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Security / Tech Life

3 Ways You Are Holding Your Developers Back

IT leaders must stay on top of the newest trends and technologies affecting developer workflows, continuously adapting to the changing environment.
Mar 10th, 2022 7:30am by
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Today’s enterprises are facing a fundamental problem: There are not enough skilled employees to fill the number of crucial positions. There are several long-term approaches to addressing this challenge, including increasing salaries and investing in training for potential hires. However, in the short term, some organizations are instead researching ways in which they can make their developer teams more efficient. Is it possible to increase development velocity with fewer new hires?

Today’s tech leaders must do everything in their power to not stand in the way of their developers’ speed and success. While it may not be possible to optimize every process, there are some key mistakes that can be avoided to maintain efficiency. Here are three ways you may be holding your developers back:

1. You Might Not Know It, but You’re Interrupting Your Developers’ Flow

Ev Kontsevoy
Ev is cofounder and CEO of Teleport. An engineer by training, Ev launched Teleport in 2015 to provide other engineers solutions that allow them to quickly access and run any computing resource anywhere on the planet without having to worry about security and compliance issues. A serial entrepreneur, Ev was CEO and co-founder of Mailgun, which he successfully sold to Rackspace. Prior to Mailgun, Ev had a variety of engineering roles.

We’re living through a period of frequent data breaches, including the massive Log4j breach that occurred last December. It’s no surprise that enterprises are taking every possible precaution to safeguard their data assets and infrastructure. However, these approaches can have the unintended consequence of slowing down developer teams.

Developers describe themselves as being “in the zone” when they’re at their most productive. Unnatural changes to their tools and processes can disrupt this flow and cause developers to be less productive. Yet many organizations are unknowingly disrupting developer flow several times a day in the name of security.

One example of this is when companies rely on traditional remote access solutions based on virtual private networks (VPN) and privileged access management (PAM) for their modern, cloud native applications, even though those solutions were built for the needs of static, legacy architectures. These tools require the developer to manually log in to a virtual machine or database.

When you need to access dozens or hundreds of resources over the course of a day, the productivity impact is staggering. To streamline processes while simultaneously improving security, enterprises must consider adopting modern, cloud native remote access solutions that enable control of privileged accounts without getting in the way of developer productivity.

2. You’re Choosing Developers’ Tools for Them

The days of monolithic, one-size-fits-all software and security solutions are over. Today’s developer teams are composed of specialists bringing diverse experiences and knowledge to form a unit that is greater than the sum of its parts. As a result, each developer will likely take a different approach, and use different tools, to get the job done. You should trust your team members not just to choose the right tools for developing, but also for security.

While vendors may want you to take a top-down approach to software and security, your team will be better served by a bespoke solution. Let your developers choose and buy their own tools, and the result will be better, faster and more secure.

3. Your Developers Are Too Focused on Hunting Bugs and Preventing Breaches

Developers want to work quickly — “move fast and break things” is a mantra for a reason. Yet this need for speed is often limited by tedious details, from fixing small bugs to shoring up defenses. According to a survey from Rollbar, more than a third (36%) of respondents said that identifying and addressing errors in production slowed down their work. Meanwhile, the omnipresent threat of cybersecurity attacks takes developers’ attention away from the task at hand. Among those surveyed in the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Global Risks Report, respondents ranked cybersecurity failures among the top 10 risks that have increased since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To address these problems, CIOs and other IT executives need to consider whether they can find a software solution to a human problem. By consolidating all remote access into a single plane, IT leaders can make everyone’s life easier while simultaneously reducing operational overhead. Additionally, investing in software supply chain security makes it possible for developer teams to focus on features and bugs instead of manually searching for vulnerabilities in their dependencies. This in turn enables developer teams to increase the speed at which they develop, test and release new product features — the type of work that has a direct impact on your bottom line.

The job of a developer never stays the same for long. IT leaders must stay on top of the newest trends and technologies affecting their workflows, continuously adapting to the changing developer environment. This proactive approach will have tangible benefits both in terms of developer velocity and cybersecurity, ensuring that teams don’t get bogged down in the minutiae of preventing attacks.

If CIOs and other tech executives are going to make it through this period of too many job openings and not enough qualified candidates, they’ll need to use innovative methods to address their business needs. In this circumstance, outdated approaches like VPNs, PAM and top-down tool acquisition could lead to outsized consequences.

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: Pragma, Teleport.
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