Application security is a journey – not a destination. And part of that journey is creating a roadmap. The OWASP Maturity Model helps organizations create their own security roadmap.
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In this article, we'll break down the OWASP Maturity Model and walk through an example of an organization using the model to improve their application security.
What is the OWASP Maturity Model?
The OWASP DevSecOps Maturity Model is a framework that provides a roadmap for organizations to adopt and integrate security into their software development lifecycle. It is designed to help organizations move from a reactive security posture to a proactive one by incorporating security practices and culture into the DevOps process.
The DevSecOps Maturity Model consists of five levels, each with its own set of objectives and practices:
- Level 1: Silos - In this level, security is considered separate from the development and operations teams. There is no collaboration or sharing of information between the teams.
- Level 2: Awareness - At this level, the organization has started recognizing the importance of security and has established basic security practices. The development and operations teams know the security requirements, but there is still no collaboration between them.
- Level 3: Integration - In this level, security is integrated into the development and operations process. The teams work together to identify and remediate security issues, and security testing is automated and integrated into the CI/CD pipeline.
- Level 4: Continuous Monitoring - At this level, the organization has established continuous monitoring and feedback mechanisms to detect and respond to security incidents. The teams work together to improve the security posture of the organization continuously.
- Level 5: Continuous Improvement - In this level, the organization has achieved a high level of maturity, and security is part of the organizational culture. The teams are constantly improving and refining their security practices, and security is considered a key performance indicator.
The OWASP DevSecOps Maturity Model is a valuable tool for organizations adopting a DevSecOps approach to their software development process.
It provides a clear roadmap for organizations, enabling them to gradually improve their security posture and become more proactive in identifying and remediating security issues.
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Here are some ways people can use the DevSecOps Maturity Model:
Internal Security Assessment
The DevSecOps Maturity Model can be used as a self-assessment tool to identify an organization's current maturity level in integrating security into the software development process. By evaluating their current practices against the model, organizations can identify gaps and prioritize areas for improvement.
Security Improvement Goal Setting
Once an organization has assessed its current level of maturity, it can set goals to move to the next level. The DevSecOps Maturity Model provides a clear roadmap for organizations, enabling them to gradually improve their security posture.
The DevSecOps Maturity Model can be used to prioritize implementing security practices in the software development process. As organizations move up the maturity levels, they can identify and prioritize implementing practices that will significantly impact their security posture.
The DevSecOps Maturity Model can be used as a communication tool to help teams understand the importance of integrating security into the software development process. It can also help to establish a common language and understanding of security practices and objectives.
Let's look at how an organization can use the OWASP Maturity Model to detect and remediate security issues earlier in the development process.
How To Use The OWASP DevSecOps Maturity Model: Example
One example of the OWASP DevSecOps Maturity Model is utilized by a software development team in a large financial institution.
The team used the DevSecOps Maturity Model as a framework to assess their current level of maturity and identify gaps in their security practices. They discovered they were at Level 2 (Awareness) and needed to move to Level 3 (Integration) to improve their security posture.
To move to Level 3, the team identified several areas that needed improvement, including
- The integration of security testing into the CI/CD pipeline
- The use of secure coding practices
- The establishment of security standards and policies
Over the next several months, the team implemented these improvements, including:
- The use of automated security testing tools
- The adoption of secure coding practices
- The establishment of a security team to monitor and respond to security incidents
The team also established a regular cadence of security reviews and training sessions for all team members.
As a result of these efforts, the team achieved Level 3 (Integration) on the DevSecOps Maturity Model. The team's security posture significantly improved, and they were able to detect and remediate security issues much earlier in the software development process.
The team also saw an increase in collaboration and communication between the development and security teams, resulting in a more proactive approach to security.
Are You Ready To Mature Your Security Model?
Evaluating your security program and working on internal improvements can be a big undertaking. Having a secure coding training partner is vital to improving your team's awareness and education regarding application security.