As the CEO of WhiteSource, I regularly consult enterprises about building and enforcing their open-source security policies.
In the course of my consultations, I discuss open-source security protocol with many software companies and enterprises, and I’m often baffled by the fact that many organization aren’t boosting their software development performance and speed by bringing their development and operations teams together via DevOps. In fact, only 25 percent of enterprises are currently doing DevOps. I mean, if you were a CTO and someone said you could make your software development 200 times faster and reduce unplanned work/rework by 22 percent, wouldn’t you jump at the chance?
Now, I know DevOps still is not being implemented even though it has proven to improve deployment rates, so I shouldn’t be surprised that security isn’t joining the DevOps party. But I am. Just imagine the benefits of giving security the DevOps treatment. There’d be no more (or, at least, significantly fewer) last-minute security issues, no more unrealistic security policies, and engineers, IT and security professionals who actually understand each other and improve their own processes to work better together. This is the essence of rugged DevOps.
Implementing rugged DevOps is a huge decision for any enterprise, and it requires a lot of planning and time to implement. However, you don’t need to completely remodel your organization to start enjoying some of what rugged DevOps has to offer.
So, what can you start doing today?
Shift Left Your Security
DevOps is all about shifting left security to find security issues as early in the software development life cycle (SDLC) as possible. The earlier you find an issue, the cheaper and easier it is to fix.
So, how can you shift left your security? Start by integrating security tools into your continuous integration (CI) process to find vulnerabilities as soon as they’re added to your build and sometimes even your repositories. Tools exist that can integrate with your build tools and identify potential issues in your build.
Also available is a browser plug-in that allows developers to detect security vulnerabilities while they are searching for open-source components online. This tool helps developers say no to vulnerable components long before downloading or integrating them with their code.
Shifting left security is the hardest part of any enterprise’s rugged DevOps journey. Yet by taking some small steps, you can start to enjoy the benefits of DevOps with a twist of security.
Adopting a Micro Approach to Security
Just as operations has adopted a DevOps mindset to understand and become involved in development, it’s now security’s turn.
Security needs to stop being on the outside of development, looking to control it through detailed security policies. Instead, it needs to take an active part in it, steering it toward security. Security can do this by focusing on understanding development and deployment processes, and searching for possible quick wins.
From my own experience, every time a security team takes the time to understand the peer code review process, small changes are made with significant contribution to code security.
I also often notice that security teams are unaware that some developers may still use the old “copy and paste” method in using open-source components. This makes it impossible to track known open-source vulnerabilities. Once security teams understand this, they can improve guidelines to ensure they are not blindsided.
The good news is you don’t have to overhaul your whole organization to give security a micro-makeover. Your security team simply needs to start getting into the finer details rather than planning long-term security programs and road maps.
Speaking the Same Language
A good sign that an enterprise is doing DevOps is when developers and operations call software issues by the same name. This means the two teams have defined their issues and objectives together, and are working toward joint goals. The same is 100 percent true for rugged DevOps.
If development sees a problem in terms of unplanned work, operations sees a glitch and security sees a vulnerability, collaboration will be very difficult. Introducing a shared vocabulary for issues throughout software development is an effective way to get your professionals on the same page.
With this shared vocabulary, development and security can sit together and define shared key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, development’s goal of faster deployments can be linked with security’s aim of reducing mean time to release (MTTR). Once each team knows what the other wants to achieve, they can understand how to help each other.
At the end of the day, security is more likely to be taken seriously if it is understood. And this is key. With the typical enterprise ratio of 100:10:1 development, operations and security professionals, security needs all the friends it can get.
Ready to Try Rugged DevOps on for Size?
As you can see, you don’t need to turn your enterprise upside down or even have a rugged DevOps team to start getting some of its benefits. Just follow these three steps, and your enterprise can get a taste of what rugged DevOps has to offer.
So what about you? Are you ready to take rugged DevOps for a test drive?
About the Author / Rami Sass
Rami Sass is an experienced entrepreneur with deep background in R&D and product management. At Eurekify. and later CA, became an expert in designing and implementing complex security management and compliance software systems, and in delivering them to the market. Currently he is co-founder and CEO of WhiteSource.