I, like most of you, don’t like hardcore marketing that hinges its statements on “Well, that’s technically true…” I also am not a fan of talking heads that spew predictions about the future. Sure, they’re right sometimes; that’s because we have so many people pontificating that random distribution means some will be correct. I am bringing all this up to warn you that I (basically a high-tech talking head) am about to talk about tools, the future of tools markets (one in particular) and what I think should/will happen.
Sometimes, talking about the future of a given tech is done to make a name for yourself. I don’t play that game. My goal is simply to say, ‘This is what I would like to see, and why I would like to see it.’
Enough spewing—let’s talk about DevSecOps tools. I jotted down this topic a while back when I touched briefly on it, and my ideas firmed up while working on a recent project.
Let’s start easy. If you are not using what we currently call DevSecOps tools in your DevOps toolchain, go get them set up. Go ahead, we’ll wait. It’s that much of a no-brainer that we’ll sit here while you choose, purchase and install your choice. Seriously. “Here is a tool that will make development more secure and make developers more productive.” Go install it now. Choose what functions you want to use and work them into your toolchain.
But don’t get too married to your vendor. Because for the very same reasons I just told you to go install them, I will say I don’t think they should be a standalone market. Here is a toolset that plugs into the IDE on one end, and runs stand-alone, integrated with CI/CD on the other. It is DevOps in many ways. And while code scanning is inarguably a security function, the spirit of DevOps overall is “Who cares?” Using these tools shifts quite a bit of security functionality left and also warns about bad coding practices. Note I did not specifically say insecure coding practices, though those are covered. I said bad coding practices. The largest of these vendors will let you know things like, “Hey, you sent that variable to this function and then never used it. Are you sure?” or “This loop looks like it never exits. Are you sure?”
It should be, and I predict will be, part of the DevOps process. In my dream world, the functionality would get split and some would end up in IDEs, while the rest would end up in testing tools or CI tools. But that’s not normally how markets get split up when there are established vendors. Even though you can feel the difference in the functionality (a bunch of them plug right into the IDE; the rest don’t), it won’t get split up because existing markets generally merge through acquisition. So we’ll have to see how things fall out, but I’m betting on CI/CD vendors or system-wide security vendors moving into this market. Indeed, companies with a SOC will likely find these vendors appealing because most of them also operate SOCs for the dynamic scanning part of the system.
Still don’t have DevSecOps installed? Go now. Choose a vendor.
Because I’m being so forceful about telling you to install one of these toolsets, I’ll state very clearly: At the time of this writing, I do not have any kind of relationship with any vendor in this space. I say this because I use the tools and strongly believe that the pain points they bring as a layer in development are very much made up for by the benefits they bring to the application.
And keep rocking it. This will just make your systems more stable, and the merges (that I see as inevitable, but is actually only a possibility) you can worry about when they come along.