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DevOps security, also known as DevSecOps, is a conglomeration of the words development, operations and security. Both DevOps security and DevSecOps refer to a philosophy of integrating security into the software development lifecycle (SDLC) as early as possible, preferably before a single line of code is written.
DevSecOps is an extension or enhancement to the DevOps philosophy. For this reason, it's important to understand what DevOps and DevSecOps have in common before discussing their differences.
Both DevOps and DevSecOps refer to a philosophy or approach to software development, not a particular tool or set of tools. Just as installing an issue-tracking system doesn't mean you're "doing DevOps," installing static or dynamic application security tools doesn't mean you're "doing DevSecOps."
DevOps and DevSecOps both emphasize collaboration, automation and active monitoring of software applications. The ability to capture application data in real-time is key to both philosophies, because "doing" DevOps and DevSecOps requires continuously capturing and analyzing this data to discover ways to enhance productivity and drive improvements.
Both philosophies also depend on collaboration, particularly eliminating organizational silos. DevOps seeks to break down silos between software development and IT operations, the idea being that when developers and IT personnel work together, software is released more quickly and with fewer errors. DevSecOps takes things a step further and seeks to give security operations a seat at the table. The idea behind DevSecOps is that when developers, IT personnel and security personnel work together, software is released more quickly, is of higher quality and is more secure.
"Doing" DevSecOps right means that applications are properly secured against risks before they're delivered to production. This practice is often called "shift left," because it refers to integrating security at the start of the project timeline – before a single line of code is written – instead of addressing it in later phases. In a DevSecOps environment, developers code with security in mind – something that DevOps, on its own, doesn't address.
By introducing practices such as code analysis, threat investigation and vulnerability assessment into the SDLC, with continuous testing and evaluation, DevSecOps ensures that the codebase is secure from inception. In addition to improving application security, DevSecOps enhances productivity. Finding and fixing security problems early on is much less time-consuming and costly than having to refactor code later in the software lifecycle.
For all the benefits of DevSecOps, organizations can struggle to implement it properly. Let's examine some of the most common challenges to DevOps security.
Following are some best practices for implementing DevOps security in your organization.