Transitioning from DevOps to DevSecOps- Challenges, Remedies, and Best Practices

Transitioning from DevOps to DevSecOps- Challenges, Remedies, and Best Practices

Last Updated on August 3, 2021 by Editor Futurescope

Modern software development has had a significant boost after DevOps combined development and operations. By successfully streamlining these 2 components in a single pipeline, DevOps methodologies helped manage the increasing pressure of delivering software faster.

Its major stumbling block is that DevOps continues the traditional culture of viewing application security as an after-thought. Tackling security towards the deployment cycle saves time, which is great for competition. But it often results in long lists of vulnerabilities, most of which have led to critical data breaches, monetary losses, and business collapse.

The DevOps Evolves

The skyrocketing damages due to cybercrimes has led the development and security teams to devise an application development strategy that meets both speed and security requirements. This is what led to the birth of DevSecOps.

The ultimate goal of DevSecOps is to make security an integral concern for everyone involved in any of the steps of application development. In its detailed post, What is DevSecOps, Snyk has expounded on the DevSecOps model, its benefits, and how to integrate security in the DevOps culture.

This article examines the key challenges that most businesses face while making the critical shift from DevOps to DevSecOps. We’ll also offer possible remedies for these bottlenecks and a few DevSecOps best practices, so you don’t stall halfway through the transition phase.

Top 3 Common DevSecOps Challenges

Clashing Objectives

The idea of integrating security into the development and operation mix is quite promising. However, the teams that have already made the switch can attest that it’s not as rosy.

The main driver in a DevOps environment is the speedy release of software to put up with the competition. On the other hand, DevSecOps gravitates more towards addressing security needs at every development cycle stage. This means that DevSecOps is less focused on speedy delivery of applications and software.

While DevSecOps calls for the integration of security measures in each stage of the SDLC, developers are still under pressure to push out projects on time and within the budget. For that reason, developers often lack the resources to handle security issues at every stage, opting to address them as one final handle. This means that the costly late-cycle upsurges are still a problem for most organizations that have embraced DevSecOps.

Solution

The surefire solution for this is putting security first, as in, SecDevOps. SecDevOps uses the same principle of integrating security in DevOps, but it puts it at the beginning of every SDLC stage. SecDevOps proponents argue that laying down the necessary security procedures for each development step often renders the best security results.

Lack of Secure Coding Knowledge

The goal of DevSecOps is to merge the development, security, and operation teams. However, the development team bears a higher responsibility for identifying and fixing vulnerabilities in a DevSecOps environment.

The challenge here is that most developers are not trained on how to fix security issues. Despite the heightened awareness of the need for advanced cybersecurity, it’s strange that even the best computer science programs have not incorporated secure coding as a part of their curriculum.

This means that most developers today don’t have formal training on software and application security issues. That being said, adding security to their responsibilities makes it a tall order for them, especially when coupled with the need to ensure quick and efficient software releases.

Solution

The apparent remedy for this is to offer developers the tools and knowledge required for the job. Of course, instilling these skills will require a considerable investment in training and coaching.

Another DevSecOps best practice to remediate this problem is to put in place a designated security team. This team may not be directly involved in identifying and fixing security flaws. Instead, it specializes in formulating and defining security policies, such as testing guidelines, to everyone involved in the SDLC. This team may also be responsible for teaching and training the entire software development and deployment team on critical security best practices.

Reluctance to Embrace Change

It’s common knowledge that employees prefer maintaining the status quo and are, therefore, reluctant to accept new changes. DevOps methodology took over from the waterfall model around 2009. The fact that it has been around for over a decade means that the key players in the application development are firmly accustomed to their roles. Consequently, they’ll tend to push any changes that threaten their comfort and control over their immediate environment.

Software developers may be reluctant to accommodate the new changes brought by DevSecOps because they involve additional stressful responsibilities. This is further compounded by the friction caused when individual teams are required to work together.

Solution

The reality of switching from DevOps to DevSecOps is that all the employees will be affected. So, it’s best to view resistance as a normal and natural reaction. However, rather than expecting it to be severe, it’s best to face it positively and have ways of minimizing and managing the resistance.

For instance, consider communicating the changes early enough and letting the employees understand the benefits available for them. This will help minimize the fear of the unknown, which causes employee resistance to change.

 DevSecOps Best Practices

We’ve discussed the significant challenges that businesses face when implementing DevSecOps and how to mitigate them. In this section, we’ve listed the essential DevSecOps best practices that offer a guardrail when maximizing speed and security in the application development lifecycle.

1. Eliminate silos– one of the goals of DevSecOps is to bring all the SDLC teams on board rather than having them working separately.

2. Minimize friction– doing away with silos is bound to create a great deal of conflict between the developer and security teams. One way of helping the entire team embrace a DevSecOps culture is educating them on the importance of viewing security as a shared responsibility across all disciplines.

3. Automate security testing– DevSecOps is less focused on velocity. To ensure security and speedy operations, it’s critical to automate as much as possible, especially on the security testing methods.

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