Integrating WAF With DevSecOps: Ensuring Security In The Development Lifecycle

One of the most widespread adaptations that the software engineering industry has experienced as a whole is a mass movement toward shift-left methodology.

With the rise of development strategies like DevOps, embedding security into the process as early as possible in the form of DevSecOps is a fantastic way of enhancing the baseline security of a project during its development.

While many developers have an extensive understanding of the best security practices, that doesn’t mean that all security threats will be neutralized. Adding supplementary cybersecurity technologies, like a Web Application Firewall, will help create an additional layer of security that keeps your business safe.

In this article, we’ll explore the utility of WAFs in the DevSecOps environment, demonstrating why they make a valuable addition to a project and how best to implement them.

Integrating WAF DevSecOps Ensuring Security Development Lifecycle


The Importance Of WAFs In DevSecOps

Despite centralizing security and secure coding practices in a DevSecOps environment, no application can be truly infallible when it comes to malicious threats. While shifting left has enhanced security in many ways, it also means that developers have more on their plates than ever before.

Businesses cannot expect developers to catch every single vulnerability during the coding stage. Even during testing, it’s highly likely that some vulnerabilities slip through the gaps – as they do with almost all development projects.

Vulnerabilities are exceptionally common, with over 29,000 individual vulnerabilities being found in 2023 alone. Instead of punishing your developers for these mistakes, your business can look to supportive cybersecurity deployments like WAFs.

A WAF sits on the perimeter of an application and monitors all incoming and outgoing layer 7 traffic. A web application firewall, often known simply by its acronym WAF, is a security protocol that sits inside an application and monitors layer 7 traffic.

WAFs identify any potentially malicious traffic that attempts to access an application and blocks it from connecting.

WAFs protect applications during the development and production stages by:

  • Monitoring Traffic: In a perfect world, WAFs wouldn’t do anything apart from closely monitoring traffic that leaves and tries to enter your application. However, if suspicious traffic does connect, it will log that information. By monitoring your application, WAFs produce traffic information that your developers can later analyze to better respond to incidents in the future.
  • Mitigating Threats: Beyond just monitoring connections, WAFs will filter out any traffic that could be harmful to your business. WAFs are superb at protecting your development projects from common attacks like XSS or SQL injection attacks. By filtering out these attacks, your software developers will have less to worry about during the development cycle.
  • Creating a Failsafe: In DevSecOps environments, adding a WAF layer will create an additional layer of protection, acting as a failsafe for your developers. If they accidentally let anything through or create a vulnerability during the development process, the WAF can act as a final layer of protection to ensure malicious actors don’t get in. By using a WAF, you’re helping to support your team while providing additional defenses to your applications.

Furthermore, by using a WAF you can supplement your developer’s secure code practices to provide a more comprehensive level of application security for your business.

Best Practices For WAF Integration

WAFs are an important aspect of creating comprehensive application security. But simply implementing one is only half the story. Throughout the integration phase and onward across development cycles, there are several best practices that businesses can follow to enhance the utility of a WAF.

Here are the best practices for WAF integration in devSecOops environments:

  • Establish an Incident Response Developer Workflow: WAFs are a fantastic catch-all technology that can add a much-needed security layer to your application. However, without an action plan to respond to WAF alerts, your developers may not know what to do when a security event occurs. Be sure to develop an incident response workflow for your developers, outlining the steps they should take following a WAF incident alert to ensure the security of your application.
  • Update WAF Rules Throughout the Development Cycle: Security administrators will typically create a set of rules for your WAF during the integration process. However, the threats that you are protecting against may change and evolve as your business moves through distinct development stages. Regularly updating your WAF rules to match any new threats will help keep your application safe from emerging threats.
  • Couple WAF Integration with Secure Coding Workshops: While deploying and maintaining a WAF is a useful security integration, it only serves as a supplementary technology. In DevSecOps environments, your team should still focus on secure coding practices. Be sure to provide extensive secure coding training to ensure that best practices are followed across the entire development cycle. Secure code will naturally minimize the number of security incidents you experience and reduce strain on your WAF.

WAFs are a phenomenal technology to deploy, helping to enhance security-focused environments like those found in DevSecOps development cycles.

Enhancing AppSec And DevSecOps With WAFs

DevSecOps is a highly secure development environment, centralizing security across all development stages. But just because developers focus more on security doesn’t make your application invulnerable. Businesses must endeavor to implement leading cybersecurity practices alongside secure development strategies.

When looking to integrate WAFs into DevSecOps environments, finding a WAF solution that comprehensively covers application security threats is vital for their success.

Identifying and relying on a WAF provider with knowledge of DevSecOps and complimenting that style of development will give your developers and your application the best support possible.

Integrating WAF DevSecOps Ensuring Security Development Lifecycle


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