A padlock sits on a computer keyboard, indicating the importance of DevSecOps.

DevSecOps - 101

DevOps is a portmanteau of “development” and “operations,” and is based on the premise that operations should be more tightly integrated into the software development process. DevSecOps takes this notion one step further by including security as well. As the name suggests, DevSecOps stands for “development, security, and operations.”

The central idea of DevSecOps is that matters of IT security should be tightly bound into the software development process, just as DevOps proposes to do for operations.

More specifically, DevSecOps seeks to make security a key component of the CI/CD pipeline throughout the software development lifecycle—in particular, by automating the security testing process. DevSecOps incorporates security as a mandatory component of each stage of the DevOps process: planning, coding, building, testing, releasing, and deploying.

The methods of achieving the goals of DevSecOps may include:

    • Including security features as core tasks for developers to work on (e.g., as part of an agile sprint).

    • Running security tests alongside other automated software tests (e.g., unit tests, integration tests, performance tests, etc.).

    • Scanning the software code base for security vulnerabilities with automated tools such as SonarQube and Snyk.

Why should businesses know DevSecOps?

Historically, security issues have unfortunately been an afterthought for too many software development teams. Developers only examined the application for security flaws and vulnerabilities after it was released—if they ever got around to it.

This approach has several risks. Users who learn that an application has security issues are significantly more likely to abandon that application for a competitor. If a security hole remains undetected or unpatched, malicious actors can exploit it to hack into a network or steal confidential information. Businesses that become victims of cyberattacks or data breaches can suffer long-term reputational damage, fines, and regulatory action.

DevSecOps is intended to be an upheaval to this paradigm, baking in security as a fundamental concern throughout the development process. By implementing DevSecOps, businesses can enjoy advantages such as:

    • Improved security posture: DevSecOps makes security a non-optional priority for software development teams, ensuring that potential vulnerabilities are fixed more quickly.

    • Lower costs: DevSecOps helps businesses get their software to market faster and avoid the costly repercussions of security flaws.

    • Greater efficiency and productivity: DevSecOps automates much of the security testing process, giving developers back more of their time.

    • More predictability: DevSecOps makes an organization’s security policies clearly defined and predictable by including them as part of the software pipeline.

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(Image courtesy: Unsplash)

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