Challenges in DevSecOps adoption and strategies to address them

As cybersecurity and data protection becomes more critical, enterprises and start-ups are moving to DevSecOps to embed security controls end to end in the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Along the journey, there are challenges and roadblocks which can be met with a seamless strategy and the involvement of security experts or partners. 

Today, DevSecOps is becoming a mandate for most organizations. As cybersecurity and data protection becomes more critical, enterprises and start-ups are embedding security controls end to end in the software development lifecycle (SDLC). However, every business has its own unique nature and trajectory, with its own inflection points and challenges, which present more than one roadblock to its adoption. Nevertheless, DevSecOps is a journey that organizations embark on when they embrace this approach for its robust processes that ensure secure apps. 

Challenges on the road to DecSecOps

The intention of DevSecOps is to have a secure software development lifecycle (SSDLC). While adopting the DecSecOps methodology, here are some common challenges that your organization may face:

  • Finding the right expert resources – You will need to find resources who understand the unique business requirements and who are skilled in deploying automated solutions, based on the current technologies that organizations have onboarded. Several enterprises may have dedicated, qualified teams internally who carry out this activity, however, many prefer to have trusted partners or vendors who perform this activity for them. Despite this, teams require significant training to familiarize themselves with security integration within the DevOps flow. 
  • Facing challenges of tight deadlines: The biggest challenge you may find in adopting DevSecOps is building in the additional timelines to integrate security. With the current mode of development having sprint models in agile workflows, teams are under pressure to maintain strict deadlines. For every sprint, they need to have a working product going live. What most enterprises have gone through while trying to implement DevSecOps is that security flags may be raised by the internal teams or there are risks and vulnerabilities exposed in the toolchain. They cannot address all the security requirements in one go and maintain timelines based on their sprint releases. This translates to an unavoidable stretch in timelines. 
  • Focus more on attaining application functionality: Teams sometimes prioritize functionality over security, instead of a parallel journey of development and security. Their primary goal is to ensure better performance when the application is deployed into one of their pre-production or staging environments.
  • Resistance to change: DevSecOps is often a strategic decision, and as it impacts the deadlines of the development teams and their commitments to clients, internal teams may be reluctant to adopt change – from development teams to project managers. 
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Designing a seamless DevSecOps strategy

To address these roadblocks in the adoption of DevSecOps, you must put in place a sound strategy. 

  1. Understand the technology – The first thing to do is understand the technology you are working with for internal as well as public-facing applications. It’s important to consider the CI/CD pipeline within production environments or other environments that you are working in. 
  2. Cloud and cloud-native DevOps tools- While many applications were earlier hosted on-premises, currently cloud adoption is high, so executing the entire toolchain on the cloud can be challenging. Most cloud providers (CSPs) themselves have come up with a host of native DevOps tools. The teams can on-board their own toolchain into the cloud environment. However, this requires attaining a certain skill set level to understand the environment and also the technologies involved. 
  3. Thoroughly understand project/business requirements: In the case of DevSecOps, compliances or regulatory requirements have to be streamlined and readily integrated into the existing DevOps pipeline. For instance, compliances like ISO 27001 are in line with security activities. PCI/DSS and HIPA compliances are in line with security, data privacy, and data protection activities. It is also important to know what tools cover these areas.
  4. Automated overview and dashboards – Having automation in place to provide periodic reports and insights to the leadership teams can help address the challenges in adoption. Visual success metrics help teams understand the value of the extra time needed to integrate security into DevOps and move to DevSecOps. The dashboards can project details like – ‘These are the risk scores you have received in terms of PCI/DSS’, ‘In terms of ISO 27001, this is where you stand’, or ‘In terms of application-level risks, these are the issues hindering you from attaining your scores’. Using automation tools, you can keep track of organization targets. Alternately, consulting a trusted security partner can help you evaluate this better and gain a better perspective.

For DevSecOps, is it better to have an internal security expert or external security partner? 

The answer to whether to have an internal security expert on the DevSecOps team or work with an external security partner depends on where you are in the journey of adopting DevSecOps. 

Early in the journey of exploring DevSecOps, companies may work with an external security partner to prepare exclusive documentation for the implementation of DevSecOps along with the training required. Once the development and operations teams are trained, they want DevSecOps to be integrated. 

Several companies are interested to take DevSecOps consulting from a third-party security vendor only when they have internally hired a security professional. This way they understand the internal business perspective and the current DevOps model and define the security requirements and strategy. They can then work closely with the security vendor and work through the internal challenges involved. 

Entersoft’s offering and expertise in DevSecOps

We encourage business leaders to adopt a culture of security to inculcate global best practices from day one of developing their products. Taking a systematic approach to reducing risks, we help build a system that is not compromised on agility, performance, or security. 

Entersoft’s white-hat security experts engage with customers at any stage of maturity, whether they are exploring DevSecOps or mature in their DevOps process and want to move to DevSecOps. For companies that already have DevOps in place, Entersoft acts as a consultant to identify the gaps and bring in other required automation solutions or the required training to bridge them. 

DevSecOps is the path towards building highly secure applications that can withstand the upcoming onslaughts of cybercrime that we can expect as digitalization progresses world-over. Adopting DevSecOps helps manage vulnerabilities, protects reputation and saves cost for the company.

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