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Evolution, automation and the future of DevSecOps

October 11, 2021

Automation puts the “Sec” in DevSecOps.


Over the past decade, IT infrastructure has evolved significantly. However, the evolution of security and compliance tools has not kept pace. In a world with increasing security threats and frequent ransomware attacks, most tools can’t test code fast enough for today’s DevOps environments and rapid delivery needs. 


Before the advent of DevOps, the focus was placed on a quality software build, primarily through the linear waterfall approach or the iterative Agile approach. Both methods have benefits, with Agile being the faster, more collaborative approach. But within those development environments, security checks were not usually executed until the final stages of the software development life cycle (SDLC). 


This meant the products would have passed through most of the other stages and been almost entirely developed when engineers performed security checks. Discovering a security vulnerability at such a late stage meant reworking countless lines of code—an agonizingly laborious, time-consuming, and expensive task. Not surprisingly, patching became the preferred fix. Which is not the ideal way to address critical security needs. Therefore, choosing the right security automation tool is crucial to your organization’s DevOps approach


DevSecOps injects security into every stage of development. 

The waterfall model of development used to be the norm in software development. Projects are started with development in mind and not the end-user. A good way to describe waterfall is to make a plan and stick to it throughout the development cycle. It is easy to manage and sequential but not very flexible. On the other hand, Agile is more adaptable throughout the process, more collaborative, faster, and ideal for projects with changing requirements throughout development. Which are most projects. So Agile is today’s norm. 


While it can be used with every development approach, DevOps is best suited to complement and evolve the Agile approach. Both require a cultural shift when it comes to collaboration in the organization. Breaking DevOps down, “Dev” refers to the developer, and “Ops” refers to the users or purpose of the software. So DevOps offers an even more collaborative approach to development that includes its functionality at the user level. 


As software development—and threats to your software—continue to evolve, implementing security mechanisms into your development process becomes increasingly important. The integration of compliance security in DevOps incorporates development, security, and operations into the practice of “DevSecOps.” It automates security deployment during the entire product development lifecycle through design, configuration, testing, implementation, release, and delivery.


The “shift left” testing approach ensures DevSecOps security. 

DevSecOps emphasizes the need to incorporate security into every phase of development, and the “shift left” testing approach ensures security is baked in from the beginning instead of waiting until the final stages of the delivery chain. The obvious advantage of doing this is to identify potential vulnerabilities and work on resolving them sooner. But it also means that security becomes an organic part of the software development process—a conscious and continual effort, rather than a patch at the end. 


Shifting left might temporarily disrupt your existing DevOps process workflow. Overcoming this might be challenging, but it’s definitely a best practice to shift left in the long run if you adopt DevSecOps. By integrating and automating various compliance checks throughout development, organizations create an environment of continuous compliance built upon automated processes and workflows that promote compliance as a requirement, such as Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIGs) and other mandates. 


Everyone is responsible for security compliance in DevSecOps.

 DevSecOps approaches IT with an “everyone is responsible for security” mindset. It goes beyond a waterfall approach to incorporate flexibility and collaboration. And it goes beyond Agile to deepen the collaboration and inject security practices into the process. 

When software updates were released once or twice a year, it was manageable to manually incorporate security checks, but now that is no longer the case. The only way hardening can be done on time is through automation. DevSecOps conceives security and functionality, and quality in each phase of the development process, going beyond Agile to create a cohesive approach to software development that considers a product from every angle, every step of the way. 


Automation makes DevSecOps move at the speed of threats. 

In the universe of automated security tools, ConfigOS stands out. It enables rapid compliance with government security mandates like STIGs—it can scan and remediate issues across any application in any environment in about an hour. And it can significantly reduce time to market for new products and features, build more agility to adapt to internal and external influences, unlock cost savings offered by cloud platforms and eliminate the risk of manual compliance.


Today, security is not simply an add-on to modern infrastructure and application management but a crucial part. That’s why DevSecOps is especially important. Replicating large on-premise test environments and incorporating all of the operating systems necessary can be cost-prohibitive and time-consuming. Having a DevOps environment that allows anyone to quickly set up a large-scale, heterogeneous, sandbox environment to collect real-world results from piloting automated STIG remediation and compliance is groundbreaking. That’s what ConfigOS can do. It’s a formidable ally when projects and the fate of your data are on the line. 


Can automation cure all your DevSecOps challenges? No. But as tools and approaches evolve, it delivers immeasurable impact on the speed, cost, and security of your data in an increasingly threatening world. So as we reach the middle of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, take time to learn more about DevSecOps, automation, and other best practices. And if you have questions about security automation, we are happy to help

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