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    DRIVEN BY INNOVATION ®
    Secure, Accelerated Coding with GitHub Copilot
    Like this cybersecurity blog post? Join Microsoft and LAB³ cybersecurity experts as they explore the evolving impact of AI, and the new challenges facing business leaders, including threats, defences, and the cybersecurity skills gap.
    View recorded Webinar here

    Best Practices for a Game-Changing Development Tool 

     

    GitHub Copilot, developed by OpenAI and GitHub, represents a significant advancement in the realm of software development, a powerful accelerator for enhancing developer productivity. While any innovative tool introduces new dynamics to consider, particularly around security, the goal of this overview is to provide a basic overview of the functionality and benefits that GitHub Copilot brings to developers. 

    Embracing GitHub Copilot with Confidence 

    As GitHub Copilot becomes increasingly leveraged in development workflows, it is essential to ensure the adoption of this powerful assistant is met with both enthusiasm and a strategic approach to security. As with any code that is AI-generated or sourced from the internet, it is critical that you understand what the code is doing and how it aligns to the security requirements of your organisation. The adoption of GitHub Copilot must be paired a robust and conscientious security practice. 

    Best Practices for Secure Use of GitHub Copilot 

    ✔ Rigorous Code Reviews: The cornerstone of any good development workflow is a strong culture around PRs (Peer Review), this only increases when using GitHub Copilot. Developers should treat Copilot’s suggestions as they would contributions from any human collaborator—subject to thorough review and testing. 

    ✔ Secure Code Guidelines: Enable developers to have a security first mindset by defining a Secure Code Guidelines framework so as they accept code generated or suggested by Copilot they are aware of and ensure adherence. 

    ✔ Educational Initiatives for Developers: Knowledge is power when it comes to security. Educating developers about potential security pitfalls and the best practices for secure coding with AI assistance is essential. Understanding the source and nature of Copilot’s suggestions helps developers make informed decisions about integrating AI-generated code. 

    ✔ Incorporate Automated Security Tools: Utilising automated tools to scan suggested code for vulnerabilities is an effective way to enhance security. Tools such as static application security testing (SAST) and dynamic application security testing (DAST) can be integrated into the development pipelines to systematically identify and mitigate risks. Enterprises can leverage GitHub Advanced Security capabilities to embrace Secure coding practices. 

    ✔ Stay Updated: The landscape is ever evolving, and staying informed about the latest cybersecurity threats, mitigation strategies and changes to the AI landscape is crucial. Enabling developers and security staff alike to stay updated is critical when leveraging these new technologies. 

    The Positive Impact of GitHub Copilot 

    GitHub Copilot is more than just a coding tool; it can be a collaborative partner that brings the cutting-edge capabilities of AI to software development. According to GitHub, 85% of developers have reported feeling more confident in their code quality when authoring code with GitHub Copilot and GitHub Copilot Chat. This impact has led to a much higher level satisfaction of work with over 50% of developers leveraging GitHub Copilot Chat feeling less frustrated, more focused and spending less time on repetitive tasks. These impacts are only truly realised when the security posture of an organisation is adjusted to enable the secure adoption of GitHub Copilot.  

    Conclusion 

    By embracing good security practices, developers can use GitHub Copilot with confidence, knowing that they are using the world’s most widely adopted AI developer tool. The partnership between OpenAI and GitHub exemplifies the commitment to not only advancing technological innovation but also ensuring it is accessible and safe for all users. 

     

    To learn more about how the LAB³ security team leverage AI tools for cybersecurity, watch Ankul’s WEBINAR RECORDING

    Cybersecurity in the Era of AI

    (Recording from Webinar 15 May 2024)

    Join Microsoft and LAB³ cybersecurity experts as they explore the evolving impact of AI, and the new challenges facing business leaders, including threats, defences, and the cybersecurity skills gap.

    View recorded Webinar here

     

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    About this author

    Working across highly regulated fields such as federal government and finance, Ankul has been architecting and implementing cybersecurity solutions for global organisations for over 15 years.
    Ankul Bhardwaj
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