DevSecOps Terminology - a comprehensive guide

DevSecOps Terminology - a comprehensive guide

DevSecOps Terminology - A comprehensive guide to essential concepts and definitions in DevSecOps.


DevSecOps represents a cultural shift, process transformation, and technological evolution to enhance security throughout an organization's product delivery pipeline. By directly addressing the potential security weaknesses that the DevOps model may introduce, DevSecOps seeks to integrate security principles seamlessly into every stage of product development and operations.

This article dives deeper into DevSecOps and its associated terminology, laying the foundation for a more comprehensive understanding of this critical approach in today's digital landscape.

What is DevSecOps?

DevSecOps integrates security into the traditional DevOps approach, fostering continuous collaboration among software developers, operations staff, and security teams. It aims to automate and integrate security measures throughout the software lifecycle, from design to development and deployment. DevSecOps helps identify and mitigate security risks early, reduce vulnerabilities, ensure regulatory compliance, and promote a culture of shared security responsibility. The ultimate goal is to deliver secure, high-quality software quickly and efficiently without compromising user experience or functionality.

Key DevSecOps Terms

1. Attack Surface

The attack surface refers to the potential vulnerabilities within a system that an attacker can exploit. It represents the exposure that the network has to potential threats. Every network interaction point is part of the attack surface.

2. Automation

In DevSecOps, automation refers to applying technology—scripts, bots, algorithms, etc.—to execute security tasks throughout the software development life cycle. Automation increases efficiency, accuracy, and consistency while reducing human error.

3. Chain of Custody

The chain of custody pertains to the record of who possessed digital evidence at a specific time. The chain of custody must be maintained to ensure the evidence has not been altered and its authenticity can be verified.

4. CI/CD (Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery)

CI/CD is a software development practice where developers frequently integrate code changes into a shared repository. Software changes are automatically built, tested, and deployed to production. This methodology necessitates higher levels of security to reduce the possibility of disruption.

5. Code Dependencies

Code dependencies are the external libraries, frameworks, and modules your code requires. If not managed correctly, these dependencies can introduce vulnerabilities into your codebase.

6. Compliance

In DevOps and security, compliance refers to an organization's adherence to external regulations, standards, best practices, and internal company policies.

7. Configuration Drift

Configuration drift occurs when the configuration of a system changes without being tracked or approved. This drift can lead to security vulnerabilities as the organization’s scope broadens.

8. Containerization

Containerization is a method of packaging software so it can be run in isolated environments. Containers are self-contained, including all dependencies necessary to run the software, making them portable and secure.

9. Data Breach

A data breach occurs whenever there is unauthorized access to or disclosure of sensitive information. This can happen when a malicious attacker gains system access, or an authorized user mishandles data.

10. Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Data loss prevention is the practice of preventing unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information. This is accomplished through automated tools or restricted access, such as encryption of data in transit and at rest and monitoring and controlling access to data.

11. Endpoint Security

Endpoint security is securing the devices that connect to a network, including laptops, smartphones, tablets, and IoT devices. This is typically achieved through antivirus software, firewalls, and intrusion detection and prevention systems.

12. Identity and Access Management (IAM)

IAM is the practice of managing digital identities and their access to sensitive information and systems. This includes user account provisioning and de-provisioning and the management of access controls.

13. Maturity Model

A maturity model is a framework used to assess an organization's progress in adopting a particular practice or capability. In the context of DevSecOps, it measures the organization's progress in adopting DevSecOps practices and achieving DevSecOps objectives.

14. Passwordless Authentication

This user authentication method does not rely on passwords but uses biometrics, hardware tokens, or one-time passcodes (OTPs) instead. It is considered more secure, as it is independent of users to uphold security standards.

15. Penetration Testing

Also known as pen testing, this is the practice of simulating an attack on a system to identify vulnerabilities. Pen tests can be conducted manually or with automated tools to target individual systems or an entire network.

16. Perimeter Security

Perimeter security is the practice of protecting the boundaries of a network. Typically, it involves firewalls and intrusion detection and prevention systems.

17. Risk Management

In security, risk management involves identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks. This includes the identification of threats and vulnerabilities, as well as the assessment of their impact on the organization.

18. Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

SIEM is a security management approach that combines security information management (SIM) and security event management (SEM) functions. It gives organizations a real-time view of their security posture and the ability to detect, investigate, and respond to security incidents.

19. Security as Code

This practice involves treating security configurations and policies as code, which can then be managed like any other software asset. It helps ensure consistency across environments and that changes can be tracked over time.

20. Security Posture

This term refers to an organization’s overall state of security, including the effectiveness of its controls and the adequacy of its policies and procedures.

21. Shift Left

Shift Left is a DevOps principle that advocates for including security earlier in the software development process. Traditional software development often treats security as an afterthought or a final step, but DevSecOps redefines this by embedding security from the onset. This proactive approach helps organizations identify and fix security issues in real-time rather than retrospectively. This saves time and resources and can prevent potentially severe damage. "Shifting security left" can thus create a robust product, improve customer trust, and enhance the company's overall reputation.


By understanding and implementing the practices and principles of DevSecOps, organizations can ensure a secure, efficient, and effective product delivery pipeline. This guide provides a foundational understanding of the components of a successful DevSecOps strategy. Adopting DevSecOps is not just about incorporating new tools but about fostering a culture of shared responsibility for security across the organization.

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