Sep 19, 2022

DevSecOps: ROI and How Adopting It Saves You From Future Compliance Issues

You'll find out what DevSecOps can do, why your team should adopt it, and how to do it with minimum friction and maximum ROI.

DevSecOps: ROI and How Adopting It Saves You From Future Compliance Issues

Remember how DevOps became a buzzword somewhere around 2007? It was well worth the hype too: DevOps helped develop a whole new culture of building seamless workflows and achieving continuous delivery. But the time has come to take it one step further and add in a missing ingredient. DevSecOps is here to put the much-needed emphasis on security, making it a priority from the very start.

Did we just accidentally explain what DevSecOps is, and you're about to give up on our article? Let's hope not because we have a lot more to offer. 

You'll find out what DevSecOps can do, why your team should adopt it, and how to do it with minimum friction and maximum ROI.

What is DevSecOps?

Build software, test it, and then implement security — this was the consensus among developers until recently. DevSecOps rearranges this order.

Development, security, operations — DevSecOps puts those three components together, always keeping the focus on the central role of security. In practice, this means making security-related decisions at the earliest stages of the project. This in turn allows for a completely different level of planning and control, all the way up to delivery.

It makes perfect sense; why hasn't anyone thought of this before? Well, until recently, adding security late in the development worked just fine. Here are the main factors that changed the rules of the game:

  • Cloud technology, microservices, and containers. The move to a distributed infrastructure and a new architecture called for a different approach to software security. Putting together all the pieces of the puzzle at the final stages of the project was becoming unsustainable. 

  • Shorter delivery cycles thanks to Agile and DevOps. Teams couldn't afford to tackle security issues late in the process, as they had to release working versions of the software every couple of weeks.

No wonder this software development methodology is quickly becoming an industry standard. According to this survey, 77% of organizations implemented DevSecOps for the majority of their applications in 2021.

Now that we have a definition, let's talk more about the value that DevSecOps brings to the table. Namely, how its adoption can impact ROI and help you beat the competition to the punch.

The business value of DevSecOps: expect better ROI

DevSecOps changes the way we handle security throughout the entire development cycle. And making the move to this new approach pays off. Here's what you get when you abandon your old ways and convert to DevSecOps.

A proactive approach to security

Instead of stumbling into security and compliance problems late in the development cycle, teams that practice DevSecOps can plan ahead and tackle them preemptively. 

DevSecOps introduces a flexible system of reviewing, testing, and auditing code at every stage, minimizing the risk of security flaws. In terms of ROI, this means a higher pipeline velocity, as well as a lower failure rate for deployments.

Get this: 95% of organizations that use DevSecOps report a significant increase in incident detection speed. 

Improved collaboration between departments

DevOps closed the gap between development and IT operations, bringing about a major shift in the ways we build software. DevSecOps throws security in the mix, fostering a shared responsibility among all the parties involved. 

There's no longer a need for a siloed task force that only handles security — it's now up to all the members of the team. What you get is a group of professionals with intimate knowledge of their respective areas of expertise, working toward a common goal. This transforms into better issue resolution time, which directly impacts the project's ROI.

Faster patching of vulnerabilities

DevSecOps incorporates standard practices for identifying and patching vulnerabilities into the development and production pipeline. So as new threats appear, your software remains protected by promptly issued patches.

Time to patch is one of the critical metrics for measuring DevSecOps ROI. It's also a very real indicator of a system's overall security. The longer it takes to patch an identified vulnerability, the higher the chance of a security breach by malicious agents.

Prevention of costly reworks

It's quite simple: if a security vulnerability creeps into your code, and your team fails to notice it early, everyone has to put in billable hours to fix it. The more features that are based on that code, the more code that will need to be retested and rebuilt. DevSecOps can save you from such predicaments — and protect your budget, too.

Automation

Another major boon of DevSecOps, automation increases its ROI even more. How exactly? According to the Security Compass research, manual security and compliance processes are the main cause of delivery slowdowns — in a whopping 75% of all cases.

This all changes when you use DevSecOps. Depending on your project's needs, your team can set up automated workflows for security and compliance testing. These repeatable routines are easy to standardize, scale, and adapt to new requirements, so your experts can focus on more important tasks. 

Built-in compliance

DevSecOps helps build compliance into the very fabric of software. If your application must comply with specific data privacy regulations or has strict security requirements that affect the choice of infrastructure, adopting this methodology is a no-brainer.

With DevSecOps, you can start engineering your software in accordance with compliance standards from the get-go. By making the right decisions on architecture, safe storage, or data exchange protocols early on, you can save on costs and improve time to market.

DevSecOps is an incredibly valuable tool for streamlining your security practices and increasing the project's ROI. It helps avoid future compliance issues and ensures uninterrupted development without costly reworks. To unlock the full potential of DevSecOps, you need to implement the approach with meticulous consistency. 

At Alpacked, we know which rookie mistakes to look out for.

The complexities of DevSecOps adoption

In order to seamlessly integrate DevSecOps into your development workflow, you'll need to be aware of the obstacles along the way. Here are the ones we've encountered:

(All statistical data in this block comes from this survey by SecurityCompass

  • Moving to DevSecOps is a change in culture. Organizational inertia can be an issue, 35% of adopters note. However, if your team has already been using Agile methodologies or tapped into DevOps, this won't be such a major paradigm shift for them.
  • It will take time and require investments. As per the survey's results, 39% of respondents cited lack of time as the main obstacle in implementing DevSecOps, and 40% found the process to be expensive. What can we say? Bulletproof security and airtight compliance don't come for free, but you'll get your investment back, with interest.
  • It's a different mindset. You need to put security practices first and build development workflows around them. Your in-house team might have to completely redesign their development process to truly embrace DevSecOps. But that's to be expected, right?
  • Implementing DevSecOps presents technical challenges. 60% of those surveyed noted that switching to the new method was technically complex. Hiring professionals who have the right skills and experience to handle DevSecOps is the only solution here.
  • It can be tough to keep up your release pace while devoting a lot of resources to security. This is true at first, but once your team learns the ropes of DevSecOps and synchronizes their efforts, they should find their rhythm. 

To help you avoid the pitfalls, we've also put together a list of best practices. If you take security seriously and like to plan everything down to a T, you'll find this information helpful.

How to succeed at DevSecOps adoption

The process of implementing DevSecOps can be quite complex, but technical details are beyond the scope of this article. Instead, we've decided to provide you with a set of general principles you can follow to ease the transition. 

  • Shift left. You've probably heard this expression before. In short, "shift left" means integrating security as early as possible, as opposed to dealing with it right before releasing the software. You could say DevSecOps is all about shifting left.




  • Also, shift right. This is often overlooked but extending your security practices into the production phase is very important. One, that's when breaches mostly occur — so you may have to modify your tools accordingly. And two, security checks on your app running in the actual environment will give you real-life insights that scanning source code simply can't provide. 
  • Communication. Remember we said that DevSecOps requires a shift in culture? This is more serious than you might think at first glance. Your team will need flawless communication to enable a feedback loop and be able to resolve issues and conflicts. 
  • Clear compliance objectives. The better you define your compliance priorities and translate them into requirements, the easier it will be to choose the right tools. You'll then be making informed choices when it comes to things like architecture, infrastructure, and so on. 
  • Security awareness and education. Sharing responsibility for security implementation is a cornerstone of DevSecOps. So, every member of your team from project managers to junior developers needs to be fully aware of the importance of security. Proper training and adherence to fundamental principles of security are an absolute must.
  • Relevant developer experience. Your software developers' backgrounds and expertise directly influence the quality of code they produce. In the case of DevSecOps, hiring developers with no prior experience with the method will slow down adoption and may cause additional hiccups. 
  • Documentation: traceability and accountability. To achieve your security and compliance goals, you need to run a tight ship. Every step must be documented and kept on file — not to assign blame, but to quickly trace a problem back to its origins.

Wrapping up

Implementing DevSecOps will allow your organization to shift from a reactive to a proactive approach to security. You'll be able to better predict and mitigate risks during development, speed up delivery, and prevent compliance issues. 

However, at the end of the day, a tool is only as good as the people who use it. If you're looking for a software partner to help you realize your vision, look no further.

Alpacked is a team of experts well versed in the intricacies of DevSecOps.

We can consult you on implementing the approach or offer DaaS (DevSecOps as a service) to help build your software.

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