Breaking the Wall Between Dev, Sec, and Ops
The steps that serve as a roadmap to enable organizations to successfully implement DevSecOps and create secure software right from the outset.
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DevSecOps, in layman's language, is a combined form of software development, security, and software operations. According to Gartner's research, "It is estimated that at least 95% of cloud security failures through 2022 will be the fault of the enterprise". Therefore, while developing any application, the developer must not have loose ends that may make an enterprise vulnerable to such attacks. Similarly, DevSecOps is understanding the software and learning to code while learning to operate and maintain that code at the same time. It is essential to keep in mind that a single security breach can lead customers to lose confidence in any business. Therefore, it is vital to prioritize the maintenance of rigorous security measures.
DevSecOps involves integrating security into both application development and operations, as well as promoting collaboration between teams and leveraging automation and tooling to construct robust and secure applications. In the DevSecOps approach, security is addressed proactively during the development process rather than as an afterthought. Security testing and bug fixing are integrated into the development cycle to detect security vulnerabilities early in the software development life cycle. This approach facilitates innovation, boosts developer velocity, and allows for speedy release cycles while maintaining a focus on security. DevSecOps has proven beneficial for achieving faster development, more rapid feature releases, and the implementation of agile practices. By integrating security into the development process from the start, DevSecOps helps to reduce the risk of security breaches and other cybersecurity threats that can be costly to organizations in terms of reputation, legal liabilities, and financial losses.
DevSecOps also helps to promote a culture of collaboration and communication between teams, which can lead to better alignment of security and development objectives. It can also help organizations to meet compliance requirements, as security is integrated into the development process from the beginning. Overall, DevSecOps is essential for any organization that wants to build secure, reliable, and high-quality software products that meet the needs of their customers while minimizing security risks.
Despite the progress that enterprises have made in adopting modern business practices, such as transitioning to cloud providers and utilizing agile frameworks, DevSecOps is frequently overlooked by stakeholders in terms of organizational priority. There is often a lack of a clear framework for DevSecOps initiatives that executives can readily support. Gartner forecasts that up until 2022, 75% of DevOps initiatives will fail to meet expectations due to difficulties in organizational learning and implementing changes.
The process of enterprises implementing DevSecOps is a long-term undertaking that spans multiple years, and initiating it early can be advantageous for the organization in the long run. While there is a wealth of resources available to promote awareness of DevOps and its benefits, there is comparatively less information available on DevSecOps and a comprehensive framework that organizations can use to smoothly integrate DevSecOps into their operations.
Below are some of the key steps to keep in mind as you begin your DevSecOps journey.
1. Do We Need DevSecOps?
The initial step in embarking on a DevSecOps journey is to gain a complete understanding of what DevSecOps entails and why it is necessary. Once this comprehension is established, the focus should shift to assessing who will benefit from the adoption of DevSecOps and how. This will necessitate a thorough evaluation of the business use case, available resources, and the organization's current pain points. During this phase, it is essential to be transparent about any existing technical debt, defects, and bugs, as this will aid in identifying areas for improvement and opportunities to pinpoint the root cause of defects. This process will enable the identification of gaps in current applications and processes and provide insights to evaluate available opportunities.
2. How Do We Promote/Champion It?
The subsequent step involves identifying a group of ambassadors or champions who are aligned with and committed to the DevSecOps mission within the organization. This presents an opportunity to recruit enthusiastic individuals who can bring fresh perspectives to the table. Multiple channels should be utilized to promote the opportunity throughout the organization to attract a diverse group of individuals, including engineers, operations personnel, security specialists, testers, and managers. Ideal candidates should be motivated, eager to learn, adaptable to ambiguity, and adept team players. This cohort will assist in bringing the DevSecOps mission to life and advocating for the cause, facilitating more widespread DevSecOps adoption throughout the enterprise.
3. DevSecOps Strategy
To implement an organization-wide change with DevSecOps, creating a DevSecOps strategy is crucial. This involves instilling a "security-first" mindset in all individuals involved and incorporating security best practices from the beginning. When developing the strategy, it is important to consider priorities, the cost of time and resources, and ensure that efforts are time-bound for successful implementation. The strategy serves to establish alignment on what needs to be achieved as part of the DevSecOps adoption.
4. Leadership Buy-In
Leadership and executives hold a significant responsibility in promoting and embracing DevSecOps, and it is crucial to obtain their buy-in to ensure no other business objective or key result hinders the adoption of DevSecOps in the organization. This is where you present the DevSecOps strategy to the leadership and inform them of the initial setup costs in terms of time, money, and resources. At the same time, it is an opportunity to educate them about the long-term benefits and their impact on the organization.
5. Implementation Phase
The real work begins in the execution phase, where time is of the essence. It is crucial to start small, gather feedback, and iterate. During this phase, the available tools should be evaluated to help expedite the adoption process.
6. Success Criteria and Measurement
Feedback is a crucial aspect of growth in life, starting from childhood, where we receive continuous feedback from our parents that helps us learn and improve our skills. Similarly, in a DevSecOps environment, it is essential to have a system in place for constant feedback to facilitate continuous improvement. Tools such as alarms, dashboards, and monitoring through alerts can help audit applications and detect issues proactively. Additionally, establish an ongoing feedback mechanism, such as quarterly Agile retrospectives or surveys for employees to provide feedback. It is essential to have governance and guardrails in place to measure the success of DevSecOps adoption.
The steps above serve as a roadmap to enable organizations to successfully implement DevSecOps and create secure software right from the outset. Short-term investments made in DevSecOps can yield long-term benefits such as the ability to release better, faster, and more secure products to customers. Continuous feedback mechanisms can facilitate ongoing improvement and iteration. By utilizing DecSecOps, organizations can avoid common pitfalls associated with it and ensure that the integration of DevSecOps represents a cultural shift in their development processes rather than a one-time effort.
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