12 tools that enable DevSecOps for cloud-native applications


DevSecOps represents a shift in software development towards a culture where responsibility for security rests with everyone in the software development lifecycle. When it comes to the cloud-native world, DevSecOps means using the right tools to secure your images, pods, clusters, and artifacts at every stage of the Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI / CD) pipeline.

Right now, most DevOps teams see security as a bottleneck in getting software to market. As a result, they often overlook serious security vulnerabilities in products or cannot fully secure the production environment, making them vulnerable. By implementing inspections, scans, and code reviews at every stage of the CI / CD pipeline, organizations can protect themselves from major security failures.

A common practice is to rely on the tools and features built into a cloud service provider (CSP) platform for monitoring and security. However, as companies increasingly adopt hybrid and multi-cloud strategies, the lack of a common or centralized set of tools can lead to inconsistent implementation of security policies across platforms and environments. DevSecOps teams are now turning to vendor-independent, cloud-native tools to fill the gaps in their security strategy and implement a more unified strategy across the enterprise infrastructure.

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) landscape consolidates some of the best cloud-native tools and platforms in the industry that can be used to implement DevSecOps. For tools that address an organization’s security concerns, see Security and Compliance, Key Management, and Observability and Analytics. Graduated and incubating projects are tools and frameworks that have passed a certain level of exams and implemented CNCF standards. Read on to learn more about the best open source, cloud-native DevSecOps security tools that have graduated or are in incubation status in the CNCF landscape.

Security and Compliance

1. The update framework (TUF)

TUF was the first safety project to achieve graduate status at CNCF. It is a software framework that helps developers secure systems that automatically download and install software updates. It ensures the security of software repositories through a set of roles and keys that maintain security even if certain keys and servers are compromised. It provides a framework for developers to limit the effects of violations and recover from a violation. TUF’s flexibility allows developers to incorporate it into any software update system. As automated containerized update systems become more ubiquitous, TUF is becoming an essential security tool for businesses.

2. Open Policy Agent (OPA)

OPA is another tiered project under CNCF that centralizes security and compliance across CI / CD pipelines, API gateways, Kubernetes and data protection. OPA is a policy engine that unifies and automates your policy toolset and framework across your entire cloud-native stack. It decouples policies from an application’s other responsibilities so that you can share and review policies without impacting performance or availability.

3. The Falco project

The Falco Project, or simply Falco, is a cloud-native runtime security tool that focuses on threat detection in Kubernetes. Falco is the first incubation-level runtime security project to join CNCF and can be integrated with most major cloud platforms. Falco monitors the runtime environment for suspicious container behavior and malicious activity. It can instantly identify CVE vulnerabilities in your cloud environment and generate alerts in the event of security policy violations.

4. The notary project

Notary is a platform that creates trust in digital content by using strong cryptographic signatures. In addition to verifying the origin and author of digital content, the notary also ensures that the content cannot be changed unless the author approves and “signs” all changes. This level of trust can then be incorporated into policy implementation, where organizations can require that only highly trusted, signed content be served at runtime. This is a seamless means of ensuring security throughout the CI / CD workflow.

Key management

5. SPIFFE and 6. SPIRE

SPIFFE and SPIRE are both open source CNCF incubation projects that provide companies with a standard and toolset for building trust between software services. You can do this without having to use network-based security controls or secrets. SPIFFE is a “universal identity control plane” that uses platform-independent, cryptographic identities to securely authenticate software services across platforms and databases. SPIRE implements the SPIFFE standards and specifications in heterogeneous environments. Together, they provide robust key management services for your cloud-native workflows.

Observability and Analysis: Monitoring

7. Prometheus

Prometheus is a free and open source CNCF graduation project that offers event monitoring and alerting. It collects and stores real-time metrics and then generates alerts about the health, performance, and behavior of a system. You can then act on the insights provided by Prometheus to resolve security incidents and inefficient systems to drive end-to-end agility and security in your CI / CD pipeline.

8. Cortex

Cortex builds on Prometheus and adds horizontal scalability and cloud-native storage capabilities. To be more specific, Cortex can run on multiple computers in a cluster and store metric data virtually indefinitely.

9. Thanos

Thanos is a CNCF incubation project that is quite similar to Cortex in that it expands Prometheus’ capabilities by offering high availability and “unlimited” long-term storage.

Observability and Analysis: Logging

10. Fluent

Fluentd is an open source data collection project that creates a unified logging layer for your cloud stack. Fluentd collects, filters, buffers, and outputs logs across multiple sources and destinations. It’s lightweight and can only take 30-40MB to run and handle up to 13,000 events / second / core. In addition, a library of plugins gives developers the flexibility to extend Fluentd’s functionality to suit their needs.

Observability and Analysis: Tracing

11. Hunter

The CNCF graduate project Jaeger is an open source end-to-end distributed tracing system for your microservices architecture. It monitors and resolves transactions between distributed services that are part of your cloud-native DevSecOps workflow. Additional services offered by Jaeger include performance and latency optimization, root cause analysis, service dependency analysis and distributed context dissemination.

12. Open Telemetry

OpenTelemetry is an open source CNCF incubation project that provides developers with an observability framework. It includes a collection of tools, APIs, and software development kits (SDKs) to collect telemetry data from cloud-native applications. OpenTelemetry can be used to instrument, collect, generate, and export metrics, traces, and logs to monitor the health, behavior, and performance of your cloud-native software.

One of the core principles of DevSecOps is to move security to the left – and this “move left” approach means that team members are actively involved in monitoring and implementing security from the start of development. While the above tools and frameworks contribute to a culture of safe DevOps, they are not the be-all and end-all of a successful DevSecOps implementation. Developers still need training to incorporate these tools into their workflows and to be incorporated into the new approach. In addition, security best practices must be built into the corporate culture to ensure that these tools are implemented and used appropriately and effectively. The tools you choose also contribute to how seamless the transition is. So make sure you choose tools that are easier to incorporate into your CI / CD pipelines.

Featured image: Piqsels

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