Is DevSecOps making a Difference in Information Security?

devsecops
It seems nary a week passes without a story about a hacking incident making the evening news. Additionally, many CIOs report a skills gap when it comes to employing experienced information security professionals. As such, the demand for these IT pros is now going through the roof – as well are their salaries.

So what about DevSecOps, the cybersecurity focused variant of the DevOps methodology, slash, organizational structure? We’ve talked about it in the past and are wondering if it is truly making a difference in today’s technology world. Let’s take a closer look.

The Current State of DevSecOps in the Industry

Last month, SD Times looked at what inroads DevSecOps is making throughout the software development industry. They asked the same question as us: is it truly making a difference considering the never-ending scourge of cyber attacks and similar forms of nefarious behavior. Considering the difficulties some organizations encounter when implementing DevOps itself, it is simply too new to make much impact?

Derek Weeks, vice president and DevOps advocate at Sonatype, echoes that opinion. “I will say I think we’re early on in the DevSecOps movement of practices that are being implemented. I think with the organizations that have attempted to do it, they are seeing early successes and are happy with that. The vast majority of the market has not gotten their feet wet with DevSecOps practices yet,” said Weeks.

When looking at the recent tech news, however, it becomes time to quote Spock: “Mr. Scott, speed is of the essence.” The core of the issue involves successfully implementing security within a software engineering organization’s current DevOps initiatives. If those practices are still emerging, obviously adding the “Sec” to DevOps becomes more difficult.

A Cultural Change is Essential for a DevSecOps Implementation

A successful DevSecOps implementation requires both a cultural shift within a software development shop as well as buy-in from the executive team. Of course, these same things are necessary for switching to DevOps itself. Obviously, a mature DevOps organization will likely find it easier adding security to an existing framework.

Weeks feels security practices need to be actually embedded in the software development workflow, as opposed to tacked to the process after the fact. Making information security practitioners serve as a gatekeeper instead of collaborator isn’t the best approach. They need empathy for the entire SDLC. 

Training software engineers in the proper application of cybersecurity technology ultimately works better. This serves to foster the kind of teamwork and collaboration that is the hallmark of DevOps itself. It also provides companies the chance to close their information security skills gap in an internal fashion.

John Martinez, vice president of customer solutions at Evident.io, commented on the inroads DevSecOps is making at his firm: “I think the DevOps side of DevSecOps has definitely been much faster to respond and I think we’re starting to see, at least on our side, the cross-pollination on the security side where a lot of the agile practices are starting to fit over on the SecOps side.”

Ultimately, DevSecOps is a still emerging practice. However, the importance of companies successfully implementing it cannot be overstated.

That’s it for this edition of the Betica Blog. Stay tuned for additional insights from the wide world of software development. Thanks for reading!

Are Developers finally starting to Understand DevOps?

devops-blog

Software developers remain a curious and opinionated bunch. Over the last few decades they tend to adapt slowly to new methodologies, with DevOps offering little exception to this golden rule. A recent survey reveals things are finally beginning to change, as it shows application engineers beginning to actually “get” DevOps.

Of course, we recently wrote about network administrators feeling DevOps is all about the “Dev” in the first place. What follows is an analysis of the survey to see what these changing opinions mean for the process of software engineering. Perhaps you might gain an insight or two to help your own team’s project work?

Survey says DevOps makes Software Development Faster

Most organizations implementing DevOps do so in the hopes of making their software development process faster and more efficient. A survey of software engineers, CTOs, and IT pros by application maker, GitLab, notes that these wishes appear to be coming true. News about the survey appeared last month on the Developer Tech website.

According to the GitLab study, two-thirds of those polled feel DevOps greatly improves the speed of the software development process. This 65 percent moves upwards to 81 percent when only taking into account the opinion of managers. 29 percent of those surveyed plan new DevOps investments in the current year.

The best shops using the methodology are able to spend at least half of their workday actually writing code. Changes get deployed on demand. In short, these top organizations are twice as productive as those whose DevOps implementation is either immature or nonexistent.

Challenges to Efficient Application Engineering Remain

In their survey, GitLab highlighted a few challenges to the software development process. Two-thirds of the respondents noted the lack of clear direction on application engineering projects. Slightly over half mentioned the need for rework and unexpected scope creep, while 31 percent felt unrealistic expectations hampered their efforts.

Leveraging automated processes to improve efficiency is a high priority at 60 percent of the surveyed organizations. Around 90 percent of those companies are currently using Agile, DevOps, or a mixture of both. 16 percent are still using the venerable Waterfall methodology for some or all of their development work.

Continuous testing also plays an important role in the ultimate success of any company’s DevOps adoption, a concept highlighted by Razi Siddiqui, SVP and CIO at GCi Technologies. “It’s a key indicator that your DevOps/agile practice is mature, and your QA strategy must take into account that 100% test automation is not practical – nor is it possible,” said Siddiqui.

Sid Sijbrandij, CEO and co-founder of GitLab, commented on their survey conclusions. “The survey reveals software professionals finally see the need for DevOps in their workflow and are beginning to adapt their workstyle in order to make this a reality. Despite the progress in the shift in mindset, current DevOps practices are not cutting it. Instead of a single application that accomplishes the goals of both Dev and Ops, many glue together the tools for the two departments, which has proven to be an ineffective means for collaboration,” said Sijbrandij.

It definitely appears that any enterprise software development not using DevOps runs the risk of being left behind in today’s business landscape. Thanks for reading this edition of the Betica Blog. Keep returning for additional insights on the wide world of software development.

Is DevOps favoring the Devs over the Ops?

Group

On paper, DevOps involves the merging of the software development and network operations teams with the hopes of faster application deployment. Companies in a variety of business sectors enjoy competitive advantages because of a successful DevOps implementation. Software engineers and network administrators happily collaborating for the greater good of their employer remains the ideal view.

However, some operations professionals in the industry feel the developers are dominating things too much. Are these the signs of an emerging “civil war” in DevOps? Let’s take a closer look at the details to see if you need to worry about your own team.

Do Network Engineers truly feel Railroaded by DevOps?

A recent article by David Rubenstein in ITOps Times reveals a growing disenchantment with DevOps from networking professionals. They feel the demand by executives for a faster software development process is leading to a lack of control over IT operations. Rubenstein notes that software engineers use DevOps as a cover to “circumvent IT processes that have long protected businesses from costly downtime and security breaches.”

He isn’t alone in this opinion. Lucas Carlson, vice president of strategy at the Cloud automation firm, CA Automic, explains this position in detail.

“DevOps to this day is really built by developers and for developers, and it really feels like a misfit to try to force IT operations to use DevOps tools, given their heritage, because they were built with developers in mind… They’re great for developers but not for IT operations, and that’s kind of created a shift, a divide, and it seems like almost ever since DevOps has been gaining traction and popularity, the developer role within organizations has become more and more raised and lifted. Everybody’s trying to hire developers. Developers are kind of the kingpins of the technology world right now. Developers are held at the highest ranks of where people in technology look up to, and IT operations has really been left behind in all of this,” said Carlson.

Is his view simply a case of sour grapes, a valid concern on the near-future of DevOps, or a mixture of both?

The Traditional War between Developers and Network Administrators

Since collaboration and communication are the hallmarks of modern software development, are we seeing a return to the old days where software engineers and network administrators were typically at each other’s throats? This author remembers a fellow developer regularly called network personnel at our company “setup.exe” in a derisive fashion. He felt their only value involved installing software.

This kind of attitude on both sides forgets one basic fact: development and operations are working for the same team. For his part, Carlson hopes for a new term to take the place of DevOps – AgileOps. Mere semantic changes probably won’t matter, especially considering the strength of DevOps as a buzzword. We’ll see.

Ultimately, these are all likely still the growing pains of a new methodology. Since the executive team controls the direction of the company – and the purse strings – developers and network engineers simply need to collaborate better. A slower approach to the SDLC won’t fly in this competitive Agile era.

Maybe some late Valentine’s Day cards need to be sent between developers and their ITOps brethren?

Keep coming back to the Betica Blog for additional news and insights from the software development world. As always, thanks for reading!