Software development companies typically merge software development (Dev) and information technology operations (Ops) to create high-quality products and services faster than typical software development processes.
Also known as DevOps, this common industry practice improves collaboration between and among information technology (IT) professionals with various specializations. Lately, however, security has been integrated into the DevOps approach, resulting in a more comprehensive software development approach called DevSecOps. This new approach aims to address security-related issues plaguing software development companies. At the very core, this is important as the rate at which software products are made can make it vulnerable to cyberattacks in the future.
What Is DevSecOps?
Similar to the DevOps method, this new approach to creating a software product makes use of agility and continuous integration, as well as continuous delivery. Unlike the traditional software development approach where a security team only participates once a product has already been completed, DevSecOps incorporates security while the software is being developed.
That being said, an interdepartmental approach between the security, development, and IT teams is essential to the success of the project.
Why Is DevSecOps Essential?
The integration of security in the DevOps approach helps prevent security-related problems later on in the process. In essence, DevSecOps enables the security team to perform application security testing and identify software bugs and other vulnerabilities while the software is being created, leading to further reduction of hours spent troubleshooting the application at a later stage.
How Does DevSecOps work?
As already mentioned, traditional software processes dictate that security testing activities only occur after the software or application has been created. This standard practice can further delay the deployment of a product or service, or, worse, scrap the release altogether because of security vulnerabilities that otherwise could have been prevented if DevSecOps was used.
In more concrete terms, the project manager should first ensure that a security team is in place. Then, the manager checks and validates that all the required specifications are recorded and achieved.
The security team evaluates the software and identifies the major issues that need to be corrected or addressed. The DevSecOps team uses various security-related methods, such as provisioning, patching, hardening, and configuration. These methods are applied to the creation of custom software programs through coding. Because it’s done in the project’s early stages of development, the security team can alert the software development team right away for any anomalies and issues. Upon notification, developers will review the program with the security and IT teams for the necessary improvements.
Pros Of Using DevSecOps
While there’s no full guarantee that a software product will be free from all possible malicious attacks, DevSecOps can ensure that an application is pretty stable and less vulnerable, upon release or off the shelf. This new approach to software creation is beneficial due to the following reasons:
- Enhances collaboration and communication between all teams
The DevSecOps method encourages IT professionals with different skills and competencies to collaborate and work together to achieve one goal. Team integration is one of the main objectives of DevSecOps.
- Increases the speed and agility of development teams
The nature of this approach pushes DevSecOps team members to react fast, as well as review and correct vulnerabilities and other software problems as the development process is ongoing.
- Promotes better quality control and threat detection
While the DevOps team may consider the security team as a cause of delay, this should not be the case. Problems are identified and corrected immediately before the whole project is over. This approach ultimately leads to shorter project time and better quality control procedures.
- Facilitates early detection of software vulnerabilities
It should be clear to everyone that the security team’s main task is to minimize and manage the risks effectively. This can only be better accomplished by integrating the security team into the DevOps process. Doing this can merge the speed and reliability of a product in a streamlined manner.
- Provides better and faster response to ever-changing customer needs
Because DevSecOps can now work faster in integrating changes, checking vulnerabilities, and reviewing projects and applications during the development stage, the team is also able to accommodate reasonable changes proposed by customers.
Cons Of Using DevSecOps
Not all issues can be addressed by DevSecOps, especially those related to the individual team members or the whole team. For instance, someone who’s not fully convinced of the benefits of DevSecOps approach may sabotage the firm’s efforts to incorporate the approach to all of its projects.
- Won’t Work Without Open Communication
For DevSecOps to work properly, communication and collaboration of key teams from the security, software development, and IT departments must be established. If any of these teams keeps important information from each other, it may not work as intended.
- Should be Accepted by Everyone
Not all employees are keen on accepting non-traditional working arrangements. Some live by the mantra, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It can be difficult to ditch the old ways of doing things and choose new working methods. Employees with this mindset may be hard to convince about the importance of DevSecOps. Additionally, they need time and few success stories to accept the new workflow.
- May Not be The Management’s Main Priority
Not all executives in a software development agency view security as a priority. As such, a company executive may not be accepting of the proposed changes drafted by a DevSecOps consultant or manager. As such, the company may revert to putting security testing only after software development processes are deemed finished.
Limitations Of DevSecOps
As a new approach integrated in the DevSecOps, applications are quite limited at this stage. For instance, it can’t be applied to the following:
- DevSecOps don’t work with web application firewalls (WAF) because WAFs function by monitoring real user requests. The latter is only applicable in production environments and can’t resolve issues.
- DevSecOps are fully reliant on automation. This renders manual penetration testing tools, useless as they can’t be used in DevSecOps.
- Simple web vulnerability scanners aren’t meant to work with continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) or CI/CD tools. Thus, it follows that it can’t work with security vulnerability assessment under DevSecOps, too.
The Bottom Line
DevSecOps is a new methodology that integrates security into the early stages of software development process. Doing this can reduce vulnerabilities, as well as ensure full functionality and fast deployment of a stable software product.