DevSecOps Center of Excellence for DevOps Training of Cloud Native Computing with Software Security
The almost universal trend of switching from a traditional waterfall-based Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) to more contemporary agile approaches has made way for faster delivery of software products.
Many organizations implement this new approach by splitting longer life cycles into smaller iterations but continue to repeat the same processes. While improving delivery times, this approach has also created more leeway for security issues to creep in.
DevOps training has become the default solution to this issue which is becoming increasingly relevant in current times. It brings together development and operations teams so that their processes are not isolated from each other. This leads to products being more resilient because operations teams are more adept in identifying and preparing for recurring or potential issues.
Despite all this, application security issues continue to plague software, causing both financial loss and tarnished reputations. Security was brought into the mix as a solution to this condition. This was the birth of DevSecOps Best Practices.
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What are DevSecOps Best Practices
DevSecOps, as the name suggests, is a culture of integrating security practices with the development and operations processes of the SDLC. This is most common in agile settings where the process flows are more dynamic and fast-paced.
It brings together two seemingly opposing goals by trying to ensure “fast delivery” and “secure code”. This must be done by creating a culture where collaboration is encouraged. It leads to security being integrated right into the code, rather than being added on top after the cake is baked.
All this can only be done correctly only if all three of these teams work together. This leads to the concept of a “Center of Excellence”.
What is a Center of Excellence
A Center of Excellence (CoE) brings together experts from many disciplines in order to achieve a common goal. In this case, a DevSecOps CoE engages development, operations, and security teams to ensure that software products are released in a speedy manner, without compromising on security.
What is the importance of a DevSecOps Center of Excellence
- Executive Buy-in
The most important benefit of a CoE is executive buy-in. It becomes almost impossible to create a culture of resilience and unity without the support and agreement of top management as well as the team leads. Clear and firm agreements regarding reporting structures and functional responsibilities will help members of all three disciplines to work together with minimum conflict.
- Multi-disciplinary expertise
A multi-disciplinary team brings together experts from all relevant areas. While it is of the utmost importance to identify individuals that are qualified to contribute to this common goal, it is of equal importance to find a team that can work together and respects the expertise of each other.
A strong plan for governance can make all the difference in any CoE. Clear guidelines regarding the responsibilities of each individual and team make the overall goal more realistic and achievable. Another essential part of a good governance structure is its guidelines regarding meetings. Participation is one of the most vital parts of planning and executing a good plan. Having clear agendas will make meetings more meaningful and effective.
- Shared resources
One of the reasons that traditional approaches to managing the SDLC were not as effective as DevSecOps was that each team worked in an isolated environment of its own and had little communication with each other.
All teams were brought in to a common environment with the introduction of DevSecOps. The inputs and expertise of all individuals are now valued and utilized. This means that the resources of each team are at the disposal of the others. It also makes common resources accessible to all teams. These conditions lead to a culture where everyone is encouraged to work together to achieve the common goal of shipping secure software.
How do you create a Center of Excellence
Creating a CoE can be as simple as an executive order from top management. However, to truly get these three teams working together and maintaining the relationship in a sustainable manner is an on-going process. The approach required for each organization can differ from one to another, but the following points will provide a considerable head start:
- Cultivate the Culture
DevSecOps is not a one-time effort, but an on-going process of collaboration. This is not possible unless members from all teams work together to improve delivery with each iteration. This cultural transformation has to begin with top management. Management needs to show its commitment to the cause.
- Continuous Coaching
It is important to select individuals that have some level of experience regarding DevOps when creating this type of team. However, it is still essential to provide coaching in an on-going manner in order to keep teams updated on the latest company policies and innovations.
- Security first
This is the most important aspect of maintaining a DevSecOps CoE. Integrate software security checks and quality assurance right from the start of the development process and the mindsets of the team. This will encompass planning and executing relevant tests to ensure secure code.
Automation can go a long way when considering the repetitive and tedious tasks that are required to enforce DevSecOps. It can help to relieve some of the load on the team by automating routine tasks related to testing, security checks, and deployment.
- Shorter Iterations
Shorter iterations mean more work. But each organization has its own pace and daily iterations can work in some cases, while weekly or fortnightly iterations can be more effective in other cases. What is important is that security testing is integrated into each iteration irrespective of how minor it may seem. The sooner security issues are identified, the sooner they can be resolved.
- Encourage Collaboration
Collaboration has been a recurring topic in this article and is evidence of how important it is for DevSecOps. Encouraging collaboration can ensure that DevSecOps teams work more effectively because they respect the expertise brought into the mix by others.
DevSecOps is a novel concept but can be vital to the success of software delivery. It can ensure that production systems are secure and free of security debt. You can learn more about DevSecOps Solutions on our Blog.
A Center of Excellence is one of the most comprehensive approaches to ensure a DevSecOps certified Cloud Native Computing SDLC. However, it is important to understand that simply creating a CoE is not sufficient without a continuous effort to maintain it in a sustainable manner.