What Does DevSecOps Mean?
DevSecOps is a strategy for ensuring security throughout the software application development and operations lifecycle. DevOps breaks down the walls between software development and information technology (IT) operations teams. DevSecOps takes this idea a step further by making sure security measures a given a high priority throughout the development pipeline.
Previously, many software development teams ran security checks at the end of the development pipeline. The practice of running security tests last led to frequent errors — and applications with weak security. When security was not integrated into every step of the development lifecycle, it also created bottlenecks that impacted rollouts for new applications as well as updates for legacy applications.
DevSecOps places a high importance on automated testing, which makes it more likely these issues will be found and rectified before they have the chance to grow into larger issues. This improves the experience for the end user and increases the overall successes of a development pipeline.
Techopedia Explains DevSecOps
A DevSecOps mentality provides the emphasis on data security needed to ensure every update supports a stable system.
Data security has always been important, but it has become even more of a focus over the last few years. Many companies were forced into a digital transformation during the pandemic, leading to an increased reliance on technology. Cybercriminals used this to their benefit. In the first year of the pandemic, the FBI saw reports of cybercrime jump by one million.
An optimized development pipeline helps companies quickly introduce updates to their system to shore up potential data security vulnerabilities. However, this is only successful if the updates themselves are secure.
DevSecOps vs. DevOps
DevOps workflows focus on proper planning, production, testing, integration, and deployment of an update or application. The goal is to produce a project as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality. Security considerations are usually addressed toward the end of this process, retrofitting the project to make it secure.
DevSecOps features the same emphasis on speed and quality as DevOps, with the only difference being data security considerations are addressed throughout the pipeline instead of just at the end. This can be done through processes such as threat modeling, incident response management and common weakness enumeration.
The most obvious benefit is that the updates and applications produced through a DevSecOps pipeline will be secure. However, that’s not all. Incorporating security considerations throughout the pipeline reduces the amount of time the team will need to spend going back over and fixing work that’s already been done. In turn, this increases the speed at which an application can be produced — while also reducing the overall cost of the project.
Development project stakeholders are likely to see failed deployments or issues in live environments if bugs and errors aren’t found early in the pipeline.
Those working within a DevOps framework will already have much of the infrastructure in place to switch to a DevSecOps model. The main challenge will be reframing the mindset of the team members to consider data security while planning and building out the application or update.
Organizations that don’t currently use DevOps will have more of a transition in front of them to move to a DevSecOps strategy. The main challenge will be sourcing proper DevSecOps tools that will streamline operations, optimize results, and support data security efforts. Automated tools for continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) and static code analysis will need to be incorporated into the development pipeline.
Creating a DevSecOps Culture
Establishing a DevSecOps culture ensures security considerations are prioritized from the planning phase all the way through production. An integrated approach to cybersecurity provides better accountability, as well as more secure software applications and updates.
It's important to understand that DevSecOps is not a yes or no choice – it can be thought of as a journey that needs to be continually refined, updated and analyzed. Every iteration of DevSecOps is going to be different, because the needs of each development project will vary.
In this interdisciplinary approach to software development, the constant goal is to streamline and optimize development processes. It’s important for information technology (IT) managers to frame the team’s view of DevSecOps as a path without an end. Although the path will have many turns, and no two paths will be the same, everyone who walks the path will be rewarded with applications and updates that support higher levels of data security.