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DevSecOps Enhances DevOps

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DevSecOps Enhances DevOps by Delivering Safer Applications with the Same Speed and Reliability

DevOps has enjoyed a decade-long dance as the darling methodology of software development. It’s a well-deserved role for a framework proven to optimize teams, improve application quality, and streamline time-to-release.

But the increasing need for automated security at every turn of the software development cycle is outstripping the native capabilities of DevOps.

DevSecOps fills the void with a safer, security-centric remix of DevOps.

And IT service providers are rushing to adopt.

In fact, DevSecOps is probably more prevalent than you think. According to Gartner, purposeful security will be embedded in 80-percent of rapid development efforts by 2021.

In order to develop a better understanding of DevSecOps, consider its variation from DevOps, how it enhances and delivers security throughout the software development cycle, and how digital service organizations are putting it to use.


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DevSecOps vs. DevOps

DevSecOps is an evolution of DevOps, a software development model in which development and IT work closely together with automation tools under the aligned objective of building, testing, and releasing software faster and more reliably.

And DevSecOps is easy to grasp if you are already familiar with DevOps. They are much the same methodology, however, security is baked into the DevSecOps model.

While DevOps is an invaluable framework for tightly coupling development and IT teams, spurring communication and collaboration, and generating better code faster, application security is not central to the equation. In DevOps, input from the security team typically occurs late in the software development cycle or after release.


DevSecOps Solidifies Security in Software Development

Sacrificing security for improved code and speed-of-delivery is not intended in DevOps, but it does happen.

The reality is many security and compliance monitoring tools simply do not keep pace with the rigors of accelerated code testing. Traditional security analysis, reporting, and remediation requires longer cycles and is charged to personnel outside of the DevOps sphere.

At best, lagging security automation is a bottleneck, preventing DevOps from achieving maximum efficiency. At worst, it exposes giant vulnerabilities that put organizations at risk of data breaches, litigation, and loss of customer trust.

DevSecOps solves these concerns by incorporating security measures into every phase of the software development cycle. The information security team takes a seat at the table alongside development and IT teams, actively informing and shaping development in real-time.


How is Security Delivered in DevSecOps?

In DevSecOps, both automation and humans take responsibility for security, resulting in a “security as code” codification when executed correctly.

Through automation, security measures are applied in discrete chunks paired with each unit of coding. This approach ensures security is delivered end-to-end, smoothly and consistently throughout the software development cycle. Tools commonly used to provide security include Identity and Access Management (IAM) modules, vulnerability scans, penetration tests, threat reports, and firewalls.

For development and IT staff, DevSecOps may require a mental shift from old ways of thinking.

Security is not seen as an impediment to progress in this methodology, but rather philosophically embraced as a development accelerator. Insecure code, regardless of its quick development or enhancing qualities, ultimately costs valuable time and money to repair.

In alignment with agile practices, iterative security testing does not slow the development process. Instead, problems are tackled as they arise.

In practical terms, a solid DevSecOps framework is accomplished using the shift-left paradigm. Here, security automation is migrated from end-phases of the software development cycle to the front as releases are planned and coded. Typical downstream security bottlenecks are reduced or eliminated entirely.

Shift-left allows security to influence design, resulting in more secure software appearing sooner in the pipeline.


Six Security Strategies IT Service Providers Use to Harness DevSecOps

The ways in which IT service providers leverage security in their DevSecOps is numerous. Every shop has its individual requirements and nuances based on factors such as industry, product, and regulatory compliance.

An organization’s DevSecOps efforts may generally coincide with these six strategies:


  1. Integrate automated security tools into the development cycle
  2. Adopt a “secure by design” model, both in ethos and execution, by leveraging shift-left practices
  3. Rely on a single source of truth for development cycle data
  4. Gain deep knowledge of the computing environment and understand the function and overall impact of each component
  5. Draft and enforce comprehensive DevSecOps roles, standards, and policies
  6. Promote a culture of communication and goal alignment between security, development, and IT teams.

Conclusion

DevSecOps strengthens the DevOps methodology by promoting the role of security to a stakeholder level on par with development and IT. Automated security tools are continuously deployed at each phase of the software development cycle. The cultural and technical adoption of DevSecOps allows organizations to quickly address security threats as they occur while mitigating the risk of development slowdowns.

The cumulative benefit is safer applications delivered with the same speed and agility organizations have come to expect from DevOps.

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Vikas Batra

CEO & CO-Founder

July, 2019

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