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DevOps to DevSecOps – Learn the evolution
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The Ever-Changing Field of Software Development, What’s Next?

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The Ever-Changing Field of Software Development, What’s Next?

The software development process has morphed significantly since the 70s. Some of the major changes that developers have witnessed include the shift from proprietary to open-source software, the advent of cloud computing and the move from in-house to outsourcing.

But one vital realization that has revolutionized today’s software economics is the need for all teams in the SDLC to work together. This has resulted in breaking down the siloed culture common in traditional SDLC models in favor of DevOps and DevSecOps.

In this post, we look at the evolving field of software development, particularly in relation to cybersecurity. We gain insight into where we’ve come from, where we stand presently and what we might expect in the future.

Silos in Software Development Explained

A siloed culture is an environment where departments work in islands or bubbles in the software world. Where organizations operate in silos, the various departments operate in different mindsets with distinct visions, goals and responsibilities.

Consider the development and security teams as an example. While developers are concerned with delivering software solutions on time, security engineers are highly focused on software security.

When these departments work in bubbles of their own, they lack fluid intelligence or the ability to reason flexibly and solve problems across boundaries. Failure to pass crucial information leads to increased errors, time loss and overblown budgets.

Silos also impact employee morale leading to hostile relationships and misinformation. Eventually, workflow is affected, and the entire team becomes inefficient.

Breaking Waterfall Silos

The silo effect can easily crop up in any software development methodology. But this mentality is more prevalent in the waterfall model- a sequential approach where software development activities are divided into pre-defined phases.

Originally defined in 1970 by Dr. Winston Walker Royce, the waterfall model is the oldest software development approach. It’s named Waterfall because the software development process happens systematically, one phase after another. This methodology requires the first phase to be completed before the next step starts and does not allow overlapping.

A key advantage of the waterfall model is that it promotes departmentalization, which, in effect, leads to better control. This means that a deadline for each phase can be set, and the development process can proceed across the stages and have the product ready at a predetermined date.

However, its major strength also happens to be its biggest downfall. While enforcing discipline in keeping timescales, departmentalization tends to create autonomous teams that work in isolation from each other. As soon as it’s done working on its phase, the current department throws the product over the proverbial wall to the next department. Often, that department moves to the next project and may not render the necessary support to the next team.

Promoting Team Collaboration With DevOps

While Waterfall is a reputable model, its longer delivery time due to the silo mentality necessitated an iterative software development methodology. The result was DevOps, which is technically the successor to Agile.

DevOps is a methodology that focuses on breaking the barriers in a siloed culture by integrating development and operations. This movement was started around 2008 by Patrick Debois and Andrew Clay out of the need to speed up delivery by improving communication between the teams.

Under a DevOps culture, all departments work as a team to ensure continuous delivery and quicker responses to customers’ needs. The team also works together to fix issues and bugs as they arise.

How Did We Get to DevSecOps?

While some developers are still wrapping their heads around DevOps, top-tier IT firms are already implementing DevSecOps.

DevOps may have succeeded at promoting a culture of collaboration between originally conflicting departments. But almost a decade since its conception, this philosophy has not bolstered software security concretely into its pipeline to match its emphasis on speedy production. This is where DevSecOps comes in.

DevSecOps is anchored on DevOps and SecOps best practices and principles. It emphasizes premium security while allowing faster production, accessibility, and scalability.

This is achieved by shifting security leftward. Instead of having a separate team to handle security when the software is “done and dusted,” DevSecOps automates security checks in every phase. The result is a culture where security is a top concern for everyone right from the beginning.

Benefits of DevSecOps

  • Emphasizes security, deployment check, monitoring and notifications from the get-go, guaranteeing compliance.
  • There’s improved, proactive security due to immutable infrastructure that further allows security automation.
  • Accelerates security vulnerability patching.
  • Developers can take full advantage of cloud services.
  • The team enjoys better collaboration and communication.

Along Comes SecDevOps

A report by Gartner shows that DevSecOps has penetrated twenty to fifty percent of its target market by 2020. This reflects the growing number of software development teams seeking to unify and automate their processes while integrating security into its infrastructure from day one.

DevSecOps is still gaining popularity. But there’s already an ongoing conversation among developers regarding SecDevOps and its potential to address security better.

SecDevOps is one of the latest secure DevOps approaches. While some developers argue that this is another way of reading DevSecOps, others say that the two methodologies are different in practice and philosophy.

What is SecDevOps?

SecDevOps is also known as rugged DevOps. As the pattern of words suggests, this is an approach with a more targeted focus on software security. It emphasizes the inclusion of software security best practices at the start of every phase of the software development life cycle. 

This is similar to what DevSecOps preaches- embedding security into every stage of the SDLC. However, SecDevOps proponents believe that there is a huge distinction.

Essentially, SecDevOps is about cultivating a security-first mindset within every unit of the software development team. By shifting security entirely to the left, SecDevOps aims at creating a culture where all members share the burden of software quality and security.

What Should We Expect?

The software environment is rapidly changing, making it difficult to predict what to expect next. But as security breaches continue happening, security is definitely a major priority now. Having said that, making DevOps more secure will be at the core of the next move.

Rajesh Kumar
Latest posts by Rajesh Kumar (see all)
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