DevOps has been a critical component for the success of most businesses in the digital era. A convergence of development and operations, DevOps comprises a set of continuous practices that aim at streamlining, speeding up, and adding flexibility, scalability, and predictability in software development. It does this by creating and maintaining a stronger bond and ensuring efficient communication between the Dev and Ops teams and other stakeholders in the organization.
At its core, DevOps is based on the principles of agile development methodology. This web development approach focuses on higher customer satisfaction by shortening the development cycles for accelerated time to market.
Integrating Security into the Pipeline
It’s undeniable that DevOps has successfully solved the need for speed that businesses and organizations need to stay competitive today. However, by prioritizing deployment speed and efficiency, most enterprises tend to leave out one vital check of every software development life cycle: security.
Most IT teams are under pressure ‘from above’ to do more coding than ever before. This means that they have to shift security further right or view it as an afterthought. Although this approach increases efficiency, it results in applications with wide-open back doors that risk the clients’ data safety.
This increased need for speed and reduced focus on security could be linked to the mounting cases of cyberattacks that we’ve witnessed on small and major enterprises in the previous decade. The continued rise in hacking activities has taught developers that security should be held with the same respect accorded to agility and efficiency.
Adding security to the mix might seem to negate the ultimate goal of DevOps, which is maximizing production. But what’s the point of compromising security for the sake of speedy deployment and then spending more on lawsuits due to data breaches.
There’s a big misconception that integrating security with development and operations causes delays in software development. When securing your code, data, and application becomes a norm, the entire application development continues to run as usual and with minimal concern about your data’s safety.
So, how do you make security a part of your work environment without compromising agile development? The answer lies in DevSecOps.
DevSecOps- What is It?
DevSecOps is the philosophy of making security an integral part of the DevOps process. Like DevOps itself, DevSecOps aims at enhancing the flexible collaboration between the Development and Operation departments. However, this application deployment strategy also focuses on creating a ‘security as code’ working environment by bridging the gap between the IT and Security departments.
Unlike traditional approaches where security is treated as an add-on, DevSecOps suggests baking security protocols at all development processes.
Contrary to most people’s perception, DevSecOps shouldn’t cause a trade-off between data security and speed. With proper implementation, this security-oriented approach can maintain DevOps efficiency while going the extra mile to ensure overall safety compliance.
Why You Should Adopt DevSecOps- Benefits
There is an array of benefits that come with integrating security into a DevOps culture. These include:
- Both the organization and its clients can enjoy secure software and applications.
- Reduces vulnerabilities and threats throughout the application lifecycle.
- A DevSecOps collaborative culture spreads security tasks across all the levels. This eases security experts’ workload allowing them to understand other key processes of the development cycle.
- Creates a culture of security compliance throughout the pipeline from day one.
- Makes it possible to respond to emerging threats rapidly.
- Promotes a collaborative working environment between the IT and security departments.
- Helps create a relationship full of trust, openness, and transparency across the organization.
- It makes it easy to catch vulnerabilities in the early stages of developments for quick remediation.
- It boosts the deployment process while reducing expenses.
DevSecOps Best Practices
As the importance of integrating security into DevOps becomes clearer for most organizations, the next big question would be how to implement DevSecOps. Unlike what you may have heard out there, you don’t need ‘super developers’ to embrace DevSecOps. Your existing team will be enough once it receives training on the necessary DevSecOps methodologies and processes. Secondly, DevSecOps can’t be bought: it’s the team that makes it happen using the right tools and processes.
Here are several vital considerations that will facilitate a successful DevSecOps implementation plan:
Start with the people
Regardless of your technologies’ complexity, the human factor will always be the most crucial in your DevSecOps implementation. This component might also be the hardest to deal with because you’re trying to merge two conflicting goals- speedy delivery and secure code.
When aligning your ‘people component’ to DevSecOps, you’ll want to:
- Start by training and upskilling them.
- Cultivate a security culture among your staff as opposed to having a distinct security team.
- Identify security champions among your staff to emphasize security concerns across all areas.
Synchronize security processes into the pipeline
Before DevSecOps, the IT and security staff were 2 different teams with varying processes to tackle. DevSecOps recommends bringing all the stakeholders together and agreeing on common security processes that need to be implemented. This approach also advocates ‘shifting security to the left’ by baking it right into the earliest stages of the SDLC.
Track security like other critical processes
To make security as significant as other processes, ensure that you track all of them the same way. The market now has project tracking software that helps you trace the different application development stages. Likewise, you should ensure that you track all the security aspects throughout the various stages. Notably, you should assign the role of monitoring security to all the staff members. This goes in line with creating a security culture in the organization.
Automate and orchestrate as much as possible
Automation and orchestration are key to successful DevSecOps implementation. Note that there will be friction at first when you bring the IT and security teams together. Automating most of the processes helps decrease this friction by making it easy for the team to detect and fix security issues faster. Automation and orchestration also make security a natural part of the software development workflow instead of a new friction part in the new culture.
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