The DevSecOps product category appeared in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Application Security (2020 edition). With the amount of security-critical software development projects being undertaken by enterprises worldwide, no wonder that many are now beginning to contemplate the necessary changes to the industry’s security practices, especially in relation to the transition from highly touted DevOps to DevSecOps.
Understanding the Shift from DevOps to DevSecOps
Earlier this year, Redgate’s survey revealed that more than 74% of the organizations across the globe are now using DevOps. This survey consolidated the impact of COVID-19 on DevOps’ practices, the technology adoption rate, and the delivery performance post adoption. Certainly, the advocacy of agile developing and testing methodologies facilitated by DevOps hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Why then is the industry on the cusp of a DevSecOps transformation? The primary reason is the proliferation of cybercrime and other security-related breaches that go oblivious in the DevOps climate.
- As soon as the developers generate the application code, the CI/CD pipeline unleashes the binaries onto the test environment. This is to ensure that everything goes as planned.
- The test environment is where the application undergoes various tests, ensuring that everything works as expected.
- Then, the application is deployed to production, meaning it’s ready for use or is it?
In this DevOps environment, automation is at its helm; deployment is streamlined, continuous feedback loop performs well, time-to-market is accelerated, organizational organization visibility into testing and production environments is excellent — all in all, everything is fast.
But where is the security?
“70% of DevOps team members have not been trained on how to secure software adequately according to a DevSecOps Global Skills survey,” says former Forbes contributor Louis Columbus.
So, while the industry has made strides to improve the security of software development practices over the last decade, clearly, there is still a lot that it needs to do — one of the most significant being the transition from a DevOps to a DevSecOps environment.
What Exactly is DevSecOps?
DevSecOps is a core concept incorporated into the broader DevOps program. It addresses the criticality of running security assessments to detect, monitor, and respond to vulnerabilities during the development cycle. Fundamentally, DevSecOps:
- Integrates security into the overall software delivery process to ensure quality assurance and regulatory compliance.
- Drives the organization’s security culture from the top down so that all individual contributors are aware of their roles in keeping information safe.
In that light, DevSecOps is essentially an extension of the capabilities of DevOps.
Transitioning from DevOps to DevSecOps
- Integrating security into processes
As elucidated above, DevSecOps is a holistic approach to security management, including security testing and remediation capabilities. It’s a holistic approach because it considers the entire flow of information from development to production. As such, the transition from DevOps to DevSecOps entails embedding security into the development, testing, and production cycle.
On a granular level, this means that security gets added into CI/CD pipelines. For instance, compiled binaries are now associated with vulnerability scans, followed by threat detection or security testing as appropriate. The end goal is to ensure that security vulnerabilities are detected and patched as soon as they arise.
The KPI here is relatively straightforward: security becomes a product feature rather than an afterthought, and the number of security vulnerabilities in production drops dramatically.
- Rethinking Automation
In the DevOps world, automation is a key builder of product quality. It’s used to automate tedious tasks and expedite testing. While automation is a good thing, it’s also the reason why many organizations rush to production on the back of not-so-efficient tools.
In the move from DevOps to DevSecOps, there’s a need for a shift in perspective (a shift in culture per se). Being proactive about securing the software is a must, and this means going beyond automation to ensure that security controls are in place before moving on to development.
But “Going beyond” automation doesn’t necessarily imply warding off automation altogether. Instead, it refers to the ideal dependence of automated practices on the manifested governance framework.
In other words, automation must be restrained to help it aptly befit the administrative guidelines. The end goal is to ensure that the security tooling used in DevOps matches the business’s priorities, aligns with IT security standards, and complies with regulations set.
- Nurturing the Security Culture
Unless and until the human element is in sync with the tools at hand, security efforts will fail to yield their intended results, and the CI/CD pipeline will be subject to disruptions. As such, the ideal transition from DevOps to DevSecOps will be the one that embraces a constant, radical change of the culture.
From implementing security programs (e.g., skills training) to operating the existing security tools, and from monitoring and responding to security incidents (e.g., incident response plans) to performing security assessments, the overall culture of the enterprise must be transformed – it must acknowledge the gravity of the security challenges ahead.
In essence, the developers must understand how critical security is to the product quality and business objectives. Their skillsets might understandably vary; however, security must be a core competency for all, and the organization must be willing to train and onboard new hires in this regard.
- Make a Successful Shift from DevOps to DevSecOps
By now, it must be clear that DevSecOps is a paradigm shift on steroids. It’s an extension of DevOps, not a replacement for it. And like all great ideas, the plan to go forward with it requires an on-board team (and mindset).
That said, Benison is there with you every step of the way. Our team of security engineers and DevSecOps consultants will set you on the path to DevSecOps success by:
- Ensuring that your organization is ready for this transition
- Preparing your team for planning and executing the transition
- Equipping you with the performance-based and output-driven management tools
- Giving you visibility into the overall security of your products at all points in the development lifecycle
- Enabling you to navigate the extended transformation process with ease
So, if you’re looking to make DevSecOps a reality for your company, get in touch with us today. We’ll walk you through the process, help you apply it in your organization, and make a success story out of it!
Contact us now to learn more about our solutions.