What is DevSecOps?

DevSecOps is the evolution of the DevOps philosophy. It is a concept that injects security into the software development lifecycle. If DevOps is about increasing the level of communication between development and operations, then DevSecOps is about inviting security into the conversation. 

Before there was DevOps, organizations would divide work and communicate internally, but hardly ever between teams. When one team completed their tasks, they would pass it to the next team, throwing it over the proverbial “wall”, assuming that their job was done and they had nothing else to do with the project. The security team was often clued in at the end of the project, much like an afterthought. This lack of communication caused confusion and conflict between teams, slowed down production time and introduced more vulnerable products to the consumer. This, of course, consequently affected the path of value for companies. 

DevSecOps Model Old Way

When the DevOps methodology came about, it revolutionized the way teams worked together, with the goal of getting product and development to talk to operations. The advent of DevSecOps placed security into the big picture and allowed all involved teams to work together from development to end product – a stronger, more efficient and more resilient end product.

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How do you implement DevSecOps?

If you are pushing for digital transformation and looking to mature your engineering practices, implementing DevSecOps from no foundation could be daunting. New Context has helped many companies take those giant steps. Here are some of the things that we have learned:

Don’t Try This Alone

If you have little to no experience or haven’t been part of another DevOps team (or its equivalent), get to know people who have. The DevSecOps community is vast, supportive and constantly growing. You can begin with online resources (we recommend DevOps.com) to better understand the concepts. Whether you come to us or reach out to another organization make sure that you take steps to get more acquainted with the broader DevSecOps community.

Iterate and Test and Test and Test…

As you build out your new software pipeline, testing becomes the core piece that protects your infrastructure. Learn to see build failure as a good thing, rather than a setback. Each failure reveals an opportunity to learn, which allows you to build a stronger product. The stronger your tests the stronger your software, and the more secure it can potentially be.

The Automation of Trust

The implementation of security and compliance automation reduces overhead involved in the management of your software and infrastructure. Look to see how you can build a process to implement your security policy as code. Take your compliance controls and build them into your release pipeline. This increases both efficiency and consistency and will reduce the risk of introducing potential security flaws, making it a more trustworthy product.

Communicate, Communicate – And When You’re Done Communicating, Communicate Some More.

Making an organizational shift is not easy. There are a lot of complexities for running and putting together a new way of doing business. Each of your team members will also mature and approach the transformation in different ways. The key is to make sure everyone walks the path together. A regular cadence of Standups and Retrospectives can go a long way to helping your organization stay connected. But be mindful when using digital tools, as they may hinder the delivery of voice inflection, eye contact and mood, all of which are vital during critical discussions.

Have a Principled Approach

Have a principled framework that works for your organization. This will allow your people a constant reference for the work they do. Our Lean Security Manifesto outlines the 4 principles that we adhere to for keeping everyone focused: Awareness, Simplification, Automation and Measurement. Having these 4 core values top of mind has enabled us to become consistent in the solutions we provide for our customers no matter who in our company is engaging with them.

Feedback Loops

Build constant feedback loops that give you viability in the process. Make sure that you track and analyze the key performance indicators (KPIs) that determine your success. Once you’ve finished analyzing, make the necessary adjustments to improve your product or project. Rinse and repeat.

Why DevSecOps?

Increased Velocity

With proper DevSecOps implementation, the automation of processes will not only allow you to develop more efficiently, but it will also strengthen your software, which means a better product reaching the market faster. A better product equates to happy customers, ensuring your ability to compete in the market.

Reduced Risk

Early implementation of compliance and security ensures a better code base and stronger security posture. Taking a more proactive approach to catching bugs and defects decreases vulnerability. You will also be able to respond to incidents significantly faster if you begin developing your product with the risks in mind.

Simply put, the early integration of security tooling into the software development process ensures a better product. When running automated tests, security tests are also run. When new features are in the design phase, security questions are asked, such as:

  • Is this feature going to attract bad actors?
  • Are there people that will want to do bad things with our software if we allow this good thing to happen?
  • If so, how can we prevent that?

Security needs to be closely involved from the “aha” to the “cha-ching”.

In the end, incorporating security early in the process can reduce headaches and budget overrun.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of DevSecOps

Our Lean Security Methodology is foundational to DevSecOps. We ask ourselves: How can we run our organization efficiently and securely? With DevSecOps, we similarly ask: How do we use the Lean Security methodology in a tech perspective to bring products to market? The answer is the same: By maximizing empowerment, ability to innovate, collaboration and communication within an organization.