DevOps and SecOps: The Perks of Collaboration

Source – csoonline.com

A quick search on the term DevOps shines a very telling light on where people see the value in this practice. Some proponents see DevOps as a faster path to market. Some feel that DevOps encourages faster innovation. Others suggest that entire organizations can literally move faster by virtue of using DevOps for product development. And still others who even think DevOps is TOO fast. Clearly, it’s all about speed, baby.

There’s nothing wrong with getting things done fast — especially in the midst of demanding markets with brutal competition. DevOps provides fantastic results for organizations willing to build their product and IT delivery on the model. The rapid delivery of infrastructure, code, and data has powered an array of startups who are using customer feedback to propel them beyond incumbent players. Through continuous integration of systems, user experiences, and behaviors, DevOps adopters are better equipped to serve their customers and predict growing needs. As both a business and technology model, it’s hard to disagree with the methodology and practice behind it.

Yet, this focus on speed has often resulted in short-shrift being given to proper security practices. For a team that’s desperately trying to keep pace with new revs and beat competitors to market, the sometimes detailed work involved with security gets bypassed in favor of shortcuts and quick fixes. That unfortunately can open holes and risks that lead to major vulnerabilities.

In a 2016 study conducted by digital certificate company Venafi, 79% of CIOs surveyed indicated that they “expect the speed of DevOps to make it more difficult to know what is trusted and what is not.” DevOps will continue to prevail as a development and deployment framework, but the speed metric by which it is measured must find a happy relationship with the need for the accuracy metric that dictates security.

Security and the people who manage it share some culpability in this. Most security solutions in use now were built to address an outdated model; they cater to decades-old computer architectures and are subsequently proprietary, slow, and resource-intensive. In most organizations, SecOps evolves slowly and are not prepared to address today’s cloud-centric world, where security solutions must be agile, lightweight, loosely coupled, and extensible.

One way that DevOps teams can expand their purview is through the context of security. Ultimately, they need to assess all new data within the context of the controls and compliance requirements that were first introduced during initial development. These teams must evaluate their original threat model with their new environment. For organizations using the cloud, this means updating their defense strategy with the limitations and requirements needed to operate in the cloud. It also means that if they adapt both their development and security operations, they can take advantage of continuous monitoring and automated remediation.

There is some good news, however. With both DevOps and SecOps thought leaders are finding common ground through a marriage of the two and it’s driving a mindset of innovation, speed, and security. DevOps and security teams are collaborating internally rather than remaining stuck in the requestor/approver relationships. This signals an increased attention by organizations to aligning their security goals with the delivery of their products.

This new mindset really amounts to a discipline we can call DevSecOps. It is accelerating security intelligence to keep pace with continuously updated cloud environments that enable teams to detect problems faster, respond faster, and protect their resources more effectively.

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