Infrastructure as Code (IaC) can create infinite possibilities for government agencies by automating infrastructure provisioning and configuration management, giving developers more time to focus on highly skilled tasks. But IaC can also present security challenges if it’s not deployed properly. In fact, analyst firm Gartner found that more than “70 percent of security vulnerabilities exist at the application layer, not the network layer”. Using tools like Keeping Infrastructure as Code Secure (KICS) help agencies ensure their IaC is secure before it is deployed.
KICS is an open source solution that developers use to automatically scan IaC to find potential security vulnerabilities, compliance issues, and infrastructure misconfigurations. This simplifies the security process exponentially by allowing a single developer to write, vet, and install the appropriate security guidelines for the IaC files before it goes public.
In an interview with GovDevSecOpsHub, Ben Stokes, Checkmarx’s Director of Professional Services for North America, explained the benefits of using KICS to secure an agency’s IaC files.
“KICS works by testing the source code, making it quick and easy, and allowing users to get started early in the process,” Stokes said. “Unlike the server scanning built into cloud platforms, users do not need their whole system up and running to do a scan. Users can start scanning their source code for vulnerabilities before they deploy the infrastructure.”
KICS conducts automatic IaC code review at scale throughout the build process – without slowing down the software delivery pipeline. This enables developers to periodically review the Application Programming Interface (API) and make the necessary adjustments to ensure application security.
There is also a KICS community forum where developers can share best practices and discuss common security concerns with other thought leaders. By sharing their insights, developers will have the key insider knowledge they need to reduce vulnerabilities and better secure their IaC files.
“Organizational leaders need to understand that if they want infrastructure as code, they will need to invest in tools and empower and train their developers to use those tools,” said Stokes. “Agencies that are deliberate, and put in the extra work, will be rewarded with a hardened IaC asset … [that] can deploy multiple instances of the desired infrastructure very quickly and securely.”
IaC can be difficult and complicated to develop. Solutions like KICS simplify the process by equipping developers with the tools and knowledge they need to secure their IaC programs. Once deployed, these IaC programs can enable agencies to provide better services and automate tasks that save time and money.
Learn more about securing your IaC with the KICS open-source solution here.