Moving from DevOps to DevSecOps
Moving from DevOps to DevSecOps
Transitioning your organization into a secure future with 100% agility
DevOps: The Origin
The pioneers of the DevOps concept are Andrew Clay and Patrick Debois. These two individuals came up with the said philosophy way back in 2008. Notably, they were concerned about Agile’ s drawbacks. The Agile methodology is a technique through which software developers break down a project into several stages, each involving collaboration between stakeholders. We have these two visionaries to thank for the extraordinary DevOps philosophy.
Clay and Debois wanted to mitigate Agile’s numerous shortcomings. For instance, regardless of the ongoing collaboration, developers were still left to handle most of the workload, whereas system admins did very little to help. More specifically, they both agreed that the biggest problem with agile was the time spent between the development side of the project and operations.
After an Agile conference held in Toronto, Canada, Patrick and Andrew formed a group to discuss ways of bridging this gap between Development and Operations. Hence, the DevOps idea was born. The term’s meaning can be inferred from the name itself, which is a combination of two words, namely Development and Operation. Simply put, DevOps represents the collaborative effort employed by both the Development and IT Operations team of an organization to achieve better output. It emphasizes employee cohesion in achieving better service delivery.
The Advent of DevSecOps
In many firms worldwide, the development and IT operations teams tend to bypass the security silo to avoid its complexity and the issues it can introduce. Consequently, a notion is created within the firm that the security team should oversee all the security issues that may arise after software development. This means that the security layer is not integrated with either the development or operation layers. Instead, it is added as a patch once all these processes are completed.
DevSecOps seeks to eliminate the ideology explained above. While security is a typical silo in most organizations, its thorough nature in protecting company assets tends to slow the development process. However, using DevSecOps, security can be used to achieve more benefits than costs. DevSecOps is designed to integrate the security discipline within the bounds of DevOps. Security roles are included within the product engineering team’s responsibilities and become naturally designed into the product. This allows companies to produce software and applications that update faster with minor or no security defects.
Moving from DevOps to DevSecOps: Strategies for Enhanced Security
With the advent of the cloud, security has become a significant concern for many firms worldwide. Corporations today perform all their processes on cloud-based platforms to achieve better efficiency and speed. However, one factor has remained a cause for controversy: Are security issues adequately taken care of? What strategies can be implemented to achieve robust security? These are some of the questions this paper seeks to answer
In the standard modern financial application, a software crash guarantees disappointment on the users’ end, but this is nothing compared to the catastrophic effect a security breach will have on the parent company. If hackers find their way into a bank software, the result is likely to be devastating, and the firm may lose millions of dollars, which may permanently cripple operations.
As we continue to embrace cloud technologies, security issues continue to progress in magnitude and sophistication. Consequently, corporations have devised strategies to deal with matters to do with safety. The mentioned factor is now being carefully analyzed during every aspect of the application development process. Why so? Well, a security bug identified at the beginning of application development is way easier and affordable to fix than that found at the end. What’s more, in some cases, security issues found at the end of application development force companies to redesign the entire system. This leads to prolonged delays and extra costs, which end up hurting company operations.
DevSecOps is a strategy that is aimed at eliminating potential security breaches. To do this, it merges security tasks within the development and operation processes. Furthermore, the said factor is made the point of focus for both the development and operation teams, which achieves better collaboration between these two departments.
Therefore, how can firms fully embrace DevSecOps philosophy? Below is a comprehensive overview of how firms can safely transition from DevOps to DevSecOps
Continuous Automation Strategies
This is one of the most important strategies used in analyzing security hitches and fixing them. It helps in identifying and eliminating security bugs early and at a lower cost. One of the most profitable and efficient automation strategies companies should employ is linting (Keyes, 2019). The linting technique analyzes the code for potential security errors and allows collaboration between the security and development teams in dealing with such issues.
Automated security checks should be employed at the beginning of the development process. This will enable developers to work with the current code rather than performing a threat push on weeks old code. Using the technique in discussion, the entire process is made more efficient. Furthermore, it helps in eliminating friction between development and security teams. Finally, security and quality are embedded into the code at an early stage, making the system far more robust.
Shifting to the Left
Shifting to the left means that analyzing code to identify software vulnerabilities should be an essential part of the application development process. This philosophy emphasizes that security issues should be dealt with using a shared approach between the development, IT operations, and security departments. It is not a single person’s responsibility but rather a shared role. The result of this process is quicker and more efficient product delivery.
Considering shifting to the left demands shared responsibility, there should be shared knowledge within organizational departments. The different teams involved need to be informed on what tasks they should complete. Lastly, the entire process should be broken down into phases, where threat analysis is iterated at each stage.
The underlying benefit of adopting the shifting to the left philosophy is that the development process will be significantly boosted. Security risks will be reduced since threat analysis is integrated into each stage.
According to DevSecOps, security testing is an integral part of the development cycle. However, the timing of the said process is most crucial. To shed light on this, performing security testing at the end of the development process is far more complex and expensive than initially.
Hence, the need for proper governance, which aids in streamlining the collaboration between the security, IT operations, and Development teams. The mentioned tool should be used throughout the development of the program. With proper governance, security teams can organize periodic audits and reviews to monitor the system’s growth.
It is no secret that governance and DevOps always clash when ensuring no issues affect the program before it is released. However, release orchestration tools can be a quick fix to this problem. Finally, different criteria should be added to streamline the collaboration between the security and development teams.
Embracing and Enhancing MicroServices
In a microservice infrastructure, the entire application development cycle is broken down into segments. In such a scenario, the development, configuration, and security testing phases are all dissected into tiny individual sections. This enables the company to monitor each step easily and ensure upgrades are done individually and gradually. Overall, microservice strategies allow companies to structure their processes better.
A Microservice-based infrastructure also allows each person to take responsibility for an individual part of the project. Blame game scenarios are eliminated, and a sense of cooperation within the workforce is created. The aforementioned is the very foundation upon which the DevSecOps philosophy is built; Collaboration.
The dissection of the development process will also enable the firm to develop better products with more robust security. This is because each team is assigned a specific role, a factor that allows for specialization. In brief, microservice platforms enable employees to sharpen their skills since they are given a chance to focus on one specific job aspect.
Once the microservice infrastructure is well established comes the other crucial part; enhancing the structure’s security. Such platforms rely on communication with several different sources. Hence, there is a critical need to ensure that all these sources are securely communicating with each other.
The DevSecOps philosophy is best implemented using single-function modules. These systems usually have elaborate interfaces that are essential for secure communication. However, organizations should continuously monitor and upgrade the said platforms to be better prepared for security developments in the future. Overall, despite the benefits of microservice platforms, companies should always strive to better their systems and achieve better security and communication.
After the implementation of the microservice infrastructure, there should be continuous feedback from each team. Each member should provide feedback on the assigned role. This is crucial in enhancing collaboration, which, in turn, creates a sense of communication within the organization.
The flow of information through continuous feedback enables the developers to know the state of the development process. It also allows team players to know where they stand in security measures. Furthermore, the feedback mechanism enables every team member to get the latest security information and embed such measures into the latest software patches and updates. The absence of an efficient feedback strategy will most definitely prove problematic for employees, especially when dealing with new tasks. Such techniques are essential in keeping the IT team motivated.
Train Developers on Secure Coding
The DevSecOps philosophy can be traced back to one simple phrase, ‘Secure Coding.’ This is the factor that forms the core of the mentioned strategy. However, most developers aren’t conversant with it. Thus, the need for such individuals to be advised on the usefulness of the said factor. Developers need to be taught that security should be their main priority when writing code, as this is not usually the main concern with these employees. A code that works and delivers the expected output is not necessarily secure.
Regardless of being time-consuming, let alone expensive, teaching secure coding to developers offers immense benefits to companies. When the entire team is well equipped with essential secure coding skills, then the chances of safety issues affecting programs are significantly reduced.
How to avoid Glitches when Transitioning from DevOps to DevSecOps
While companies can achieve many benefits by transitioning from DevOps to DevSecOps, it all boils down to the employees. Firms should be careful when moving to the said philosophy since they introduce their employees to new operation strategies.
The success of the transition will largely depend on whether workers embrace or reject the new norm. The sentiments below are essential in ensuring a successful transition from DevOps to DevSecOps
1. Accommodate the views of the Developers
As mentioned earlier, DevSecOps mainly relies on secure coding. However, the individuals implementing this code may choose to resist, which may be a significant hindrance to the process. Yet, this is easily fixed through constant communication and listening. The company may compromise and choose to go with the security service provider suggested by the developers.
2. Trust Issues between Different Team Players
This has been a recurring issue even with the DevOps philosophy, where a specific member of either the security, development, or operations team does not trust another player. It may lead to friction and delay the application development process. To avoid this, companies may opt to mix members from different teams, which creates a sense of cooperation and trust among employees.
3. Do not over-rely on AI
Automation is a significant component of DevSecOps. As the mentioned technology is gaining momentum in many of today’s companies, so does the reliance on AI. However, since it is not foolproof, companies should be wary of trusting the AI. Humans should still be the central source of work, as they are better equipped for logical tasks. Moreover, a failure in one aspect of AI technology is likely to compromise the entire system. Therefore, the adoption of AI should be slow and stepwise. It should be done in collaboration with human input to achieve maximum output.
DevSecOps is, without a doubt, the way to go for companies that want to keep up with the ever-growing software delivery industry. From the information presented above, it is palpable that it offers more benefits than costs for firms. It is a collaborative effort that creates a sense of cohesion within a company.
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