How can DevOps Increase System Security

Due to the ever-rising threat of data breaches and cyber-attacks faced by firms across the globe, ensuring top-grade security of all operating systems has become increasingly critical. But implementing InfoSec has been known to slow down the CI/CD process, thereby acting as a big hurdle to the efficiency brought by implementing DevOps models.

DevOps is solely there to fasten the speed of product releases and applications by streamlining the processes between development and operations teams. This fast turnaround time has made many InfoSec teams skeptical of the security quality of such “Pushed” releases.

DevOps implementation was seen as a major threat to the compliance and regulatory protocols set forth by InfoSec teams, but as multiple examples have shown, this is not true at all. Instead of being a threat to InfoSec, DevOps is a powerful process that can mitigate multiple risks that accrue from non-automated, slow processes.

Many firms have had examples where the implementation of DevOps allowed them to not just identify critical security problems at the start of the development process but issue patches and updates to remove internal software vulnerabilities at a faster rate than was possible otherwise.

Firms who are still a bit apprehensive about implementing DevOps need to understand that DevOps is not just there to ensure faster releases. DevOps is a complete system that combines different elements of the product development lifecycle like QA, InfoSec and development to work together and assist each other.

Furthermore, modern-day DevOps practices are now starting to include security as a critical element in their whole functionality, giving rise to a process known as DevSecOps. This incorporates roles that were traditionally handled by InfoSec teams into the DevOps process so that issues are found and resolved right there and then.

Areas Where DevOps Helps in Security:

DevOps primarily revolves around automating processes involved in the production of software from start to finish, encompassing facets like initial coding right down to testing and implementation.

If you have implemented DevOps in the proper manner in your organization, it will accrue the following, high-value benefits:

Incorporating Security as a Quality Requirement:

Through DevOps, you can start implementing security practices right from the initial development stages. Conventionally, InfoSec used to come in once the product was fully developed. This elongated the whole delivery cycle.

But with DevOps, you can use strategies like “Shift Left” to find bugs during the development stages.

Consistent team collaboration through DevOps training enables accelerated feedback loops and more insights into different tests, resulting in much better chances of security teams mitigating the impact of regulatory and compliance issues.

Processes Become More Predictable:

Without DevOps, many of your processes happen in a standalone manner, with little or no automation at all. This can increase the chances of introducing security flaws through human errors.

As processes get automated through DevOps, pipelines and their ensuing results become much more predictable. Moreover, since tools and processes are shared, visibility across teams increases greatly as well, allowing everyone to better know what to expect and from whom.

Security Issues Get Resolved Faster:

Bugs and vulnerabilities often come up despite the best of efforts by teams. Updates to patch these issues up can come faster through the DevOps model since the lead time is accelerated as all teams are in total collaboration and in knowledge of workflows in the pipeline.

Moreover, DevOps allows you to develop a process that can be integrated into the development cycle which is primarily meant to deal with such issues. This way you can simultaneously develop, test and run the patch without disturbing the other elements in the process.

And as DevOps processes furnish detailed information on the application version, its stack components, and deployment, it’s not difficult to zero in on the components which have developed the issue.

Intensive and Automated Compliance Reports:

When a process is automated, its outcomes and workflows are always highly consistent. Along with this, the logging of every single detail is also done automatically. Combining both these things, DevOps can produce comprehensive compliance reports much more easily as it has access to a vast network of information that’s traceable.

This eliminates the need for manual endeavors that used to waste hours of time checking each process starting from the end to its beginning. Along with this, manual reports have a high chance of missing out on crucial information due to blind spots emerging from non-automated processes that don’t have access to cross-verified information from different teams.

Organizations Don’t Need to Have a Trade-Off Between Governance and Speed:

Conventionally, ensuring early release times meant completely foregoing or limiting multiple security aspects as these could take up a lot of time and eat upon project deadlines.

With DevOps, organization don’t need to go down that route at all as it enables them to engage InfoSec processes into the product development cycle itself, without compromising on the project’s early release date. From compliance, governance, and auditing, every single security aspect governing the product will be fully taken care of and ensure the product remains according to standardized guidelines.

DevOps Enables Tool Agility:

An outdated and un-integrated software release process makes the Devs risk the project’s security by forcing them to use a certain set of tools, even though they may not be compliant with standardized compliance measures.

DevOps eliminates this risk completely by allowing Devs to choose any tools or frameworks which they deem fit or most suitable for the task at hand once they are through with an intensive DevOps certification cycle meant to empower them on exactly these aspects.  

For e.g. DevOps enabled tools like containerization and micro-services are not as vulnerable because they restrict the attack area. They can even allow for a much faster, response time than outdated tools.

Wrapping Things Up:

DevOps cannot alone fulfill your cyber and system security needs as this requires a comprehensive framework of itself which consists of various types of security practices augmented by relevant tool implementation.

However, DevOps can still prove very helpful in streamlining your security processes, especially those that are related to the product development cycle, release and updates, proving to be an integral component of the modern-day security strategy of any firm.