Red Hat Survey Reveals More Confidence in Open Source

A recent Red Hat survey revealed how DevOps teams increasingly depend on open source to support their shift to cloud-native environments and digital transformations, and to maintain security in these highly distributed environments.

Based on a survey of 1,250 IT professionals, Red Hat maintains that the survey respondents — from organizations that were Red Hat customers — were unaware that Red Hat sponsored the study to help avoid “biased or influenced responses,” Red Hat said in a statement. 

During the past two years, the number of organizations that deemed open source necessary for their digital transformations increased 11% to 53%, representing the majority of the respondents’ organizations. 

The vast majority (87%) of the respondents considered open source to be “more secure” than or “as secure” as proprietary software, while 84% indicated that enterprise open source “is a key part of my organization’s security strategy.”

While the survey reflects open source’s importance for security for IT professionals in DevOps, its support of the overall business mission is key, as well, says Momodou Jaiteh, application security consultant at nVisium, an application security provider.

 “Information security is about reducing and mitigating risk to enterprises, from technology, people and process perspectives. It helps enable the business to operate securely in the best interest of its shareholders and customers,” Jaiteh said. “Thus, security typically plays a supporting, [but] nonetheless critical role in the success of the business, especially in a digitally connected world.” 

Open source software often helps businesses reduce overhead cost in delivering services to their customers through reduced time to market, Jaiteh said. One major additional advantage is “visibility and input from a lot of different people,” Jaiteh added. 

“Greater visibility often translates to more observing eyes on all aspects of the open source software, which often translates to better security. This is even better for mission-critical software that deals with sensitive information, such as cryptographic algorithms, etc.,” Jaiteh said. “It is not a surprise to see open source used more in infrastructure modernization, because as we move to DevSecOps models of software delivery, infrastructure often is the bottleneck. Therefore, solving for infrastructure helps developers focus on aspects that are unique to their business.”

While survey respondents ranked improving collaboration between IT and business stakeholders to achieve a digital transformation as their highest priority, implementing cloud technologies or infrastructure ranked second. Infrastructure modernization is thus seen as a prerequisite for a full digital transformation, said Dirk Schrader, global vice president, security research at New Net Technologies (NNT), a cybersecurity and compliance software provider.

 “Open source plays a vital, pivotal role in almost all digital trends driving any industry sector today,” Schrader said. “Cloud computing or containerization is rooted in open source technology, many development libraries are open source, and the market for open source solutions has been a model for servitization; the changes in one’s business model away from selling a product to selling a service, or an integration of service, and product that focus on additional value-add for the customer.”

 For security, the main advantages consist of being able to review, inspect and audit “each and every piece of code,” Schrader said. 

“The ability of open source to be a base for services makes it the natural companion for any digital initiative,” Schrader said.

B. Cameron Gain

B. Cameron Gain first began writing about technology when he hacked the Commodore 64 family computer in the early 1980s and documented his exploit. Since his misspent youth, he has put his obsession with software development to better use by writing thousands of papers, manuals, and articles for both online and print. His byline has appeared in Wired, PCWorld, Technology Review, Popular Science, EEtimes, and numerous other media outlets.

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