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Modern Continuous Security:
A Quick Start Guide to Securing

Nicole Jones

Nicole Jones|April 15, 2024

Learn more about modern continuous security, unpack its core principles, and explore best practices for implementation and the benefits it offers for organizations.

Traditional security practices, often siloed and reactive, struggle to keep pace with the rapid development cycles of modern software. This is where the concept of modern continuous security emerges as a game-changer.

What is Modern Continuous Security?

Modern continuous security represents a paradigm shift in how application security is approached. It's a proactive methodology that embeds security practices throughout the entire Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC). Security is no longer viewed as a separate stage tacked onto the end of development; instead, it becomes an integral part of the entire process, woven seamlessly into every step.

Here's a breakdown of the core tenets of modern continuous security:

  • Integration: Security practices are tightly integrated into the development workflow, fostering collaboration between developers and security professionals.

  • Automation: Repetitive security tasks are automated, freeing up security personnel to focus on more strategic initiatives.

  • Early Detection: Security vulnerabilities are identified and addressed as early as possible in the development process, minimizing the cost and effort of remediation.

  • Continuous Improvement: Security is treated as an ongoing process, with continuous monitoring, feedback, and improvement.

Benefits of Modern Continuous Security

By embracing modern continuous security, organizations can reap a multitude of benefits:

  • Enhanced Security Posture: Early identification and mitigation of vulnerabilities lead to more secure applications.

  • Faster Development Cycles: Automating security tasks and integrating security into the development workflow streamline the development process.

  • Reduced Costs: Fixing vulnerabilities early in the development process is significantly cheaper than remediating them later in the production cycle.

  • Improved Developer Productivity: By providing clear and actionable security feedback, developers can focus on writing secure code.

  • Increased Compliance: Continuous security practices help organizations meet regulatory compliance requirements.

Shift Left Security: A Cornerstone of Continuous Security

Shift-left security is a cornerstone principle of modern continuous security. It emphasizes the importance of integrating security practices earlier in the SDLC, ideally as early as the design and planning stages. This doesn't necessarily mean that all security testing should be done upfront. Instead, it advocates for incorporating security considerations throughout the development process.

Here's how adopting a shift-left approach benefits organizations:

  • Reduced Rework: Identifying and fixing vulnerabilities early on prevents costly rework later in the development cycle.

  • Improved Code Quality: Security considerations woven into the design phase lead to the development of more secure code from the start.

  • Faster Time to Market: By addressing security concerns early, organizations can release applications to market faster.

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Implementing Continuous Security: A Practical Guide

The transition to a continuous security model requires careful planning and execution. Here are some key steps organizations can take to get started:

  • Start Small: Don't try to overhaul your entire security process overnight. Begin by implementing small, incremental changes and gradually build momentum.

  • Build a Security Culture: Foster a culture of security awareness within your organization by providing training and education for developers and other stakeholders.

  • Select the Right Tools: Invest in security tools that automate tasks, integrate seamlessly with your development workflow, and provide actionable security insights.

  • Embrace Automation: Automate repetitive security tasks such as code scanning and vulnerability assessments to free up security professionals for more strategic work.

  • Measure and Monitor: Continuously monitor the effectiveness of your security program and make adjustments as needed.

The Three-Legged Stool of Organizational Change

The successful implementation of continuous security requires a holistic approach that addresses three critical aspects:

  • People: Invest in training and education programs to equip your team with the knowledge and skills required to implement continuous security practices.

  • Process: Update your development processes to integrate security considerations throughout the SDLC.

  • Technology: Implement the right security tools to automate tasks, provide continuous feedback, and enhance overall security posture.

Continuous Security: A Journey, Not a Destination

The journey towards achieving continuous security is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. By adopting a proactive and collaborative approach, organizations can establish a robust security posture that keeps pace with the ever-evolving threat landscape. By integrating security into the fabric of the SDLC, businesses can build more secure applications, accelerate development cycles, and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

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Watch the Secure with StackHawk: A Continuous Approach to Application and API Security webinar recording for a deeper dive into Modern Continuous Security.

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Nicole Jones  |  April 15, 2024

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