While it’s generally agreed that shifting more cybersecurity responsibility onto the shoulders of developers is a good idea, a failure to communicate across application development and cybersecurity teams has contributed to little progress in achieving DevSecOps.
A survey of 1,310 IT decision-makers conducted by the market research firm Vanson Bourne on behalf of Trend Micro finds that while nearly three-quarters of respondents (74%) said integrating developer, IT operations and cybersecurity processes has become more important over the past year, more than one-third (34%) said these silos are making it more difficult to create a DevOps culture in the organization. A full 89% said software development and IT security teams needed to be in closer contact, while 77% said the same for developers, security and operations.
Greg Young, vice president of cybersecurity for Trend Micro, said the two biggest challenges in achieving DevSecOps historically are the lack of trust between developers and cybersecurity professionals and a lack of tooling to foster collaboration and communication across teams.
The rift between developers and cybersecurity is well-known: Application developers have been known to give short shrift to cybersecurity guidelines to make a deadline, only to have that application breached in a production environment. However, developers can counter that cybersecurity professionals can slow things down too much, in the name of being overly cautious.
Young said organizations need to find tools that make it easier for those two teams to establish trust within the context of an integrated DevSecOps process. Rather than just relegating cybersecurity teams to defining policies, cybersecurity professionals need to find a way to provide input during all stages of the application development process without compromising the overall agility of the development team, he said.
In fact, survey respondents identified fostering greater integration between teams (61%), setting common goals (58%) and sharing learning experiences across teams (50%) as the best ways to achieve DevSecOps. The trouble is, 78% of respondents said their organization needs to improve in all these areas.
Unfortunately, nearly half of respondents (46%) said they have only partially developed their DevOps strategy, with only a third of respondents (33%) saying DevOps today is a shared responsibility between software development and IT operations.
Regardless of how organizations achieve DevSecOps, the one certain thing is most organizations have no alternative. The rate at which applications are being developed today generally exceeds the ability of short-handed cybersecurity teams to keep pace. The only way to make sure applications are more secure than they have been historically is to make implementing security controls part of the application quality assurance process. That said, cybersecurity teams most likely will take a “trust, but verify” attitude toward developers to ensure the right controls have been put in place.
Of course, none of this is going to happen of its own accord. Senior leaders need to make DevSecOps best practices a requirement. Otherwise, DevSecOps will always remain one of those many aspirational IT goals that go unfulfilled.