Overcoming Challenges: Solutions for DevSecOps Implementation

June 21, 2019

The question of whether to implement DevSecOps in your organization is no longer a matter of if — it’s a matter of when. DevSecOps brings harmony to the rivalry between development and operations teams, accelerates development, and ensures security every step of the way. But it’s no secret that organizations struggle to leap over a few hurdles. Whether it’s hiring the right talent, converting legacy systems, or configuring automation tools, each of us is bound to knock over a hurdle or two. Moving towards DevSecOps can be as challenging as it is rewarding, but what are most organizations struggling with? What can they do to leap their way to success?

In recent years, Security Compass surveyed a group largely composed of senior roles in various industries such as finance, health care, and technology. The findings helped us to unearth details about the security challenges organizations are struggling to overcome. Among those challenges, negotiating with the scarcity of security expertise and keeping up with the speed of development was especially difficult. Chances are your organization has the same problem. Let’s take a closer look at these barriers to DevSecOps and discover what we can do to eliminate them.

The first hurdle: A lack of security expertise in the industry

Customers and developers struggle to speak the language of security. When customers don’t know how to ask for secure code, the security requirements they request are lacking. Furthermore, fundamental best practices for security aren’t being taught in typical development courses. The problem in the industry is a lack of security awareness. From senior management to junior developer, it isn’t clear where security even begins. Though many organizations are starting to take notice, the challenge remains: if we can’t speak the right language, how do we ask for what we need?

Overcome the first hurdle: Foster a security culture

Solving the lack of security expertise starts with a culture change. Rather than hoisting the responsibility of security onto a small team, each employee should have a responsibility to ensure the security component of DevSecOps is met. Since security affects the business, it should be in its best interest to invest in the security knowledge of their employees. This is best achieved by assigning a security leader and evangelist. This cross-functional role meets the criteria for security experience and strives to bridge the gap between business units. Security leaders help different parts of the organization work towards security and can also serve as a mentor for new hires.

The second hurdle: Keeping up with the speed of development

The demand for frequent updates combined with the Agile philosophies that led to DevSecOps has resulted in software companies needing to release often and quickly. This requirement has become necessary to maintain healthy relationships with stakeholders and clients. Security activities, on the other hand, have not shared the same overwhelming popularity. Security procedures, like threat modeling and penetration testing, tend to be time-consuming: they are completed manually, may have false positives, and require security expertise. The challenge organizations face is how to speed up security activities at scale without sacrificing quality.

Overcome the second hurdle: Create an automated secure development pipeline

Automating a DevSecOps pipeline starts with building a CI/CD pipeline that integrates and delivers continuously. Unfortunately, this isn’t as simple as it sounds and requires a lot of experimentation to find the right tools for your environment and business case. When implemented properly, we find that automation is incorporated throughout the software lifecycle with elements such as continuous planning, requirements, and architectural analysis, and configuration management. From there, address secure development with compliance automation in a policy-to-execution platform and improve it on an ongoing basis. Although the solution to the challenge is another challenge, its rewards are immeasurable: the end result is an automated pipeline with built-in security that scales across your entire organization.

Now what?

As software increases in complexity, security becomes even more important. The potential for vulnerabilities and threats goes up while development teams are focusing on releasing as quickly as possible. A carefully implemented DevSecOps program is designed to manage these priorities. But this isn’t something you can just run into, no matter your enthusiasm. DevSecOps integrates into your entire organization. It’s a program-level effort that sees security as a business need that is inherited by all of its business units. Creating a culture of security with an automated pipeline are just a few steps you can take before making the jump that clears the hurdles in your path to continuous security.

To learn more about how SD Elements can help with DevSecOps in your organization, visit here: https://www.securitycompass.com/sdelements/

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