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Secrets Risk Mitigation for Security Teams: Part One

May 03, 2023
Janey Annis Avatar
Janey Annis
Secrets Risk Mitigation for Security Teams: Part One
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Secrets Risk Mitigation for Security Teams: Part One

We’re partnering with GitGuardian on how you can automate risk mitigation to maintain a strong security posture in part one of this two-part series.

GitGuardian is a code security platform that enables DevOps teams to monitor repositories for hardcoded secrets and manage their remediation.


Security threats are a common, everyday occurrence, and it’s no wonder why. To a certain extent, every company is a software company—especially if they want to keep up with the demands of the modern world. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) may use point of sale automations to help customers move quickly, while startups may use open source software, generative AI, and integrations to automate code reviews and accelerate growth using minimal resources.

With advances in tools and methodologies for software development, DevOps has transformed how developers work, enabling unparalleled autonomy and agility for developers. New paradigms such as cloud services, microservices, continuous integration and deployment, as well as open source innovation, have accelerated productivity in IT to new heights. But with so many new options and a more collaborative approach to software development, there’s also more internal information and infrastructure to secure. In particular, security teams and developers have had to:

  • Remember what secrets are created and where they’re used,
  • Create the manual processes to manage secrets like key rotation, and
  • Maintain a secure codebase throughout the development lifecycle.

Security is too often an afterthought, and overshadowed by the desire for speed, which can result in significant security vulnerabilities. As cybersecurity threats become more sophisticated, it’s crucial for organizations to have a comprehensive security strategy to minimize their risk in exposing sensitive information. To prioritize this, an important part of a security strategy is to have a plan for secrets detection and management.

In this partner post, we’ll discuss the benefits of using Doppler and GitGuardian to automate your organization’s secrets management, and how they can help mitigate risks for security teams.

Prioritizing your organization’s secrets strategy

Along with keeping up with their broader workload, security teams and developers have had to manage the influx and maintenance of env files and secrets. They may have created internal, proprietary scripts—out of necessity—to identify keys, control access, or rotate secrets. Typically these don’t scale as an organization grows, and what if the developer who maintains the code leaves? Unencrypted secrets can end up on developer machines, and secrets managers that focus on storing keys can only do so much.

Just in 2022, 10 million new secrets were exposed on GitHub; though this may not be a surprise to you. With a growing number of connections and access between systems and services, it’s inevitable that a manual process alone cannot keep an organization secure.

When security breaches occur, they are often the result of a vulnerability in the organization’s secrets management system. Many CISOs, CSOs, and security leaders don’t know where their secrets are, even though secrets have been involved in most of the security incidents in 2022.

A good secrets strategy should include:

  • Access controls with granular options to restrict secrets by permissions or roles
  • Processes and services used to ensure proper secrets detection and management
  • Security measures in place for if and when secrets are leaked
  • Plans for:
    - Logging access and any activity involving secrets
    - Detecting and protecting against threats trying to extract information
    - Audits and risk assessments
    - Proactive and automated rotation for critical secrets

Tip! Test your team’s secrets management maturity with GitGuardian’s self-assessment tool.

Prioritizing a secrets strategy is crucial to protecting your organization against malicious attacks from bad actors that can compromise sensitive data.

The importance of secrets management and detection

Secrets can spread like wildfire if they’re not quickly and efficiently managed from the moment they’re introduced to your tech stack. Product, engineering, and development teams are most at risk because of the organizational secrets used for integrations with GitHub, Jira, and other popular collaboration tools. The best approach to get ahead of secrets being leaked is to prevent it from happening in the first place by using secrets detection and orchestration.

Secrets management with Doppler

Doppler is a SecretOps platform allowing you to centralize and manage your secrets, so your teams can collaboratively orchestrate their secrets securely, throughout any environment. Maintaining secrets using Doppler also mitigates the risk of a data breach with fully automated rotation of API keys and database credentials. 

Doppler even uses advanced encryption protocols to secure your secrets in transit and at rest. Using AES-256-GCM encryption ensures that only authorized parties can access your secrets, while tokenization ensures our internet-exposed infrastructure never has access to encryption keys or ciphertext.

This centralized approach simplifies secrets management, making it easier for security teams to secure their information and maintain compliance obligations.

Secrets detection with GitGuardian

GitGuardian is a secrets detection tool that monitors your repositories in real-time and alerts teams about any leaked or exposed secrets. For example, if a developer accidentally pushes code containing a hard-coded secret to a repository, GitGuardian will block the merge/pull request and notify the security team. It will then provide guidance to the developer to review and fix the detected secrets or to communicate with the security team without leaving their own familiar environment.

By using GitGuardian, security teams can be confident that they are on top of secrets detection. They have full visibility over all the repositories in on single place, where they can easily triage and prioritize incidents and decide the appropriate steps to quickly mitigate exposure and risk.

The benefits of using Doppler and GitGuardian

With Doppler and GitGuardian, security teams have two of the most powerful tools they need to effectively manage their secrets. Doppler provides a centralized repository for storing and managing secrets, ensuring that only authorized users can access sensitive data. On the other hand, GitGuardian helps detect and prevent common mistakes that often inadvertently push secrets out of security’s visibility measures. Together, they form a solid combination for protecting secrets.

There isn’t a single fix or patch that can prevent software supply chain attacks, nor for secrets leaks and exposures in development. But by using these tools together, security teams have a comprehensive suite of solutions that not only prevents unauthorized access to secrets but also quickly detects potential threats before they become severe security incidents. Now you can have peace of mind knowing you and your team have taken proactive measures to help protect your organization from potentially devastating data breaches.

Learn more about how easy it is to automate risk mitigation. Try Doppler for free or check out GitGuardian as a failsafe.

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