DevSecOps: What It Is and Why Should You Care

In light of recent high-profile supply-chain attacks and other cybersecurity events – SolarWinds, Colonial Pipeline, and the JBS USA attack – the Biden Administration recently announced its Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity. The President noted that the United States “faces persistent and increasingly sophisticated malicious cyber campaigns” that not only threaten the government but also “the private sector, and…the American people.” He insisted on the need for the private sector to “adapt to the continuously changing threat environment, [and] ensure its products are built and operate securely…to foster a more secure cyberspace.”

To confirm the security of our data, both as a country and as private companies, we must continue to innovate and advance our cybersecurity practices. A significant aspect of this transformation is the evolution of DevSecOps. At Sidechain Security, we are diligent in developing and improving cybersecurity infrastructure, which is why we recently announced our upcoming integrated solution: Venafi CodeSign Protect Plugin for Microsoft Azure DevOps, which helps transform DevOps into DevSecOps.

But what exactly is DevSecOps?

DevSecOps Explained

Development, Security, and Operations, or DevSecOps, for short, is the process of automating security integration into every phase of an organization’s DevOps pipeline, from ideation to delivery. Under a DevOps framework, security is largely the responsibility of the engineering teams building the product, until certain release or check points are met. Then, a separate security team, uninvolved throughout the creation of the product, works to ensure the product’s safety and conformance to security standards and requirements.

In the past, when build pipelines were much longer and software was released at annual or semi-annual clips, security teams could manage. When a deficiency or breach was noticed, they could afford the time needed to create and release a patch to solve the issue. However, today, software is released at a breakneck pace. Often only a few weeks, or even days, go by before a new release. The rapid development creates a bottleneck by which security teams, inundated with patchwork and “tacking on” security at the end of the SDLC, struggle or fail to maintain adequate security standards.

DevSecOps solves this headache by integrating automated security controls into the build pipeline to confront security problems as they arise.

Why You Should Care About DevSecOps

The primary reason DevSecOps should be on your radar is because it simplifies, quickens, and cheapens fixing security issues. It is far more proactive in addressing problems that emerge and is adaptive as your organization’s security posture changes and grows.

Without DevSecOps, software security breaches can crush future development lifecycles and drain valuable time and money that would be better spent elsewhere. Because a DevSecOps organization allows security teams to address issues as they arise, it saves vast amounts of time, resources, and cost. This creates far more secure code because it is constantly examined for security problems, tested, and patched.

Further, the inherent collaboration between development, security, and operations teams ensures that when issues do arise, they will be solved far quicker due to the cross-collaborative nature of build pipelines with DevSecOps.

Finally, because of the potential to integrate automation into DevSecOps, it is easier to repeat and adapt your security posture as your organization expands.

3 Critical Points to Get Started with DevSecOps

Integrating security into software development has its clear merits. When getting started, it is critical to

1. Commit as an Organization, Top to Bottom

It may seem cliché, but it is integral to the success of DevSecOps that your entire organization is committed to the shift in time, money, and resources required to transition towards a DevSecOps environment. While the arguments in favor of DevSecOps are strong, they must be communicated to every employee, including executives. DevOps is a highly iterative process and introducing extensive change could be met with friction if the benefits of incorporating security into build pipelines are not adequately explained.

2. Educate the Masses

Once your organization is onboard with DevSecOps and its benefits are well-illustrated, it is time to introduce your company’s security posture to everyone involved in the development pipeline. Between software engineers, operations teams, and compliance, it is important that every employee contributing in DevSecOps has a firm understanding of the security standards and infrastructure of your organization. Educating the masses will smooth cross-collaboration and support better and more robust communication between all the stakeholders involved.

3. Shift Left: Security Integration Begins at the Start of the SDLC

While it may seem inconsequential to wait to integrate security teams into software development until ideation is complete, it is a mistake. Incorporating security into the brainstorming process ensures potential security pitfalls are flagged and thought through well before coding begins. While shifting left may disrupt your current DevOps roadmap, the approach will save ample time in the development lifecycle in the long run.

Support the Development of Your DevSecOps with Sidechain

Sidechain’s latest integration, Venafi CodeSign Protect Plugin for Microsoft Azure DevOps, provides a turnkey addition to integrate security automation into your Azure DevOps build pipelines. The plugin comes equipped with our best-in-class experience supporting clients in securely modernizing their DevOps processes.

To learn more about our latest integration, check out this two-minute explainer video, or if you are looking for a hands-on partner to guide and assist your organization in its development of DevSecOps, schedule a no-cost consultation today.

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