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8 benefits of DevSecOps automation

DevSecOps automation can help organizations scale development while adding security, as well as uniformly adopt security features and reduce remedial tasks.

Companies looking to integrate fast and scalable development, security and operational philosophies into their DevSecOps strategy shouldn't ignore automation, or they'll miss out on one of the greatest benefits the practice has to offer.

Here are eight reasons why DevSecOps automation should be a critical part of an enterprise's overall framework.

1. Development, deployment and recovery acceleration

DevSecOps is a management lifecycle approach that combines application planning, delivery and monitoring approaches under a single framework. Part of the allure of DevSecOps is it can speed up many steps in the software development lifecycle (SDLC) and ensure continuous code integrations and updates are handled at the ever-increasing speed of business.

An automation framework can be constructed and executed during the deployment phase of the SDLC process. Applications can be placed into a framework where security functions are added, tested and automatically pushed into production. DevSecOps tools can also automatically monitor newly launched applications and can trigger a rollback to a previous version if an application-breaking bug is detected.

2. Elimination of remedial tasks

As with most technology automation practices, low-level, remedial tasks can be automated and eliminated throughout the SDLC. This includes the implementation and monitoring of security features within applications, as well as the monitoring of apps from a cybersecurity perspective.

3. Accurate auto-verification checks

When speed is critical to software development, it often comes at the cost of code accuracy. It's important to implement automated code verification checks into DevSecOps frameworks. These checks can identify errors and potentially point to remediation steps that won't slow down software updates and deployment schedules.

4. Security uniformity

A detailed DevSecOps framework should include processes that automatically integrate security functions across all software builds in a uniform manner. This highly structured approach creates a consistent security foundation where security is built in the same way every time an application moves through the continuous integration/continuous delivery lifecycle process.

5. Self-service functions

Mature DevSecOps automation involves providing developers with self-service security tools that remediate identified vulnerabilities without the need to directly interact with IT security staff. Self-service tools can be ingrained into the DevSecOps process during the following:

  • secure application platform provisioning
  • configuration management and control
  • vulnerability and bug tracking
  • reporting and auditing

Self-service tools within DevSecOps not only empower developers to take control of security without human bottlenecks, but also encourage cross-team skill development.

6. AI-backed threat analysis

Advanced DevSecOps frameworks take advantage of AI and machine learning techniques to streamline, simplify and speed up complex DevSecOps tasks. Two examples are the following:

  1. Collecting and analyzing software and OS logging information identify which aspects of software bad actors are attempting to target. Based on this information, AI can suggest code alterations, adds or architectural changes to proactively identify code vulnerabilities.
  2. From a testing perspective, code adds or changes can be run through finely tuned machine learning tools to identify how a particular change might affect other aspects of the application.

7. Ease of scalability

Once DevSecOps tools and processes are developed and tuned, it makes little sense to manually replicate them when more compute resources are required or when entire frameworks need to be replicated and placed in other physical locations. Scaling these systems and processes upward or downward at a moment's notice can be fully automated and kicked off with just a few clicks thanks to automated DevSecOps. A recent case study from Comcast showed 85% fewer security incidents with DevSecOps in place.

8. Streamlined compliance reporting

Adhering to business and industry policies and government compliance mandates is important for most business verticals. Auditing and reporting functions must, therefore, identify relevant information, ensure accuracy and display data in an understandable and consistent manner.

For many security teams, auditing and reporting can be arduous tasks. They can be rife with complications due to lack of visibility, constantly changing data collection sources, and manually configured and operated tools that deliver varying results.

Automated auditing and compliance tools take a holistic approach to this process using a DevSecOps framework. Tools use AI and machine learning to intelligently learn a software's underlying infrastructure architecture and perform auditing scans on VMs or containers to verify if they have the proper security controls in place. The same tool set can also move up the stack to identify software-specific security controls, such as authentication, authorization and accounting, that may or may not meet acceptable compliance levels.

9. Bonus: Cost savings potential

One additional benefit that can result from proper DevSecOps automation is inherent cost savings. Gains can be found in several areas, including the speed at which software can be delivered, the lower likelihood of a catastrophic cybersecurity incident and the reduction in the number of operations staff required to thoroughly execute a secure SDLC process.

This was last published in June 2022

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