DevOps and DevSecOps are two strategies businesses use to achieve agile software development and streamline software pipelines. While DevOps and DevSecOps sound similar, there are some important differences. Let’s dig in and see how they stack up.
As the name suggests, DevOps combines development and operations into one cohesive unit. The DevOps model brings together multiple agile practices and philosophies and helps companies produce software and iterate at a faster clip.
Companies use DevOps to shorten development cycles, improve software quality, and pump out new features faster. With robust DevOps workflows in place, teams can operate with greater cohesion and have an easier time creating software with customer needs at the forefront.
In contrast to DevOps, the traditional approach to software development is full of silos. Typically, there’s little interaction between developers and operations teams. It’s similar to an assembly line, with each team member playing a distinct and often isolated role in a larger workflow.
With DevOps, the process is a bit different—DevOps is all about breaking down silos and encouraging more communication and collaboration across teams.
DevOps involves analyzing software development workflows and looking for opportunities to expedite production. DevOps tends to move much faster than traditional software development, with engineers constantly building, iterating, and improving code.
Of course, iterating at a fast pace increases risk. To prevent bugs and vulnerabilities from slipping into production, DevOps teams test for performance and security before releasing code. Monitoring continues once code goes into production to ensure quality and stability and identify areas needing improvement.
DevOps is a major upgrade from traditional software development. It has the potential to transform the way a company releases code and improves its overall performance and output.
But on the security side, DevOps often falls short. This is a critical issue when considering the nature of today’s sophisticated and evolving cybersecurity landscape and the massive cost of data breaches.
In standard DevOps workflows, security is still a separate entity from development and operations. In most cases, security teams swoop in before software goes into production to test code and make changes. Unfortunately, it can be expensive and time-consuming to make adjustments at this late stage. Oftentimes, security teams will sweep security vulnerabilities under the rug and patch them after a production launch to avoid product delays and to keep pipelines moving.
To rectify these vulnerabilities, a growing number of organizations are embracing a new philosophy called DevSecOps. As a result, they’re changing how they approach security during software development.
DevSecOps is the latest iteration of DevOps and something many organizations are now embracing. By making security an integral part of the development process, DevSecOps goes one step beyond DevOps. Instead of security coming in at the end as an afterthought, DevSecOps bakes security directly into the development pipeline.
In other words, development, operations, and security work as a single unit to produce code capable of withstanding today’s complex threats.
DevSecOps is important because customers and partners are placing far greater weight on operational security and trust in the applications they use—Gartner predicts “by 2025, 60% of organizations will use cybersecurity risk as a primary determinant when conducting third-party transactions and business engagements.”
Add it all up, and DevSecOps is helping companies quickly deliver secure, high-quality software capable of thwarting advanced and evolving attacks, so there’s much to like.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how DevSecOps differs from DevOps.
DevSecOps involves “shifting left” and testing throughout the software development process instead of waiting until the end. By taking this approach, DevSecOps teams can identify vulnerabilities and errors immediately and fix them before pushing code into production. Resolving issues as they occur reduces code rework and prevents problems from slipping through the cracks into production.
Software development is too fast and too complex for engineers to inspect each line of code manually. DevSecOps expedites the process using security automation tools, allowing teams to move faster and with greater accuracy, accomplishing more in less time.
DevSecOps entails greater collaboration between developers, operational teams, and security teams. It enables team members to wear more hats and learn new roles and responsibilities, which helps engineers build code with greater security awareness and keeps them in the loop about emerging threats. Over time, team members can become security experts.
A DevSecOps strategy can have a profound impact on an organization, with its benefits extending far beyond basic application security. Here are some of the transformative benefits you can expect by moving forward with a DevSecOps strategy.
Shifting left and embracing DevSecOps will change how your entire team approaches cybersecurity. The result is a true cybersecurity culture focused on prioritizing security every step of the way.
Security issues are typically more expensive to fix later in the production cycle. As such, security is one of the top contributing factors to rising production costs.
With DevSecOps, you can address security issues earlier in development and lower production expenses. Over time, this can lead to significant cost savings.
It’s crucial for agile teams to push projects forward while focusing on development. But when security issues constantly arise, requiring rework, production can grind to a halt. This can create a stressful environment where projects are constantly behind schedule. When this happens, talented engineers are more likely to seek other opportunities.
DevSecOps helps eliminate security bottlenecks, keeping pipelines moving. This can reduce friction and potentially minimize turnover.
At the same time, embracing a DevSecOps strategy shows new hires your company is committed to embracing security and true agile development. This helps the company maintain a reputation as an organization on the cutting edge of innovation.
Companies today face a growing list of privacy and security mandates, such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), to name a few examples.
In a fast-moving DevOps model, it’s easy to overlook critical compliance protocols. But with a DevSecOps model in place, security teams can work closely with engineers to make sure they’re following proper guidelines and developing in accordance with best practices. This can protect the organization and minimize costly penalties.
Users today expect seamless experiences with fast updates and minimal interruptions. DevSecOps enables teams to move faster and release better software, resulting in happier customers and better reviews
Have you implemented DevSecOps? What prompted your team to incorporate security into your development cycle, and how was that transition? We'd love to hear your thoughts.