DevSecOps and Beyond: The Evolution of DevOps

Since its introduction, DevOps has made concepts like continuous integration and continuous delivery commonplace and encouraged organisations to be more agile.
As DevOps has matured and become more mainstream, the approach has gradually begun to evolve and now, it looks likely to revolutionise enterprise IT. DevOps’ increasing popularity can be attributed to a number of factors, including the fact it adapts quickly, so the cost of change is low, allows businesses to add cross-functionality collaborations and enables them to work at a much higher speed. However, perhaps the most notable reason for its widespread adoption is that it allows organisations to capture all processes in an auditable and replicable way. A similar evolution is also underway in the cloud world with more intelligent tools being made available. This is allowing developers to follow up DevOps processes with more discipline and become more efficient, which has led to the emergence of DevSecOps.

What is DevSecOps?
Until recently, the issue of security is one aspect of DevOps that has been largely overlooked, often due to the underlying pressure for the rapid creation of solutions and for these to be deployed quickly. Consequently, this has meant that security hasn’t always been a priority as including this at development stage hinders speed. Instead, security had commonly been retrofitted after a build, but this approach makes the process more difficult. As developers and organisations have begun to realise that this isn’t the most security-conscious or optimal way of going about it, we are now seeing some integrate security into DevOps from the outset. This has become known as DevSecOps. By adopting a DevSecOps approach, developers can alleviate any security issues at the time of development.

DevSecOps also allows for siloes to be broken down within businesses. Currently, DevOps breaks down any barriers between developers and operations teams, but by adding security into the picture, there will be greater collaboration across the company. This will ensure that all the relevant expertise is available and can be utilised throughout development.

Embracing DevSecOps
Before an organisation can implement a DevSecOps approach, they must first adopt the right mindset. It’s important that they realise that security is a transformative power in the development of solutions and encourage collaboration across the business. Often, developers are focused solely on aspects like logic and algorithms, and security is an afterthought. However, with DevSecOps, it’s vital that security experts are involved from the beginning and the different parties collaborate on the development of solutions. By embracing a culture of wider collaborations, it will be possible for organisations to create a secure, stable, resilient solution with an end result that will pay dividends.

Another key principle of DevSecOps is to continually review security. This means compliance monitoring for PCI and GDPR, determining what the process is if security senses a threat and deciding how the business will assess if code is susceptible to a particular vulnerability. In order to do this successfully, it’s important for an organisation to establish a review process from the moment it thinks about architecting a new solution. From here, it can move to ongoing monitoring and management of security as the code progresses through every stage, from the developer desk to the building of the solution and the testing of it. It’s also vital to ensure developers are given training and are taught to be aware of security throughout the development journey.

What’s next for DevOps?
What’s next in the evolution of DevOps is unclear at this stage, however, there are two main possibilities. Firstly, in the future, there could be NoOps. This is the concept that solutions will feature everything they are required to, such as code standards, security, libraries and legislation protocols, from the outset and that things will be completely automated. This will mean that people are only required to monitor and raise questions as they verify the software. Technically, as everything would be automated within the software provisioning pipeline, there would be no need for manual, human-based operations. This could potentially guarantee a higher level of security and resilience as everything would meet a certain standard.

The second prediction is that rather than DevOps disappearing altogether, different types of Ops could emerge. For instance, Ops could be augmented by machine learning (ML), or MLOps could be developed to form a machine learning-driven operation that would be able to certify the standards that organisations want software to be written with and even flag issues with it.

While it remains to be seen which of these predictions will come true, with technology continuing to advance at pace and organisations becoming more familiar with DevOps, it’s likely DevOps will begin to encompass new technologies. It’s also likely that the multiple aspects of building a new solution will be incorporated, which will require even greater collaboration across organisations. Ultimately, these developments will make for more efficient processes and ensure that new solutions meet the required standards and security from the outset.

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