Practical Tips for Creating Agility for your DevSecOps Team

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DevSecOps

The primary responsibility of DevSecOps teams is to integrate security approaches in the company’s DevOps cycle. Unlike the conventional waterfall approach where security is handled last, teams here integrate security right from the beginning, through the process chain, till the application is finally complete.

By integrating the controls in the development lifecycle, companies now deliver rapid, secure code. The new approach addresses the common concern where developers experience more vulnerabilities with faster coding.

But to successfully integrate security into your DevOps pipeline, you must adopt the right resources and follow a set of standard practices that are focused on creating agility in the DevSecOps team.

Guidelines on creating an Agile DevSecOps Team

Here are the different ways of attaining efficient, successful DevSecOps teams.

One size doesn’t fit all

One setback of the DevSecOps methodological shift is that most teams believe there’s a particular “correct” approach to doing the job. But no. Organizations vary, and operations aren’t equal even for two similar companies.

You may choose to embed all security personnel into the teams or train particular talents to be knowledgeable security experts. Alternatively, you may come up with task forces or cross-functional teams – or any combination that can achieve the required agility in your DevSecOps.

Whatever approach you decide on, it must identify and address security concerns efficiently while still in development. It should also foster an excellent team culture and align with your objectives.

Adopt the developer-first approach

To ensure your applications are secure, developers must fix as many vulnerabilities as possible when reviewing code before making it to production. However, security tools often serve up false positives that force DevSecOps teams to waste time fixing non-existent vulnerabilities.

When you regularly stop to address security alarms only to encounter a false positive, you’ll be forced out of your workflow. Rather, adopting a developer-first strategy for security includes meeting the team within their workflow.

An agile DevSecOps team’s main objective is to identify bugs and create the right resolution during the building process. It takes only a minute to handle a security issue while still in development, but it’ll potentially take hours, if not days, to correct the bug in production.

Focus on the right results

Creating an agile DevSecOps team isn’t just about deciding where and when to address vulnerabilities. Rather, it’s about the results you give much priority to and the reason for the decision. Every bug matters, but some require more attention.   

For instance, Facebook reported an unprecedented 70% fix rate after including quality static analysis in the developer workflow. When the developers received the bugs to be solved outside their workflow, the fixed rate was zero. The drastic change speaks back to prioritizing a developer-first approach, but the main point is to achieve the highest quality results.

Get rid of bad habits

Giving priority to bigger bugs is easier said than done. Nowadays, false positives are a crucial component of software development, and most teams are finding ways of working around them. If you’re burdened with corrupt vulnerability reports, the best solution would be to shut off the reporting entirely. What’s the need for resolving vulnerabilities when the static analysis insights aren’t credible?

To add agility to your DevSecOps team, you must first break through any “bad habits” existing in the current culture and identify new working approaches. The best place to begin is to acquire only the tools that your teams can trust.

Leverage containerization

Containers are among the most exciting innovations of recent years, and can vastly improve the efficacy and efficiency of your DevSecOps team’s workflow if implemented correctly. One of the ways these crucial solutions can achieve this is through influencing the creation of a genuinely DevSecOps approach where security is integrated at the earliest stages of development.

Containerized, open source-based developmental systems are a natural fit for DevSecOps thanks to several features stemming directly from–and can directly mitigate–the most prevalent threats that open-source application developers face. Containers also offer several in-built features that allow for the performance of crucial processes at a native level.

Invest in regular security training and education

Most industry experts consider ongoing training and education to be an excellent step of creating agility for DevSecOps teams. It’s one thing to make security everyone’s obligation; it’s another to ensure that members are armed with the tools and knowledge to achieve this.

Developers with less knowledge and experience or those that haven’t handled any code security responsibility can’t suddenly deliver the hardcore expertise of a regular white-hat hacker. But when you carry out regular training and offer the right resources and knowledge, all team members will benefit. It also gets rid of any DevSecOps culture killers. The training could be in the form of short sprints, code reviews, creating feature flags, or understanding the safe libraries to use. 

Embrace transparency

Another excellent approach to achieving a healthy culture and an agile DevSecOps team is getting comfortable with transparency. The foundation for success is overall organizational transparency that incorporates every aspect of the IT department. You also need to get rid of the unnecessary data silos to nurture an agile team.

Companies that are experiencing rapid digital transformation or are creating advanced applications relay the same data. They view these insights through different lenses, and this brings all parties together rather than creating silos.

Implement shared KPIs and objectives

If you want to create an agile DevSecOps team, you must eliminate every conflicting performance incentive across the team’s different roles.

One classic conflict would be between developers whose productivity is determined by their speed and frequency of shipping code and security experts whose main objective is to ensure vulnerabilities are as minimal as possible. While one group aims to move as fast as possible, the other team seems entirely motivated to keep things slow.

To have an agile DevSecOps team in place, ensure that everyone is on the same page, using shared metrics and responsibilities to achieve common objectives.

Key Takeaway

Security is a shared responsibility in the company. From fixing the appropriate bugs to keeping customer data safe to managing open-source dependencies, DevSecOps teams ensure this shared responsibility reaches all organization members to ensure the software is secure at every stage of development. 

However, the common responsibilities and shared goals cannot be attained if your team isn’t agile enough.

Creating agility in your DevSecOps team is not as cut and dry. You must identify and implement efficient approaches, acquire state of the art solutions, and follow the best practices to get excellent results. By following the practical techniques highlighted above, you will be able to nurture agility in your DevSecOps team and meet your business goals.


Roy M is a technical content writer for the last 8 years with vast knowledge in digital marketing, wireframe and graphics designing.

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