Securing Software Deployments: Understanding Your Attack Surface
What Is Software Deployment?
Software deployment refers to the process of installing, updating, or removing software on a computer or server. It typically involves transferring the software from a central location, such as a network share or an online repository, to the target computer and configuring it to run properly on that system.
Software deployment can be a complex process, particularly in large organizations where there may be many servers to update, and where the software must be tested and validated before it is deployed. To manage this process, organizations may use tools and strategies such as automation, version control, testing, and rollback procedures to ensure that software is deployed smoothly and without interrupting business operations.
What Is an Attack Surface?
An attack surface consists of all possible attack vectors that an unauthorized entity can exploit to launch a cyberattack. Cybercriminals look for weak points in an attack surface to launch various attacks. They often attempt to gain unauthorized access to a system and exfiltrate data.
Organizations must constantly monitor their attack surface to quickly find and respond to potential threats. However, as organizations embrace new technologies to modernize their business processes, they increase their attack surface. Since it is easier to protect a small attack surface, organizations should strive to minimize it to reduce the risk of a successful cyberattack.
3 Ways to Reduce the Attack Surface of Your Deployments
1. Integrate Security into the Entire Software Supply Chain
Making security a part of all phases of the software supply chain can help to secure software deployments in several ways:
- Secure coding practices: By integrating security into the software development process, organizations can ensure that their code is developed with security in mind. This can help to prevent vulnerabilities from being introduced into the codebase, which can be exploited by attackers.
- Security testing: Testing the security of software during the development process can help to identify and fix vulnerabilities before the software is deployed. This can be done through techniques such as security testing, penetration testing, and vulnerability assessments.
- Secure deployment: By implementing secure practices during the deployment process, organizations can ensure that their software is deployed securely. This can include measures such as the secure transmission of software packages, secure configuration of systems and devices, and secure authentication and authorization procedures.
- Secure updates: Ongoing maintenance and updates to software can also be made more secure by incorporating security into the process. This can include measures such as secure patch management and secure change management processes.
2. Use GitOps Practices
GitOps is a set of practices for developing and deploying software using Git as the source of truth for the desired state of the system. GitOps practices are designed to help organizations improve the security and reliability of their software and to streamline the software development and deployment process.
There are several ways in which GitOps practices can help to secure software deployments:
- Version control: Git provides a version control system that allows organizations to track changes to their codebase, making it easier to identify and fix problems or vulnerabilities.
- Collaboration: Git allows multiple developers to collaborate on a codebase, making it easier to review and verify changes before they are deployed. This can help to reduce the risk of vulnerabilities being introduced into the codebase.
- Automation: GitOps practices encourage the use of automation tools, such as CI/CD pipelines, to automate the build, test, and deployment process. This can help to reduce the risk of errors and vulnerabilities being introduced during the deployment process and improve the speed and efficiency of software updates.
- Secure deployment: GitOps practices encourage the use of secure deployment practices, such as the secure transmission of software packages, secure configuration of systems and devices, and secure authentication and authorization procedures.
Overall, GitOps practices can help organizations to build and deploy more secure software, reduce the risk of attacks and breaches, and improve the reliability and efficiency of their software development and deployment processes.
3. Avoid Security Misconfigurations
Paying close attention to security-related settings during the software deployment process can help to secure software deployments in several ways:
- Secure configuration: Ensuring that all security-related settings are properly configured can help to prevent unauthorized access to systems and data, and reduce the risk of attacks and breaches. This can include setting strong passwords, enabling security protocols and encryption, and configuring access controls.
- Secure transmission: Paying close attention to security-related settings during the transmission of software packages can help to prevent unauthorized access to the packages, and reduce the risk of attacks and breaches. This can include using secure protocols and encryption to protect the packages during transmission.
- Secure authentication and authorization: Ensuring that secure authentication and authorization practices are in place can help to prevent unauthorized access to systems and data, and reduce the risk of attacks and breaches. This can include implementing two-factor authentication and using secure authentication protocols.
In conclusion, securing software deployments is an important task for organizations of all sizes. One of the key considerations in securing software deployments is understanding the attack surface or the total number of potential vulnerabilities or weaknesses in a system that can be exploited by an attacker. By reducing the attack surface, organizations can make their systems and data more secure and less vulnerable to attacks.