DevSecOps: What is DevSecOps and what is it used for?
In agile software development , product security is playing an increasingly important role. In an age when both integration and delivery aspire to be continuous ( continuous integration, continuous delivery ), the challenge of the development process should not be underestimated. For this reason, more and more companies adopt the DevOps approach that intertwines from the beginning the process of development ( development ) and implementation or operations ( operations ) , and extend it with components of security ( security ) : hence the acronym DevSecOps . It is, therefore, a solution to many day-to-day problems in software companies and, in addition, takes into account both speed and security expectations in product development.
DevSecOps – Definition
DevSecOps enables optimal use of the agility and speed of reaction offered by the DevOps approach . In this system, security mechanisms are integrated into the process from the beginning of development . This is one of the clear differences between the DevSecOps system and conventional approaches, in which security teams usually apply the corresponding measures after the product itself has been finalized.
What concept is DevSecOps based on?
With the DevSecOps method, maximum security is also guaranteed when working with the agile and rapid development methods linked to continuous delivery or continuous delivery and continuous integration or continuous integration . To achieve this, security requirements, which are usually very high, must be part of the process from the programming phase. In this sense, it is essential that there is very good communication between the teams in charge of IT security, development and operations . For this reason, the interdisciplinary nature of the process is key to achieving a good implementation.
Why is DevSecOps so important?
For some years now, security has been gaining more and more importance in the field of software development & technology. Especially when it comes to short development processes, which have to happen faster and faster between releases, meeting security standards is a challenge.. In this context, if security is left until last, after the development phase itself, such standards may not be achieved. In many cases, companies have to choose between a high level of security, which requires a large investment of time, or short launch cycles that forgo security. Faced with these options, many companies decide on the second. DevSecOps, on the other hand, offers a solution that combines the advantages of the previous two: a high level of security and short product launch cycles .
How does DevSecOps benefit both customers and businesses?
Older methods of integrating security mechanisms and protocols are unmatched by their newer and faster counterparts in agile software development . To achieve the necessary security in short development and release processes, it is essential to actively integrate security aspects and attach importance to them already from the software development phase . Unfortunately, only a few companies adhere to this principle. In those that do not, negligence is easily discovered: as a result, in some products with short development cycles, security is neglected and the consequent gaps must then be repaired, emergency and provisionally, with so-called one- day patches .
To ensure high security standards, therefore, companies have two options: either pay the price, as they have done before, for long development cycles, or apply the DevSecOps method to achieve the desired goal.
DevSecOps in practice: an example
We can present the concepts explained so far with a practical example of the day-to-day life of a particular user. Let’s imagine an accounting application that allows you to manage income and expenses from your smartphone : record them, classify them and mark them with different colors, for example.Since it is not very sensitive data, the security aspects do not have much relevance.
However, if the application is later expanded with a function that allows purchase tickets to be scanned and processed automatically, things change: a lot of data would then be collected and analyzed on servers, so communication security and security would be very important. data processing . In a case like this, relegating security mechanisms to the end of the process would delay the launch of the new feature by perhaps half a year.
Now suppose that we want to add another function to the application: the integration of expenses incurred online . In this case, it is about processing extremely sensitive data , so that the implementation of the necessary security standards can take more than a year. This period of time would give you a great advantage over the competition, so that the product in question would probably have lost interest when it reached the market.
With the DevSecOps methodology, on the other hand, the security mechanisms are already integrated in the programming and development phases. In this way, the time to launch can be greatly shortened without having to compromise on security. In fact, the level of security even tends to increase by incorporating the corresponding measures already from the programming, instead of applying them as a security kit on the product already closed. In this way, the company benefits from shorter cycles between versions and users, for their part, from frequent software updates .
DevSecOps benefits in the development process
The advantages that DevSecOps offers are obvious. Companies that, guided by increasing demand for new products and market challenges, decide to apply modern DevOps to the development of their products, often reach unexpected speeds in the production and launch of new versions. However, this method, by itself, does not take into account security measures, which are usually integrated later, once the product is finished. This way of proceeding can not only cause problems in the operation of the software , but it also tends to greatly lengthen the time until its launch on the market.
On the contrary, if the security elements are integrated already from the development phase, the results are different: the process hardly takes longer, since security issues can also be subjected to automation and monitoring mechanisms. In addition, the different teams in charge of development and operations become familiar with the security factors and apply them from the beginning, thus preventing possible security breaches. In this way, secure and stable software versions are created in a short time , which can be made directly available to customers. Thus, both customers and companies benefit from the new possibilities.
Drawbacks and pitfalls of DevSecOps
As with DevOps, whether DevSecOps is properly and efficiently implemented depends on how teams and members of the company adapt to the change it brings. Without an open and interconnected business structure that facilitates communication between teams and departments , the DevSecOps concept cannot work. For this reason, it is important that the management, in addition to communicating the advantages that the new system brings with it, involve the different departments and workers in making decisions that entail changes.
The possible rejection of some workers towards the new system (for example, if they were against including security experts in the development process) could greatly complicate the process.
Bottom line: a good implementation offers many benefits
The implementation of important security measures plays an essential role in the field of software development and also, directly, in computer operations. Relegating security measures until the end of development not only means delaying the product launch further, it opens the door to potential flaws that even a thorough review may not be able to fix. With the DevSecOps methodology, on the other hand, security elements are incorporated already from the development phase of the program, as well as updates and new versions: in this way the time required to create a safe product is shortened and, thanks to automated controls, quality is greatly increased. Therefore, the best way in which companies can take advantage of the DevOps concept is by jointly implementing DevSecOps, that is, incorporating security measures into software and data from the beginning of their development.