining who on the DevOps team should be contacted in order to initiate the remediation process.

Improving Security and Productivity

IaC helps companies avoid these types of delays and improve productivity. Instead of having to create tickets, users can write code to build a template that automates aspects of the CI/CD process. The declarative language style of certain IaC tools makes it easy to balance loads, monitor compliance issues, and implement security controls. With IaC, companies aren’t forced into taking a reactive stance when it comes to security. Instead, they can be preventative and proactive by tackling security during the development process.

Perhaps the best way to move Code Security to the left with IaC is to have security professionals create security guardrails that check the developer’s work and can integrate into their development and testing process. All testing should be used for a more comprehensive view of security risks. From there, developer’s tools need to be able to provide the right security guidance so that they know what steps to take when IaC reveals a security issue.

Benefits of IaC

If security and compliance can become better aligned with DevOps, there are a host of benefits. First and foremost, security risks and compliance issues won’t be put off to run time. Developers will also be more productive and experienced with resolving security issues with the help of IaC templates and automated tools. Finally, security and development will be more connected, which will help create better processes, collaboration, and job satisfaction.

To learn more about how IaC is powering today’s DevOps while also shifting security and Code Security to the left, contact the experts at prancer. We are proud to help companies with cloud validation frameworks that support CI/CD.