Sonrai Security website logo for identity and data governance and cloud security

DevSecOps Best Practices in Identity and Data Security

Author: Eric Kedrosky | Date: July 27, 2021
Read Time: 4 minutes
Skill Level: Executive
Skill Level: Executive
DevSecOps cloud security image for GCP, AWS, and Azure

Identity and data security is a priority for DevSecOps in the public cloud. Accounts, access, permissions, and privileges have become popular targets in recent cybersecurity attacks on the cloud. A well-established identity and data governance policy will significantly reduce the risks of data breaches in your cloud.

DevSecOps teams can help companies achieve safer data management through a comprehensive IAM strategy that works across multiple cloud platforms. While identity strategies may differ, general guidelines can help cloud users achieve the Principle of Least Privilege and stay there.

Regardless of the complexity of your operations, the aim of our best practice recommendations is to help you reduce problems. Here are just a few best practices to be aware of when working in the cloud.

Due Diligence of Administrator Credentials

Administrator credentials should strictly belong to administrator accounts. Enterprises should consistently monitor the usage of administrator accounts to eliminate the risks of anomalies. For the best practices, enterprises should restrict administrator accounts to necessary functions and discourage daily usage.

It is vital for enterprises to protect the powerful set of permissions linked to administrator credentials. As a best practice, DevSecOps should consider additional security measures, such as implementing separate account logins and enforcing encryption, which minimizes the risks of malicious infiltration.

Categorize Identity Management

Systematic identity management will help enterprises optimize account and access controls. DevSecOps can achieve this by sorting identities into groups and roles according to their linked permissions. Through grouped categorization, system administrations can effectively manage similar permissions, roles, and privileges without tediously sorting through individual accounts. However, it is best practice to have complete visibility into all permissions, roles, and privileges for all users and identities. Without this visibility, a user may receive more access than needed leaving your organization open to unnecessary risks.

MFA Activation

MFA (multifactor) authentication provides critical accounts with added security that discourages cyberthreats by complicating the hacking process. Fundamental access controls, including Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) and Multifactored Authorizations (MFAs), can prevent intrusions by both types of criminals. As a result, these controls verify the valid identity, then monitor their usage to ensure they remain within mandated security parameters. As a general security best practice activate MFA for all of your accounts.

Access keys provide long-lived access as opposed to logging in via the console using a good old user/password combo. As a general best practice, use temporary credentials whenever and wherever possible, not long-lived access by using IAM roles.

Enforce Password Hygiene

DevSecOps should ensure that users maintain proper password hygiene, which eliminates weak authentications (recommended on top of standard MFA implementations). The NIST SP 800-63-3 Policy provides a comprehensive list of password guidelines for optimized digital data security. Suggestions include skipping character composition rules and only changing passwords in the event of compromised account login.

Rotate Access Tokens

Users should regularly rotate access tokens to minimize the risk of compromised credentials. The process involves creating new tokens, switching applications that use the new token, and deleting the old token. Like passwords, regularly changing an API token will limit the damage a leaked or misplaced API token can cause.

Centralize IAM

By providing centralized management of all identities, your organization gains the visibility needed for proper oversight. Centralized IAM makes it easier to enforce policies governing identity and access. An effective approach ensures that privileges are issued in accordance with the policies and controls within your organization's governance framework. As a result, you can align privileges with your business requirements.

Enforce Least Privilege

The Principle of Least Privilege ensures that users receive the minimum permissions required to fulfill their roles. Through Least Privilege, DevSecOps can reduce the impact of a data breach by restricting threats to the account's specific permissions. As best practice only gives individual identities the exact amount of privileges they need to get their job done.

Discover and Inventory All Identities

You can't protect or manage accounts, identities, roles, or assets that you don't know about. With scripts and automation layered all over the DevSecOps toolchain, it can be difficult to discover and inventory identities. Some identities are embedded in runtimes or hard-coded into compiled executables making visibility a challenge, but it must be done. Organizations need to get clear visibility into exactly what tools are executing the automation. Organizations need to get clear visibility into exactly what privileges are assigned to the tools.

Manage Shared Secrets and Hard-Coded Password

Unfortunately, even meticulous teams are hard code passwords into their finished applications, they often leave them within the IT infrastructure. This helps support the development of that software for the sake of expedience. The same goes for account sharing. This is a frequent mistake organizations make to just get the automation working and keep it working with stability. The problem is, this makes it difficult for traceability or auditability of activity within the affected environment.

Best practices for shared secrets are to continuously monitor identities and manage risks associated with critical systems and data. By doing so, all potential access paths to your data, containers, and identities are uncovered and categorized by privilege.

With continuous monitoring, organizations gain an additional layer of oversight over their existing cloud security frameworks. Continuous monitoring and oversight optimize the effectiveness of internal controls. It also maintains a documented record of change control and validation, which improves ongoing compliance and reduces auditing workloads. Also, an organization can gain increased visibility into the changes in their environment: Who made the changes? When did the changes occur? What information was accessed?

End-to-End Visibility

Visibility is key to security. This is why it's important to know the effective permissions for all identities (people and non-people) in your organization. You can get true visibility into data and access trust relationships by graphing, classifying, and mapping identities. With end-to-end visibility, organizations will detect misconfigurations and changes — and respond effectively.

Sonrai Can Help with DevSecOps

DevSecOps practices allow for incremental implementation so enterprises do not need to make required changes and updates from the beginning. Following the above-mentioned DevSecOps best practices, your organization can ensure to develop and deliver robust software solutions that help companies to achieve their business object effectively without additional security risks.

Sonrai Dig has been developed to help organizations improve security, ensure compliance and increase operational efficiencies for their AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Kubernetes. Core to the platform is the ability to gain a centralized view into identity and data relationships, activity, and movement.

You Might Also Like

Energy Company Swaps Index Cards, Excel for DevSecOps

Recently, Beth Pariseau, Senior News Writer at SearchItOperations.com interviewed our client Richard Delisser, SVP of [...]

Read More

An Introduction to Shift-Left Security

Software is rising in cost and complexity every year, making it harder for companies to iterate and compete. This i[...]

Read More

Cloud Security: The Rise of the Non-People Identities

When you think of identity management in an enterprise setting, you may think of your users first. But people are j[...]

Read More
magnifier