What is DevSecOps?

Development security operations works to implement security practices into each stage of the application lifecycle as developed by a DevOps team.

Development security operations is an addition to development operations, or DevOps, that looks to implement security practices into the cycles of application development and deployment within a DevOps program.

Security used to be part of an isolated team with isolated processes and did not play an integrated role in the development of an application. A DevSecOps cycle can integrate all three aspects of rapid development and include all three crucial steps

What is DevOps?

Illustration showing the three different meanings behind DevSecOps.

How does DevSecOps differ from traditional software development?

Software development has traditionally released over a longer period of time because the software must go through a series of tests from separate security and quality assurance teams, which creates silos and contributes to a longer release time.

More modern software development works in smaller rollouts within a cloud-based system. Agile development practices have become more prevalent as code is rolling out more quickly and usually in an automated manner. Companies can innovate more quickly with the use of new processes and tools.

DevOps developed as a result of new cloud rollout capabilities, but security was frequently left out of the process. DevSecOps corrects this process by implementing security testing at a higher level and within the continuous development cycle.

A DevSecOps environment accounts for:

  • A development team conducting security testing
  • Development team manages issues found during the security testing phase.
  • Issues found are fixed by the development team.
llustrated graphic showing the differences of DevOps and DevSecOps

Understanding the Differences Between Agile & DevSecOps - from a Business Perspective

Ideally, a company implements both Agile and DevSecOps. The two can work independent of each other—but DevSecOps can be implemented in nearly every environment.

Agile is a project management mindset that requires a cultural shift in how departments function and products are developed. It relies on rapid development and sequences within an organization. DevOps requires a cultural shift in a similar manner. Both focus more on how frequently something is delivered while calling for collaboration between both development and operations to plan, design, and roll out projects in the most effective way possible.

  • DevSecOps also incorporates lean and collaborative processes like continuous delivery and integration. The process requires version control, test automation, feedback, continuous low-risk releases, and frequent code reviews. A business can see an ideal bottom line and ROI with such testing, as cycle time tends to reduce, create fewer silos, and form a version of testing that leads to fewer bugs in a new product.

DevSecOps, ultimately, is meant to achieve a successful integration between security and development. Team goals should include agility and adaptability to changes in the industry, cloud integration capabilities, and detailed steps that fuse development, security, and operations into a single system that help companies achieve those goals.

Aspects of DevSecOps include:

  • Continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD): rapid and safe delivery of products and services within a company.
  • Infrastructure as code: computing resources are responsive and elastic whenever there is change
  • Monitoring: security aspects are closely monitored each step of the way
  • Logging: all security events are meticulously logged
  • Microservices: reducing large systems into smaller, more manageable components.
  • Communication: a combined team can easily communicate among each other to carefully ensure that each step of the process is adequately managed, and necessary steps of processes are not missed.

DevOps security is automated

The entire operations and development environment should be considered, including container registries, CI/CD, release automation, source control repositories, operational management and monitoring, and API management. Organizations are capable of adopting agile development cycles, which has assisted in new security measures and stronger products.

DevOps security is built for containers and microservices

Containers have enabled dynamic and greater scalability of infrastructure. DevSecOps should adapt practices to align with container-specific security. Security must be carefully implemented at each step of the development lifecycle, as cloud-native technologies don’t quite adhere to strict security checklists. Security should be built into every level of application development to protect the environment, as well as CI/CD practices.

There are constantly new developments in IT, cloud computing, and applications. A DevSecOps strategy can keep companies competitive and agile while staying in compliance and constantly adapting to necessary changes. There is typically a longer amount of time spent on configuring a security environment right before or after an application launch, which can create synergy issues among a team environment who are not accounting for security along the way. Collaboration between teams can create a more efficient workplace, which is becoming increasingly more and more necessary for companies.

There are clear security goals from the beginning that can be implemented into the development process, which ensures that coding, testing guidelines, encryption, secure APIs, and instructions for state and dynamic analyses are optimized. The team will become more proficient with security during the development process, which can help in the identification of security issues when there has been a needed security incident response of some type. Some additional benefits include:

  • Rapid response to changes in security: innovation can be delivered more quickly, which provides the opportunity to get to market faster.
  • Collaboration among teams: groups will be more compelled to own their tasks, cross train, and reduce the periods of time that occur between the handover of tasks.
  • Earlier detection of vulnerabilities: security measures every step of the way ensure stronger detection due to the implementation of security every step of the way during development.
  • Automation to free up time for more complex and valuable tasks.
  • Better speed and agility for teams.

It is crucial for developers to acquire the necessary skills to fix security issues without consulting outside security experts or vendors. There should be managerial buy-in at all levels to prevent any clashing or overlapping of responsibilities, which can create confusion and prevent a smooth team synergy.

DevSecOps testing and tools

It can be difficult for teams to bring together fragmented tools to meet security policies. Traditional security vendors have altered their products to appeal to DevSecOps needs: flexibility and ease of use needed by developers, and analytics and reporting capabilities needed by CISOs and security teams.

Best practices for implementing DevSecOps

Companies are increasingly implementing automated scans as an aspect of CI/CD pipelines. But, security debt, or the number of vulnerabilities that developers have not chosen to fix, may make results of CI/CD not as apparent. Implementing a change toward DevSecOps should exponentially decrease the vulnerability existing, especially with the combination of manual and automated testing of code.

Supporting a DevSecOps culture

Businesses will be capable of delivering better products with the implementation of Agile methodologies and DevSecOps. There should be management buy-in at all levels that help drive the engineering of development, security, and operations without unnecessary silos. A business should take the time to build out work flows at a top level, then narrow them down to help form a better DevSecOps system that can be part of a larger organizational goal.

Team members should be engaged with DevSecOps from the very beginning through every phase of an effort. This strengthens the ability to limit work in progress, improve delivery, and manage outages, and work within compliance guidelines.

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