DevOps, DevSecOps, and SecDevOps Offer Different Advantages
Within the business of software development, DevOps (Development and Operations) and DevSecOps (Development, Security, and Operations) practices have similarities and differences… and both offer advantages and disadvantages. DevOps offers efficiency and speed while DevSecOps integrates security initiatives into every stage of the software development lifecycle. However, gaining a better view of the DevOps vs. DevSecOps question requires a deeper inspection.
Development Teams Gain an Advantage Through Agility
The similarities and differences between DevOps and DevSecOps begin with Agile project management and the values found within Agile software development. Built around an emphasis on cross-functional teams, successful Agile management depends on the effectiveness of teamwork and the constant integration of customer requirements into the software development cycle. Rather than focus on processes, tools, and volumes of comprehensive documentation, Agile values a development environment that cultivates the adaptability, creativity, and collaboration of the individuals who make up the development and operations teams. Because of the reliance on Agile management, DevOps produces working software that satisfies customer needs.
While traditional approaches to development and testing can result in communication failures and siloed actions, DevOps asks project leads, programmers, testers, and modelers to work smarter as one cohesive unit. In addition, customers serve as important and valued members of DevOps teams through continuous feedback. Melding the development, testing, and operations teams together speeds the process of producing code and, in turn, delivers applications and services to customers at a much faster pace.
Incorporating continuous feedback into the development process creates a quality loop within DevOps. As a result, sustaining quality occurs at each point of the software development cycle. With the needs of the customer driving quality, programmers constantly check for errors in code while adapting to changing customer requests. As the cycle continues, testers measure application functionality against business risks.
Speed, quality, and efficiency grow from the daily integration of testing through Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD). Teams can quickly detect integration errors while building, configuring, and packaging software for customers. The practices come full circle through great opportunities for customers to utilize software and offer feedback.
What Is the Difference Between DevOps and DevSecOps?
DevOps — and the utilization of Agile management principles — establishes the foundation for DevSecOps. Both methodologies utilize the same guiding principles and rely on constant development iterations, continuous integration, continuous delivery, and timely feedback from customers. Even with those similarities in mind, though, the question of “what is the difference between DevOps and DevSecOps?” remains.
When comparing DevOps vs. DevSecOps, the objective shifts from a sole focus on speed and quality to speed, quality, and security. The key difference, though, rests within the placement of security within the development cycle and the need for sharing responsibility for security. Teams working within the DevOps framework incorporate the need for security at the end of the development process.
In contrast, teams working within the DevSecOps framework consider the need for security at each part — from the beginning to the end — of the software development cycle. Because development and operations teams share responsibility, security moves from an add-on to a prominent part of project plans and the development cycle. As a result, DevSecOps mitigates risk within the entire software development process.
Another difference between DevOps and DevSecOps also exists. The definition of quality for DevSecOps moves beyond the needs of the customer and adds security as a key ingredient. Because security integrates into DevSecOps processes from start to finish, the design process includes developers, testers, and security experts. With this shift in mindset and workplace culture, developers must recognize that their code — and any dependencies within that code — have implications for security. Integrating security tools from beginning to end of the coding process increases opportunities for developers and testers to discover flaws that could open applications to cybercrime.
The principles of CI and CD not only serve to automate processes but also lead to more the frequent checks and controls for coding, testing, and version control. Integrating security into the development process provides a greater window for mitigating or eliminating business risks while shortening the delivery cycle.
Another Alternative Exists: SecDevOps vs. DevSecOps
Development teams always search for methods to create better code and to decrease the time needed to bring products to market. While DevOps and DevSecOps offer distinct advantages in terms of speed and security, another alternative has entered the development arena. SecDevOps moves teams beyond integrating security into each stage of software development by prioritizing security and eliminating vulnerabilities across the lifecycle. Within the SecDevOps environment, developers work as security experts who write code.
When comparing SecDevOps vs. DevSecOps, SecDevOps places less emphasis on continuous assessment and communication. Instead of emphasizing business practices, businesses, and reducing time-to-market, SecDevOps may sacrifice speed and efficiency for security. However, the SecDevOps vs. DevSecOps comparison takes another turn when considering security testing and risk mitigation.
With DevSecOps, security testing occurs at the completion of the coding cycle. Because SecDevOps prioritizes security, testing happens at the beginning of the software development cycle. Development and Operations teams apply security policies and standards during the planning phase as well as within each development phase. Creating clean, bug-free code becomes the responsibility of everyone on the respective teams.
The transition to SecDevOps requires coders who have an intimate knowledge of security policies and standards. Although SecDevOps may reduce errors in code — and subsequently cut development costs, some costs may range higher because of the need to train or hire coders who have the ability to recognize and implement security protocols. SecDevOps also requires lengthier planning processes that can add costs to the development cycle. SecDevOps teams may also request specialized software to detect bugs and tools for improved data protection. As a result, the costs of prioritizing security may not align with all the benefits that businesses seek.
SecDevOps vs. DevSecOps vs. DevOps… and the Winner Is…
Ultimately, customers win in DevOps vs. DevSecOps vs. SecDevOps comparison. Each offers significant advantages — and similar principles exist in each method. However, the definition of “win” varies and certainly could involve the phrase, “it depends.” While DevOps brings development and operations teams together for better communication and cooperation, DevSecOps maintains the emphasis on teams, customers, and time-to-market but slightly changes the model by inserting security at each stage of the development process. SecDevOps places much less emphasis on speed while protecting the customer from vulnerabilities that lead to cyberattacks and loss of reputation or business.
Today — and well into the future — customers seek a balance between achieving business goals and protecting against vulnerabilities. Including security from start to finish while maintaining the ability to quickly deliver applications to customers and to quickly adapt to customer needs gives DevSecOps a business advantage.