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DevOps + Security = DevSecOps

DevOps + Security = DevSecOps

More and more companies are promoting close cooperation between development and operations to accelerate the delivery of high-quality software. But the fast DevOps environment requires an integrated security approach, bringing us DevSecOps.

DevOps continues to break new ground, especially in the SAP environment: HANA is a development platform that offers ideal conditions for fast and agile programming of new applications with high quality thanks to big data processing. This meets the growing demands of organizations to react flexibly to changing markets and customer needs in order to be successful in competition. Instead of fewer large SAP releases, as is usual in conventional software development, numerous smaller functions and solutions based on the high-performance HANA platform are continuously put into operation.

Leverage Multiple Security Approaches

But even if the time pressure in the DevOps environment is high, the topic of security must not fall by the wayside—especially as the abundance of new programming creates increased attack possibilities for cyber criminals and other bad actors. DevSecOps is an updated approach that delivers the security requirements of agile software development by introducing security into each step of the DevOps cycle. At its base, DevSecOps focuses on functional protection measures for the DevOps environment. Authentication, authorizations and encryption, for example, are used to protect interfaces against manipulation or to prevent possible security gaps from third-party components.

However important these functional protection components may be, they are not sufficient on their own to effectively counter the security risks in the DevOps environment. Therefore, organizations should simultaneously adopt a technical approach that includes security in the development right from the start and uses suitable tools to meet the security requirements throughout the entire software life cycle. Security standards such as OWASP Top 10, SANS 25, BIZEC App / 11 and BIZEC Tec / 11 should be considered and tested automatically at several test points. This is the only way to ensure that the new functions and applications can be safely programmed, configured and transferred to the target system.

Software Life Cycle Roadmap

DevSecOps places the following requirements on DevOps teams developing applications based on classic SAP or SAP HANA in the individual phases of the software life cycle:

  1. Code Development
    The earlier an SAP security gap is eliminated, the less subsequent effort is required. Therefore, errors and weak points in the ABAP code should be identified and corrected as early as possible during programming. In addition to the standard test tools in the SAP development environment, open-source tools and third-party add-ons are also available to analyze the ABAP source code in accordance with certain security standards.These tools integrate the security standards in the form of pre-configured check catalogs and ensure that each check is performed automatically directly during code writing—comparable to an interactive spell checker in document editors—with which text documents can be analyzed and checked for errors as they are entered. Automatic source code analysis eliminates the need for manual intervention by programmers and reduces associated error possibilities.
  2. Trial Period
    In order to further increase the security level in the DevOps environment, automated tests should be mandatory immediately after development, without which code release is not possible in principle. You can also choose from various test tools for this phase, with which the ABAP source code is tested directly in the development environment. Whether tools from SAP, open source or add-on providers are used depends on the individual requirements in the company. If it turns out during the test phase that the code does not meet the required quality criteria, it must under no circumstances be transported to the next level, but must be corrected.
  3. Build Phase
    In the build phase, the individual ABAP code fragments are "packed" together with the configurations and table contents into executable units—hence also known as packages or, in SAP jargon: transports. The transport system in SAP is an important tool for transferring your own developments into the production system. However, since it does not perform a detailed check on the transport objects, it only becomes clear after the import whether the adjustments can be inserted without any negative effects. Therefore, automatic security and quality tests should be carried out as early as the build phase. Furthermore, the integration of these checks in the change process ensures that the adjustments in the productive SAP system do not change any critical settings or unintentionally overwrite data.
  4. Runtime Environment / Operation
    Since every change affects the runtime behavior of a system, this can also be associated with a deterioration in the security level—for example, if logging is deactivated by a new configuration. To avoid this, the system operation should be checked cyclically with suitable test tools. If a security incident occurs, the system administrator must immediately receive an appropriate alarm.

Seamless Coupling of Test Tools

Numerous practical examples prove this: even in conventional programming in the SAP environment, IT-supported tests are indispensable for identifying and correcting security gaps in the code and applications in good time. This applies all the more to the DevOps concept, which combines a permanently high throughput with agility and high quality requirements. To be on the safe side with DevOps, companies should leverage DevSecOps and use testing tools that are integrated directly into the DevOps environment and ensure a high degree of automation throughout every phase of the application life cycle.
Whatever security tools a company chooses, it is important that the individual components can be seamlessly integrated and coupled with each other so that no media breaks occur. Otherwise, there is a risk that the overview will quickly be lost and existing error or defect lists will be overlooked.

Enforcement and Continuous Monitoring

Some security enhancements may be implemented in a way that they become inherent to a process, but not everything is guaranteed. The Onapsis Platform integrates into a DevSecOps cycle, allowing for the automated analysis of custom source code, inspection and assurance of SAP Transport content, and automated alerting when actions take place outside baseline controls. Additionally, The Onapsis Platform keeps your applications protected in production by automating the assessment of applications for misconfigurations and vulnerabilities as well as continuously monitoring for misuse and cyber threats. Learn more about how Onapsis can help you enable DevSecOps for your SAP applications.

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