DevSecOps or development, security, and operations, is an approach that automates the introduction of security at every phase of the software development life cycle, from initial design through integration, testing, deployment, and software delivery.
It involves injecting security practices earlier on in the software development lifecycle, with the goal of automating, monitoring and incorporating security into all stages of the software development workflow.
In the past, security was added to software almost as an afterthought at the end of the development cycle by a separate security team and was tested by a separate quality team. Although this was manageable back when software updates were released once or twice a year, it isn’t as effective in the present day where the software development cycle has been reduced to weeks or even days.
Having security incorporated and monitored earlier in the continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) workflow prevents the time-sensitive, and often costly, consequences of making a security fix after the software has been deployed.
DevSecOps also enhances communication and collaboration between development and operations teams to integrate security teams in the software delivery cycle. As a result, every employee and team is responsible for security from the outset and must therefore make decisions efficiently and put them into action without forfeiting security.
How DevSecOps works
Below is a typical DevSecOps workflow:
- Software is developed using a version control system.
- Different team members analyze the changes made to the application for security weaknesses, overall code quality and possible bugs.
- The application is deployed within security configurations.
- Automation is used to test the application’s back end, user interface, integrations and security.
- If the application passes the tests, it is moved to the production environment.
- In the production environment, various monitoring applications and security software monitor the application.
Benefits of DevSecOps
When it comes to software development, DevSecOps ensures early identification and correction of vulnerabilities in code and the end result is improved quality and security of software.
Below are the benefits that come with implementing DevSecOps:
Improved software security
Implementation of DevSecOps introduces cybersecurity processes early on in the beginning of the software development lifecycle. The code is reviewed, audited, scanned and tested for security issues throughout the development lifecycle, and any security issues are addressed as soon as they are identified. Furthermore, more security is put in place to ensure added protection.
In addition, the collaboration of the development, security and operations teams improves the organization’s response in case a security issue arises. This in turn reduces the time needed to patch up the vulnerabilities and ensures that the software security is high quality.
Rapid and cost-effective software delivery
When software is developed without the implementation of DevSecOps, security problems may take a long time to fix resulting in delays. Development organizations that code with security in mind from the outset find it easier and incur lower costs to catch and fix vulnerabilities before they go too far into production or after release. This proves to be time saving, efficient and cost-effective.
Challenges in implementing DevSecOps
Some of the top challenges faced when implementing DevSecOps are as follows:
Difference of tools
In most cases where the development, security and operations teams have been running separately, it is likely that they have been working with different metrics and tools. The challenge with implementing DevSecOps arises when selecting the right tools and integrating properly to build, test, and deploy software contionously.
Reluctance of teams to integrate
In organizations where development and operations teams are accustomed to working independently in the development process, integrating these teams will prove to be a complex issue. It might be necessary to train the DevOps team in order to have them better understand security practices and provide them with knowledge on how to use the security tools.
If done right, the implementation of DevSecOps can be fruitful to an organization, with benefits such as; better collaboration among teams, high quality software, improved software security, and faster software delivery time.
Has your organization considered implementing DevSecOps?
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