Two of the biggest trends in business technology are seemingly at loggerheads with one another. Many companies are under severe pressure to digitally enable their businesses. At the same time, the need for hardened application security has never been more critical than it is now. You can deliver apps quickly and you can deliver apps securely but, generally speaking, the two things don’t happen at the same pace. The DevOps mission is aligned more with development efficiency and agility, but it’s also in keeping with the thinking behind DevSecOps. How are enterprises handling the conundrum?
According to a new survey from identity and encryption enterprise vendor DigiCert, they are handling it quite well. The recently released “Inviting Security into DevOps” survey found that 98 percent of respondents said their companies are integrating their security teams into their existing DevOps methodologies. The survey found that 49 percent of the respondents are in the process of doing so; the other 49 percent have already done so. Those who report having already integrated security with DevOps are 21 percent more likely to report what might seem counterintuitive: They are doing well at meeting app delivery deadlines.
“Successful security for DevOps requires a combination of culture building and the right technology,” said DigiCert CSO Jason Sabin. “Companies that can do this and bring in security at the start of a project avoid costly delays, because they deliver their project just once rather than discovering security issues late in the process.”
The methodology for the survey, which was conducted in May, involved 100 DevOps professionals, 100 IT professionals and 100 security professionals with executive management to management titles skewing 3:1.
The large enterprises polled for this survey agree it’s worth striving for. Some 88 percent of the respondents called security working directly with DevOps somewhat or extremely important. More than 70 percent of the respondents are concerned that if their companies don’t make this change, one or more of these negative repercussions are likely: increased costs, slower app delivery and increased risks.
Although nearly all the respondents have integrated or are integrating security within DevOps, they’re not saying it is an easy process. Their top challenges include a lack of a champion for the transition, the security team resists the change, lack of relationship skills required to bring the teams together and it takes much more time than expected—an average of one to two years.
How should you approach this in your company? First, recognize that it’s no panacea. It’s a logical first step, but don’t spend a year planning it, just do it. Start by appointing or identifying a leader for the project. Someone who understands both sides, ideally, and who knows how to get things done. And install a security lead at the DevOps table for all DevOps business. Integrate, standardize and invest in automating baseline security practices within DevOps workflow. Thinking that way will get you the agility you need.
Then address what comes next. Have the team identify choke points in the application security process and develop ways to work around them or eliminate them. In other words, attack the problem head on with all your best minds. Don’t forget to look for best practices developed by others. It’s a problem a lot of companies are trying to solve, so networking with people from other companies at industry events may give you your best ideas.