DevOps has transformed the software development industry. The merging of development (Dev) and operations (Ops) teams has largely contributed to quick and effective software releases.
The continuous evolution of the application security threat landscape requires organizations to integrate security into the DevOps culture. Thus, DevSecOps has emerged to extend the capabilities of DevOps and enable enterprises to release secure software faster.
However, making a move from DevOps to DevSecOps may be challenging. You need the right mindset and approach to make the shift painless and realize the full value of DevSecOps.
This article talks about how to transform your team from DevOps to DevSecOps:
DevOps and DevSecOps are closely related agile development methodologies. Both of these approaches have quite a few similarities, such as relying on a collaborative culture to realize development objectives like fast iteration and deployment, using automation during the application development process, and actively monitoring and analyzing data to drive improvements.
On the other hand, DevSecOps and DevOps are set apart by their focus. DevOps focuses on meshing the development and the operations teams. The two teams collaborate throughout the development and deployment process to implement shared goals, which greatly optimize the speed of delivery. As DevOps teams race to increase the frequency of deployments, security is often the first casualty.
DevOps has evolved into DevSecOps as organizations have come to realize that the DevOps approach could make applications prone to security vulnerabilities. Rather than considering security at the end of the development pipeline, DevSecOps integrates security into the entire pipeline, right from the beginning. DevSecOps seeks to shift security left in the software development life cycle (SDLC).
As you move forward on your DevSecOps journey, let’s take a closer look at how this approach can improve the security of the entire software delivery life cycle in your organization.
DevSecOps emphasizes the need for embedding security into the entire DevOps workflow, right from the beginning — from the design, code, and deployment stages.
Instead of following the traditional technique of retrofitting security into the build, DevSecOps integrates security testing earlier throughout the development and operations pipeline. Addressing security issues as early as possible helps save a lot of valuable resources. Developers can solve anomalies before they reach production, which expedites delivery and lowers risks.
With DevSecOps, security becomes part of everyone’s job. In many organizations, the DevOps and security teams are at odds with each other. This strained relationship often leads to slower remediation and even poor and insecure applications.
DevSecOps seeks to break down the security silos—the applications, data, and security protocols that every department manages in its own particular way—that may impede inter-department communication in an organization.
It enhances transparency and collaboration between developers, security, and operations teams throughout the software delivery life cycle. This increased communication assists in releasing secure and performant products.
Incorporating automated application security testing tools into the development environment helps prevent security issues from entering the code, and helps detect and fix issues as early as possible.
When organizations invest in security testing tools that integrate seamlessly into developer environments, developers can easily address security throughout development, without delaying or interrupting their workflows.
Starting to implement DevSecOps practices is an enormous undertaking for most organizations. If your organization does not make the transition smoothly, it might not realize its benefits.
Here are some tips on how to successfully transition from DevOps to DevSecOps.
It’s important to start by building a strong foundation for your adoption of DevSecOps. Take a deep breath and ask yourself, “What does my organization intend to achieve, and what security measures are required?
You can gather the impetus needed to succeed with your DevSecOps strategy through proper planning and appropriately laying down your objectives.
To establish a strong foundation, you can start small and incrementally incorporate new ideas as your DevSecOps practices mature. Breaking up tasks into simple, manageable pieces will prevent overwhelming and confusing your team.
The human element is a crucial part of the DevSecOps approach.
Many team members might have trouble accepting the sweeping transition that changes the traditional way of doing things. Furthermore, as security was considered an afterthought in the DevOps model, it could heighten the resistance.
Since the transition to DevSecOps will affect everyone, it’s important to ensure all teams are included in the process. If anyone is not on the same page, it will be challenging to implement the new approach successfully.
You can begin by educating teams on what DevSecOps is, and its benefits to your organization. Encouraging a mindset change that prioritizes security will significantly assist the change process.
It’s important to train developers on secure coding practices in order to move from DevOps to DevSecOps seamlessly. If every line of code is written with security considerations in mind, there will be less vulnerabilities in the final application.
Developers cannot address anomalies they do not understand. They should have the right skills to identify cyber security issues that may come out in their code. By investing time and resources into training developers, you can ensure they have the right skills to stay ahead of the attackers.
Developers can’t be expected to become security experts overnight. White training is important, integrating automated security tools that help support developers is crucial. Developers need the right tools that allow them to detect vulnerabilities at each stage of the delivery pipeline — from the time the first line of code is written to when it is deployed into production.
The best vulnerability scanning tools help prioritize alerts and send notifications so that the most dangerous issues are resolved immediately. For example, WhiteSource Bolt is a free tool that lets you scan the open source components in your code and detect vulnerabilities. With Bolt, you can get real-time security alerts, find and fix open source vulnerabilities, and more.
Evaluating your progress will help you to determine how your transition to DevSecOps is going. You can measure the metrics of the various SDLC phases—such as the amount of time taken to develop, test, or deploy the application—and compare them to the results after adopting the DevSecOps methodology. You can also use customer metrics to assess the progress of the transition.
Measuring success will also help assess the productivity of your DevSecOps team. You can even evaluate your teams’ motivation regarding the new shift in your organization. If your team freely shares the shortfalls they’ve encountered, productively gives each other feedback, and openly raises incidents without any fear of repercussions, this environment based on trust can help your organization grow when adopting DevSecOps.
Reorganizing your development practices from DevOps to DevSecOps is a continual process. It requires a deliberate approach where everyone involved keeps learning throughout the entire process. If a mistake happens, learn from them and continue to move forward.
Remember that today’s cyber security landscape changes constantly. You should not learn DevSecOps once and hang your boots. If you keep looking for better ways of preventing and remediating vulnerabilities, you’ll be a step ahead of the attackers.
Transforming your team from DevOps to DevSecOps is not something you can accomplish overnight. You need to strategize your actions and decisions before making a move. We hope that this article has shed light on how to make the transition seamless and beneficial.
DevSecOps is a movement that is growing rapidly. And since its train has already left the station, the sooner your teams hop aboard, the better.