The rapid pace of modern software delivery and increasing fleet sizes have transformed how organizations see and handle security strategies. Compliance-as-code is required for today’s organizations that need security as a fundamental part of business processes. It is no longer possible to manually manage compliance with dedicated security teams.
Balancing security with growing infrastructure needs means IT security and compliance are non-negotiable. There is no room for more uncomfortable trade-offs between risk and an organization’s ability to deliver market-ready solutions quickly and efficiently.
Complying with growing security and compliance regulations in today’s world of rapid innovation is a constant challenge that affects all organizations, large and small. Organizations are implementing automated solutions to eliminate reliance on traditional, slow, error-prone manual processes because of tighter regulations in the industry and greater risks associated with security attacks and compliance violations.
What is Managing Endpoint Compliance-as-Code?
Compliance-as-code is the codification of compliance controls to automate their adherence, application and remediation. It includes the tools and practices that enable DevOps and developer teams to incorporate the three key compliance activities:
- Detect: Discovering non-compliance through automated estate scanning and notifying stakeholders when offending infrastructure is discovered.
- Remediate: Correcting non-compliance by implementing immediate infrastructure changes to ensure the highest level of compliance at scale.
- Automate: Avoid non-compliance by automatically verifying that planned changes comply.
There are many important use cases for managing the compliance of endpoint state as-code including confidential data protection, detecting shadow IT resources, network security, data exposed to public access and code licensing compliance.
The Importance of Compliance-As-Code
Most organizations still struggle to stay secure and comply with regulatory standards. Many organizations lack visibility across heterogeneous infrastructure and applications. They also possess inconsistent language for communicating requirements between development, security and operations (dev, sec and ops) teams and are unable to remediate findings.
Compliance-as-code enforces a comprehensive compliance strategy that involves a robust set of controls; for example, managing data storage locations and access control management.
Ensuring that these are followed at scale is critical to the success of a digital business as more organizations shift to the cloud, there are more possibilities of non-compliance. Reports suggest that a regulatory compliance violation can cost businesses $15 million on average.
This violation is avoidable if DevOps, development and DevSecOps teams can automate compliance by adopting a different mindset and writing understandable code. The adoption of the “as-code” strategy led to infrastructure-as-code (IaC) which is one of the success factors in DevOps teams. Audits are streamlined and allow individuals to focus on higher-value activities.
The Challenges of Managing a Fleet Through Compliance-as-Code
Managing a fleet through compliance-as-code is not without its challenges. First, teams must bridge the talent gap as endpoint compliance is typically managed by IT admins, who are not inherently comfortable with an as-code approach.
Typically, compliance requirements are dense and difficult to comprehend by other stakeholders. Understanding the compliance requirements of the organization and collaborating with other stakeholders to convert them to as-code is the biggest hurdle to getting started.
Developer teams must find the right set of tools and integrate them into DevOps and DevSecOps workflows. This is not just a process change but a culture change. A boil the ocean approach will not just be painful but success will be close to impossible. Taking small steps and continuously improving is the mindset one has to adopt.
Visibility Throughout the Ecosystem
Whether you are talking about end-user devices like desktops, laptops or mobile devices or non-server edge devices like point of sale (POS) or IoT devices, endpoint devices are extremely vulnerable to exploitation from bad actors. Thus, it is necessary for organizations to bring them under the organization’s security policy and governance requirements just like server-side devices.
There are a number of advantages to adopting an endpoint compliance-as-code approach:
- Users can easily understand what is going on across the organization in terms of compliance status at any time.
- The organization can keep an audit log of everything that occurred throughout the development life cycle and calculate an appropriate risk acknowledgment rating.
- Organizations can evaluate any deviations from fundamental compliance requirements.
The Continued Prioritization of Compliance-as-Code
Managing diverse IT infrastructure fleets through compliance-as-code ensures that endpoint devices meet a variety of security standards. The IT team is empowered to create rules that can enforce compliance and establish security baseline standards within the organization. Compliance checks are validated and more visible at each stage of the software development life cycle.
This guarantees detailed visibility and thorough compliance standards throughout the IT ecosystem.