Just In Time (JIT) Training

Long live traditional security training models where a Developer has to schedule training, go sit in a classroom or take an on-demand course for a day or two, learn whole bunch of topics that may or may not be pertinent to that they do when they get back in to the office. As DevSecOps becomes main stream and teams adopt Continuous Delivery practices, it becomes imperative that Security Training is delivered to the Developer in byte sized modules right when they need it and in the tools they use to develop software!

Security Training for DevOps Developers

In order for the JIT security training to be effective for the Developer, I believe it has to meet the following criteria:

  1. Training module must be very focused and should not take more than 5 minutes to complete.
  2. Training must be interactive and offer opportunity for Developers to type in code
  3. Gamify training by offering points, badges etc. based on number of training modules completed, scores in tests and quizzes etc.
  4. Training needs to be accessible from the tool the Developer is coding in, for e.g., IDEs such as Eclipese, IntelliJ
  5. Training must be linked from a vulnerability reported by security testing tool making it easy for the Developer to find pertinent training module to fix the vulnerability

Products offering Security Training

Online learning platforms such as Pluralsight, Udemy, Lynda etc. are a big leap from where we were just a few years ago offering vast variety of training courses at affordable prices! But, these learning platforms are not optimized for DevOps Developer and they do not meet the criteria mentioned above. However, there are security vendors in this space that are offering on-demand training that seems to be much more aligned with DevOps and meet the criteria mentioned above.

Some of the vendors I looked at and that seem to have robust offering are listed below. Please do not take this as product endorsement, but some references for you to get started if you are interested in products in this space.

  1. Codebashing from Checkmarx
  2. eLearning from Veracode
  3. Secure Code Warrior

The products from Checkmarx and Veracode integrate their training modules with their SAST offerings and provide links to specific training modules with in the description of the vulnerability identified by their SAST tool. This makes it very effective for the Developer to get up to speed on the vulnerability and the fix they have to implement to re-mediate the vulnerability.

Free Learning Resources!

While commercial products are good for a large enterprise, the best Security learning I ever got is all free! Just in the past few years, you can find a plethora of security focused webinars offered by Security Vendors and Security Experts out there.

On a personal note, just a few years ago, in order to maintain my CISSP credential and meet the required CPE credits, I had to look for conferences or multiple day trainings offered by vendors. But, these days, I make it a point every week to listen to an hour of security focused webinars offered for free! There is no better way to keep up with CPE requirement and continuously learn about the happenings in the Security space. The resources out there are extensive, but some of the ones I go to the most are:

  1. AWS Security
  2. ISC2 Resources
  3. BrightTALK

Whether you are considering buying commercial products or taking advantage of free resources out there, I feel organizations have to focus on training the Developers and provide them opportunities to quickly learn and implement security in their code, while they are developing software and within the tools they are using for developing software!

Happy Learning!

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Author: appsecfordevs

I am an Application Security professional helping organizations secure their Applications, and Data from internal and external threats. I have expertise in Application Architecture & Development, providing me the insights in to developing controls to defend applications against security vulnerabilities. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions and do not reflect those of my current or former employers and clients!

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