Top 7 Practices to Enable Security in your CI/CD Pipeline

Top 7 Practices to Enable Security in your CI/CD Pipeline

To improve efficiency, a software delivery team needs a better check on time-to-market. A DevOps culture together with a solid CI/CD pipeline is implemented to achieve this. 


We work in a world driven by software, where we create new objectives for businesses. A setup with DevOps and CI/CD is necessary to adapt and handle these quickly changing business requirements. The CI/CD methodology enables teams to swiftly provide new releases, function modifications, and bug fixes in their capacity to create and deploy the Agile guidelines. 

However, the product’s safety and its supporting infrastructure are often affected by such quick release cycles. Moreover, the delivery of high-quality goods and service experiences calls for the CI/CD pipes to be secured. Hence, the safe delivery of quality applications needs to strengthen everything flowing via the software supply pipeline.

Need for Security across CI/CD Pipeline

Organizations must guarantee continuous security validation across the CI/CD pipeline to reduce vulnerabilities’ probability of undiscovered vulnerabilities during the software development lifecycle. Security incorporated into the CI/CD pipeline ensures code security while providing early alerts of insecure or faulty code, resulting in a safe end-product and increased customer confidence.

Below mentioned are a few restorative practices that can effectively implement security into your CI/CD pipeline.

1. Familiarity with CI/CD Pipeline & Elements

To build an asset registry and maintain overall knowledge of the application architecture and software development lifecycle, it’s necessary to have better insight into the CI/CD pipeline. It involves including assets and boundaries together with the different tools, stages, and code repositories. The motive is to gather the information that will reveal changes in assets as well as actions.

ImpactQA - Security in CI-CD pipeline

Further, listing all potential metric sources produced by the pipeline is essential.
The later step is to start implementing security across the development and deployment operations. Although the tools used in a project may be determined by the frameworks, languages, and operating systems utilized, many companies make versions that cover most circumstances. To prevent needless interruption within the DevOps process, introduce new tools one by one so that everyone on the team can adjust and understand them.

2. Deploy Threat Modeling

Understanding what possible security vulnerabilities exist inside your build and pragmatic approach and which ones require additional protection is the first step in securing your CI/CD pipeline. Because every step in the CI/CD pipeline might be a possible point of compromise, a threat modeling exercise helps you map out potential risks and plan for their avoidance.

3. Automate using IaC

For companies wanting to protect their CI/CD pipeline, Infrastructure as Code, or IaC, offers a significant security benefit. IaC prevents human modifications or direct access to underlying code since it enables the autonomous deployment of secure infrastructure — consistently and at scale. To simplify it further, since code is only deployed to production once accepted, IaC can offer the required aid in code security by discovering mistakes and configuration errors after deployment.

4. Quick Tracking of Committed Code

After they’ve committed their code, developers should get immediate feedback. Because they don’t require the application to be operating, static code analysis tools are ideal for the task, and many of them also offer remedial suggestions.

As a viable solution, sharing code scan reports with security testing or development teams is an excellent option to prioritize all sorts of follow-up activities. Also, adding any warnings or alerts created during these tests to a bug tracker like Jira is carried out. This guarantees the vulnerability gets allocated to someone and repaired, rather than ignored.

5. Secure the Code Repository

Another critical pillar in maintaining the security of your CI/CD pipeline is the protection of your code repository. If your access credentials or service are compromised, attackers can take advantage of any chance to alter the codebase without your consent. As a result, relying on a trusted repository becomes essential.

6. Keep an Eye for Open-Source Vulnerabilities

A brief check of imported open-source libraries and associated components is proper when you are trying to excavate known vulnerabilities. In current software development, these third-party products serve an important role, yet new vulnerabilities might arise at any time. Such vulnerabilities might affect an app’s security even if its code has not been modified.
How to analyze open-source code? Software composition analysis (SCA) tools are put in place to inspect open-source code, binaries, and third-party components. It ensures the provision of real-time security alerts and even identifies compliance as well as licensing issues.

7. Monitor your Pipeline Continuously

You need a safe code flow for building and constantly deploying if you want a continuous and secure software supply pipeline. This guarantees that the CI/CD environment is continuously monitored as it is operating, infringing, and configuring your pipeline safely. Active monitoring can help you proactively deal with security problems while enabling you to discontinue momentary resources like containers and VMs when the tasks are over.

Enable Security into CI/CD pipeline with DevSecOps

While an automated pipeline utilizing Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) ideas bring new difficulties to the traditional safety strategy (the dev team is too rapid), it also offers possibilities for teams who accept this method.

ImpactQA - DevSecOps

The essence of DevSecOps is to integrate security procedures across the pipeline and apply DevOps techniques and philosophy to safety efforts. An early security analysis follows this technique in the life cycle of software development (shift left), limiting its findings’ effect.

The actual question is: What should we feed in the pipeline?

Because there are various methods and tactics that InfoSec teams employ daily to accomplish their work, it indeed relies on the requirements and restrictions of a given solution or product. To name a few, there are:

  • Static Application Security Testing (SAST)
  • Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)
  • Software Composition Analysis tools
  • Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST)

Each addresses a distinct set of security concerns and is a contender for inclusion in an agile development lifecycle based on DevOps concepts. For instance, deploying both DAST and SAST within the pipeline can help highlight both codebase and runtime vulnerabilities.

Furthermore, there are added security techniques that could be pushed in the pipeline, for example:

  • Analyzing imported libraries using Software Composition Analysis tools like Retire.js and OWASP Dependency-Check with the purpose of spotting licensing risks along with known vulnerabilities related to open-source libraries 
  • Getting a better idea about secrets with git-secrets or other similar solutions
  • Assessing and strengthening the infrastructure with the help of Nmap, Inspec, etc
  • Picking up specific issues with SSLyze, SQLMap, and others


The goal of integrating security throughout the CI/CD pipeline benefits the development, operations, and security teams by improving collaboration. Maintaining a correct sequence in order to keep track of the most recent hazards is critical for the success of any software product. To secure a long-term agreement, contact a reputable security testing company with experience in CI/CD pipeline security measures to assist you in planning retrospectives based on project successes and failures.



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