What is DevSecOps?

DevSecOps is a cross-team collaboration framework that integrates security into DevOps processes from the start rather than waiting to address security in a separate silo. With an integrated DevSecOps approach, organizations can reduce security risk without derailing development timelines.

But what exactly does this mean? How is it different from DevOps, and what’s next for the relationship between development, security, and operations within enterprises?

What is DevSecOps? The tactical trifecta: development + security + operations

DevSecOps initiatives aren’t rooted in a specific technology. Rather, they’re about tactics. Companies can choose whatever combination of infrastructure, platforms, and software will help them best achieve continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) of new apps and services while simultaneously baking in security measures. Put simply, achieving DevSecOps is a cultural change — not a matter of components. Helping everyone work together toward a common goal boils down to a simple mission statement: Everyone is responsible for security.

In practice, DevSecOps connects three disciplines: development, security, and operations. Each has its own role to play in successfully implementing this tactical trifecta at scale.

DevSecOps

Development

Development teams create and iterate on new software applications. This includes custom, built-in-house apps designed for a single, specific purpose, API-driven connections that bridge the gap between legacy systems and new services, and innovative apps that leverage open-source code to streamline processes.

Modern development practices rely on agile models that prioritize continuous improvement versus sequential, waterfall-type steps. If developers work in isolation without considering operations and security, new applications or features may introduce operational issues or security vulnerabilities that can be expensive and time-consuming to address.

Operations

Operations refers to the processes of managing software functionality throughout its delivery and use life cycle, including monitoring system performance, repairing defects, testing after updates and changes, and tuning the software release system. DevOps has gained ground in recent years as a way to combine key operational principles with development cycles, recognizing that these two processes must coexist. Siloed post-development operations can make it easier to identify and address potential problems, however, this method requires developers to circle back and solve software issues before they can move forward with new development, which creates a complex road map instead of a streamlined software solution.

Implementing operations in parallel with software development processes allows organizations to reduce deployment time and increase overall efficiency.

Security

As teams realize the benefits and efficiency of the DevOps model, application security represents a new frontier in streamlined software development. Application security has historically been addressed after development is completed. However, this method comes with problems. First, security teams working in silos often slow down the development process. Second, static vulnerability scans, the traditional security method applied by security teams, can miss runtime context, causing teams to waste time fixing vulnerabilities that aren’t actually exposed, and missing vulnerabilities that may be exposed under specific runtime conditions.

By making application security part of a unified DevSecOps process, from initial design to eventual implementation, organizations can align the three most important components of software creation and delivery.

Environmental forces

IT environments exist in a state of almost constant change. The rapid adoption of cloud computing and container-based architectures, the massive uptake of mobile devices, and the evolution of AI-driven software intelligence solutions to keep track of them make up just a few examples — static solutions simply can’t scale. And while cloud-native environments introduce exponentially higher complexity, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

The same holds true of DevSecOps initiatives. Aligning security best practices — such as continual testing, vulnerability assessment, and A/B evaluations — sets the stage for better outcomes. Adopting new cultural practices can be involved, so companies should assess what’s involved before making the shift. For instance, it may be necessary to re-skill or up-skill development teams in security best practices. Enterprises may also want to deploy technologies capable of detecting and reporting security vulnerabilities regardless of where they appear in the application stack.

Challenge accepted

Security is a never-ending mission, especially as cloud computing technologies themselves are constantly evolving. DevSecOps offers a way for enterprises to begin building an effective security strategy to meet these challenges head-on. By making application security part of the development and operations process, organizations remove additional steps and streamline the process of delivering value to customers. When application security starts with the first line of code and becomes integral to the development and delivery process, organizations can create DevSecOps initiatives that deliver critical insights and clear pathways to remediation in real time.

What is DevSecOps? It’s a tactical and cultural shift designed to develop cohesive, agile, and adaptive IT processes at scale.

Learn more about the new Dynatrace Application Security module and how Dynatrace is helping organizations accelerate their DevSecOps initiatives.

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