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Assess Vulnerabilities, Misconfigurations in CI/CD Pipeline

After the publication of Golden AMI Pipeline integration with Qualys, some Qualys customers reached out asking how to integrate Qualys Vulnerability Management scanning into other types of CI/CD Pipelines. To answer these questions, we’ve published the new guide, Assess Vulnerabilities and Misconfiguration in CI/CD Pipelines.

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Countdown to Black Hat: Top 10 Sessions to Attend — #6

With Black Hat USA 2019 less than a month away, we continue our blog series with weekly recommendations of training courses and research briefings to attend at the conference. Our pick this week: the research briefing Controlled Chaos: The Inevitable Marriage of DevOps & Security.

This 50-minute presentation focuses on the increasingly critical issue of securing DevOps, as this approach to agile and iterative software development and IT operations becomes the “business engine” for organizations.

Kelly Shortridge, Capsule8’s product strategy VP, and Nicole Forsgren, Google Cloud researcher and strategist, will explain the DevOps basics and the resilience and chaos engineering concepts. The speakers will address the importance of marrying DevOps and security, and the necessary shift away from security for its own sake to security as an enabler of business objectives.

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Countdown to Black Hat: Top 10 Sessions to Attend — #1

Black Hat USA 2019 offers a packed and impressive lineup of research briefings and hands-on training courses for the 19,000-plus security pros expected to attend this year’s event.

The training sessions provide both offensive and defensive skills that security pros can use to tackle critical threats affecting applications, IoT systems, cloud services, and more. Meanwhile, the briefing sessions feature cutting-edge research on the latest infosec risks and trends. All sessions are led by expert trainers and researchers.

To help attendees decide which sessions to choose, we’ve selected ten that we think will be particularly relevant and valuable for Qualys customers, and we’ll highlight one each week here on our blog. Here’s our first recommendation: Advanced Cloud Security And Applied Devsecops.

This highly technical course delves deep into practical cloud security and applied DevSecOps for enterprise-scale cloud deployments, and focuses on IaaS and PaaS.

“Real-world cloud security is most definitely not business as usual. The fundamental abstraction and automation used to build cloud platforms upends much of how we implement security. The same principles may apply, but how they apply is dramatically different, especially at enterprise scale,” reads the course abstract.

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Monitoring AWS Golden AMI Pipelines with Slack

If your company uses Slack and is looking for ways to easily monitor activities in its AWS Golden AMI Pipeline, you can use AWS native services to send messages into a Slack channel. This can give your teams better visibility into the approval process for the candidate AMIs that they submit, as opposed to handling this via email. As we all know, email messages can get lost, overlooked or dumped in spam folders, which doesn’t happen with Slack messages. Moreover, Slack channels can have multiple subscribers so a single message can be seen by multiple people or other bots. Handling approval requests within a Slack channel also simplifies the management of the process.

Read on for a detailed, step-by-step explanation.

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Ancestry: On the Vanguard of DevOps Security

Grant Johnson, Ancestry’s Director, Risk & Compliance

(This is a guest post by Grant Johnson, Director, Risk & Compliance at Ancestry)

Over the past two years, Ancestry moved its entire applications and data infrastructure from local data centers to Amazon’s cloud, and this required a new approach for managing vulnerabilities in our DevOps pipeline. In the hopes that our insights will help security teams embarking on this path, this article details the challenges we faced and the best practices that helped us succeed, including:

  • the benefits of replacing production AMIs with new ones instead of patching them;
  • the importance of making security an enabler of agile, cloud processes like DevOps;
  • and effective ways to get DevOps team members and senior leaders to buy into your risk reduction strategy.

Read on to learn how, with Qualys’ help, we streamlined and automated vulnerability fixes, resulting in a steep drop in the number of high severity bugs in our production applications.

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Assess Vulnerabilities, Misconfigurations in AWS Golden AMI Pipelines

Today we’re starting a blog series focused on how to integrate Qualys solutions into DevSecOps for securing cloud infrastructures. In this initial post, we’ll discuss the importance of assessing vulnerabilities and misconfigurations on AWS pipelines.

When developing golden Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), DevOps teams should run continuous and automated checks to eliminate vulnerabilities and misconfigurations in them. It’s a critical security and compliance practice that Qualys recommends its customers adopt. 

To that end, Qualys partnered with Amazon to integrate the AWS Golden Amazon Machine Image Pipeline reference architecture with Qualys scanners for vulnerability and configuration compliance assessment.

The result: Qualys has just published a GitHub repository and documentation for implementing Qualys scanning of instances in a golden AMI pipeline. This will help customers detect and fix critical vulnerabilities and compliance issues in the image creation pipeline, before they reach production environments.

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Container Security Becomes a Priority for Enterprises

Among the IT innovations that businesses are using to digitally transform operations, containers might be the most disruptive and revolutionary.

“They’re a real game changer,” Qualys Chief Product Officer Sumedh Thakar said at QSC 2018 in Las Vegas.

DevOps teams have embraced containers because they boost speed and flexibility in app development and delivery, and are ideal for microservices. In fact, by 2020 more than 50% of organizations will run containerized applications in production, up from under 20% in 2017, according to Gartner. Thus, security teams must prioritize protecting the applications that DevOps teams create with this OS virtualization method.

“We see container security as a significant new paradigm coming at us, which will bring a lot of change,” Qualys CEO Philippe Courtot said.

Asif Awan, Qualys’ Container Security CTO

But to ensure the security and compliance of container-based code, organizations can’t rely on conventional application security products. “Your existing tools aren’t going to work,” said Asif Awan, Qualys’ Container Security CTO. Unsurprisingly, organizations cite security as the biggest challenge when deploying containers, according to Forrester.

“Security automation is a simple term but to get a handle over that entire automated and ever-accelerating CI/CD (continuous integration and delivery) pipeline is becoming more and more difficult,” Awan said.

Responding to this need, Qualys offers a comprehensive security solution that monitors and protects containerized applications from the inside.  In order to do that, Qualys technology collects granular behavior data about the application, providing deep visibility and enforcing normal application behavior for runtime protection.

Read on to learn about Qualys’ container security approach.

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Capital One: Building Security Into DevOps

Capital One prides itself on staying at the forefront of IT innovations to give its business a competitive edge.

For example, it adopted Agile software-development methodologies years ago, and uses artificial intelligence and machine learning. It was the first bank to implement a mobile wallet with “contactless” NFC payments, and to offer voice-activated financial transactions using Amazon’s Alexa. When 2018 ends, Capital One expects 80% of its IT infrastructure to be cloud based, allowing it to go from seven to two data centers.

Given its tech transformation track record, it’s not surprising that Capital One has embraced DevSecOps, embedding automated security checks into its DevOps pipeline. This effort has dramatically accelerated the process of assessing vulnerabilities and mis-configurations in its virtual machine images and containers.

As a result, the code created in the DevOps pipeline is certified as secure and released to production without unnecessary delays. This allows Capital One — one of the United States’ 10 largest banks, based on deposits — to consistently boost its business across the board by quickly and continuously improving its web properties, mobile apps, online services and digital offerings.

“This has provided a huge benefit to the entire company,” said Emmanuel Enaohwo, Senior Manager for Vulnerability/Configuration Management at Capital One, a Fortune 500 company based in McLean, Virginia that offers a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients.

Read on to learn how the bank has automated vulnerability and compliance checks in its CI/CD software pipeline, helped by Qualys.

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Infosec Teams Race To Secure DevOps

With DevOps adoption spreading, infosec teams are scrambling to address the new security challenges stemming from DevOps’ accelerated code development and app deployment. But while IT organizations have made notable progress adapting security to their DevOps processes, work remains to be done.

That’s a key finding from SANS Institute’s “Secure DevOps: Fact or Fiction” report, which was discussed recently in a two-day webcast (Part 1 & Part 2) co-sponsored by Qualys. A revealing statistic: Under 50% of respondent organizations have fully “shifted left” to embed security throughout their DevOps pipelines, a figure that should be higher.

“Security is still being built in at the end, whereas risk reduction should start earlier in the software development lifecycle,” said Barbara Filkins, a SANS analyst. With security in the early stages of application design, “we can eliminate many issues that we’d see at the back end,” she said.

Threading security throughout DevOps also preserves the benefits of continuous and quick software delivery, like improved customer support and employee productivity. 

“As a DevOps engineer, you’re looking to automate security at the speed of what business needs,” said Qualys Product Management Director Hari Srinivasan.

“The goal is enabling a transition from DevOps to secure DevOps that is factual, not fiction,” Filkins said.

Read on to learn about DevSecOps challenges, best practices and case studies.

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Securing Container Deployments with Qualys

With container adoption booming, security teams must protect the applications that DevOps teams create and deploy using this method of OS virtualization. The security must be comprehensive across the entire container lifecycle, and built into the DevOps pipeline in a way that is seamless and unobtrusive.

Accomplishing this requires an understanding of Docker container technology and the adoption of processes and tools tailored for these environments. In a recent webcast, Qualys Director of Product Management Hari Srinivasan, an expert on cloud and container security, outlined container security risks, use cases, and best practices.

Read on to learn about Srinivasan’s recommendations for gaining visibility into container assets, doing vulnerability analysis, and detecting drifting runtimes across your DevOps pipeline.

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