Secure DevOps Explained

Secure DevOps, or DevSecOps, refers to the processes and practices a development team implements to accelerate software delivery, while keeping security front and mind throughout the development process. But why is DevOps security so important, and how do you practice it in your organisation successfully? Read on.

In this article, we explore the role of secure DevOps in business, explain why DevSecOps is gaining in popularity among enterprises, and how secure DevOps is helping organisations to get ahead.

Security should be built into the DevOps life cycle

Security vulnerabilities are an ongoing challenge for organisations; a challenge which must be continually mitigated to protect confidential business and customer data and prevent a breach.

While DevOps boasts numerous benefits for businesses, the pitfalls of failing to apply stringent security measures throughout the development life cycle (from inception to design, build, test, release and beyond) can be huge; that’s where secure DevOps comes in.

What is the role of secure DevOps in business?

In order to understand the rationale for secure DevOps, it’s important to consider the purpose of DevOps in the first place. In a nutshell, DevOps is an accelerated approach to software development based on practices including continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) and rapid release cycles, enabling businesses to release better software, faster.

While the benefits of DevOps are well documented, the nature of accelerated delivery means that if your DevOps practice or team hasn’t applied the necessary security protocols and embedded processes to prevent loopholes, your organisation’s security could be jeopardised.

Secure DevOps practices help to protect businesses in three main ways:

  • To ensure new software releases are free from bugs and vulnerabilities that could present a security risk.
  • To protect business and customer data from potentially being exposed in a breach.
  • To protect a company’s reputation.

Whether you have an established DevOps team already or are just starting out, making space for secure DevOps processes is vital to ensure a robust and secure development process.

Related Read: Why You Need a Dedicated Platform Engineering Team

Why are enterprises increasingly adopting DevSecOps?

As DevOps has taken off, and organisations have found new and innovative ways to release features faster, accelerating the route to market for new products and services, there’s been a growing need for further security measures to support this rapid new pace of innovation.

Security issues often stem from third-party programs, which developers typically lean upon when building software applications. Overlooking vital security measures and risk management techniques can leave software open to dangerous loopholes.

The best security measures are implemented at critical points throughout the application development life cycle, leading to a secure DevOps function without compromising on speed and scale. However, combining DevOps and security isn’t just a means to an end; having a highly structured approach to development from start to finish results in the highest quality software, providing a distinct competitive edge.

How Secure DevOps is helping organisations to get ahead

DevOps is gaining momentum globally, with automation playing a crucial part in wide-scale transformation. This is equipping organisations with the tools to industrialise repeatable processes and unlock employees’ time to dedicate towards impactful activities more closely aligned with delivering business value. Security and risk management is a key aspect of this.

In a recent article discussing the future of DevOps, Forrester explains that ‘DevSecOps replaces bolt-on solutions by shifting security left, integrating security and risk personnel at the start rather than the end of a project, and automating processes.’

Forrester goes on to predict that ‘high-performing organizations of the future will replace manual risk scoring systems with seamless, code-based change management enabled by AI/machine-learning real-time change-risk analysis.’

The bottom line is this: organisations who invest in DevOps are far more likely to meet their security goals and create a robust blueprint and roadmap for the future than businesses that fail to move with the times and adapt.

Related Read: Engineering End-to-End Velocity in the Cloud

Demystifying DevSecOps: How NearForm can help

As we’ve explored in this article, the benefits of DevSecOps are well documented. However, implementing secure DevOps practices successfully requires knowledge, experience and guidance from a dedicated practitioner.

At NearForm, we specialise in embedding DevOps best practices among our enterprise clients’ teams to unlock rapid release cycles and accelerate critical digital services, while keeping security front of mind.

Better yet, we’ll work with you to build a robust and purpose-built platform that facilitates a strong developer experience, helping to attract and retain the DevOps talent your organisation needs to scale.

Ready to scale a secure DevOps practice or team? Download our free DevOps checklist today to discover our top five practical tips for success.

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