Less than a year ago I started a new position in a new industry: hello, tech! As you can imagine, there were a lot of terms being thrown around that were fairly meaningless to me at the time, I mean, “is that even a word” level meaningless. One such term was DevSecOps, which is a fairly big deal in the world of tech (truthfully, it should be a fairly big deal in any industry and business that uses technology, and it’s likely a concern, but you may not be using the term). Not only is it a big deal for the tech industry, it’s a large part of what Silicon Mountain, the company that I joined, does. So I really had to figure out what this whole DevSecOps thing was about.
What is DevSecOps?
DevSecOps is short for development, security, and operations. It’s a method of software development that aims to embed security and compliance considerations into the development and deployment process right from the beginning, while emphasizing collaboration and communication between development and operations teams in order to deliver software updates and features more quickly and efficiently. Rather than the traditional approach to software development which is more “you make your part, I’ll make my part, and we’ll put it together when we’re done.”
The goal of DevSecOps is to reduce the risk of security breaches and system vulnerabilities by integrating security into the development process, rather than treating it as an afterthought. By involving security professionals and incorporating security testing and controls early on in the development cycle, organizations can identify and address potential security issues before they reach production.
If all that was still a little too techy for you to grasp, think of building a house that will have plumbing and electricity. You would expect the builders to leave space and put in the necessary support for the anticipated pipes, wires, drains, etc. You’d expect the contractors in charge of construction, plumbing, and electricity to take to each other throughout the process. You would also expect that all of them would be using up to code materials and doing it to the specifications of the building code where your house is being built. Essentially, you’d expect DevSecOps.
The Main Benefits of DevSecOps
1. Improved security
Since security concerns are taken into account before development begins, the resulting software is better at minimizing vulnerabilities and preventing security breaches. It helps protect your organization and customers from potential harm. In today’s increasingly connected world, security breaches can have serious consequences, from financial losses and damage to reputation to legal action and regulatory fines. By adopting a DevSecOps approach, you can proactively address security concerns and reduce the risk of breaches.
2. Faster deployment
In a world where time is money and everyone expects immediate gratification, fast deployment is critical to staying relevant– but only if what’s delivered quickly functions well, otherwise it’s a waste of time. DevSecOps uses a more streamlined process for development and deployment, which allows software updates and features to be delivered more quickly, improving efficiency and responsiveness. Going back to our house example: instead of waiting for the house to be completely built before inspecting and testing to make sure everything is correct and works, at which point is way more time consuming and costly to fix, those inspections and tests happen all throughout the building process.
3. Increased compliance
Many organizations are subject to regulatory requirements and industry standards for security and compliance. DevSecOps can help organizations ensure that they are meeting these requirements and minimizing the risk of fines and other penalties. Essentially, DevSecOps will build the software to the required standards. Being in compliance not only avoids penalties, but it’s also a way for organizations to demonstrate to customers and stakeholders that they are taking security seriously, which can be important for building trust and maintaining a positive reputation.
If you’re part of any organization that’s looking to improve security, boost efficiency, and has regulatory requirements to meet, DevSecOps is a valuable and effective approach. DevSecOps starts with the end in mind and as Stephen R. Covey put it, “to begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.”