What is DevSecOps and why is it important?19 Sep, 20233 mins
As the frequency and intelligence of cyberattacks escalate, security concerns are increasing...
As the frequency and intelligence of cyberattacks escalate, security concerns are increasingly becoming front of mind for businesses. As a result, we are expecting to see more interest and a greater willingness among organisations to hire security-specific talent able to implement best practice and utilise the latest tools and processes. One area which is seeing increased interest is the field of DevOps.
What is DevOps?
DevOps (Development and Operations) is an approach to software development that centres on three key cornerstones – organisational culture, process, and technology and tools. The approach is aimed at helping development and IT operations teams work together collaboratively to build, test, and release software in a faster, more agile, and more cyclical manner than traditional software development processes.
Put simply, DevOps is geared towards removing the barriers between two traditionally siloed teams. Where DevOps is implemented, development and operations teams work together across the entire software application lifecycle, from development and testing through to deployment and operations. This allows developers to receive fast, constant feedback on their work, enabling them to integrate and validate their code quickly and independently, so that the code can be deployed into the production environment, in a timely manner.
So where does DevSecOps come in?
DevSecOps (development, security, and operations) is an extension of the DevOps practice. In modern software development, an agile-based Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) is deployed to accelerate the development and delivery of software releases, which includes carrying out updates and fixes.
Where DevOps focuses on the speed of app delivery, DevSecOps looks to integrate security initiatives at every stage of the software development lifecycle, from build to production, to deliver robust and secure applications. In essence it augments speed with security. DevSecOps involves ongoing, flexible collaboration between development, release management (or operations), and security teams, and security is the shared responsibility of all stakeholders in the DevOps value chain.
Why is it important?
DevSecOps is crucial in mitigating against the rising frequency of cyberattacks by introducing security measures into the SDLC at a much earlier stage. By coding with security in mind from the outset, development organisations can catch and fix vulnerabilities before they go too far into production. This is not only easier but, crucially, less costly.
Historically, security considerations and practices were often introduced late in the development lifecycle. But with the rise of increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity attacks, and as software development cycles are ramped up in frequency, the traditional 'tacked-on'approach to security began to create an unacceptable security bottleneck. Development teams have therefore shifted their approach to performing shorter, more frequent iterations on applications. This incorporation of security at every stage of the process has proven itself to be a more secure approach to development whilst also meeting velocity expectations. As a result, it is fast becoming the go-to practice for ensuring applications are secure in this modern development ecosystem, reaping numerous benefits, including:
- Enhanced application security – by embedding a proactive approach to mitigating cybersecurity threats early in the development lifecycle, development teams can harness automated security tools, which allow them to test code on the fly and perform security audits without slowing development cycles.DevOps teams will review, audit, test, scan, and debug code at various stages of the development process to ensure that the application is passing critical security checkpoints and to expose any vulnerabilities. Application, security and development teams will then work collaboratively at code level to address the problem.
- Cross-team responsibility – by bringing development teams and application security teams together, businesses benefit from a comprehensive cross-team approach, and shared responsibility. Siloed teams are not conducive to innovation and can also result in divisions within the business. DevSecOps empowers these areas to be on the same page early, leading to cross-team buy-in, and more efficient team collaboration.
- Limiting security vulnerabilities – DevSecOps professionals will leverage automation within their security measures to identify, manage, and patch common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE). For example, using pre-built scanning solutions early and often to scan images in the build pipeline for CVEs. This allows teams to remedy issues quickly and efficiently, using the insights garnered from frequent testing, to inform their approach.
- Streamlining application delivery – the early implementation of security, use of automation, and streamlined reporting, all work to enhance security, support the work of compliance teams and avoid delays in delivery.
Where is it used?
Organisations in a variety of industries can implement to break down barriers between teams and release more secure software faster. This includes government, healthcare and finance organisations – any sectors that manage highly sensitive personal, government or financial information are a constant target for malicious cyberattacks. By hardening these applications with a security-first development approach, the chance of cybercriminals finding and exploiting vulnerabilities is greatly reduced.
DevSecOps represents a natural and necessary evolution in the way development organisations are approaching security. When carried out correctly DevSecOps practices create a streamlined agile development process, that considers security from the outset and removes unknown variables that could cause security vulnerabilities and impact product release timelines. The approach has the potential to transform the way that software is developed across multiple industries, helping organisations to achieve the DevSecOps motto: ‘software, safer, sooner.’
If you’re interested in a career in DevSecOps, get in touch with the team today!