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Securing Government DevOps Workflows

Government agencies require enhanced security due to the nature and sensitivity of the information processed daily. The DevOps lifecycle doesn’t necessarily invoke a sense of information safety, simply due to the frequency of releases involved when adopting the framework. As each update presents a risk, ensuring the DevOps workflow for each build, test, stage, release, and monitoring phase remains secured is of the utmost importance.

In recent times, more and more threats expose agencies to the possibility of a data breach, leading to untold amounts of damage and even resulting in financial losses. With the recent exploits succeeding at municipal districts (where bad actors used ransomware to shut down and encrypt systems) the threat that any vulnerability poses is very real. For public entities looking to adopt a DevOps framework, knowing that the systems remain secure with every update remains a primary concern.

The Security Challenges Facing Public Entities with DevOps

Every modern platform and digital service faces challenges in ensuring information remains secured while making changes to the code base. With distributed servers and development teams, centralized security becomes an additional overhead but remains a critical necessity for organizations. In this aspect, a DevOps workflow is no different from other development methodologies.

The primary DevOps security challenges include:

  • Distributed credentials for different tools and platforms that manage the codebase.
  • Encryption and API keys scattered throughout applications and environments and not managed centrally.
  • Hard-coded credentials and keys within applications used to speed up development cycles, effectively bypassing security.
  • Open source solutions that contain known vulnerabilities used in the DevOps cycles.

Traditionally, once developers commit new code into the testing environment, security engineers would carry out extensive checks to ensure none of those mentioned above vulnerabilities ended up in the production environment. However, humans do make mistakes, and developers take short cuts during the build stages. With the advent of DevSecOps, public entities can reduce (if not eliminate) most of these risks.

DevSecOps Leverages Automation to Ensure Security

DevOps uses advanced automations to build, test, and deploy new software. The tools used for these tasks also enable security teams to automate checks and find known vulnerabilities within each new code commit. Modern DevOps solutions such as SonaType’s Nexus suite, JFrog’s Xray application, Atlassian’s CI/CD suite, and the GitLab platform all come with automations that include the security team’s scripts and audits during the test and deploy stages.

By including the entire operational scope within the technology stack, the security team becomes a vital part of the entire DevOps lifecycle. Using this approach, government agencies can utilize the DevSecOps model to address all the concerns related to every code build and release cycle. In fact, the DevSecOps approach ensures better collaboration and speedier execution of the updates within the teams.

On-Site Deployments of DevOps Solutions

While DevOps is synonymous with the cloud, the technology stacks are available for on-premises deployments to enhance security and oversight. For government agencies, the physical controls over the infrastructure remain a priority. Although modern cloud environments that host public systems are safe (as the latest breaches occurred due to micro-configuration errors), ensuring every facet of the DevOps environment remains under the agency’s control is still possible.

ReleaseTEAM as a GSA Solution Provider

ReleaseTEAM has access to public sector DevOps expertise that ensures both system stability and continuous security for the CI/CD pipelines. With more than twenty years of experience in agile DevOps strategy and implementation, using ReleaseTEAM’s General Services Administration solution will provide complete peace of mind for the entire DevOps lifecycle. ReleaseTEAM also offers staff mentoring and training, software sales and support, as well as team augmentation services.

For improved software build and release efficiency within your government agency, get in touch with ReleaseTEAM’s GSA consultants 866-887-0489 or email us at info@releaseteam.com.

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