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What is DevSecOps?

DevSecOps, short for development, security and operations, refers to the paradigm shift in software development that aims to integrate security into the rapid product iteration and release cycles typical of the DevOps model. It focuses on bridging the traditional silos that exist between security, development, and operations teams so that applications and services are built securely from the ground up.

DevSecOps ensures the seamless integration of infrastructure and application security into the DevOps process by enabling development teams to address security issues as they are detected at every point along the development lifecycle. This makes it easier and faster to fix issues with code with greater efficiency before they are deployed to production. DevSecOps aims to automate the delivery of secure software without slowing down DevOps processes.

The DevOps model certainly brought needed innovation to the software development process but it introduced new challenges as well. While DevOps helped development teams deliver innovative software applications at scale and speed, security and compliance were often relegated to the background and performed as an afterthought. Similarly, security and quality assurance (QA) were unable to keep up with the rapid production and release of new code.

The DevSecOps model solves this challenge by ensuring that security testing is fully integrated into continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) pipelines

In short, DevSecOps was developed to bring security, development, and operations under a single umbrella -- and bring security into the development operations mix to ensure that everyone stays focused on security at all times.

How to achieve DevSecOps

The integration and automation of security in modern development/deployment pipelines can be achieved using the right DevSecOps processes and tools. Enterprises already leveraging the DevOps framework need to take one more step and shift to a DevSecOps mindset to ensure that security is built into software rather than bolted on at the last minute.

Ensuring that engineering teams are security-focused at every stage of the software product delivery lifecycle helps to ensure true continuous integration and the delivery/release of higher-quality software. 

Achieving this requires access to the right tools and best practices to ensure that security is achieved consistently across the software development environment -- even as the environment evolves and adapts to changing requirements. Mature DevSecOps organizations typically leverage immutable infrastructure, containers, orchestration, configuration management, serverless compute, and automation tools/environments.

What are the benefits of adopting DevSecOps?

Over the past decade, the IT infrastructure landscape has gone through several massive changes, including the development of dynamic applications, the advent of shared storage and data, and the transition to agile cloud computing frameworks and DevOps processes.

In most development environments, software is tested toward the end of the development lifecycle by QA teams while security is tacked on (almost as an afterthought) by a separate security team. This was manageable when organizations released software and updates once or twice a year, a timeline that gave security and QA teams ample time to work. 

However, the adoption of agile and DevOps frameworks caused a rapid increase in the number of release cycles, And this made the traditional approach to security and testing cumbersome, challenging, and virtually impossible in certain use cases.

Although integrating security into the DevOps pipeline and making it a core component of development workflows solves the above challenges, it's no walk in the park. It involves bringing application developers, IT operations and security experts together into a single team. It also requires a culture shift and an overhaul of development processes to make way for a security-focused development workflow.

Integrating security into the DevOps process doesn't necessarily mean compromising on the speed of delivery. Enterprises can maintain the rapid release cycles by introducing automated security tests, controls and tools early into the development lifecycle. This improves the efficiency of workflows and ensures the rapid proactive detection of security issues and flaws in the development process.

DevSecOps introduces security mindedness at the beginning of the application development lifecycle and continues to iterate it at each phase of that lifecycle. Code is continuously being scanned, audited, reviewed, and tested for security issues, making it easier to execute the delivery of robust applications to end-users and production environment. Also, it facilitates better collaboration among security, QA, development and operations teams to improve productivity, agility, innovation and the resilience of the overall organization.

Is DevSecOps right for you?

The DevSecOps model automates the integration of security into each phase of the development lifecycle, starting from initial design and development to testing, deployment, and software delivery. 

Adopting this model means that developers, QA teams and other software engineers must give equal consideration to security alongside development and operations. It also means that the responsibility for ensuring the security of applications is shared by all members of the DevOps team.

For many organizations, this is simply the next logical step on the maturity curve of development.