Any successful security integration requires collaboration between the SecOps and DevOps teams, especially given that the security and development teams start out with quite different agendas. In this blog, we’ll go through 4 suggestions for recruiting engineers to help your company implement real DevSecOps.
The DevOps phenomenon has made it easier for companies to develop and distribute apps at scale, but security issues are sometimes overlooked in the haste of agile development, leading to security gaps and raising application risks. DevSecOps, the industry standard for application security, places a strong emphasis on the necessity of enhancing communication and continuous integration between development, operations, and security
However, integrating DevOps and SecOps calls for a substantial culture shift, developer buy-in, and the incorporation of a number of automated security tools in the CI/CD pipeline. Let’s examine the reasons why so many businesses are having trouble and our best advice for getting there.
SecOps are from Venus, while DevOps are from Mars.
Given the significant role that developers play in advancing business ambitions, the solution is as simple as asking them to accept responsibility and begin collaborating with security to prevent costly data breaches and application vulnerabilities. That seems reasonable, right?
Unfortunately, the misalignment between DevOps and SecOps is the cause of the issue.
While developers are advised to be more security conscious, their actual daily experiences reveal something different. Nearly 44% of the 4,000 software professionals questioned for GitLab’s “2019 Global DevSecOps Report” said they are not evaluated based on their security flaws. As a result, managers place more pressure on employees to provide quick results for the company by focusing on metrics like the number of deployed resources and closed tickets, as well as their capacity to take on new work or cover new topics during a standup. For developers, more is always better. The better you do, the faster you code, the quicker you test, and the more frequently you publish.
SecOps, on the other hand, have little concern about speed unless a data breach or security incident has occurred and are tasked with protecting the organisation with adequate security controls, adhering to compliance standards, and proving a reduction in security threats.
While everyone agrees that developers hold a lot of power in the development environment, there is still a gap between these competing priorities and ensuring that developers are equipped with the necessary security tools to do so.
Four strategies to help application developers prioritise security
Transform the culture top-down
Nearly half (48%) of organisations routinely push dangerous code, and they are aware of it, according to a recent ESG research report, which is a very alarming statistic for security professionals. Developers are informed by the shipping of vulnerable code that speed and volume, not the quality of the code, are what matter. We must have a different perspective on security flaws. Let’s start with prevention rather than damage control so that there is never a need to wage battle against security threats.
Senior management have to stand up against releasing any security flaws in their product and focus more on development. This should be the mandate for development managers, who should then review the performance KPIs for their development teams and recognise positive behavioural improvements. Developers will be better able to prioritise security and determine their priorities if they receive a clear command from above.
View developers as key participants rather than an existential threat.
Developers shouldn’t be viewed as the weak link or the enemy. They are passionate about what they do and have a deep understanding of the software they develop. They don’t like it too, especially if they haven’t really been taught how to manage these situations. This can make them feel mistreated and demotivated, which can result in employee turnover.
Give developers a seat at the table, solicit their feedback on new procedures, and let them participate in the development of new security strategies. Developers’ needs frequently come up last when selecting the best security technologies due to other factors and money. Developer adoption decreases when SecOps invest in tools that don’t address their needs. When security tools find vulnerabilities, developers are frequently ill-prepared to fix them, rendering the tools useless.
Follow through on your promises and maintain developer engagement
Not one of the 40 university computer science programmes in the United States that Forrester Research evaluated in 2019 required students to take courses in secure coding or secure application design. And the US is not the only country with this data. Developers’ limited exposure to secure coding persists when they settle into the workforce. 70% of developers stated they receive minimal direction or assistance while being required to produce secure code, according to GitLab’s 2019 DevSecOps report.
Give your developers a fighting chance to tackle those annoying vulnerabilities by investing in security training. Developers need regular access to hands-on learning that actively encourages them to learn and grow their abilities in a real setting if they are to flourish and participate in building secure code. They must be able to work in their own programming languages and frameworks and learn about freshly discovered software vulnerabilities in actual working code.
Because they are competitive and creative, developers are less likely to benefit from classroom instruction and conventional training. According to our most recent research, most of our customers said they switched to safe coding training from traditional corporate style training for DevOps because it wasn’t sufficiently interactive and engaging to produce the greatest results:
Real-world hacking situations pitting them against one another help students learn and stay motivated so they can identify problems in application code and apply these talents to their actual work.
Transform your biggest weakness into your greatest strength.
To prepare a wonderful meal, a restaurant must take the time to properly choose the components and methodically assemble the dish—rather than simply giving it a brief glance before serving it to the customer. Application security requires the same level of care, which can help in the sales cycle to attract new business because customers have the most faith in your product and engineers.
Shifting left and include developers in the AppSec narrative have significant advantages and are wise business decisions. Since there can never be as many developers as security experts, it is more simpler and more effective to train developers to create with security in mind than it is to find enough security experts to examine your code.
It is best to incorporate secure code training and automated continuous testing into your SDLC cycle so that your developers feel more empowered to identify security flaws and take responsibility as vulnerabilities are flagged early in development for them to fix, before moving onto the next stage and preventing the need for time-consuming and expensive manual checks.
You can make developers your finest security asset by making sure they are supported, prepared, and motivated to address security. For guidance on how to improve your software development team’s security expertise in 3 steps, consult Secure Code Warrior’s “Fast Guide.”