Digitization across all companies hit a massive acceleration in response to the pandemic. This urgency means businesses need to respond quickly and deploy fast. However, in this rush to move to digital platforms, what about security? In the race to implement fast solutions, does the criticality of security falter? Not if organizations employ DevSecOps.
In the original DevOps framework, security wasn’t a pillar. This exclusion led to the creation of this principle that supports continuous security in digital product development.
How DevSecOps Integrates Development, Security, and Operations
DevSecOps describes integrating security into the DevOps pipeline. The approach is to be secure by design, and that security is a consideration at the concept level, not an afterthought.
Even in rapid deployment mode, security cannot be forgotten. Otherwise, you’ll have a new set of challenges related to your digital products, which could impact reputation and performance. To avoid this, the concept of DevSecOps ushers in accountability for security by all. It also requires that security implementations have the same scalability and velocity of development and operations components.
How to Embrace Security Without Impacting Agility
The need to balance security and agility isn’t new. Many may think it’s a butting of heads. However, that’s a misconception. In fact, security doesn’t block agility; it can actually help you bring the product to market faster.
There’s a prevailing myth that DevOps and security are on opposing sides. This misconception comes from the roots of DevOps, innovation, and that security is somehow a barrier to it. That’s not true. A security mindset does see risk more vividly than a development or operational one. However, all three can work in harmony.
It’s important to address that security doesn’t impact velocity. The tools that enable rapid deployment are also usable for security. Further, DevOps builds a framework for security that it didn’t have before. Security becomes code, increasing its speed and accuracy. Thus, DevOps doesn't make security a more difficult proposition.
It would also be unfair to say that the development and operations arms don’t care about security. Of course they do. They care about the reliability of their product and how it meets customer needs, and that involves their digital assets being secure.
The Benefits of DevSecOps
Companies that lean into a DevSecOps mindset can maintain the balance. The benefits related to this goal include:
- Achieving continuous security
- Greater efficiencies
- Better product quality
- Meeting compliance, if applicable
How do they attain these benefits and navigate the line?
How Successful Organizations Walk the Line
The key to DevSecOps and all three elements having a symbiotic relationship includes:
- Automating processes and tools
- Collaborating and sharing responsibility
- Standardizing cybersecurity practices
- Aligning security with business objectives
Automating Processes and Tools
The entry of automation through processes and tools supports development, operations, and security. It deeply embeds security into delivery.
Automation reduces risk in digital product development by finding security flaws from human error. It also minimizes downtime and vulnerabilities, which is an objective of any DevOps culture. These practices identify possible threats, infrastructure issues, and vulnerable code at scale.
While security is constantly evolving, as new risks emerge, DevSecOps makes security more reliable. Many DevSecOps tools can offer automated ways to scan code, identify anomalies, test, and provide visibility.
Collaborating and Sharing Responsibility
Another important tenet of the DevOps culture which resonates with security is collaboration and shared responsibility. These teams don’t operate in silos. It’s a group effort. Developers and security professionals are working together from the start to integrate security into the process.
A tremendous amount of information sharing happens in these ecosystems. Cross-functional teams are working together toward a common goal: fast deployments that are secure.
Standardizing Cybersecurity Practices
DevSecOps also needs standardization to keep the balance. Developers should all agree on cybersecurity practices. With a documented strategy, they know the requirements and can meet them from the start instead of working backward from a finished product. Development teams then embed these practices into the CI/CD (continuous improvement, continuous delivery) pipeline.
Aligning Security with Business Objectives
The last component of achieving speed and safety is ensuring security initiatives align with business objectives. In a digital world where everyone has concerns about data security and privacy, it’s clear that it has to be a priority.
Achieving this requires end-to-end security to protect the pipeline and application. Companies do this by relying more on risk-based testing versus just security scans. The testing also should be continuous.
Risks of Not Leveraging DevSecOps
DevSecOps hasn’t reached worldwide adoption. Many organizations are still relying on traditional models. If security is not part of the process from the start, you could face serious risks. The first risk is a delay of deployment, which impacts your users and your reputation. That can happen if security is the last stop, causing reworking of code.
The second type of risk is releasing products that don’t meet security guidelines or best practices. Doing this could lead to breaches or other incidents. Cybercriminals may be able to infiltrate, and cyberattacks can cause monetary losses and could violate compliance regulations.
The third risk is group breakdown should an incident occur. Because there’s not shared accountability, expect finger-pointing, eroding trust and communication.
The final risk is not meeting customer expectations, whether that be internal or external. Failure to do this could lead to the abandonment of your application.
Countering risk is a multipronged approach, and DevSecOps offers a good framework to mitigate it as much as possible.
How to Strike the Right Balance
You don’t have to sacrifice speed for security, or vice versa. Rather, employing DevSecOps is the key to balance. Organizations can do this by having the right talent on their team. If you want to ensure security and speed, hiring DevSecOps Engineers is crucial. If that’s in your plan, then you’ll need support. We can help. Contact us today to learn about our services.