From DevOps to DevSecOps- The Reality and the Challenges


No organization can afford to ignore the security of their applications in 2022 and beyond, with the threat landscape continually evolving at its current pace. The focus on application security necessitates organizations to move from DevOps to DevSecOps. 

Agile and DevOps help organizations deliver software products quickly. But is that what organizations prioritize in 2022 and beyond? DevOps and DevSecOps are often discussed in direct contrast to each other or as either/or approaches. But DevSecOps is compatible with DevOps and necessary for organizations to develop secure software quickly.

As a quick introduction, DevOps aims to improve the software development flow from coding to testing and deployment while minimizing risk at each step. DevSecOps is a set of guiding principles. It helps organizations secure their infrastructure, software, data, and applications, moving ahead of the traditional perimeter security model.

Related Reading: Ensure Smooth DevOps Outsourcing for Your Startup

How DevSecOps Differs from DevOps

1. Focus

DevOps primarily focuses on enabling IT and operations teams to collaborate smoothly and more frequently. The two groups work together through the development and deployment process and implement shared goals to optimize the speed of development and delivery. DevOps speeds up development and often compromises security.

DevSecOps came into the picture as organizations realized that the speed of development should not come at the expense of security. Therefore, instead of viewing application security as an afterthought, DevSecOps integrates security into the development pipeline right from the start.

2. Goal

DevOps aims to plug gaps in communication between the IT and operations teams. It uses collaboration, continuous integration, and automation to reduce risk throughout the process. 

DevSecOps aims to make frequent and informed security decisions through the development cycle. And share them safely within teams while maintaining the speed and control of development.

3. Skills and Competencies

The skills and competencies required to work in DevOps are Linux fundamentals and scripting, besides a working knowledge of various DevOps tools. 

The competencies required to work in DevSecOps include detecting vulnerabilities with automated security solutions, extensive knowledge of cloud security, and the ability to provide support to infrastructure users. 

Related Reading: 13 Reasons Why Your Startup Needs a DevOps Strategy

How DevSecOps Resembles DevOps

According to GitLab’s 2021 Global DevSecOps Survey of 4,300 employees, 60% of developers are releasing code twice as faster as ever before due to DevOps. 56% reported that their teams are either fully or “mostly” automated. 72% of security pros rated their organization as “good” or “strong” in their security efforts.

DevOps teams are running more security scans than ever before, and 70% of security team members say security has shifted left on the development cycle.

The following principles stay the same in DevSecOps as in DevOps:

  • Continuous Integration – This principle asks developers to regularly merge code changes so that the latest version of the software is available for all developers.
  • Continuous delivery and deployment – This strategy ensures automated updates and higher efficiency.
  • Microservices – This principle guides developers to build software as a set of more minor services so that complex code can be broken down into manageable components.
  • Infrastructure as Code (IaC) – IaC prompts developers to plan, design, implement and manage infrastructure needs through code, eliminating the need for developers to install software packages, manage OS or configure servers manually.

The DevSecOps approach additionally includes the following:

  • Common weakness enumeration – CWE improves code quality and security in the CI/CD phases.
  • Threat Modeling – This principle guides developers to perform security testing during app development to prevent expensive risks and costs in the future.
  • Automated security testing – This principle requires developers to often test for security threats and vulnerabilities in new builds.
  • Incident management – IM requires creating a standard response system for security occurrences.

Advantages of DevSecOps for Startups and Enterprises

DevSecOps enhances the security of the entire software development lifecycle. It makes the resulting product more robust and secure. Here are the distinct benefits of DevSecOps for modern startups and enterprises:

1. Save time and cost

Address security early on by integrating it right into the DevOps workflow end-to-end. When security is taken care of through the designing, coding, and deployment stages, it ultimately helps save time and money. That later goes in vain due to security loopholes that surface later and security breaches that happen down the line.

As developers focus on security through development, the software entering production is ready to use, meaning no back-and-forth fixing security gaps. Contrary to popular notions, DevSecOps accelerates delivery and reduces risks in the more enormous realm.

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2. Shared security ownership

When security is part of everyone’s job, development team employees feel responsible for building secure software. As developers focus on security and don’t simply rely on testing analysts and QAs to test the code, there is less rift between the two teams.

With shared security ownership also comes uniform security protocols across departments. It stems from collaboration and communication among developers, security, and operations teams.

3. Accelerated remediation from automation

Automated application security testing prevents security issues from crawling into apps and helps detect and fix security loopholes early on. Security tools that integrate seamlessly into development environments never interrupt the development process and enable continuous security management.

DevSecOps accelerates remediation and prevents security gaps through automation.

Related Reading: Why Startups Should Consider Outsourcing DevOps

Tips to Transition from DevOps to DevSecOps Frictionlessly

Nearly 85% of Upskilling IT 2022 respondents said DevOps or DevSecOps is a “critical” or “important” operating model. Here’s how to move from DevOps to DevSecOps:

1. Pick the suitable security testing method(s)

A wide range of testing techniques is available today. Startups and enterprises must choose according to individual project needs.

2. Define coding standards

DevSecOps requires assessing code quality so that it can be easily secured in the future. Set up an arrangement to train developers on coding best practices and lay down the coding standards your company will follow.

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3. Secure your software

Secure your applications to run robustly on a distributed architecture instead of trying to safeguard the growing and blurring perimeter. An implicit security protocol that DevSecOps brings can ensure that security is addressed internally and intentionally in your enterprise.

DevSecOps revolves around:

  • Data security with minimal inconvenience to users in accessing data
  • Development tools that enable risk identification early in the development process
  • Data encryption using VPNs and SSL

The focus is justifiably shifting from rapid deployment to secure yet rapid deployment, and DevSecOps is the way to do it. 

Speak to one of the DevSecOps experts at KiwiTech to outline your own journey from DevOps to DevSecOps.

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