Will Quick and Security Ever Meet in DevOps?

Will Quick and Security Ever Meet in DevOps?

Through the lens of data presented by the 2019 State of DevOps report, this article analyzes the relationship between speed, security, and DevOps.

The adoption of DevOps by global enterprises has spiked in the last three years. While many companies have shown success by delivering software at break-neck speed, maintaining new security as per industry standards has been a pressing concern for all of them.

But why is this the case?

Traditionally in the waterfall model, security activities of a new software were started just before/after the day of deployment. There was no problem in this process because the delivery cycle itself was a quarter-long activity. But with DevOps, when the lead time is reduced to days, and delivery throughput has increased (at least 10-100 deployment per day), security and compliance teams find it hard to keep up with the pace. 


There are two outcomes: 

  • The pace of delivery can slow down due to the inability of the Security team to walk with the same velocity
  • Security standards can be given the cold shoulder to deliver critical business features
  • Both the compromising cases are detrimental to any organization, although unequivocally, businesses prefer the second option with attached security risks.
  • Why can't organizations transfer the idea from “Security or Delivery” to “Security and Delivery”?

Security is essential but not a priority: Software features are seen as a competitive differentiator among enterprises. Security is seen just as a guardrail or as a practice, and usually takes a long time to accomplish, hence is not prioritized.

Time to market is a priority: With increasing pressure to deploy new features to unlock new business opportunities, it is natural to incur risks and implement the feature with non-crippling bugs. 

Everyone forgets: (this is my favorite) During my development days, there were few instances when I wrote a code that fulfilled just an immediate requirement but with a fair chance to mushroom new functional issues. Those codes were shipped to production with a thought that defects will be fixed later. Unfortunately, everyone forgot and resulted in technical debt.

Less guidance: There are a few vendors in the market who offer expertise and solutions on secured and continuous delivery.

The Emergence of DevSecOps

The DevOps process runs like a high-speed engine, and stopping it again and again for security checks is ineffective. Thus it is sensible to embed security into DevOps processes and ensure the software is safe and secure in real-time. This idea is called DevSecOps. 

DevSecOps can assure organizations that the shipment of their software and services to production are trusted. The practice can ensure the security of applications and infrastructure from the beginning and avoid DevOps workflow from slowing down by using automation.

Let us understand the security types and how they can be integrated into DevOps.

There are three types of security concerns (as defined in State of DevOps report 2019): Vulnerability Risks AvoidancePolicy Controls& Countermeasures, and Audit and Traceability. They play a significant role in zeroing down the business risks during the software delivery runtime.

devops continuous delivery devsecops ci/cd continuous deployment audit policy compliance automation secdevops

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