What is Dev Sec Ops?

Introduction – What is Dev Sec Ops?

As the world of Cybersecurity starts to become more complex and dynamic to levels never seen before, there is now paramount pressure that is placed upon the IT Security teams across Corporate America to increase their vigilance. It is not just from the standpoint of thwarting off the bad guys that are trying to break in, but it is also trying to predict what future variants could potentially look like down the horizon, so that lines of defenses can be beefed up accordingly.

But now, everybody has a stake in this proposition – all the way from the C-Suite to the administrative assistant. There was one group that has stayed relatively immune from falling under the microscopic eyes of Cybersecurity, but this is now no longer the case.

This group is the software development teams. Since folks started developing software their job has been to develop and compile the source code for the Web application that they have been tasked to create, and ship it off to the customer, under budget and on time.

Because of this, implementing security testing solutions has long been an issue which has remain largely ignored. As a result, Cyber-attackers are finding ways to covertly sneak into the backdoors that are left behind, and stay in for extended periods of time, very often going unnoticed.

Then once they feel comfortable in the environment they have infiltrated, they move in a lateral fashion, deploying malicious payloads along the way which even the traditional antivirus and antimalware packages cannot capture.

Or they could start a data exfiltration process, in which small bits of the PII (Personally Identifying Information) datasets are slowly extracted, once again going unnoticed. Because of recent attacks (most notably that of the Solar Winds hack), software developers are now feeling the heat to make sure that the source code they compile is secure in every aspect possible.

Thus, this is where the acronym “DevSecOps” is starting to come into play. It stands for “Development, Security, & Operations.” The primary goal of this is to introduce and deploy automated security mechanisms into the entire lifecycle of the software development process.

If security was ever a concern in the past, it was done at the very end, in a very haphazard fashion. One of the primary goals of DevSecOps is to introduce it at every level of development, so that each software module is thoroughly tested before moving onto the next one. Thus, the cascading effect of un-remediated vulnerabilities and gaps is greatly mitigated.

Another key strength of DevSecOps is that it integrates not only the software development teams, but also the IT Security and Operations teams as well into one cohesive unit. This brings an extra set of eyes to help make sure that the nothing in the security process gets overlooked.

In other words, the siloed approach is now fully eradicated, and it has now become a shared responsibility, which leads credence to the DevSecOps motto: “Software, Sooner, Safer.”

This allows for robust and secure code to be delivered without slowing down the software development cycle. Put another way: “DevSecOps helps enterprises to innovate securely at speed and scale.

How To Implement Security into DevSecOps

It is important to note that implementing a Cybersecurity mindset into your software development process is not something that can be deployed anywhere at any time. It must start early on, preferably even before the application project has even started.

But most importantly, this kind of thinking must be adopted by all the departments in your business. It is not just the IT Security team that has to believe in this framework, every employee must, because everybody has a key stake in keeping your business safe and secure.

But as it relates to DevSecOps, this proactive mindset must be formally acknowledged and embraced in the planning stages of the software development cycle. From there, it then transcends in a lateral fashion until the coding is all done, and the project is ready to hand off to the client. For purposes of this article, a hypothetical software development process can be represented as follows:

  1. Planning
  2. Defining the Requirements
  3. Designing & Prototyping
  4. Development
  5. Testing
  6. Deployment

The above can formally be called the “Secure Software Development Lifecycle,” or “S-SDLC” for short. Each step is reviewed as follows:

Planning

In this step, you have been assigned a project, and are in the process of assembling your software development together. This phase of the S-SDLC can be viewed as a macro one, as you are taking a holistic view of the kind of application that will be required and defining the overall objectives of what needs to get done.

But most importantly, you are acknowledging the fact that security is going to be a top issue here, and you are laying down the foundations as to how the system of checks and controls will evolve. But also, you are also figuring the roles that the Operations and IT Security team will play in the S-SDLC.

Defining the Requirements

Obviously in this phase, you are formally defining the needs and wants of the client in the project and mapping out the various software modules that will be needed to meet this objective. But also remember that this is the key stage in which you will formally address the types of security issues that you think could evolve as the development process evolves. It is particularly important that you take your time in this crucial phase, and this is one of the biggest areas in which you will need to involve the IT Security and Ops teams for their input.

This can also be referred to as the security forecasting stage. There will be issues of course that will come up of which your teams did not anticipate here. The goal here is to map out every what-if scenario that you can, so that any items of concern can be addressed quickly and efficiently. To help you in this process, there are various methodologies that are available, and the one that is most widely used is the Open Web Application Security Project, also known as “OWASP.” As its name implies, this is an open-source platform in which the public can get access to the latest Cyber threat variants that are out there, and which are also ranked according to their degree of severity.

The bottom line is that before you can move forward, all the teams must come to a common consensus of the potential vulnerabilities and threats that they need to be on the lookout for as the source code is being developed and compiled.

Design & Prototype

It at this phase that you will start to implement the security controls into the various software modules, paying attention to these top three design philosophies:

1) The Principle of Least Privilege:

This is the minimum rights, privileges, and permissions are established. In other words, end users will gain access to whatever they need to perform their daily job tasks, and nothing more than that. It is important that the source code be flexible and dynamic in this regard, as roles and titles do change among employees.

2) The Principle of Separation of Duties:

With this concept, you are never giving away total, 100% control to just any one employee. Rather, it takes a few individuals to complete one large task, in a sequential fashion, based upon the rights, permissions, and privileges that they have granted. The source code that is being developed needs to have this kind of functionality implemented.

3) The Principle of Minimizing the Attack Surface Area:

This simply means that that the source code which is being designed is clean and robust in nature, and most importantly it is not bloated in nature. For example, software developers like to use APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to keep up with the timelines that have been established in the Planning phase. But there can become an over-dependence on using more APIs than are necessary in this regard, which will make the overall application larger than what is necessary. What this translates into is that the Cyber-attacker now has a much larger attack surface to penetrate to spread their malicious payloads. But by having the source as “lean and mean” as possible, the attack surface greatly reduces in proportion.

Development

As its name implies, this is the part of the S-SDLC in which the actual source code is compiled. The actual development process does not occur in just one huge chunk, but rather, it is done at the modular level, which was pre-established back in the Planning phase. As technology is rapid advancing at a rapid pace, so are the tools which are used to create the source code. In this regard, automation has become important, not only to keep the project moving along, but also to reduce the number of errors that could occur.

Automation can replace many of the mundane and repetitive tasks that are involved, even when it comes to the security perspective. Some examples of this include the following:

  • Continuous Integration: This is where the software developers submit each iteration of the source code that they have worked on into a central server and is combined into one unit. It is not just a one-time deal, it can occur several times a day, depending upon the scope and magnitude of the development project. From here, automated builds and testing can then take place, to track down any errors and vulnerabilities that exist in a very quick manner.
  • Automated Security Testing: This is where Penetration Testing comes into play. With this, the primary objective is to find and locate any hard-to-find gaps and remediate them quickly. There are many tools out there that can do this, such as Kali Linux or GitLab.
  • Secure Code Repositories: This is especially useful for the storing of API Libraries, as reviewed earlier. Here, automated testing tools can double check that any APIs to be used in the S-SDLC are free from any bugs and are updated with the latest patches and upgrades.

Testing

To ensure the greatest level security in a software development project, each software module should be tested thoroughly tested, both from the standpoint of Penetration Testing and Threat Hunting. However, this does not each module should be tested one at a time. This would simply take too much time to accomplish. Rather, the automated tools as described in the last subsection can be used to test these modules simultaneously, or in parallel. In the world of DevSecOps, this is technically known as “shifting left,” because you are starting the testing process at the very beginning stages, rather than waiting until the end.

This is illustrated in the diagram below:

 

(Source: https://www.testim.io/blog/shift-left-testing/)

Deployment

This phase where the hand-off of the project to client actually occurs. In an ideal setting, the client should also test their new Web application for any weaknesses or backdoors that could have still been overlooked in the S-SDLC phases. But many times, they will not, because they simply assume all is good and fine. Therefore, a critical aspect of DevSecOps is to conduct one last Penetration Test before the application is released into the production environment. There really is no need to involve any Blue or Purple teams at this stage, simply the Red Team will suffice. Of course, anything out of the ordinary should be fixed on the spot.

Conclusions

Overall, this article has examined what DevSecOps is from a holistic point of view. But keep in mind, as it was reviewed before, there are three distinct groups involved, which to summarize are as follows:

The goal here is to bring in all the assets of these three groups so they work in one harmonious fashion to further enhance the overall Cyber posture of your organization. This in turn will lay the groundwork for creating the mindset security is everybody’s concern, all the way from the C-Suite down to the overnight cleaning crew.

There are many other aspects of DevSecOps, one of which is compliance control implementation. This will be examined in a future article.

Pumex Receives Award

Pumex Receives Award for One of Most Recognized Software Development Companies in Washington DC

At Pumex Computing, LLC, we provide our clients with the development solutions they need to build customized, process-driven, and end-to-end software solutions. We value our customers’ needs and prioritize the delivery of cost-effective and scalable solutions for their maximum benefit. Today, we’re happy to announce that we were recently recognized among the most reviewed developers on The Manifest!


 

For context, let’s revisit the beginning moments of Pumex Computing, LLC:
 

In 2015 

Our founders saw an opportunity to share their expertise and bring core values that the software development space was lacking. Antony Marceles, our CEO, and Christopher Scirpoli, our President, work together to fuse the mastery of their respective fields to bring better, more affordable, and scalable software solutions to our clients. Since then, we’ve always put an emphasis on strong communication and collaboration to craft high-quality products for our partners
 

In 2020 

A nonprofit organization engaged with us for a custom software development project. The purpose of our collaboration was to build a new networking portal that the client labeled as a “community connector” to improve networking efficiency during the pandemic. We developed the product using Salesforce and delivered the final build in June 2021. Upon launch, the client saw a 30% increase in user logins to utilize the new feature sets of the portal.
 

“Their involvement by leadership, consistent, thorough communications and the quality of development set Pumex apart.”
 

— Senior Director, Nonprofit Organization 

 

In 2022

The Manifest releases its newest lists of top companies, and we’re proud to be named among the most reviewed software developers in Washington DC! We would like to thank all of our partners, especially those who left their honest feedback about our work!
 

Build distinctive yet functional digital products today. Get in touch and schedule a free consultation with us today! 

 

.NET: How to scale your nonprofit dramatically with .NET development 

More and more philanthropic organizations are turning to .NET development for its ease in creating apps which can manage donor engagement campaigns, promotional activities, and other nonprofit fundraising opportunities. Many charities are taking advantage of this technology by leveraging custom .NET tools and techniques, which provide multiple hidden benefits.  

With this remarkable platform, nonprofits are streamlining traditionally manual processes regarding communications and interactions with the charity’s donor lists. And the organizations are also coordinating more efficiently between different groups of vendors, volunteer staff, and prospective donors that may or may not be involved in various fundraising efforts. 

 

Benefits of .NET development for nonprofits 

Thanks to its impressive ability to scale, the .NET platform is becoming increasingly popular for website development. If you’re a nonprofit organization looking to take your website to the next level, .NET development is a great option. Here are some of the benefits of using this extraordinary platform for your nonprofit website design: 

 

Increased Efficiency 

Organizations utilizing .NET development strategies can expect to see a tremendous increase in overall administrative efficiency. .NET provides several features and tools that make website development more economical and user-friendly, including a well-designed, object-oriented programming model and a robust set of libraries. In addition, professional .NET developers take advantage of automatic memory management and Just-In-Time (JIT) compilation, which will further improve efficiency. 

 

Improved Scalability 

Another significant advantage of the .NET platform is its improved scalability. .NET websites can be easily scaled up or down to meet the constantly evolving needs of any organization. Furthermore, .NET technology makes it easy to add new features and functions to an existing website without affecting its overall stability. 

 

Enhanced Security 

Security is always a primary concern for nonprofit organizations. The most proficient consultants construct .NET websites using numerous security features often unavailable on other platforms, including built-in encryption, authentication, and authorization capabilities. Meanwhile, their .NET developers also take advantage of bonus security features built directly into the .NET Framework, such as the Code Access Security model. 

  

Reduced Costs 

Another benefit of .NET development is its reduced start-up and maintenance costs. .NET websites can be developed using free and open-source tools, which decreases development costs and helps the project stay on budget. In addition, developers can often reuse code and components, which reduces expenses even more. 

 

Increased Flexibility 

The .Net platform also provides increased flexibility. .NET websites can be easily customized and tailored to the unique and specific requirements of any organization. Developers can also take advantage of several advanced features, such as master pages and user controls, which further improves the website’s flexibility. 

For nonprofit organizations looking to take their websites to the next level, .NET technology is perhaps the best option on the market today. This innovative platform provides any number of benefits to improve your website’s efficiency, scalability, security, and flexibility. It also gives nonprofits significant cost savings over the short- and long-term. 

  

.NET technology: 10 steps to successful nonprofit website design 

The key to making a successful nonprofit website design is different than that of their commercial counterparts. The site’s visual aesthetic and included content must promote the organization’s mission statement while encouraging visitors to participate in this world-changing work. 

Nonprofits that regularly engage in fundraising activities, like running marathons and hosting gala dinners, often have very different goals for their website than those providing direct services or campaigning for policy change. Regardless of the organization’s specific mission, these ten tips for optimal .NET development will help take the nonprofit website to the next level. 

 

1. Keep Your Site’s Purpose Top-Of-Mind

When potential donors visit a not-for-profit site, they should be able to understand quickly and easily what the organization is trying to achieve. Keep the language on the website clear, concise, and free of unnecessary jargon. Include prominently placed calls-to-action (CTAs) that encourage visitors to “take action now,” whether it’s donating money, signing up for a newsletter, or attending an event. 

 

2. Make It Easy to Donate

For many nonprofits, generating donations is a critical component of their website’s purpose. Include a prominently placed “donate” button on your site and make sure the donation process is quick, easy, and optimally secure. Our .NET developers can also create custom donation forms and integrations that make it even easier for visitors to donate. 

 

3. Use Engaging Images and Videos

People are visual creatures. Make sure the website includes plenty of engaging images and videos that encourage emotional reactions from your prospective donors. These visuals should also promote the organization’s backstory and convey the impact of their work. Our .NET developers can even change or update these images and videos with just a few clicks of the mouse. 

 

4. Optimize Your Site for Search Engines

Make sure your nonprofit website is optimized for search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. This strategy helps prospective donors locate the site online when searching for pertinent keywords related to the organization. For those nonprofits whose staff may lack expertise in Search Engine Optimization or SEO, partnering with a reputable .NET consultant with a proven track record of success will help you achieve results quickly and cost-effectively. 

 

5. Hire professional .NET developers to create a custom CRM system

A custom CRM system will help you keep track of your donors, their contact information, and donation histories. These technologies allow you to better manage your professional relationships with donors while maximizing their financial contributions. Our .NET consultants create CRM systems or integrate your website with your existing CRM system. You can then create particular types of content to target different demographics of donors. 

 

6. Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly

More and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to browse the internet—which is why it’s so important to make sure your site is mobile-friendly. .NET developers create responsive websites that look great on all devices, regardless of the varying sizes of their tiny screens. 

 

7. Keep Your Site Fresh with Regular Updates++

Your website should be a living, breathing entity that regularly updates with fresh content. This strategy will keep visitors coming back to your site, and it will also help you rank higher in the search engines. Our .Net consultants can leverage industry leading CMS solutions like DNN or Kentico to make it easy to add and update your site’s content. This content could include blog posts, news articles, photos, videos, or anything else that helps tell your organization’s story. 

 

8. Hire a professional nonprofit website design consultant 

Working with a professional nonprofit website design consultant is essential when creating a charitable website. The most reputable .Net consultants have the experience and expertise necessary to build websites that are both user-friendly and visually appealing. They will also ensure that the site is optimally secure to protect the personal information of your donors. 

 

9. Use .NET data analytics to create personalized donor profiles – and use these profiles for social selling.   

.NET data analytics allows organizations to create personalized donor profiles and use these profiles for social selling. Keep track of your donors’ interactions with your brand on social media, their interests, and their donation histories. This strategy helps you better understand each donor and which content best appeals to them. You can then use this information to create targeted content and marketing campaigns to encourage them to donate. 

 

10. Design an integrated website that tells your nonprofit’s story

Your website should be more than just a place for people to donate money. It should be an integrated platform that tells your nonprofit’s story and showcases the impact of your work. Our .NET developers will help you create a beautiful and practical website that will engage potential donors and convince them to support your cause. 

  

What professional .NET developers offer nonprofits 

 

Successful nonprofit fundraising requires a mix of strategy, creativity, and professionalism. To be maximally successful in charitable enterprises, you still need the ability to think like an entrepreneur while acting with compassion towards those who need help. Remember, there’s no limit on how much money can flow into your organization. Think Big! 

.NET development is about as close to a silver bullet for contemporary nonprofits as one can get. Partner with a reputable .Net consultant that takes great pride in helping nonprofits increase their fundraising efforts by offering the following areas of expertise. 

Comprehensive solutions: The most reputable .NET consultants build solutions, not just websites. When you partner with a professional .NET development team, you’re getting more than just a pretty website. These expert .NET developers work alongside you, step by step, to understand your goals and objectives—and then build a custom website solution that allows you to achieve them. 

Forward-thinking scalability proficiency: Nonprofits often have limited resources. It’s essential to choose a development platform that will grow and expand along with your organization. Nonprofits using .NET technology can start small and add features and functionalities as their needs change. Compared to their competitors, the .NET platform is highly scalable. 

A team of experts: The most sought-after .NET consultants are the most experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the industry. They are well-versed in standard business practices—and the ever-changing world of web development—while ensuring that your site always looks and functions at its best. 

If you’re ready to take your charity’s website to the next level, professional nonprofit website design services by Pumex are the way to do it. For more information on how we can help you achieve your fundraising goals through expert .NET development, contact Pumex today. 

Native and Hybrid Apps

Pumex often comes across clients who wish to leverage a mobile experience for their applications. Where the end user can download an app from their phones respective application store; like Google Play or the Apple App Store. These clients have two options at their disposal – a native application, or a hybrid application – both of which have their own set of pros and cons. Native applications are applications that are built specifically for use on a singular platform – such as; Android, iOS, Windows Mobile, etc. Hybrid applications, on the other hand, include a web application (HTML5/JavaScript) wrapped within a native “container” that allows access to platform specific functionalities.

Native Apps

Each mobile platform (Android, iOS, Windows Mobile) provides developers with their own development tools, customized SDK’s and design guidelines. iOS – Objective-C or Swift/iOS SDK Android – Java/Android SDK The main advantage of building a native application is the faster and more reliable performance that comes as a result of developing the application within a well-defined ecosystem. It also allows the developer to leverage all the functionality that physical devices within a platform offer – like the GPS, camera, accelerometer, etc. Native applications also do not mandate an internet connect to be present at all times (although specific functionality within the application could require an internet connection to function properly). On the other hand, building a native app is relatively time consuming and costs more since there needs to be separate development efforts to build the app for each platform you want the app to be available on. A native application is best recommended when developing applications that are performance and graphics heavy (games), or in the fairly unique situation where there is a need for heavy use of the phones native capabilities and the absolute highest level of performance is required, irrespective of the cost of development.

Hybrid Apps

Hybrid apps can be visualized as “web apps” that are built using common front-end languages like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript, and targets a WebView (rather than a mobile browser) that is hosted within a native container. The most common hybrid application development framework is Apache Cordova, that enables applications to execute across different platforms by relying on standards-compliant API bindings that provides access to the different native device capabilities such as, camera, GPS, accessibility, etc. Developers can also access plugins (both core and third-party) that allows Cordova and the devices native components to communicate with each other, while even providing additional bindings that are not available across every platforms. The main advantage with taking a hybrid approach to mobile application development is the reduced development effort needed since you can reuse one code base of the application across the different platforms. This reduced development effort, combined with the relative ease of hiring individuals with web development skills, results in cheaper origination costs as compared to a native application that must be built across multiple platforms. Pumex Computing has extensive experience helping clients build both native and hybrid applications across a number of domains for both internal and external use. While deciding on developing a mobile application is the easy part, determining whether to build a native or hybrid application is a much harder task. Our elite team of analysts and developers never forces a client to choose either a native or hybrid application, but we rather encourage our clients to answer the below questions:

• What functionality do you intend to include as part of the application?
• What is the timeframe for developing the application?
• What is the budget allocated for developing the application?

Answering these questions helps our clients work hand-in-hand with Pumex to determine whether to move towards a native or hybrid platform and get their mobile concept developed, packaged, and ready for marketing.