Though the fundamental ideas behind DevOps have been floating around for decades, the concept wasn't fully flushed out nor the term coined until Patrick Debois founded the first devopsday conference in 2009. Since then, the idea has been embraced by major corporations like Amazon, Adobe, Netflix, and Target, and vendors have begun offering services that aligned with the concept.
DevSecOps similarly has roots that stretch back before the 21st century, but it fully emerged as an idea as an attempt to expand upon the core principles of DevOps by shining a light on security concerns as an integrated part of the software development lifecycle.
Understanding the difference between DevOps and DevSecOps can help you determine how you want to relate to safety and security during the development and deployment process. There is a great deal of overlap between DevOps and DevSecOps, so you aren't put in a position where you are throwing out the underlying principles of DevOps to produce a secure product.
At the same time, there are differences that are worth understanding. Let's do a deep dive into how these two approaches are similar and where they diverge.
A portmanteau of "development" and "operations," DevOps is the collection of tools and practices that are specifically designed to emphasize collaboration, communication, and integration between developers and IT operations. DevOps aims to improve how software developers and IT operations pros communicate and collaborate as a part of developing software.
By integrating and automating the steps involved in both software development and IT operations, DevOps can help to shorten and improve the systems and software development life cycle.
Though there isn't a specific definition of DevOps that academics and practitioners have agreed upon, there are a number of key principles that characterize DevOps, including:
A number of the fundamental ideas underlying DevOps practices are related to other well-known practices, including the Agile approach, the Toyota Way, Deming's Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle, and Lean manufacturing.
An augmentation of DevOps, DevSecOps allows for integrating security practices into the DevOps approach. A portmanteau of development, security, and operations, this is an approach to development that recognizes the essential role of security as a part of the entire IT and development lifecycle.
While there are important differences between DevSecOps and DevOps, it's worth understanding that there is more overlap between them than there are aspects that set them apart.
Monitoring, automation, and enforcement are all used as a part of DevSecOps to ensure security practices are upheld every step of the way. This can mean setting enforcement rules and using automated testing, but it can also include automatic code remediation when vulnerabilities are discovered.
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Both DevOps and DevSecOps emphasize automation, team collaboration, and improving the security status of a particular project and the organization as a whole.
DevOps and DevSecOps focus on improving team collaboration so that development goals can be met effectively and efficiently.
The collaboration is primarily between developers and operations in the DevOps culture, while the DevSecOps culture emphasizes collaboration between developers and the security team.
DevOps and DevSecOps rely heavily on automation to automate routine operations by implementing scripts that can regularly run.
This can help ensure that time and energy aren't lost performing repetitive tasks, which means that teams can turn their attention toward the most important objectives that require human effort.
Another shared notion between DevOps and DevSecOps is the necessity of active monitoring to discover any issues early in the process.
Additionally, continuous monitoring tightens the security posture, limits the attack surface, and improves performance.
One of the primary focuses of both DevOps and DevSecOps is ensuring that development can occur as quickly and efficiently as possible without sacrificing quality or security.
By focusing on collaboration and automation, these collaborative teams can reduce the time input, improve communication flows, and move through the life cycle more quickly without risking excellence in the final product.
The creation and management of certain resources– such as databases, networks, and servers– can be automated using a tool known as Infrastructure as Code (IAC). This allows teams to create definitions of the resources in code one time instead of repeatedly creating them manually every time they are needed.
This is a tool that is particularly useful when interacting with cloud environments, as it is simple to scale up or down when necessary depending on the current activity on your site.
Now that we've gone over the similarities between DevOps and DevSecOps, let's dive into what sets them apart.
A primary difference between DevOps and DevSecOps is the underlying philosophy.
While the driving idea behind DevOps is to emphasize collaboration between development and operations teams in order to boost productivity, DevSecOps focuses on the collaboration between teams to make a commitment to security a shared obligation.
The primary purpose of DevSecOps is to keep security in mind when utilizing the principles of DevOps to create a quality product quickly.
DevOps allows teams to work efficiently and effectively by reducing employee errors and improving collaboration and communication.
It can be best to look at DevSecOps as an extension of DevOps that integrates a larger focus on security testing and considerations at every stage in the process.
While DevOps focuses on bridging the communication gap between teams working on the same project, DevSecOps ensures that a focus on security isn't an afterthought in the process.
One of the major differences between DevOps and DevSecOps is when the security processes are implemented. With DevOps, security begins right after the development pipeline starts. DevSecOps, on the other hand, incorporates security as a part of the initial build process.
Of course, DevSecOps isn't just about security. It takes into account every aspect of the development process, including monitoring and detection of vulnerabilities and automated remediation processes.
The point is that DevSecOps emphasizes the necessity of inviting security teams and partners right as the DevOps initiatives begin to set a plan in action for information security and security automation. Additionally, it focuses on helping developers keep security in mind while they're coding, which involves security teams sharing feedback, insights, and visibility about known threats, such as potential malware or insider threats.
This might also involve some security training for developers since more senior developers might not have focused as much on security during the traditional development process.
Many of the most common obstacles DevOps faces have to do with security, which is part of why many organizations have recently shifted from DevOps to DevSecOps.
DevSecOps emerged to help deal with growing security concerns surrounding the development and deployment process, but that doesn't mean the practice doesn't face its own challenges. Some common difficulties include a lack of AppSec tool integration, a knowledge gap in developers, developer overload, and pipeline friction.
While we're on the topic of DevOps and DevSecOps, it's worth mentioning the existence of another related concept– SecOps. A portmanteau for Security and Operations, the goal of SecOps is to make sure that cybersecurity concerns are present as a concern at every development stage.
A collaboration between IT security and operations tools, SecOps involves processes, tools, and tech designed to ensure that an organization is safe and secure while reducing risk.
The transition from DevOps to DevSecOps isn't a simple process, but it can be well worth the trouble when you look at the security benefits it offers. It is essential for organizations to deliver software in an agile and streamlined way, and implementing DevSecOps in a way that seamlessly fits into the software development life cycle is a vital task. Otherwise, it can end up causing delays or adding more pressure onto DevOps teams that are already stretched thin.
When you combine automation, open standards, and zero trust as a part of the DevSecOps culture, it helps ensure that security is a priority from the beginning of the life cycle– it's basically baked right into the app from the start. This means that processes, applications, and supply chains can be sufficiently robust while there is also enough flexibility for teams to make sure that they can get their work done and deliver reliable services and apps.
Automation lies at the heart of DevSecOps, just as it does with DevOps. This means that processes can be consistent and repeatable, so all interactions between development, IT infrastructure, and security teams are simplified.
Figuring out the ideal automation structure means automating security throughout the application's entire life cycle. Security tools and checks should be brought into the development and deployment process by creating automated application pipelines. This means that team members can perform specific security checks at every step of the process, meaning that consistency and security are woven right into the fabric of your app.
Automation is absolutely key for ensuring that the added security concerns implied by DevSecOps don't slow down the process. Thanks to the power of automation, teams no longer have to send endless emails back and forth and deal with delays due to manual allocation and execution of tasks.
One of the issues that can arise with DevSecOps is that there are platforms familiar to security professionals and a language used to describe their techniques and processes that aren't immediately comprehensible to developers and IT pros. This means that, in order to successfully transition from DevOps to DevSecOps, you have to find a way for these different teams to be able to clearly communicate with one another and translate the information they're relaying in an understandable fashion.
Open standards and open-source tools can help out as a part of this process. Rather than using proprietary software, you can create standardized platforms and languages that everyone involved in DevSecOps can use.
When everyone does their work using compatible platforms in a way that is translatable between them, it can reduce the risk of errors and save time along the way.
Finally, an essential principle you'll want to use when implementing DevSecOps is a zero trust security approach. This means that implicit trust models and traditional network perimeters should be assumed to be inadequate for protecting assets, data, and workloads.
This approach leverages the ability for teams to prevent any network breaches from being exploited by automatically segmenting networks. Zero trust comes from the standpoint that a security environment should be built around the notions of least privilege and de-perimeterization.
When you use a zero trust approach, it means that breaches in one location are confined. Additionally, the regular workflows don't have to be disrupted because the automation allows legitimate users the access they need to continue working.
As the digital landscape continues to change, security becomes an increasing concern for businesses of all sizes that are developing software products. This means that it's all the more important to choose the right partners during the development process to ensure that you aren't leaving your business or your customer vulnerable to a wide range of security risks.
Are you in the beginning stages of designing an app, and you're trying to find a trustworthy and experienced partner to work with? Planetary is a distributed team of experts that specializes in working with businesses of all sizes– whether you're at a Fortune 500 company or a tiny startup, we'd love to hear from you. We have more than a half-century of collective experience, have completed more than one hundred projects, and work tirelessly to help turn your idea into a reality from three different countries around the world.
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