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6 Lessons IT Security Can Learn From DevOps

DevOps has taken over enterprise software development. The discipline has lessons for IT security -- here are a quick half-dozen.

DevOps has largely taken over the enterprise software development world. The mashup of software development and IT operations has brought faster software releases and more responsive application development to many organizations. And we know the big question left on everyone's minds: What lessons can IT security learn from all of this?

Now, some organizations learned the lesson that they wanted to wrap security into all the DevOps goodness, so DevSecOps was born. But this article is about the lessons that the security team can learn even if they're not ready to completely be assimilated into the development and operations organizations. Are there things that pure DevOps gets right -- things that can make the security group better?

The answer, in many cases, is "of course there are." There's no real question that the business environment changes more quickly than was once the case, and 2020 has driven home the lesson that profound changes can be required on an intensely short timeline. Would hewing to the DevOps discipline help when those rapid changes are required? Let's find out.

The half-dozen lessons on this list were compiled from our research on how software developers and security professionals are using DevOps concepts, Agile and DevOps conferences we attended, and conversations with security professionals in the last year. They could be considered by just about any IT security team regardless of their organization's security philosophy. Most can be adopted without changing vendors or toolsets, and the majority wouldn't even require a radical re-alignment with other IT groups. What they do require is being willing to see security from a different perspective -- one that puts agility and responsiveness on the same level as most other security priorities and recognizes that protecting against today's threat is as important as protecting against last year's danger.

Let us know whether your security team has adopted any of the devops principles in its operations, or whether you've gone full "DevSecOps" in your organization. Or so you see DevOps talk as just a fad -- something that is a distraction from the real business of protecting assets? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 

(Image: profit_image VIA Adobe Stock)

About the Author(s)

Curtis Franklin, Principal Analyst, Omdia

Senior Analyst, Omdia

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Analyst at Omdia, focusing on enterprise security management. Previously, he was senior editor of Dark Reading, editor of Light Reading's Security Now, and executive editor, technology, at InformationWeek, where he was also executive producer of InformationWeek's online radio and podcast episodes

Curtis has been writing about technologies and products in computing and networking since the early 1980s. He has been on staff and contributed to technology-industry publications including BYTE, ComputerWorld, CEO, Enterprise Efficiency, ChannelWeb, Network Computing, InfoWorld, PCWorld, Dark Reading, and ITWorld.com on subjects ranging from mobile enterprise computing to enterprise security and wireless networking.

Curtis is the author of thousands of articles, the co-author of five books, and has been a frequent speaker at computer and networking industry conferences across North America and Europe. His most recent books, Cloud Computing: Technologies and Strategies of the Ubiquitous Data Center, and Securing the Cloud: Security Strategies for the Ubiquitous Data Center, with co-author Brian Chee, are published by Taylor and Francis.

When he's not writing, Curtis is a painter, photographer, cook, and multi-instrumentalist musician. He is active in running, amateur radio (KG4GWA), the MakerFX maker space in Orlando, FL, and is a certified Florida Master Naturalist.

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