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DevSecOps: Rethinking and Reengineering Cloud Security

Organizations are embracing the cloud to modernize legacy applications, create more resilient business infrastructures and to support remote work. In fact, Deloitte’s “TMT Predictions 2021: Cloud Migration Trends and Forecast” report suggests that, spurred by this growth, cloud revenues will likely continue to remain above 30% through 2025. While cloud migration is predisposed to embrace an agile development methodology enabled with DevOps, many organizations still leave themselves open to risk when modernizing and migrating applications to the cloud by neglecting to embed security into their development operating model, architectural design and processes.

When migrating to the cloud to modernize applications, DevOps and DevSecOps, as an architecture process, can enable organizations to rethink and rearchitect the security model with a “security by design” approach. If done right, organizations stand to create more secure and agile applications that balance the need for continuous releases in an evolving threat landscape with building customer trust.

DevSecOps Requires a New Operating Model

DevOps is a demonstrated approach to achieving better value, sooner, from IT programs and is seeing new developments in an increasingly distributed work environment. Previously, organizations may have relied on a shift-and-adopt strategy for incremental cloud replatforming. But, today’s rapidly shifting business strategies demand fast reaction time and resilient solutions, as well as flexible and agile solutions supported by DevSecOps to help development and security move at the same pace as the business.

Importantly, DevSecOps requires an integrated team of cross-skilled cloud and cybersecurity specialists working under a shared operating model. A modernization and migration center of excellence (CoE), often led by the digital transformation leader, can help bring together cloud and cyber specialists from across the business with external cloud service providers via a shared responsibility model. Through collaboration, cross-teaming, cross-skilling and a shared operating model across cloud developer and security functions, organizations can achieve better outcomes.

Embracing “Security by Design”

DevSecOps, then, is about more than moving existing security processes earlier into the development process. It is about elevating, embedding and evolving your organization’s risk response, as well as rethinking and rearchitecting the way applications are designed with security as a guiding factor in the architectural decisions. Secure by design means setting up a whole DevSecOps capability to make sure security is embedded early on in application architecture design and then further safeguarded through strategies like segmentation, zero trust and attack surface management.

Before the migration begins, DevSecOps would have developers and security specialists considering data flows, functional requirements and work streams related to workload protection, secure landing zones, operating model, network segmentation, access/controls to be implemented in a zero trust environment, attack surface management and more. An organization, for example, might use microservices to segment application access for internal versus external users to achieve enhanced security through system design.

DevSecOps Requires Process Innovation

DevOps and DevSecOps bring the security and application teams together with shared processes and communication to quickly, securely and efficiently roll out products from concept to production at pace. During the pandemic, teams have pushed their use of communication and collaboration tools to better support distributed teams, including the use of ChatOps, to enable real-time knowledge sharing and knowledge management, increased DevOps automation through incorporation of cloud artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML) services and reimagining traditional roles to embrace more of an IT-as-a-service operating model.

As DevOps continues to shift left beyond DevSecOps to embrace operations, governance, and customer support, developers will need to work on increasingly integrated teams. These foundational communication leading practices can be valuable as a model for agile working across functions.

Rethinking Cloud Security and Development

DevSecOps can help support cloud migration and agile development programs that require speed and resilience by rethinking the development operating model, architecture approach and collaborative processes to improve security and compliance and enhance customer trust. Security specialists must understand the demands placed on developers for fast migration and continuous releases and developers need to work with cyber professionals collaboratively to make applications designed to be secure and resilient. A security-by-design approach to cloud cyber collaboration can help organizations to rethink and re-engineer their DevSecOps approach. Security specialists should also work toward making their services easily consumable in the DevOps process to enable frictionless security.

Vikram Kunchala, Deloitte’s Cyber Cloud leader and Principal, Deloitte & Touche LLP, and Amod Bavare, Deloitte’s Global Cloud Migration and Modernization leader and Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP contributed to this article.

Diana Kearns-Manolatos

Diana Kearns-Manolatos is a senior manager in Deloitte’s Center for Integrated Research, Deloitte Services LP. She draws on almost 15 years of work analyzing market shifts and emerging trends across industries. Her areas of specialty include research and insights focused on technology, digital transformation, cloud, cyber security, AI and the future of work.

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