By Rodney Morris

Looking for a shorter time to value and faster iterations to field your new software features and capabilities with an approach that takes security seriously? Adopting the DevSecOps framework into your development process may be your answer.

DevSecOps and agile software development go hand in hand. DevSecOps simply integrates security earlier into your agile software development process – enabling security checks from the very beginning. DevSecOps is how you truly achieve agile development.

Benefits of DevSecOps to Government Agencies

Many government agencies deploy a traditional waterfall process that requires separate security teams to run manual and time-consuming checks far downstream in the production phase. While effective, it is often less streamlined where late-stage errors can increase the level of rework required. DevSecOps removes inefficiencies and makes security an integral part of your flexible, iterative development process. Major aspects of security testing no longer have to be separate processes.

Let’s delve into the benefits of employing DevSecOps in your agency’s software development process:

Improved Product Stability
Automated security and quality checks rapidly assess solution strengths and weaknesses and more confidently usher solutions from development through production without human intervention. Automated reporting lets you know if things are working smoothly in terms of individual and integrated code in that particular environment. When issues are discovered, the auto-deployment is halted and the codebase is rolled back to the previously stable version.

Decrease Average Lead Time
It can shorten the length of time it takes for new requirements’ delivery and deployment. The more you can automate and get the pipeline going with less human interaction, the more consistency you bring to the process through automated checklists. Shorter promotion times allow more frequent evaluation and feedback loops.

Increase Deployment Frequency
By implementing DevSecOps, you can manually check the code, run automated checks, get feedback right away, and know immediately whether it works or not. Developers can integrate code more frequently to ensure the code baseline doesn’t divert from the main baseline and integrate those changes with other check-ins from the team.

Reduce Production Failure Rates
The DevSecOps framework enables you to automate the unit and integration tests by constantly checking into this comprehensive testing environment. It reduces errors so nothing slips through to production.

Decrease Time to Recovery
When a failure occurs in production, it can take a long time to investigate, debug and recover. With DevSecOps, if something does go wrong, you can quickly go back to a previous version with the click of a few buttons versus having to manually reproduce a stable version.

Built-In Security
DevSecOps provides developers with automated on-demand checks for vulnerabilities, patches and updates, third-party license issues, and other compliance checks. It frees up specialized security teams to investigate and research less conspicuous anomalies.

Using DevSecOps in a Classified Process

To make this approach work, you migrate the code and configurations – abstracting or removing sensitive data – which allows you to develop or assess solutions specific to a hosting environment and its relative data. You can write and test it (unit checks and Static Applications Security Testing or SAST) in this environment, which is faster and easier. Once deployed, you can run Dynamic Applications Security Testing, or DAST scans, and other tests for known vulnerabilities. If everything checks out well, there can be a person-in-the-loop check to deploy the pipeline to a realistic pre-production environment to ensure the code is ready for production. Issues which require resolution are resolved in the development environment and re-migrated and tested to ensure closure. This can be done on-premises or in a cloud pipeline (GovCloud) using AWS tools or others that work best for you.

Moving to the Ops process, you can monitor the code for anomalies as well as report and alert on expectations. You can set threshold tests, scale the environment up or down to load balance based on usage, and test how the data reacts to real-life situations. Many of these steps can be automated through the cloud environment.

Embracing DevSecOps in Your Agency

To get the most out of DevSecOps, government leaders should embrace shifting security safety nets early on during development – rather than after – and foster more collaboration between security and development teams. Agency app developers need to be open to security requirements during their stage and security teams have to adjust to alternative inspection procedures. Many government organizations are already realizing the benefits of DevSecOps’ automation, robust solutions, and improved collaboration.

DevSecOps enhances security. Automation makes these manual processes repeatable and more efficient and takes away many of the issues that could arise without automation. DevSecOps makes an agile development process more efficient, moving the teams towards quick turnaround of new requirements and capabilities.

Our advice: Start small. Build out one feature of the solution utilizing a DevSecOps environment with a short pilot to measure the benefits. Gather feedback and ensure that this method works for you. Progress to the minimum viable product.

Contact us today to hear how DevSecOps can streamline your agile development process. Graham Tech is well-versed in helping government agencies implement DevSecOps – from a roadmap to processes to architecture.