Research Hub > How Automation Can Bolster Your Development Process and Security

September 29, 2023

3 min

How Automation Can Bolster Your Development Process and Security

Strengthen application security without sacrificing the speed of software delivery by automating security processes within your software development life cycle.

With some organizations releasing new software features weekly or even daily, ensuring the security of applications can be challenging — especially when security is not properly integrated into the software development lifecycle (SDLC).

Combine this with the complexity of dynamic cloud-native applications, built on intricate microservices architectures, and enterprises can find themselves at the center of a multitude of security threats.

Organizations that are rapidly adopting cloud technology need to pause and evaluate whether they are treating security as an afterthought. Thankfully, with automation, ensuring strong application security doesn’t need to be roadblock, or even a speedbump, to quick software delivery.

Improving Application Security Without Sacrificing Speed

One of the first steps to improving application security is to create a paradigm shift in the way your organization views security. In DevOps, security is often viewed as another department’s problem. There is often friction around delivering features as fast as possible vs. prioritizing security.

By shifting security “to the left” (earlier in the software development lifecycle), security testing starts in the beginning phases instead of at the end when an application is released into production.

It is more productive to embed security earlier into the development process, giving security instrumentation and intelligence to developers in the forefront, instead of circumventing security to avoid project delays. This enables developers to remediate issues when the coding is fresh in their memories, reducing cost and redundancy. Software bugs become more expensive to troubleshoot the further into the development cycle they are caught.

Improving collaboration without slowing down the pipeline is easier said than done. Automation is key to improving security without causing bottlenecks, making it an essential pillar of DevSecOps (development and operations integrated with security).

How to Put Development in Full Throttle With Security Automation

There are endless opportunities to optimize your SDLC with security automation. There are plenty of tools and resources to help you improve workflows and analyze security functions. Here are some examples of how automation can be used to strengthen application security:

  • Static application security testing (SAST): Perform static code analysis to find security vulnerabilities and coding errors in an application’s source code (also known as white box testing).
  • Dynamic app security testing (DAST): Simulate attacks on running applications to identify runtime vulnerabilities and potential entry points for threats.
  • Interactive application security testing (IAST): Monitor and analyze an application’s runtime behavior, simulating attacks and reporting vulnerabilities in real-time.
  • Infrastructure as code (IaC) scanning: Identify risks to cloud configuration, such as how cloud resources are provisioned and managed, by scanning IaC code for issues and compliance violations.
  • Software composition analysis: Track and evaluate security and licensing of software dependencies in an application’s open-source and third-party components

Priortize Security Processes for Automation

By automating security processes, organizations can swiftly identify and address vulnerabilities, ensure compliance to industry standards and internal security requirements, create a consistent security foundation in the CI/CD process, improve productivity in DevOps and security teams, and still deliver new features quickly.

When introducing automation into your SDLC, it is important to take a measured approach and identify which processes can and should be automated. Gather feedback and prioritize your list rather than attempt to automate everything at once.

Rolf W. Reitzig

CDW Expert
Rolf Reitzig is a Principal Consultant on the Digital Velocity Solutions team at CDW, and strategically designs custom technology-agnostic solutions addressing critical business needs for clients.

Kyle Jepson

Strategic Technologist
Kyle Jepson is a strategic technologist with over 20 years of experience. He is currently working as a strategic coordinator for DevOps with CDW.