SecDevOps is a software development and deployment process that places security as the first step in the life cycle. Instead of treating security as a tool, it is integrated into every stage of the life cycle and all the software’s components.
SecDevOps pushes developers to consider security principles and standards while creating software. As such, security processes and checks are introduced as early as possible in the life cycle to make the quick DevOps release approach a reality.
With ever-evolving cyber attacks occurring every 44 seconds, SecDevOps allows developers to create available, survivable, defensible, and resilient software.
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The term “SecDevOps” comprises two concepts—security and DevOps. Security is easy enough to understand. It just means building security features into software currently being developed. But what is DevOps?
What Is DevOps?
DevOps was coined from “development” and “operations.” These refer to the teams that work together to develop and deploy software. And those teams worked independently of each other before DevOps came to the fore.
DevOps promises to eliminate the silos separating the development and operations teams so organizations can have better software. Because the teams collaborate, software development and deployment become faster and can be automated, making finding and fixing security issues more efficient.
DevOps has become the standard practice among software developers in the past few years. But given the ever-increasing threat volume, DevSecOps came into being.
What Is DevSecOps?
DevSecOps is a trending application security (AppSec) practice that injects security early in the software development life cycle. It also expands the collaboration between development and operations teams, allowing developers to produce effective and secure programs.
By now, you may be wondering if DevSecOps and SecDevOps are the same.
What Is the Difference between SecDevOps and DevSecOps?
While the two concepts share the same components (i.e., security, development, and operations) and have the same goal—to integrate security into the software development life cycle, they aren’t the same.
DevSecOps creates a continuous and agile software development process by enabling three teams (i.e., security, development, and operations) to collaborate across the entire pipeline. But in several cases, the concept is misapplied. While the three teams collaborate to a certain degree, they still work separately. The development team, for instance, works on the design and build while the operations team works on the underlying infrastructure. Once development is done, the security team tests the application for flaws and comes up with fixes. That said, security isn’t that much of a priority, hence the birth of SecDevOps.
SecDevOps emerged to ensure the software development process is truly collaborative. It makes security the priority. The security, development, and operations teams work together to create high-quality and secure programs. All three teams’ members take ownership of both the app’s quality and security, which promotes agility or allows them to go to market as soon as possible.
Despite the noble goal of SecDevOps, it may take work to implement, especially for smaller software manufacturers.
What Challenges May Prevent Developers from Implementing SecDevOps?
SecDevOps implementation can become problematic due to the following issues:
- There are fewer security engineers compared with developers and operations team members. Even today, it’s still challenging for many organizations to find security experts. As of June 2022, in fact, as many as 715,000 positions still need to be filled in the U.S. alone. SecDevOps may not be possible for teams that don’t have enough members to review all the changes made to a product and do full code reviews.
- Resistance to change is also an issue since SecDevOps requires a cultural shift. Not everyone is open to change. DevOps teams used to focusing on immediate product releases, for instance, may find it a problem to prioritize and pay attention to ensuring security.
- Multiple types of production environments, such as when companies use on-premise, cloud, and hybrid environments simultaneously, also make enforcing information security protocols complicated, time-consuming, and error-prone.
Given these issues, then, how can software manufacturers implement SecDevOps?
What Are Some SecDevOps Best Practices?
Here are some things software manufacturers without massive resources can do to reap the benefits of SecDevOps.
- Provide developer-specific security training: Since SecDevOps prioritizes security, developers should be encouraged to adopt secure programming practices. But that doesn’t mean they need to master using advanced security tools or become security experts. Instead, train them to understand and implement security practices required at their level.
- Define developer-specific security policies: Every SecDevOps pipeline should have a dedicated security team that also typically defines the security policies for the entire organization. You can ask them to create developer-specific policies, including coding best practices, encryption rules, and testing guidelines. If they have a clear set of guidelines, they understand what can and can’t be done and what they should aim for to enhance application security.
- Use version control: Effective version control tools and practices must be used for all applications, templates, blueprints, and scripts. If done, teams can investigate and identify vulnerabilities at once, trace security incidents back to specific builds or features, and get an audit trail of development activities for compliance purposes.
- Automate repetitive tasks: Automation is the foundation of DevOps. It can help shorten delivery time and identify vulnerabilities and potential security issues as soon as they crop up. Automated security tools that check coding practices, identify weaknesses, and spot security issues at every step of the development process can hasten development while ensuring security.
SecDevOps ensures the delivery of software that’s not only superior quality but also well-protected against security threats.
- SecDevOps is a software development and deployment process that places security as the first step in the life cycle. Instead of treating security as a tool, it is integrated into every stage of the life cycle and all the software’s components.
- While SecDevOps and DevSecOps involve the same teams and processes, they aren’t the same.
- Some developers find it challenging to implement SecDevOps due to a lack of security experts, resistance to change, and multiple types of production environments.