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"We feel safe because we don't have valid credentials sitting in our code repositories"

"The secrets detection and alerting is the most important feature. We get alerted almost immediately after someone commits a secret. It has been very accurate, allowing us to jump on it right away, then figure out if we have something substantial that has been leaked or whether it is something that we don't have to worry about. This general main feature of the app is great."

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Jon-Erik Schneiderhan

Senior Site Reliability Engineer at a computer software company with 501-1,000 employees

Software vendor currently using GitGuardian Public Monitoring

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Jon-Erik Schneiderhan

Senior Site Reliability Engineer at a computer software company with 501-1,000 employees

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Challenges

Solution

Results

What is most valuable?

Key quote

What’s next

What is our primary use case?

We procured it as a secrets and code detection solution. We have code bases, some of which are 10-years-old. We needed a way to comb through all of the Git histories to see if any developers had committed secrets to our code in the past as well as catch any new secrets that developers may accidentally commit in the future.

We are using GitGuardian Internal Monitoring.

How has it helped my organization?

Without GitGuardian, we wouldn't be doing real-time detection of secrets. It would be something that we did periodically. Maybe quarterly or semi-annually, we would review our code for secrets. This means that the mean time to detection would be much longer.

GitGuardian reduces our mean time to detect substantially. 

In addition, we would be finding out about secrets much further away from the time that they were introduced into the code base. We would be chasing people down to give us information about things that they did weeks or months ago. This would drastically reduce the effectiveness of us being able to triage and remediate the leaked secrets.

We don't have to do a periodic review to see if there are any secrets in our code bases. I would estimate, if we were to do that on a quarterly basis, we would be spending an entire week per quarter on it that we don't have to spend now. Therefore, it saves us a week every quarter in pure effort.

If we did not have GitGuardian, our mean time to detection would be much longer. We would have a substantial amount of risk that a set of credentials or a secret was being used maliciously. Every quarter, there was a security incident that came from the risk of these credentials living in our code bases. That might be another week worth of effort that our security team would have to deal with. Since we are catching things immediately, that risk is inherent in our environment and we don't have to worry about a security incident happening. The chances are much lower. We take a week of pure effort to review secrets that went away. Then, there is a week of dealing with security incidents that come from the secrets living in our code bases.

The solution efficiently supports our shift-left strategy.

What is most valuable?

The secrets detection and alerting is the most important feature. We get alerted almost immediately after someone commits a secret. It has been very accurate, allowing us to jump on it right away, then figure out if we have something substantial that has been leaked or whether it is something that we don't have to worry about. This general main feature of the app is great.

Recently, they added a feature that checks the validity of leaked secrets. It will actually reach out and see if the secret that leaked was valid or not. I have found, over the past couple months, this to be a super useful feature. We can go through a lot of the secrets in our code base, which have been detected, and dismiss them if we know that they are invalid secrets that can't be used anyway. This saves us a bunch of time, which is why this has been a really neat feature that has been useful.

I have found that I have been very satisfied with the breadth of the solution's detection capabilities. I don't think it has missed anything. The false positive rate has been very low.

Every single time something is detected, it is something that we should look at. It does a very good job of detecting things that we should look at and make a decision on. We don't waste a lot of time chasing down false positives. This means that we feel safe because we don't have valid credentials sitting in our code repositories. If any of our code was breached or any of our developer work stations were compromised or stolen, no one would be able to get valid API credentials out of the Git repositories on those workstations.

The solution helps to quickly prioritize remediation because it allows us to tell which keys are valid versus which ones are invalid. We prioritize the valid ones first. It also lets us sort by detection type, e.g., what kind of secret is it detecting. There are ones that we would obviously prioritize over others, like SSH keys or AWS credentials, versus less sensitive credentials that aren't as concerning. I think it does a great job of helping us prioritize.

GitGuardian provides a feedback form feature that we utilize heavily. When a secret is detected, our process is to generate a feedback form link in GitGuardian, then provide that to the developer. The developer will give us contextual information about the secret, then we can take action. They have also recently released a feature, which we haven't started using yet, called automated playbooks where you can set it up to automatically create that feedback form. Then, it will be emailed to the developer so they get automatically notified that they introduce a secret with a feedback form to fill out. I suspect this will improve our developer's ability to resolve the secrets faster.

What needs improvement?

Six months ago, I would have said improving the ability to automatically get feedback from a developer so we wouldn't need to take action when reaching out, but that has been addressed.

They could give a developer access to a dashboard for their team's repositories that just shows their repository secrets. I think more could be exposed to developers.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the solution for 15 months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I haven't noticed any downtime nor had any issues accessing it. So far, stability and reliability have been excellent.

GitGuardian does not require any maintenance on our side.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

So far, I haven't hit any scalability issues at all.

We have three security engineers who are actively using the service. We also have about 80 developers who are indirectly using the service through the feedback forms.

How are customer service and support?

So far, the support has been great. The only issues that we initially had were with the initial SSO integrations, and they were pretty responsive with that. I think the support has been great, though we haven't needed it much.

I would rate them as nine out of 10. They respond to me almost immediately every time that I have a question, which has been great.

I haven't experienced any delays or not had an issue solved.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

The solution has increased our secrets-detection rate. Previously, we only detected secrets when someone saw them, which was rare. Especially since a large portion of our secrets are in the Git history, not in the current state of the repository, we were only made aware of 10% of the secrets before. Now, we are probably in the 90 percentile.

How was the initial setup?

There was a ramp up period. When we set it up and linked it up, we had to review all the initial findings and process them. That took a significant amount of time.

What about the implementation team?

What was our ROI?

We just weren't doing this before we had GitGuardian. It has enabled us to do something that we weren't able to do before. If we were doing it manually, then we might have spent 200 hours doing this manually over the past year. So, we just wouldn't do it if we didn't have something like GitGuardian.

The solution has significantly reduced our mean time to remediation, by three or four months. We wouldn't know about it until we did our quarterly or semi-annual review for secrets and scan for secrets.

We have seen a return on investment. The amount of time that we would have spent manually doing this definitely outpaces the cost of GitGuardian. It is saving us about $35,000 a year, so I would say the ROI is about $20,000 a year.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

If you were to run a proof of concept with GitGuardian and see all of the things that it detects, then you would probably be very surprised. You can tell very quickly what the return on investment will be and how much risk a tool like this can mitigate.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated TruffleHog, but we liked GitGuardian better.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be to talk with them about your needs. There are different use cases between security personnel working with GitGuardian versus developer personnel working with GitGuardian.

Secrets being used to access resources is probably one of the most common ways to be involved in a high profile breach these days. If you are not detecting secrets in code, then every developer's machine is a security breach waiting to happen.

A developer in your org is going to leave their laptop at a coffee shop one of these days. If they have the code base checked out, and there are valid secrets in that code base, then it is only a matter of time before they get used to accessing resources that they are unauthorized to access. 

This is one of the higher priority things right now because developers are way more likely to commit secrets than I would have ever expected.

We haven't adopted any of the GitGuardian's shield functionalities. We just haven't taken the time to roll that out to all our developers. They have the functionality there, and it works great, but we haven't been able to prioritize the rollout on our end.

Security engineering is using the solution pretty extensively. We are not making use of a lot of the shift-left features. We would like to roll them out over the course of the coming year.

I have been super happy with it. I would rate this solution as nine out of 10. I am just leaving room for building out more features for looping in developers.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?