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Have You Tackled the Tricky Problem of DevOps and Security Yet?

The speed vs security conflict between DevOps and IT security teams is well known. Security has long been thought of as the group that too often puts up roadblocks that prevent developers from getting more done in less time. At the same time, the perception that DevOps teams and their continuous deployments are a threat to security and compliance may still linger with traditional IT security. Can the integration of DevOps and security be done in a way that limits struggles and promotes true collaboration, while actually enhancing both security and agility in the process? The answer is yes — and the key is DevSecOps. The DevSecOps approach allows for security to be fully integrated into your software development pipeline from the very beginning, so your teams can share feedback continuously and provide resolution for software flaws along the way.

Fast-tracking DevOps security — THREE Key Components

While there is no single recipe for integrating security into DevOps processes, a few critical components are necessary for DevSecOps to take hold:

1.     Automate and continuously assess your security vulnerabilities

One of the key tenets of the DevSecOps approach is automation. Security controls and tests need to be embedded as early and often as possible, and throughout the development lifecycle, and they need to happen in an automated fashion before anything goes to production. The ability to incorporate automated testing as part of the SDLC — using methods such as static and dynamic code analysis, software composition analysis, and vulnerability and penetration testing — can go a long way toward improving the overall security of applications and cutting costs spent on dealing with flaws later on. It is also important to extend security controls to the handoff of code to the operations teams. Because this is often carried out in part by creating explicit rules of deployment — a concept known as configuration of code — security teams may find new checkpoints where important security needs can be verified and previously undetected errors or risks can be addressed.

Automated security is rapidly becoming a key practice in highly mature DevOps organizations. As a matter of fact, the fusion of DevOps and security goes in hand in hand. Many of the practices that are integral to DevOps — such as automated end-to-end workflows, emphasis on fast feedback loops, enhanced visibility, collaboration, and more — are conducive for integrating continuous security as a built-in component of your DevOps processes. By using an end-to-end automation and orchestration platform that can integrate with a wide range of security tools, DevOps organizations can ensure greater visibility and control over the entire SDLC, making the automated pipeline a “closed loop” process for testing, sharing feedback and addressing security concerns. The use of CI/CD tools like CloudBees Core™ is critical for enforcing secure best practices and governance at scale. It helps you set up a robust and secure CI/CD environment through complete automation of the development life cycle coupled with powerful pipeline integrations into various security scanning and testing solutions. The result: enhanced security, greater agility and faster releases.

2.     Streamline your processes

While automation is certainly important, it is just as important to build well-defined processes and security requirements at the beginning. In a DevSecOps environment, there are too many interactions taking place to decipher without a unified approach for developing good security practices. For instance, if the minimum security requirements for a project are not defined during the design and architecture stages, it will impact the effective planning and integration of security controls and result in security controls being bolted on as an afterthought. Detailed security requirements must also focus on operations-specific issues at layers below the application, such as database setups, cloud versus on-premises configurations and integration with existing network security controls, to ensure proper oversight.

It is important to establish the desired baseline for security and create agreed and repeatable ways of working which are clearly documented to ensure transparency of security towards the rest of the business. One way to approach this is by creating KPIs based on standards for measuring reliability, security, performance efficiency and maintainability of software. This allows developers to see security as a feature that will be tested just like any other feature or requirement.

3.     Instill a new culture of ownership

To enable effective DevSecOps practices, organizations need to transition from a culture where developers, QA and IT Ops are responsible for merely their corner in the pipeline to one in which teams across the development pipeline feel accountable for the code they produce. In other words, ownership of security must shift left. Since teams operate in their own silos, and have their own agendas and tasks, facilitating this culture change can be one of the biggest challenges.

Savvy organizations identify and appoint a “security champion” to serve as a role model and vulnerability watchdog during the period of transition. It makes sense to incorporate mentoring and coaching opportunities, wherever possible, so that vital security know-how can be disseminated across the team. Development and operations teams must be trained on the concepts of secure design and topics such as threat modeling, secure coding and security testing. Similarly, security engineers should have a seat with cross-functional DevOps teams, even in the initial stages when minimum marketable features (MMFs) are being planned, so that security can contribute by building threat models at the feature or service level. The goal is to make “security” less the function of an exclusive department and more a frame of mind across the organization to enable joint ownership of issues as they arise.

How do you get started?

As DevOps goes mainstream, the separation of development and security is no longer a viable approach. You can start with a targeted rollout, where you carry out an overall assessment of the risks in your organization and address the most important risk first by inserting automated security tools into the development pipeline. Keep working through all your security risks this way to make incremental improvements over time. Incremental improvements are a known benefit of any agile and DevOps organization, and DevSecOps is no different.

If you’re on the cusp of a DevSecOps initiative and you’d like more detailed information about incorporating security into your DevOps processes from the get-go, you can contact us.

Going Big with DevOps? Scale it Right with Four Key Ingredients

Success of your Agile and DevOps initiatives might often be a double-edged sword for technology teams. Happier customers, positive sales numbers, and increased opportunities inevitably lead to only one thing for the CTO — the need to scale. The question is, how? In this blog post, we draw out an overview of some of the capabilities you need to develop a strategy for scaling and keep yourself ahead of new organizational demands as your company matures.

Consistent performance at scale

As distributed teams grow, it becomes critical that their software is available around-the-clock and performs at a level that enables the teams to do their job. Applications need to maintain consistent performance and response times, irrespective of increasing number of users and workloads and support the collaboration needed across teams to drive shared business goals. Downtime and slowdowns can have a direct impact on business metrics and are unacceptable to a growing organization. 

Teams relying on single servers in their network architecture face a substantial outage risk, whenever server loads increase dramatically due to factors such as concurrent usage of the application, performance intensive workloads, or even for routine maintenance like patching and version upgrading. Systems should be designed to facilitate instant scale-out by adding new nodes for uniform redistribution of load and ensuring dedicated bandwidth priorities. With an infrastructure architected for improved resilience and business continuity performance, you can keep your mission-critical apps up and running and manage continued growth.

Improved data capacity and speed

It is no secret that with an increase in the number of users, data volumes continue to grow. Both users and the associated higher data volume can have a negative impact on performance at scale. The need for speed and increased data capacity mean that single server systems are often not able to meet the needs. A single server architecture typically has a fixed amount of ingest throughput as it runs on a single machine. These constraints can become a serious liability for applications (or organizations) aiming to scale.

Adequate visibility and control

As your growth accelerates, you are faced with increasingly challenging requirements around security and regulatory compliance. Large organizations face the added complexity of having several distributed users working from multiple locations, multi-jurisdictional global structures, and extensive legal demands. Without proper visibility or control, it becomes impossible to coordinate disparate teams, create consistency and prevent bad actors from negatively impacting your tools or teams. 

The challenge that many organizations face is in balancing team autonomy with the right level of control and governance. Administrators of large organizations cannot afford to become a bottleneck, especially as the number of users accessing different applications increases and there is a growing pressure to deliver customer value rapidly and regularly. It, therefore, becomes important to provide administrators better ways to delegate work, while ensuring they are able to monitor the actions of users and maintain appropriate oversight as teams grow.

Moving on at the right time

If you are looking to scale your DevOps practice across the entire organization, the need for enhanced scale, speed, user support and data capacity mean that single server systems are often unable to address the needs of modern applications. You need to identify and transition to more robust solutions that can alleviate the constraints of single server systems, and help you stay ahead and manage complexities as your organization matures. We recommend planning ahead by choosing the right foundation, which is designed to stay efficient and stable against heavy usage and also handle other complexities around ease of administration, security, and compliance.

If you are thinking about the broader deployment of DevOps and not sure about what to anticipate while scaling, we are here to help you take an informed approach.

Five Reasons to Move Your DevOps Architecture to the Cloud

Agility and speed are two of the most sought-after superlatives in today’s competitive digital economy. Not surprisingly, these adjectives also apply to organizations’ internal IT departments. The pressure on engineering teams to increase the rate at which they deliver software has significantly grown over the years, resulting in a massive movement around DevOps today. However, working with evolving DevOps practices calls for enhanced levels of agility and speed to deployment. Cloud is a direct response to that need and provides the perfect platform for businesses to keep up with changing IT innovations and drive greater efficiencies. As it turns out, there is a strong correlation between a sophisticated cloud environment and an organization’s ability to execute a high performing software delivery cycle. According to the State of DevOps 2018 report, teams that leverage all of cloud computing’s essential characteristics — defined by NIST as on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured service —are 23 times more likely to be high performers. It is important to understand how cloud computing complements DevOps for a successful IT transformation.

The significance of cloud computing vis-á-vis DevOps

Enhanced scalability

By shedding traditional hardware inventories and offloading your CI/CD, testing and DevOps into the cloud, you can ensure that scalability becomes an integral part of application development ecosystem, which in turn facilitates reduced infrastructure costs and increased global reach. Cloud technology enables you to obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction. With AWS EC2 and Google Compute Engine, for instance, you can launch VMs on demand, predefine sizes and even leverage Custom Machine Types to meet very specific requirements. Your DevOps teams can deliver applications, code, and services with automatic scaling capabilities, allowing them to quickly scale capacity, both up and down, as your computing requirements change. They can even isolate services for specific use-cases.

Improved efficiencies, faster time to market

The use of cloud enables organizations to improve developer efficiencies at an individual level with cloud tools, application-specific infrastructure, and self-service catalogs and pace up the development process. Application-specific infrastructure allows developers to gain more control over their own components, resulting in reduced wait times. Self-service methods for provisioning infrastructure (using AWS Service Catalog) allows developers faster access to development environments, without the need to wait for IT operations to provision resources for them. With such flexibility, they can quickly conduct new experiments, fail fast and just as easily succeed in bringing new products to market faster.

Fosters a culture of collaboration 

At its core, DevOps is essentially a cross-joint effort that relies on seamless and effective collaboration between development and operations teams in order to meet business needs. The cloud provides the perfect platform to foster such a culture of communication. The use of cloud as a single common language dissolves the separation between teams and allows everyone to combine their efforts and learn new approaches at the same time. Including operations groups in the development procedure and the other way around helps to create a meeting point that leads to strong team dynamics and facilitates sharing of understanding and skills.

Streamlined technology stack 

Modern applications need complex technology stacks that require great effort for creation and configuration and it certainly is a huge challenge to manage a DevOps practice when components are all over the place. The centralized nature of cloud computing provides a standard platform for testing, deployment, and production for DevOps automation and a single window that lets you view, manage and control your entire DevOps practice. In Google Cloud Platform (GCP), there is something known as a Cloud Console, which helps you view your datastores, networking policies, web applications, data analytics, VMs, developer services, and much more. 

Optimal use of resources

It is much easier to track the use of development resources and associated costs, when leveraging cloud-based DevOps. Clouds offer usage-based accounting, which tracks the use of resources by application, developer, user, data, etc. and enables users to optimize performance by making the necessary adjustments.

Together, DevOps and cloud computing are interlocking parts of a strategy to drive meaningful IT transformation that directly impacts business goals. You can start by dipping a toe in to figure out which of your services will work well in the cloud and cut the chances of mistakes. Once any apprehensions about potential risks associated with the shift are addressed and your DevOps practice sets foot firmly in the cloud, it becomes easier to open the door to continuous experimentation and several new opportunities with enhanced levels of agility and speed of deployment. For example, you can start new initiatives around event-driven, serverless compute and explore if it fits well with your organization. Learning what works, and how it works for your organization, will show you how to propagate it more widely.

Contact us to find out how we can enable a seamless transition to the cloud for your business.

DevOps Trends 2019: Our Top Five Predictions for the Year

DevOps transformations have made major headway among enterprises in the past few years and will continue to be extensive, and 2019 is predicted to be a crucial time for leaders to plan for and implement it across industries. Among senior executives, there is growing acknowledgement of the fact that the role of DevOps is evolving — from driving marginal efficiency in isolated projects to being a catalyst for innovation and disruption as part of an widespread enterprise trend. New estimates from IDC suggest that the DevOps software market will grow from its 2017 results of $2.9 billion to $6.6 billion in 2022. So, what are the emerging technologies and techniques that will spur this growth? We have pulled together our predictions of the trends that will drive DevOps in 2019. Here are our top picks:

AI-accelerated DevOps will start making inroads

AI is poised to have a big impact on DevOps and transform how teams develop, deliver, deploy, and manage applications. Experts believe AI techniques have the potential to make the DevOps pipeline smarter, with the ability to predict the impact and risk of deployments, spot procedural bottlenecks and identify automation shortcuts. AI-based predictive analytics will allow for easier understanding of where problems arise in continuous integration (CI) or continuous development (CD), and enable better acting on data collected from customers, leading to greater efficiencies in operational capacity planning and better pre-deployment fault prediction. For example, if processed in the right way, application performance metrics can not only identify when a server is down but also help with automated decision-making to enable decisive action. This trend will also accelerate enhanced collaboration between application developers and data scientists for creation of AI-enhanced solutions. According to Gartner, by the year 2022 at least 40% of new development projects will have AI co-developers on their team.

Containerization will not be novel anymore

Growing adoption of DevOps and multi-cloud architecture is going to give rise to greater use of container-related technologies across large enterprises. The application container segment will scale to $2.7 billion by 2020, according to a forecast by 451 Research. An increase in the scale of software development and deployment will also lead to an increase in the size and complexity of container production clusters, and orchestration tools will be in high demand as an effective means to dealing with complexities associated with infrastructure. Kubernetes has already exploded onto the scene as the fastest growing container orchestration technology. As a demonstration of Kubernetes’ dominance, Docker has begun incorporating Kubernetes into its enterprise products, while still investing in its own orchestration tool, Swarm. Around the world, many CIO’s and technologists have already adopted Kubernetes and it will continue to play a big role in making containers mainstream in the coming year.  

Functions-as-a-Service (FaaS) will take off

As more and more technology professionals become comfortable in using containers in the production stage, we can expect a spike in the adoption of FaaS (Functions-as-a-Service) — also referred to as Serverless computing. This will eliminate the need for businesses to pay for the redundant use of servers. Instead of having an application run on a server, you can run it directly from the cloud — allowing you to choose when to use it and pay for it, per task – thereby making it event driven. In other words, you just pay for the compute time you consume — there is no charge when your code is not running! Amazon’s AWS Lambda has already emerged as the biggest and best-known example of serverless computing. The other providers include Google Cloud Functions, Microsoft Azure Functions, IBM etc. A recent survey by the Cloud Foundry Foundation — a nonprofit that oversees an open source platform and is a collaborative project of the Linux Foundation — revealed that 22% are already using serverless technology and nearly 50% are evaluating it. 

DevSecOps will become a priority

Part and parcel with the enterprise scale-up of DevOps is the growing acceptance that security and compliance must be seamlessly integrated into DevOps transformations if they’re to succeed. The way we do computing from cloud to microservices to serverless, has completely shifted the roots of software engineering. The network we knew, no longer exists and the security industry needs to constantly keep up with an evolving attack surface.

In the 2018 DevSecOps Community Survey, approximately 33% of respondents blame application layer vulnerabilities for security breaches. Since the application is the new entry point for attackers, organizations will need to adopt a programmatic approach to application security that starts with injecting security thinking as early as possible into the software development lifecycle — what is commonly referred to as DevSecOps. 2019 will see a widespread adoption of DevSecOps across enterprises, as the acceptance of its core principles reaches a critical mass in the hearts and minds of many in IT. Mainstream DevOps will start treating security as code, and development and security teams will work hand in hand across multiple points in DevOps workflows in a way that is largely transparent, and preserves the teamwork, agility and speed of DevOps and agile environments.

Automation will remain key

There is a growing realization that in order to amplify responsiveness, operational resilience, and faster time-to-market throughout the software delivery lifecycle, you need to synergistically link up development with IT operations through the use of automation. We are hearing more and more users and vendors talk about the need to apply automation across all stages of the DevOps cycle. This will remain the main goal to strive for in 2019 — a necessity irrespective of how far the DevOps transition has progressed. Scaling automation in highly complex ecosystems will be particularly tricky, and organizations will need to conduct a complete audit of development and operations environments to create a base level of situational awareness. From there, they can look into the lifecycle of software delivery — everything from the initial commitment to the auto-build to testing, beta and release – and identify what resources can be provisioned and deployed as code.

The changes we’re going to see in 2019 will pave the way for making many of these advancements more universally acceptable. And that, to us, is something to get very excited about. There are potentially huge gains to be had, but it is also important to acknowledge that the industry overall hasn’t yet developed enough best practices in some of these areas. There will be much to experiment and learn, as practitioners will be exploring some relatively uncharted territory.

Contact us to find out how Go2Group can help your organization benefit from the potential of DevOps and achieve your 2019 goals.

2018 in retrospect: A Year of New Ventures and Enhanced Customer Satisfaction

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway

A lot can happen in 12 months — and we spent all year round listening to our stakeholders and helping them deliver enhanced customer experience! 2018 was a year of grandeur — great accomplishments, new ventures, new connections, and most importantly we were awarded for our efforts.

Strengthening our core offerings — DevOps, Application Modernization, and Cloud, our services help businesses achieve digital transformation and business agility. While you will see a lot happening in 2019, we can say proudly that 2018 was a year of learning and new experiences — for our clients and us!

“We have an outstanding core of employees and I have all confidence that we will exceed our 2018 performance significantly in 2019 and beyond.” — Tom Stiling, CEO Go2Group

Get a glimpse of all the action that unfolded in Go2Group in 2018!

Take a look at some of the top posts of 2018!

December

My First 60 Days as CEO of Go2Group

In October 2018, I decided to accept the job as CEO of Go2Group — going operational again after nearly a decade behind the scenes of various Board of Director rooms across the globe.

November

DevSecOps – How to Be Swift and Secure

While a growing number of organizations continue to implement, expand, and perfect their DevOps game, the focus on speed to market at the expense of security is making them increasingly vulnerable to the risk of cyberthreats and data breaches. The risks of security missteps remain real, immediate, and extremely costly, as demonstrated by the recent HBO hack that led to the leak of two episodes of its widely popular show ‘Game of Thrones’, or the massive security breach at Equifax exposing the sensitive personal information of 143 million Americans. It is becoming clear that a secure DevOps process is critical to the business of software creation and launching.

Drive Faster Time to Market with synapseRT 9.3

The increase in ALM tools in the market sans test management capabilities has surely upped the need for test management software or tools that can combine flexibility with traceability, usability, and transparency — arming your testers, developers, and QAs to take on any testing challenge. synapseRT is here with its upgraded 9.3 version for Jira, packed with interesting features that enhance traceability, assigning, and tracking — strengthening it as a holistic solution.

How Jenkins X Is the Integrated CI/CD Solution for Kubernetes

Are you grappling with automating CI/CD for modern, cloud applications? In an ever-evolving technology landscape, you need the perfect assortment of tools, technologies, and practices to achieve the true benefits of DevOps. Cloudbees Jenkins X project is a Kubernetes-native CI/CD platform for developing cloud-native applications.

Why Is Kubernetes Ideal for CI/CD and Reinforcing DevOps Goals?

In the current scenario, when companies are struggling with setting up their CI/CD pipelines for cloud-based applications, Kubernetes, a powerful open-source platform for automating the deployment, scaling, and management of application containers across hosts, has reinforced DevOps goals and proven to be the ideal solution to CI/CD. It not only improves traditional DevOps processes, including speed, efficiency, and resiliency, but also solves newer problems that comes with containers and microservices-based application architectures.

September

Go2Group Named “Smartest Partner of the Year” at DevOps World | Jenkins World 2018

At last week’s DevOps World | Jenkins World 2018 event at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco, Go2Group was announced as the “Smartest Partner of the Year.” One of the biggest events on the tech calendar, DevOps World I Jenkins World is a highlight for DevOps practitioners using Jenkins for continuous delivery and is a multi-day event comprised of sessions, workshops, training and other learning opportunities. The Partners of the Year Awards were selected by the CloudBees channel team and presented to CloudBees partners in seven partner categories. Criteria for the awards included: number of customer engagements, a proven expertise in DevOps, and demonstrated delivery of DevOps solutions to mutual customers.

The Biggest News From the Product Keynote at Atlassian Summit 2018

Atlassian’s annual developer conference, Atlassian Summit, is currently underway in Barcelona. The event invites agile enthusiasts and passionate Atlassian users to network with industry leaders, share agile development strategies and inspire change.

August

synapseRT 9.2 Is Here with New Parametrization Feature

Parametrization is particularly important in an agile software environment. As your agile organization evolves, testing needs to hit the accelerator and keep pace with an accelerating development lifecycle, while still maintaining a high standard of software quality in order to fulfill customer expectations. With our new synapseRT 9.2 release for Atlassian Jira, we have upped our test execution game with test case parameters. This will allow testers to run the same baselined test case several times with multiple data inputs at runtime specified at the test step level, without having to create duplicate test cases — saving a lot of time!

June

DevOps: The Key to Speed up Your Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has triggered companies to relook at existing business models and their approach to operationalize day-to-day processes. Nowhere is this more evident than software development. To meet the demands of advanced innovation and quicker delivery of new applications and services, IT teams are transitioning to DevOps models that close the gap between development and operations.

May

Proud partner of a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant

As an Atlassian Platinum and Enterprise Solution Partner, Go2Group is proud to share that Atlassian has been named a leader in Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Agile Planning Tools for the second time. Atlassian’s EAP software products Jira Software and Portfolio for Jira help teams successfully practice agile development and release great software at scale.

Five Pitfalls to Avoid When Adopting DevOps

Is DevOps implementation easy? The likes of Netflix and Facebook have shown continuous improvement reiterating the technical and business benefits of DevOps — shorter development cycles, increased deployment frequency, and faster time to market. On the other hand, a high percentage of enterprises are still figuring it out — oscillating between short and quick successes and failing to make the big jump to mainstream.

April

Emerging Trends in Software Testing Through 2018

In this age of digital transformation, testing is more than just a step or phase in the software development life cycle; it is an integral process that runs parallel to development. In the past few years, the testing industry has witnessed significant scaling due to the introduction of advanced technology. With the increasing application of artificial intelligence and automation, there were a few areas that successfully took testing to the next level, such as adoption of DevOps practices, tools, and applications, and test automation for web applications.

March

Four Factors to Consider While Choosing a Test Management Tool

As a tester, developer, or test manager, you must love shopping — specifically for test management tools? But the dilemma is that you have too many options, right? The pressure to vet software to make sure it is market ready is increasingly becoming complex and tricky, and vendors are not making it easy by providing a myriad of multifunctional test management solutions. Have you considered narrowing down your options with simple ‘what can it do for me’ pointers?

February

A Strategic Partnership with CloudBees® to Bring the Power of DevOps to Businesses Globally

Enterprises have a big challenge ahead of them. With experts predicting that DevOps is moving towards mainstream implementation, organizations — including federal agencies — are under tremendous pressure to deliver high-velocity and quality software, increase standardization, and implement best practices. Adopting DevOps practices and utilizing automation technology — which aids businesses with their digital transformation process — are more significant now than ever.

January

10 Nifty DevOps Tools in 2018

Let’s face it — no single tool can offer all the capabilities to get you through your DevOps approach. You need to find the right mix of tools, strategies, and teams to suit their workflows and approaches. With 2018 projecting a movement for DevOps into mainstream implementation, this becomes even more relevant.

DevOps Goes Mainstream: Top Trends for 2018

DevOps gets a jumpstart in 2018 with predictions of an early mainstream adoption and implementation. Analysts, IT leaders, and DevOps experts declared 2017 as ‘the year of DevOps’ and have predicted some major trends for DevOps in 2018. After digging deep and picking the brains of a few DevOps experts, we believe that DevOps will slowly enter the turf of mainstream adoption but it comes with barriers that may continue to exist through 2020. We can only be prepared for what’s coming!

Five Tips to Kick Some Butt in Your DevOps Journey

“The key to following the continuous delivery path is to continually question your own assumptions about what’s possible.” — Jeff Sussna
The benefits of DevOps are clear — high-performance, faster deployment, and quicker response to crisis. Businesses today are either getting started with DevOps or have it in pockets but find it difficult to scale up to an enterprise-wide implementation.

Protect Your Atlassian Suite With Two-Factor Authenticator

Are you using old authentication methods that make your account information vulnerable to security threats? Gain control over who can access your Atlassian tools with Go2Group’s Two-Factor Authenticator app for your Atlassian Suite.

As we kick off 2019 with aggressive goals and big ambitions, we thank you for making 2018 unforgettable.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

DevSecOps – How to Be Swift and Secure

While a growing number of organizations continue to implement, expand, and perfect their DevOps game, the focus on speed to market at the expense of security is making them increasingly vulnerable to the risk of cyberthreats and data breaches. The risks of security missteps remain real, immediate, and extremely costly, as demonstrated by the recent HBO hack that led to the leak of two episodes of its widely popular show ‘Game of Thrones’, or the massive security breach at Equifax exposing the sensitive personal information of 143 million Americans. It is becoming clear that a secure DevOps process is critical to the business of software creation and launching.

Now there’s a movement to put security on an equal footing in a triad with the development and operations pieces, enabling teams to not only deliver high-quality products but to deliver more secure products at the velocity that customers demand — what is being referred to as DevSecOps. Gartner has named DevSecOps one of their fastest-growing areas of interest in IT, and predicts that DevSecOps will be embedded into 80 percent of rapid development teams by 2021, up from 15% in 2017.

Let’s delve into some of the reasons why your business should be exploring DevSecOps, the nature of security risks inherent in DevOps processes and best practices for making a shift to a DevSecOps approach.

Why is DevSecOps Important?

IT infrastructure and culture have undergone huge changes in recent years. Traditional security methods, which tend to be more bureaucratic, monolithic and ‘one size fits all’, are no longer adequate to address the security challenges compounded by many aspects of DevOps:

High-velocity IT leaves security teams flat-footed: DevOps outfits push and modify batches of code over extremely short time frames (hours or even days), which may far outpace the speed at which security teams can keep up with code review, vulnerability scanning etc. This can be a major challenge for security and compliance.

DevOps and cloud environments:  The cloud plays a big role in many organizations’ DevOps stories and vice versa. In such dynamic environments that operate at huge scale, even a simple misconfiguration error or security malpractice, such as sharing of secrets (APIs, privileged credentials, SSH keys, etc.) can be amplified, leading to widespread operational dysfunction and countless exploitable security vulnerabilities.

The use of containers: Vulnerabilities, misconfigurations and other weaknesses in containers can spawn new security headaches. A study by ThreatStack reveals that a whopping 94% of respondents indicate that containers pose negative security risks for their organizations.

Privilege exposures: A typical DevOps environment consists of myriad tools, is highly interconnected and rapidly evolving. Privileged account credentials, SSH Keys, APIs tokens, etc., may be tampered with in the absence of adequate security controls. Various orchestration, configuration management, and other DevOps tools may also be granted vast privileges, and result in a hacker or piece of malware gaining full control of the organization’s infrastructure and data.

Past attitudes of delegating security to specialized teams placed at the end of the development cycle can be an obstacle in dealing with modern security challenges. Security needs to be built into the foundations of DevOps, fully integrated into your software development pipeline from the very beginning, so your teams can share feedback continuously and address security issues as they arise, rather than at the end of the lifecycle. The practice of DevSecOps views “security as code,” and is a process by which security is integrated into every aspect of the DevOps lifecycle, starting from inception, design, build and test to release, maintenance, support and beyond. It pulls in the information security team to collaborate along with the application development and IT operations team. With all three teams working together, it’s easier to build security controls into the deployment pipeline, reduce delays and flaws that result when an enterprise treats security as an outside entity, siloed from the development process.

How to go from DevOps to DevSecOps?

Turning DevOps into DevSecOps isn’t as simple as merely adding a security team. It involves incorporating security as part of every team and process. Here are some tips on the key areas to focus on keeping in mind the challenges that come with such a transition:

Get everyone on the same page: DevSecOps is about enabling everyone on the DevOps team — whether on the dev or ops end — to be the best security practitioners they can be. The goal is to make security an essential part of the DevOps culture and enable joint ownership of issues as they arise. Dev and security teams can’t pass the buck when it comes to securing modern infrastructure.

Every developer and operations hire should be trained on the basics of secure coding practices and the most common security mistakes at the beginning of their tenure. Similarly, security engineers should have a table with cross-functional DevOps teams from the beginning, even in the planning stages. For instance, if your security engineers can participate when DevOps teams are planning their minimum marketable features (MMFs), they can contribute by building threat models at the feature or service level. The pressure to get projects out on time can lead to risky shortcuts even for organizations that normally take security seriously—and this is when security awareness at this level will yield returns, forcing your team to think through security implications in the midst of rapid commits and releases, or nudging them to halt deployments for penetration testing.

Shift security left: As mentioned earlier, security needs to shift left or start from the early stages of your DevOps processes. Injecting code analysis tools and automated penetrating tests earlier in the development process makes it possible for organizations to capture and eliminate security flaws at every step of the development process and also provides feedback about vulnerabilities as soon as they appear. This up-front security work cuts down the risk of costly and time-consuming mistakes later in the cycle.

Create transparent policies: Enforcing effective policy and governance is critical in creating an alignment between different teams. The collaboration between teams needs to be properly considered when policy is laid out. For instance, is the security element thoroughly discussed when you are treating your infrastructure as code? Organizational policy should also cover various other aspects such as, the acceptable cloud deployment practice/model, the data types that can/cannot migrate to the cloud, compliance requirements etc.

Automate security: You cannot match the speed of security to your DevOps processes without automation. With the use of automated security tools for code analysis, configuration management, patching and vulnerability management, and privileged credential / secrets management, you can mitigate the risk arising from manual errors, and also reduce the associated vulnerabilities.

Bear in mind that zero risk is impossible: It is important to bear in mind that the pursuit of perfection can be detrimental to the speed of DevOps and digital business. There is no such thing as  perfect security. Organizations must therefore focus on adopting a risk-adaptive approach that ensures continuous visibility and assessment of vulnerabilities, so that their security and compliance posture can be continually adapted as required, and the right actions taken at any given point. This is what Gartner refers to as “continuous adaptive risk and trust assessment” or CARTA.

Conclusion

A shift to DevSecOps won’t be quick, easy and organic. It requires a mindset shift to stop looking at security as one-time gating and reimagine it as a continuous security assurance process, which is integrated from the beginning of the development timeline and assessed with each new iteration. There must be organizational commitment all the way to the top to dedicate time and money to develop security awareness at every level, invest in the right security tools, arrange for the appropriate level of staff training and implement as much automation as possible. You can start by fully understanding your current processes and lifecycle. Where are the gaps and  shortcomings in relation to integrating security? Is there a champion in the organization who can understand this? And more importantly, are they empowered to act and help enable change? Once these basics have been addressed, it’s about acting on them. As with anything, the actual implementation will determine how effective the transition is.

If you haven’t already begun the process, the time is now to merge your security goals with DevOps. Contact us and let us help you understand its benefits, challenges, and best practices, and choose the right approach to making security a bigger focus in your organization.

Go2Group Named “Smartest Partner of the Year” at DevOps World | Jenkins World 2018

At last week’s DevOps World | Jenkins World 2018 event at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco, Go2Group was announced as the “Smartest Partner of the Year.” One of the biggest events on the tech calendar, DevOps World I Jenkins World is a highlight for DevOps practitioners using Jenkins for continuous delivery and is a multi-day event comprised of sessions, workshops, training and other learning opportunities. The Partners of the Year Awards were selected by the CloudBees channel team and presented to CloudBees partners in seven partner categories. Criteria for the awards included: number of customer engagements, a proven expertise in DevOps, and demonstrated delivery of DevOps solutions to mutual customers.

In receiving this award, Go2Group was recognized by CloudBees for having successfully completed the most number of certifications and training for Jenkins within a year. This award further solidifies Go2Group’s position as a leader in providing thought leadership and guidance to enterprise customers through their DevOps and agile transformation initiatives, accelerating business agility and amplifying the overall value of their transformation.

As a CloudBees Vista Channel Partner, Go2Group has a proven track record in DevOps leadership and implementation, providing tools and applications built on latest technology and processes, and a strong and dedicated team of trained and certified technical consultants. Go2Group’s offerings also include DevOps consulting and training, DevSecOps, integration, cloud hosting, and more to accelerate the business outcomes of enterprise organizations.

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