DevSecOps – Instilling a Security Culture

Do we still think cybersecurity is the sole responsibility of the Security team in an organization and it is their responsibility to assure that a released product has addressed all the security issues? Do we think it is secure to release the product into the competitive market at first and then to think about its security part? 

In order to survive in today's competitive world, IT companies have to come up with new and innovative products at a very faster pace. Adoption of DevOps has helped most organizations to compete more effectively in the market and to better serve their customers. But, for being a best-in-class technology company and to earn customer trust, is this enough? 

Cyber crimes in various forms are hitting even the leading business enterprises in the world which results in record-breaking fines and other legal fees. As Cyber crimes continue its stratospheric growth, it is utmost important to ensure the security of the products you are delivering to clients.  Here comes the importance of embedding security into the DevOps cycle, which is referred to as DevSecOps. 

The main principle of DevSecOps is to build a 'Security First' culture by "shifting security to the left". i.e; integrating security in the early stages of the development cycle, so that we can ensure security is woven into the entire development lifecycle. Fixing security issues in the development cycle itself brings numerous advantages such as the increase in speed of delivery and cost reduction. With the implementation of DevSecOps, security will become less the function of a department but more a frame of mind that spread across the organization

Successful implementation of DevSecOps requires collaboration across several levels of the organization. By including security personnel in the development team, security issues can be found and fixed early in the development cycle itself rather than working on the issues after the product is being released into the market. It also helps to ensure the quality of code from a security perspective.  

Like any other successful organizational transformation, People, Process, and Technology are the main three elements for DevSecOps implementation. That is, we need the right people to implement various processes in an organization and the right technology to handle the load. Proper training and reorganization of siloed teams set the foundation for successful implementation of the security process and technologies. A large number of tools with a wide range of capabilities are available for performing various security tests and analysis throughout the software development lifecycle. Always go for a tool that generates fast, accurate, and immediately actionable results. At the same time, it is important to keep few considerations in mind such as the data that your business handles, the processes you follow, the platform you use etc. But just because the tools you used have uncovered security vulnerabilities, it may not necessarily add value to the business. This is why it is necessary to have appropriate people on board and establish reasonable security standards. Along with developers, QA, and IT professionals, it is important to have people responsible for application security, compliance and internal auditing in the team. Successful implementation of DevSecOps can be ensured by providing proper training to all levels of people, promoting security awareness, wise selection of tools & technologies and aligning processes in a manner that it benefits the organization as a whole rather than independent/siloed teams.

The faster we release our code, the faster vulnerabilities can be released as well, so for all who have not started, it's time to instill security into your DevOps culture. Implementing DevSecOps is not the ultimate or an “end all” solution to your security challenges, but you are going to have the best solution with whatever resources(skillset, technology, budget etc) you have at present.

Authored By - Athira Sajan
TCS Cyber Security Practice

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