Since the conception of DevOps, software releases have become more predictable and less costly.

Companies are now capable of bringing updates to their platforms multiple times a day. A feat like this would have been impossible a mere decade ago, but the collaborative and communicative culture behind DevOps makes it possible.

Benefits of DevOps Environments

According to Puppet's recently released 2016 State of DevOps Report (registration required), organizations using DevOps deploy software updates 200 times more often than organizations that do not.

Additionally, DevOps companies recover from problems 24 times faster and have an enormous 2,555 times faster lead time than non-DevOps companies. Most important of all is the survey’s revelation that DevOps environments spend half the time fixing security issues, testing, and coding compared to traditional setups.

Damon Edwards and John Willis of DevOps Cafe describe the core values of DevOps as culture, automation, measurement, and sharing. Abbreviated using the acronym CAMS, these standards dissect DevOps down to its fundamentals and serve as a helpful method for professionals to fully understand and apply changes. Security, in particular, has been well served by the principles.

4 Ways Security Integrates With DevOps

Here are the four ways security is integrated into DevOps.

1. Culture

People who are familiar with DevOps know that the tools come secondary to the culture. DevOps brings teams together, giving them more roles within the processes involved in projects. Where once developers and operations functioned independently, DevOps culture has removed the barriers between the two, encouraging coordination.

With this coordination, employees are given security protocols that they must follow, enforcing the strictest standards all the way down the production line. From the start of DevOps implementation, security procedures are instilled in both developers and operators.

2. Automation

Human error is unavoidable. Thankfully, DevOps integrates with automated security testing and security bug tracking. This not only aids in avoiding mistakes, it’s also what gives DevOps its speed. The days of manual configurations and pen-testing are gone thanks to highly scalable (and affordable) automatic code reviews. 

Automation as a supplement to the cultural component is the key to a healthy application security program. The increase of speed and productivity saves time, prevents defects, creates consistency and enables self-service.

Learning Opportunities

3. Measurement

Software quality is often difficult to measure in the software development lifecycle. What might seem like a good idea at the beginning of development can turn out to be a flop later on. Analytics can be useful in measuring data, but they won’t indicate a software’s worth. DevOps allows for anyone to see how software is progressing at any point.

DevOps tools use a central dashboard that creates visibility of potential vulnerabilities. Tools can track individual and overall security threats. They can measure and even help remedy them. “By automating these activities, we can generate evidence on demand to demonstrate that our controls are operating effectively, whether to auditors, assessors, or anyone else working in our value stream,” according to the Puppet survey.

A Dev-Sec-Ops environment gives builders a constant idea of the security of a build, and it’s all brought to light through sharing.

4. Sharing

In a DevOps environment, nothing is limited to one division of a company.  Interdepartmental transparency is the backbone of DevOps. Developers are constantly speaking with operators and operators are constantly speaking with developers. The security team is also a part of this transparency.

Where once a team was confined to its own tasks, security is now a constant part of the building and updating of software. Experts are no longer limited to one role, and through the sharing of information, tools, and practices, they take on a much wider view through collective ownership. 

DevOps has changed the status quo and more companies are finding great success after successful implementation of all that it offers. Thanks to DevOps, software is now released more rapidly — and more securely — than ever before.

Title image by Matthew Wiebe

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