The inclusion of IT security into DevOps processes, also known as DevSecOps, appears to be occurring at an accelerated rate. A new survey of 300 enterprise IT organizations published this week by DigCert, a provider of identity management and encryption software, finds that almost half (49 percent) of the respondents says they have completed DevSecOps, while another 49 percent say they are already working on it.
In terms of overall impact, however, only 22 percent say they are doing well in terms of achieving and maintaining higher levels of security.
In addition, those that have achieved DevSecOps say it took them anywhere from 12 to 14 months to make the transition. Those that have not completed the transition are estimating it will take them seven to 11 months. Based on the experience of the organizations that have completed the transition, there would appear to be a natural tendency to underestimate how much the cultural difference between developers and IT security teams can negatively impact integration objectives.
Jason Sabin, chief security officer (CSO) for DigiCert, says that while many organizations may have brought IT security professionals into the process, an increase in the overall security of applications being built requires more time and patience, says Sabin.
DigiCert recommends IT organizations identify an IT security champion within a DevOps process and automate the implementation of IT security controls as much as possible. Those moves can help lower developer cultural resistance to having to spend time on what often are considered mundane programming issues.
It’s worth noting that most IT security professionals don’t have much in the way of programming skills. They can secure an application using any number of platforms that have a management console. But understanding how to employ APIs to help plug security holes before an application gets deployed is beyond the capabilities of most IT security professionals. IT security professionals can make developers aware of issues, but in general there’s not much they can do to fix the application itself.
Also, IT security professionals typically don’t understand the amount of coding that might be required to fix an issue, and they are not always able to access the true risk associated with a specific vulnerability. All vulnerabilities tend to be treated as equal threats regardless of number of instances a vulnerability has been exploited.
The good news is a full 88 percent of respondents saying it is somewhat to extremely important to integrate security into DevOps. Failure to do so will lead to issues such as increased costs (78 percent), slower application delivery (73 percent) and increased security risks (71 percent). Awareness of these issues should eventually lead to the development and deployment of more secure applications.
The issue, of course, is that not every development team is equally along the DevSecOps maturity code. Because of that issue, it unfortunately may be years before the preponderance of applications running in a production environment are able to defend themselves from even the most rudimentary cybersecurity attacks.