What is DevSecOps and Why Is it Important?

What is DevSecOps?


By now, everyone has heard of DevOps, and know that it can really help Agile practices flourish. In order to fully take advantage of the agility and responsiveness of DevOps, it’s important to realise its ability to include and merge with other business areas outside of Development and Operations. Most fundamentality, DevOps teams would benefit from including Security in their Agile delivery process; DevSecOps.

Previously security was isolated to one team who was brought in at the final development stage to test the security of the release. This is problematic, as security issues or outdated security practices can unravel even the most efficient DevOps processes, meaning a loss of time, resources, and money. Security needs to be integrated into all stages of the delivery process to prevent developers releasing solutions and updates that contain critical vulnerabilities. If security is implemented earlier on, these security issues can be caught and fixed immediately.

A DevSecOps pipeline is the set of tools and processes that continuously performs security work as code is written, integrated, tested, deployed, and operated. Security is therefore integrated in the full lifecycle, handling both development (vulnerabilities) and operations (attacks). Early adopters of DevSecOps have shown impressive results; they are 2.6x more likely to have their security testing keep up with the frequent application updates, and the time to fix security vulnerabilities is 2x faster.


Challenges without DevSecOps


Without integrating DevSecOps, businesses often struggle with similar issues, which can include but are not limited to:

  • Lack of focus on security during the development process
  • Quality of solutions can be compromised from a security perspective as all the focus is on feature deliverables
  • Poor quality and insecure product releases can damage reputation
  • Sensitive data is compromised due to a lack of security testing focus
  • Massive delays in uncovering critical vulnerabilities
  • Delays to delivery/release due to Security teams having to step in last minute to fix serious issues
  • Unravelling of hard work by DevOps team as the Product doesn’t pass security tests before release


Because Security Teams are normally kept out of the process until the last phase of development, critical vulnerabilities and security issues can remain undetected throughout the whole build, this often leads to rework, loss of resources, loss of time, and loss of money.


Advantages to Hiring DevSecOps Professionals and Implementing DevSecOps


By bringing Development, Security and Operations teams together into one Agile process, businesses can quickly see big advantages in terms of communication, collaboration, and efficiency, which all assist the creation of a seamless end to end product delivery. These benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Elimination of silos
  • Promotes collaboration and teamwork across departments
  • Aligns business goals and visions across departments
  • Identifies vulnerabilities early whilst still ensuring fast delivery
  • Contributes business value by reducing rework and increasing quality (which saves money, time, and resources)
  • Improved overall operations
  • Diminished security risks

Effectively, the team can then spend more time adding value to end customers and less resources fixing and managing security vulnerabilities or security exploits.


How to implement DevSecOps


The biggest challenge in implementing DevSecOps is a reluctance to integration and change. These business functions have been kept separate for a long time and therefore they have different processes, metrics, and tools that they are all used to using. Everyone would have to adapt to new work processes and also new working relationships with people who aren’t usually a part of that team. To achieve this it’s important to choose the right processes and the right tools (which will be business dependant) and also allow an adequate amount of time to make this transition gradually.


Sumo Logic suggests six easy steps to implement DevSecOps gradually, which are;


  1. Use Agile methodologies to deliver code in small, frequent releases
  2. Run automated tests wherever possible
  3. Empower developers to suggest critical security changes
  4. Real-time security compliance
  5. Always be prepared for threats
  6. Invest in training for newly formed DevSecOps teams


Hire DevSecOps Specialists


Security is a fundamental part of the Agile Product lifecycle. With DevSecOps, developers can better understand the criticality of vulnerabilities that exist in their code and fix these vulnerabilities earlier in the process, which helps them deliver products and solutions (still) fast, but more secure. This saves business resources, enables cross-department collaboration, and also protects the business's reputation by consistently delivering high quality, fast, and secure products.

In the next few weeks, I’m looking to host a webinar that explores the process, benefits and challenges of DevSecOps from market leaders in the space. If you’re interested in taking part, finding out more, or submitting your own questions, I’m really keen to hear from you. Feel free to drop me a message or comment anytime to discuss any of the above. I’d love to hear what your thoughts and experiences of DevSecOps is, and if it’s something you use in your business.


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