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DevOps / Security / Software Development

Unlocking DevSecOps’ Potential Challenges, Successes, Future

A Progess Software study found that many companies still don't understand DevSecOps, but they know securing their systems is a must.
Jun 9th, 2023 7:40am by
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It has been more than 15 years since DevOps emerged on the technology landscape, promising to revolutionize team collaboration and streamline development processes. While some people now say Platform Engineering is the one true way forward, DevOps scope widened to include security, giving rise to DevSecOps, which remains influential. Unfortunately, even as the need for coding and operational security grows, a Progress Software study has found that many organizations have struggled to implement DevSecOps.

To find out why, Progress interviewed 606 IT/Security/App Dev and DevOps decision-makers from organizations with over 500 employees across 11 countries. The survey’s goals were to identify what was hindering DevSecOps success and to uncover best practices from companies with thriving DevSecOps programs.

The Challenges

They found:

  1. DevSecOps success has been hindered by complexity and constant change.
  2. Effective DevSecOps requires collaboration and investment in culture.
  3. The desire to succeed in DevSecOps did not guarantee mastery of its practices.

These DevSecOps challenges included complexity, competing priorities, and a lack of clear business impact and Return on Investment (ROI). Additionally, while the participants recognized the potential benefits of adopting cloud native technology, AI, and Policy as Code in their DevSecOps strategy, they had trouble demonstrating the ROI for these investments. That, of course, made it difficult to secure buy-in from stakeholders.

In addition, despite security threats being the primary driver for DevOpsSec evolution, many respondents proved only somewhat familiar with how security fits in DevSecOps. In short, they didn’t really understand the techniques they were trying to use. Specifically, they had trouble prioritizing security efforts, securing different types of workloads, and meeting delivery deadlines and audit requirements.

While everyone agreed that collaboration and culture were critical factors for successfully implementing DevSecOps, only 30% of the respondents felt confident in the level of collaboration between security and development teams. Furthermore, 71% agreed that culture was the biggest barrier to DevSecOps progress, yet only 16% prioritized culture as an area for optimization in the next 12-18 months. This discrepancy underscored the need for fostering a collaborative culture within organizations.

Addressing the Challenges

Therefore, to fully harness the potential of DevSecOps, organizations must address several key challenges. These are:

  1. Overcome obstacles to collaboration: Encourage cross-functional communication and collaboration between security, app development, and other teams.
  2. Incorporate new technologies and processes: Balance modernizing technology, processes, and culture, as focusing on just one area will not be enough.
  3. Address conflicting interests: Ensure leadership prioritizes and invests in key areas that drive DevSecOps success, including adopting a holistic approach that engages teams from across the organization.
  4. Build confidence in securing cloud native adoption: Focus on implementing and leveraging the benefits of cloud-first technologies while considering cloud security.

It’s become clear that even though we’ve been using DevOps for years, many of us still haven’t mastered creating an effective DevSecOps culture. Companies must engage in honest conversations from the executive level down about where they are in their journey and how to move forward to success.

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: Pragma.
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