As more and more organizations move their operations to the cloud, the need for robust identity and data management becomes increasingly vital. DevSecOps, an approach that integrates security and compliance into the DevOps process, provides a comprehensive framework for managed cloud-based operations securely.
In this context, identity and data security are among the top priorities for DevSecOps teams. Accounts, access, permissions, and privileges have become popular targets in recent cybersecurity attacks on the cloud, highlighting the importance of a well-established identity and data governance policy.
This article explores some of the best identity and data management practices under the DevSecOps model.
The Significance of Identity & Data Management in DevSecOps
In DevSecOps, ensuring the security of identity and data is crucial, especially when it comes to the public cloud. Cybersecurity attacks on the cloud frequently target accounts, access, permissions, and privileges. It is vital to develop and implement a robust identity and data governance policy to mitigate the risks of data breaches.
Your DevSecOps team can help you implement a comprehensive IAM (Identity and Access Management) strategy that spans multiple cloud platforms while also considering additional security measures such as MFA, password hygiene, and access token rotation.
Although identity strategies may differ, adhering to general guidelines can help cloud users achieve the principle of least privilege and maintain it. Here are some DevSecOps best practices and DevOps tools our cloud experts believe can help you simplify operations, reduce potential issues, and achieve safer data management. These tools and best practices work well, no matter the operational complexity involved.
DevSecOps Best Practices & Tools for Data Management
Due Vigilance of Administrator Credentials
It is essential to ensure that only administrator accounts can access administrator credentials. You must routinely monitor administrator accounts’ usage to mitigate the risk of anomalies. We recommend that you restrict the administrator account to only necessary functions and discourage their daily use.
Moreover, you must take appropriate measures to safeguard the significant permissions associated with administrator credentials. Your DevSecOps team should consider implementing additional security measures, such as enforcing encryption and implementing separate account logins to reduce the risk of malicious infiltration.
Avoiding Shared Secrets and Hard-Coded Passwords
Managing shared secrets and hard-coded passwords is critical to ensuring the security of sensitive information and resources. Oftentimes, such secrets and passwords emerge as a weak point in an organization’s security framework, as attackers can easily compromise and attack them.
DevSecOps teams must adopt best practices to securely manage shared secrets and hard-coded passwords. This includes implementing secure storage solutions, such as password managers, encrypting sensitive data, and avoiding the use of hard-coded passwords in code.
Instead, you should store credentials separately and access them through secure authentication methods, such as OAuth or token-based authentication. Moreover, it would be best to implement regular password rotation and strict access controls to reduce the risk of unauthorized access. Your DevOps security team can minimize the risk of security breaches and ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive data and resources by effectively managing shared secrets and hard-coded passwords.
Access Tokens Rotation
Access token rotation is an important security best practice that DevSecOps teams should implement to protect sensitive resources from unauthorized access. This process involves changing access tokens, which are used to authenticate and authorize access to resources at regular intervals. Regularly rotating access tokens can minimize the risk of a stolen or compromised token being used to gain unauthorized access.
Additionally, access token rotation can help prevent attackers from maintaining continued access to resources even after you detect and remedy the initial breach. Moreover, you should establish appropriate policies and procedures and implement tools and automation to ensure the effectiveness of access token rotation and management.
Categoric Identity Management
Enterprises can enhance their account and access controls by implementing a systematic identity management approach. DevSecOps can achieve this by grouping identities based on their associated permissions and roles. This categorized grouping enables efficient management of similar permissions, roles, and privileges by system administrators, eliminating the need for them to sort through individual accounts.
However, it is crucial to maintain complete visibility of all permissions, roles, and privileges for all users and identities. Without this visibility, there is a risk of granting a user more access than required, which may expose the organization to unnecessary risks.
Enabling Multifactor Authentication (MFA)
MFA, or multifactor authentication, is a crucial security measure that adds an extra layer of protection to critical accounts, making it harder for cyber threats to succeed. You can prevent intrusions from both internal and external sources by utilizing fundamental access controls like Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) and Multifactored Authorizations (MFAs).
These controls ensure the validity of the identity and continuously monitor the usage of the account to ensure it remains within the prescribed security parameters. As a general security best practice, it is recommended that you activate MFA for all the accounts.
Access keys offer long-lived access, unlike logging in via the console using a traditional user/password combination. We recommend using temporary credentials instead of long-lived access through IAM roles whenever and wherever possible as a general best practice.
Enforce the Principle of Least Privilege
Enforcing the principle of least privilege is a crucial security best practice that DevSecOps teams should adopt to limit the potential damage caused by a security breach. The principle of least privilege means granting users and processes only the minimum level of access necessary to perform their tasks rather than giving them unrestricted access to all resources.
By enforcing the principle of least privilege, DevSecOps teams reduce the attack surface and minimize the potential damage caused by an attacker who gains unauthorized access to a system or resource.
However, to enforce the least privilege, it is important to implement role-based access control (RBAC) policies that grant access based on a user’s job responsibilities and regularly review and update access permissions based on changes in job roles and responsibilities.
Additionally, automation tools also help enforce the principle of least privilege by continuously monitoring and adjusting access controls to ensure compliance with established policies.
Identify and Catalog All Identities
You must identify and catalog all the relevant identities to effectively manage and secure accounts, roles, and assets. With extensive use of scripts and automation in DevOps in the IT industry, discovering and inventorying identities can be challenging, especially when some identities are embedded in runtimes or hard-coded into compiled executables.
However, overcoming these challenges and gaining complete visibility into all the tools executing automation and the privileges assigned to them is crucial. Organizations must implement solutions that provide clear and comprehensive visibility to ensure that all identities are accounted for and properly managed.
Implement Password Hygiene Policies
DevSecOps must implement policies that promote proper password hygiene among users, which can help eliminate weak authentications. This is recommended in addition to the standard MFA implementations.
The NIST SP 800-63-3 Policy offers a comprehensive set of guidelines for password management that can optimize digital data security. Some of these guidelines include avoiding character composition rules and only changing passwords in cases of compromised account login.
Achieving complete visibility across the entire DevSecOps process is crucial for effective management and optimization. End-to-end visibility allows teams to gain insights into each process stage, from development to deployment, and identify any potential bottlenecks, vulnerabilities, or inefficiencies.
However, achieving end-to-end visibility can be challenging, as the DevSecOps process involves various tools, platforms, and stakeholders.
Therefore, it is essential to adopt a holistic approach to monitoring and analysis, using a range of tools and techniques such as log analysis, metrics monitoring, and traceability. By achieving end-to-end visibility, your DevSecOps team can streamline processes, reduce costs, and enhance security and compliance, ultimately improving the overall quality of the product or service being delivered.
Data is the new oil – data-driven decision-making is the mainstay of all successful companies in the 21st century. However, you can only leverage and harness the power of data if it is secure, reliable, and accurate. Effective identity and data management is, therefore, critical for any organization, especially those operating in the cloud contact center.
DevSecOps provides a comprehensive approach that integrates security and compliance into the DevOps process, enabling organizations to manage their cloud-based operations securely. You need to follow and implement DevSecOps best practices to reduce the risks of data breaches and malicious intrusions and ensure data security and integrity.
If you want to learn more about how you can improve data governance and identity management at your organization, contact us at [email protected]. Our DevOps & Cloud team would love to get in touch with you to discuss how Xavor can help you achieve robust data security and management.