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Even before a commit gets to GitHub, the CLI identifies secrets within the code and prevents the commit.

"We want to make sure that none of our secrets get committed and GitGuardian is doing a great job identifying them. It actually creates an incident ticket for us. We can now go end-to-end after a secret has been identified, to track down who owns the repository and who is responsible for cleaning it up."


Lead Security Engineer

Tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees

Software vendor currently using GitGuardian Public Monitoring


Lead Security Engineer

Tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees

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What is most valuable?

Key quote

What’s next

What is our primary use case?

We are using GitGuardian Internal Monitoring on our GitHub Enterprise repositories to make sure that our developers are not introducing any secrets into the code. Those secrets could be things like database passwords, connection strings, or AWS credentials. We use it when they commit code to our GitHub internal repositories.

How has it helped my organization?

We want to make sure that none of our secrets get committed and GitGuardian is doing a great job identifying them. It has the ability to scan our repositories and identify older commits that have secrets, meaning in code that was committed even four or five years ago, and that has gone unnoticed until we implemented GitGuardian.

Most of our dev teams have a GitGuardian CLI installed on their local machines. Even before a commit gets to GitHub, the CLI identifies secrets within the code and doesn't allow the commit to go ahead. That drastically reduced the number of secrets being committed.

We use Azure DevOps for our CICD and GitGuardian helps support a shift-left strategy. There is all the pipeline-related code that is checked into the repositories and secrets tend to creep into that code, such as RAML files and environment secrets. GitGuardian helps us identify those secrets when they are committed. Not all our dev teams are using GitGuardian's CLI—we are trying to get them to adopt it 100 percent, but we're not there yet—and there are occasions where someone is testing out a pipeline and, by mistake, they don't declare the secrets properly in the code that is being checked into Azure. We get notified and, immediately, the teams work to remove those secrets.

Historically, in our organization, people have been committing AWS secrets, such as access IDs and secret code into our GitHub repositories, because they were testing out something. It could be that they were doing a PoC, and not implementing a full-blown secrets manager where they store and pull the secrets from. After implementing GitGuardian, we were notified of these secrets immediately. And even though they were doing PoCs, we were able to get them revoked immediately, which means removing the secrets from AWS as well as the code and issuing new secrets.

We were also able to help the teams to use AWS Secrets Manager or the Vault to store their secrets. GitGuardian actually provides sample code snippets, which are pretty decent, for pulling secrets from AWS Secrets Manager or Vault.

In addition, the solution has increased our secrets detection rate by almost 100 percent. Pretty much any secret that gets committed is identified and the team is notified. We have almost 100 percent coverage and that is pretty robust.

When it comes to our security team's productivity, because our processes are being monitored by GitGuardian, we don't have to run any scripts or scans or out-of-the-box solutions. We don't worry about secrets being leaked or introduced into our repositories. We rely on the product to keep us aware of our secrets management in our repositories and that enables our security team to focus on other security-related tasks. They don't have to spend a lot of time worrying about how to detect issues and, instead, depend on GitGuardian. They have confidence in the ability of the product to identify the types of secrets that our people are committing. They are definitely being flagged.

Now, we may be spending a couple of hours and a week addressing incidents that come up or addressing the old ones that are still being tracked for remediation. We had around 500 secrets management incidents when we fully implemented GitGuardian. We are now down to 20 or 30, which are old but still need remediation. Those old secrets have been revoked, but they are still sitting in our GitHub history. We need to reach out to GitHub support to get those taken out, replace those repositories, and run garbage collection on them.

And because identification of the secrets being introduced is almost instant, the pull request doesn't go through, and Slack alerts are immediately sent out. As a result, the mean time to remediation is within a day, if not even sooner. These secrets are mainly dummy secrets that people are using for testing code. But we don't want even those to be introduced. The idea is to have teams use secrets management services like AWS Secrets Manager or Vault from the get-go. We are close to 90 percent utilization of AWS Secrets Manager or Vault to store secrets because of GitGuardian Internal Monitoring.

What is most valuable?

We mainly depend on its ability to identify secrets and we also use the entire workflow of secrets management. That means we're able not only to identify secrets, but we can reach out to the owners of those repositories by opening up an incident ticket within GitGuardian. It actually creates an incident ticket for us. We can now go end-to-end after a secret has been identified, to track down who owns the repository and who is responsible for cleaning it up. We can also monitor what actions they are taking, such as revoking the secrets and ultimately closing out an incident, making sure that commit no longer has any secrets.

We tested out the secret identification using thousands of samples and some of them were purely false positives. GitGuardian was able to identify 85 to 90 percent of the false positives. We are fairly confident when we see a secret reported. Of course, we always verify them before we chase down teams to fix them.

We have defined our teams and their members so the teams are typically associated with the repositories on GitHub. Whenever a secret is identified, those team members are immediately notified by GitGuardian via an email and a Slack message, thanks to integration with Slack. In addition, the application security team also gets the information in the Slack message and we can keep track of the remediation efforts.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see more fine-grained access controls when tickets are assigned for incidents. I would like the ability to provide more controls to the team leads or the product managers so that they can drive what we, the AppSec team, are doing. They should have the ability to close out tickets and we would review them. 

Right now, we cannot give them that control because if they close out a ticket, we won't have the visibility into them unless we build something with the APIs that GitGuardian provides. 

The UI has matured quite a bit since we started using it, and they have introduced new features, such as the teams feature. That was introduced three or four months ago. We put in the requests for such features. There are a few more requests that we think would make the product even better, and one of them is that fine-grained access control so that we have additional roles we can assign to other teams. That would help things to be more of a self-service model.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using GitGuardian Internal Monitoring for almost two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Very rarely does GitGuardian go down or the monitoring fail or we have issues with the APIs. It's available 95 percent of the time. There have been a few times when we were notified that the service would be down because of maintenance. Like with any product, there are maintenance windows, which are not a problem. But I don't recall more than one or two instances of the internal monitoring not being available when we expected it to be.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have a lot of repositories and we have not had a problem with GitGuardian monitoring all of them and doing what it is supposed to do. Deploying it at scale is pretty much seamless. You don't have to do anything special once you have onboarded it. GitGuardian has the ability to scan all the repositories in your GitHub Enterprise account, if that is what you choose to do. 

There are no performance issues. We have around 800 or 900 active repositories and 400 that are archived. We have quite a big code base to cover but there are no additional tasks needed to scale it as your number of repositories increases.

How are customer service and support?

We have contacted their support about a few enhancements. In addition, we came across a couple of UI bugs where the stylesheet didn't render properly and the information we were looking for was overlapped by some other UI elements. But they were very quick fixes. 

We also had some rate-limiting issues with the APIs and they were fixed early on in our engagement.

They are very responsive and have a fairly quick turnaround time. We have developed quite a good rapport, not only with the customer support team but with their support engineers as well. 

Initially, we had calls once a month and now we have calls about once a quarter. They get on a call with us to find out if we have any pain points or new feature requests.

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

How was the initial setup?

To start using GitGuardian there is some groundwork that needs to be done. You start off with a few repositories and do a trial to get an understanding of how the UI works. You have to give permissions to GitGuardian to access your internal depositories and then organize the repositories around team structure. Those are the housekeeping tasks that need to be done to onboard with GitGuardian.

Initially, to get the program up and running, we relied on GigGuardian's playbooks quite a bit, and we do refer to them whenever the need arises. When you're starting off with GitGuardian and secrets management, GitGuardian lays out the basics of why it is a bad idea to have your secrets committed to internal or external repositories and the dangers associated with that practice. They outline baby steps to start taking control of secrets being committed. 

They also give you good guidelines on how to use ggshield, which is their CLI product, as well as the web UI, and how to organize your teams and repositories around GitGuardian. 

For AppSec teams, playbooks give you the ability to control what the repository owners are capable of through permissions. For example, you don't want all team members to have permission to repress incidents that are identified. We'd rather have them as collaborators or viewers. They can view the incident and fix it, while the AppSec team can actually suppress the incident and use the functionalities of the management console within GitGuardian. All these features are part of its playbooks. They're a good resource.

The playbooks helped us to understand how the product works and what we needed. They helped my team to implement GitGuardian in the most effective manner, such as how to use the product better to manage workflows.

In terms of maintenance of GitGuardian, there is none required on our side.

What about the implementation team?

What was our ROI?

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

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at a few other solutions before we started to work with GitGuardian and what we found was that it provides the best solution for secrets management. We have a few other products that we use within our systems, products that also provide secrets management, but they don't come anywhere close to GitGuardian's ability to detect secrets, track them, and ultimately, get rid of them. GitGuardian is the leader in this space. Many times, what we identify in GitGuardian is not identified by those products.

What other advice do I have?

I would tell a security colleague, using an open-source secrets detection solution at another company, to take a good look at GitGuardian. It definitely helps not only manage secrets but also the entire workflow around secrets management, from detection to remediation. It helps put best practices in place. It would save them quite a bit of time, rather than using an open-source solution. Open source is okay for some features, but you don't have all the tools you need for full-blown secrets management in the organization. That's what you get when you use GitGuardian.

Secrets detection is as important, if not more important, to a security program as having a firewall and a vulnerability management program. Your secrets are the easiest way for bad actors to access your environment, without doing any work at all. You need to lock down what type of information is being committed to both your open-source and internal repositories to ensure that no secrets are being committed. And if you have any secrets that were committed in the past, you need to identify them and make sure they are removed and, if possible, reach out to the organization, like GitHub, and work with their support teams to clean up the history as much as possible. Secrets committed in your repositories are keys to your organization's infrastructure.

We have been retraining our teams to not commit even false or dummy secrets into the repository. It's fine for them to do a test but we don't want to have to deal with false positives. Getting distracted by even 10 percent of false positives is not fun. Rebasing the commits is a pain. That retraining, to not use even dummy secrets, has worked for us to reduce the number of secrets being committed.

In addition, we had a number of brown bag sessions with our dev teams over the course of several months, where we would demo what secrets we found on GitHub repositories and how GitGuardian is helping us identify them. The idea was to make them more aware that this tool is monitoring all the repositories and every commit is being scanned. But the goal was to ensure that secrets don't even get to the point of being committed. And when someone mistakenly commits a secret, they immediately inform us. Dev teams are now trained not to do it, but if something happens by mistake, they are immediately on top of it to revoke it themselves and inform us. We have everything recorded on GitGuardian, but proactive action is being taken.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?