DevSecOps is Not a Role or Technology: It’s a Culture to Wholly Embrace

Too often during the software development lifecycle, security is being left behind in the name of continuous development and deployment. It’s a huge problem that leaves organizations susceptible to increasingly sophisticated attackers and a big reason why we continue to see serious breaches that compromise sensitive information. By essentially making security an afterthought, organizations are leaving the proverbial door open for attackers – and it’s become a systemic problem. But the culture of DevSecOps, also often referred to SecDevOOps and secure DevOps, is starting to turn the tide and helping organizations proactively address security vulnerabilities before they become a problem.

The important word to remember here is “culture.” DevOps and DevSecOps are not job titles, roles or technologies, they’re significant shifts in thinking and processes. An organization cannot just buy or hire its way into DevOps, and the same holds true for DevSecOps. Organizations that want to fuel innovation – while still treating security as a priority – need to fully embrace the DevSecOps culture.

The first step of implementing a successful DevSecOps strategy requires fielding a team of players in different positions. Just like you need pitchers, catchers and others to win a baseball game, you need people in development, IT operations, security and other roles to “win” at DevSecOps. There needs to be a collaborative and inclusive movement that encourages individuals to work with people in other positions and step outside the traditional channels.

One of the key hurdles to achieving this is the fact that security has traditionally been viewed as a barrier to velocity and innovation. Security has always worked separately from the development and IT teams due to cultural, and sometimes language, differences. But just as working individually isn’t a success strategy on the baseball field, it won’t work in DevSecOps, and the team you put together can either carry you to success or get stuck along the way and fall short of expectations.

Difficulty in communication and collaboration, finger pointing and a lack of enthusiasm for the common goals of the team are generally early warning signs that a DevSecOps initiative is not going well. In order to be successful, everyone needs to work together and embrace the team effort towards a common goal.

The Right Strategy to Succeed
While it’s true that you can’t buy or hire your way into a successful DevSecOps environment, providing the right tools and structure to support a team in its cultural shift is just as important. For example, embracing automation and orchestration is a very effective strategy for removing barriers and allowing the different “positions” on a team to work together more easily.

This is one place where ZeroNorth excels – our platform is built to bridge the gap between developers, IT operations and security operations teams. We understand all parties are focused on ensuring that security is integrated into the software development process in a manner that doesn’t impede the the fast delivery of new software. In fact, our engineers understand the challenges of DevSecOps just well as anyone, because they are DevSecOps engineers, working every day to support the development methodology that they practice themselves.

There’s a continuous disconnect that exists across teams as they strive to identify vulnerabilities. This overall needs to be more streamlined without messing around with the speed at which the developers operate. It’s important to understand the tools that can classify vulnerabilities differently, having its own console and requires a dedicated employee to manage it. At the end of the day, organizations can still only cover a fraction of the environment, finding a need for a solution that provides a comprehensive and real-time discovery and remediation process. By using DevSecOps, this will help scale while, at the same time, provide continuous visibility into application and infrastructure risks.

The biggest takeaway is that DevSecOps is going to become mainstream. Solutions like this exist, facilitating and enabling companies to embark on a journey. Adapting to a culture that plays a part in providing a comprehensive offering instead of building something that is outside of and detracts from your core business will show positive results. Regardless of the approach, take this seriously, formulate a practical plan and execute it one step at a time.

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