Synack: DevSecOps Being Accelerated by Cultural Shifts

The 2020 State of Compliance and Security Testing Report from cybersecurity testing platform vendor Synack claims that some of the world’s largest organizations are encountering a significant cultural shift within their development teams, and that bodes well for those seeking to build DevSecOps teams. For the report, Synack surveyed leaders from more than 300 organizations representing a number of industries and verticals, including technology, government, health care, information technology and financial services.

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According to the report, a large percentage of organizations and institutions are moving toward a rigorous, continuous testing model to ensure compliance. As part of this shift, organizations are utilizing crowdsourced security testing to achieve regulatory compliance and real security, with adoption expected to increase four-fold in 2020.

Perhaps those companies are being driven by numerous new regulations on the horizon, including the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), PCI DSS 4.0, New York’s SHIELD Act and other proposed data compliance regulations. Or perhaps the shift toward continuous crowdsourced security testing is being driven by the failures some organizations have encountered with traditional security testing methods, which were performed less frequently and failed to keep up with the CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous delivery) pipelines that many organizations have embraced.

Simply put, Agile and DevOps application development and delivery methodologies were poorly served by the traditional, siloed security testing methodologies of the past. A realization that has driven many organizations to embrace the DevSecOps model, in which cybersecurity becomes part of the overall team, having equal standing with both development and operations team members.

Organizations pushing ahead with the DevSecOps model quickly realized that security toolsets and team member interactions must change to be successful. Synack’s research bears that out, and the report offers that the adoption of continuous security testing platforms is expected to increase by 4X in 2020.

“The rapid embrace of crowdsourced security testing has happened because it is proven to work better than traditional security testing methods and addresses the ever-growing talent gap within organizations,” said Synack CTO and co-founder Mark Kuhr.

The report found security testing is becoming part of an organization’s normal routine, rather than a once-a-year check of the box focused only on compliance. According to the report, 44% of the organizations and institutions surveyed perform security tests on a monthly or weekly basis, suggesting that they are moving toward a continuous model, which is further enabled by crowdsourced solutions.

The report also revealed that some 63% of organizations commonly use external vendors to identify and reduce vulnerabilities. However, 52% experience unwanted cost and complexity due to overlap in functionality from using multiple security vendors. Those two data points demonstrate that simplification provided by leveraging a single security testing platform could deliver savings. Synack claims crowdsourced security testing solutions provide 147% higher ROI than a typical pen test and can decrease the burden of testing on organizations by reducing the signal-noise ratio.

“This shift toward continuous crowdsourced security testing will allow organizations and institutions to have the best of both worlds by procuring technology that offers efficient and effective results while fulfilling best practice standards such as NIST 800-53 to meet compliance objectives,” said Kuhr.

“Although we are seeing a move toward a 24/7, 365 security culture at organizations in a wide variety of industries and geographies, there is still ample room for improvement,” said Aisling MacRunnels, Synack’s CMO. “Our survey found that on average, most security tests are lasting just 20 hours. As the number of cyber incidents continues to increase, it will be imperative for decision-makers to implement security testing solutions on a continuous basis with 1500-2000 hours of testing a year.”

Those increased testing requirements will ultimately become the foundation to build a DevSecOps culture in most any organization bound by compliance regulations.


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