Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is widely adopted by organizations to easily manage and provision their infrastructures on the cloud and automate their deployment process. It allows engineers to quickly build, provision, scale, update, or delete infrastructure resources on cloud platforms using automation tools.
With great automation, comes the potential for great risk. While infrastructure as code has brought exponential efficiency gains to development teams, it has also brought new security risks. Fortunately, with the right approach, these risks can be mitigated successfully.
Developers, who aren’t typically security experts, are under constant pressure to release new applications and updates. This focus on “shipping” new products requires them to put speed and innovation first, often at the expense of security.
Developer focus on speed combined with the automation that IaC provides creates a recipe for rapid spread of security issues. A mistake made in an IaC template ends up being propagated across all infrastructure provisioned from that template. While this provides fantastic developer efficiency, it also amplifies mistakes, including security mistakes. A single IaC template misconfiguration might be automatically applied to hundreds, or even thousands, of cloud workloads, magnifying the impact of that misconfiguration 100x or more.
Moreover, Insecure IaC templates can expand the attack surface and pave ways for critical attack vectors. Security groups, open ports, publicly accessible services, and internet wide accessible storage and databases are some of the critical things that must be monitored continuously. Continuously changing environments and the use of multiple tools may lead to configuration drift and compliance violation.
Due to the risk of misconfigurations in the cloud infrastructure, it is essential to implement a way to ensure visibility and real-time feedback for developers of IaC before they build cloud environments. As an added benefit, identifying and fixing security issues early in the development cycle is faster and requires fewer resources.
With this context in mind, it is important for the security and compliance team to work hand in hand with developers to integrate Infrastructure as Code security into development and DevOps tools and day-to-day processes across distributed environments without slowing release velocity or performance. With the right cloud security platform and policy framework, all teams can better work together using the same policies at every stage of the cloud infrastructure lifecycle. It also enables all teams involved to meet their objectives and goals.
Benefits for developers:
Benefits for security teams:
Benefits for the GRC/Compliance team:
Additionally, code that violates compliance requirements can be flagged and addressed early in the infrastructure lifecycle.
Zscaler IaC scanning supports popular IaC tools including Terraform. It helps to integrate and embed IaC security directly into developer workflows within minutes. Moreover, IaC scanning can:
As you can see, it is better to automate the IaC security process by embedding IaC security in developer workflows so that security responsibility is shared between developers, security, and GRC teams. It’s a win-win scenario for the DevOps, Security, and GRC teams. It increases the speed of secure deployment and reduces misconfiguration and compliance errors while improving the organization’s overall security posture.