SecOps and DevOps must work together to ensure a successful security integration, especially given the divergent agendas of developers and security teams. In this post, we’ll provide you with four ways to get your developers on board with DevSecOps.

Security issues are sometimes overlooked in the rush of agile development, resulting in security vulnerabilities and increased application risks. DevSecOps highlights the importance of more vital collaboration and continuous integration across development, operations, and security.

A considerable cultural shift, developer buy-in, and the adoption of numerous automated security solutions in the CI/CD pipeline are required to bring DevOps and SecOps together. Let’s take a look at why so many companies are struggling and our best advice for making it to the top.

DevOps and SecOps come from different planets.

Because developers are so critical to the success of business objectives, the solution is as simple as having them step up to the plate and begin collaborating with security to prevent costly data breaches and application vulnerabilities. That’s logical, isn’t it?

The goals of DevOps and SecOps are not aligned, and this is the root of the problem.

Developers are advised to be more security-conscious, but their day-to-day experiences show otherwise. A whopping 44% of the engineers polled in GitLab’s “2019 Global DevSecOps Report” said they were not graded on their security flaws. A manager’s metrics of closed tickets and deployments, their capacity to take on new work during a standup meeting, and their speed at meeting deadlines are instead used as a gauge of how well a team performs. To a developer, “more is always better.” If you’re able to write faster and more frequently, you’re going to be able to perform a better job.

Security operations are tasked with preventing data breaches and other security incidents, whereas SecOps are responsible for ensuring that the business is adequately protected and compliant, all the while demonstrating that security threats have been reduced.

While the power developers wield in the development environment is commonly acknowledged, a chasm still exists between these competing agendas and ensuring that developers are equipped with the necessary security tools to do so.

Prioritizing security in application development: four suggestions

1.   Transform the culture top-down

A new ESG research report shows that nearly half of all firms (48 percent) consistently put out code that is known to be risky. This is a very concerning statistic for security professionals. Vulnerable code is sent to developers as a message that speed and volume are more important than the quality of the code itself. We need to rethink our approach to security flaws. Preventing security dangers should be our primary goal, rather than just responding to them when they occur.

Taking a stand against shipping any product with any flaws requires senior management to devote more attention to development. This should be the responsibility of development managers, who in turn should adjust their development team metrics and reward changes in behaviour because of their efforts. As a result, developers will be better able to prioritize their efforts and focus on security.

2.   Developers are vital, not a threat.

There should be no stigma attached to developers, and they should not be viewed as the enemy or weakest link. They have an in-depth knowledge of the software they produce and are enthusiastic about their work. No one likes to be accused of making mistakes, and employees are no exception. This is especially true if they haven’t received adequate training on how to manage such situations, which can lead to a loss of motivation and a rise in employee turnover.

Developers should be given a place at the table and asked for their input on the development of new processes and security strategies. It’s not uncommon for developers’ needs to be overlooked when it comes to deciding on the best security tools for the job. As a result, developers are less likely to use technologies that don’t meet their demands. When security tools discover flaws, developers are frequently ill-equipped to fix them, rendering the tools ineffective.

3.   Put your words into action and maintain developer interest.

According to a 2019 Forrester Research report, no university computer science program required students to take courses in secure coding or secure application design, as the firm studied 40 across the United States. In addition, the United States is not the only country with this kind of data. Their limited exposure to secure programming continues as they progress through their careers.

 According to GitLab’s 2019 DevSecOps report, 70% of developers said that while they are expected to write secure code, they get little guidance or help.

To combat those pesky vulnerabilities, invest in security training for your developers. Developers must have regular access to hands-on learning that actively encourages them to learn and build their skills in a real-world environment to thrive and write secure code. They need to be able to work in their own languages and frameworks to learn about the most recent software vulnerabilities.

It is difficult for developers to learn from formal training and classroom style learning. Since the existing corporate style training for DevOps wasn’t interactive and engaging enough to achieve the best results, most of our customers said they had changed their secure coding training.

The only way to get them to learn and stay motivated to look for problems in application code is to put them up against each other in realistic hacking scenarios.

4.   Transform your greatest weakness into your greatest asset.

A restaurant’s quest for quality begins long before the food is served to the customer, with the careful selection of ingredients and the careful assembly of the dish. This does not simply end with a quick inspection before it is served to the customer. To win new business, it is important to pay attention to application security as much as the rest of your product and its developers.

It’s a no-brainer that shifting the focus of AppSec to the developers is a smart business move. In the long run, it’s much easier to hire enough security experts to dig into your code if you teach developers to code with a security mindset from the beginning.

You should incorporate secure code training and automated continuous testing into your SDLC cycle, so that your developers are empowered to spot security flaws and take responsibility as vulnerabilities are flagged early in development for them to fix, before moving on to the next stage and avoiding slow and expensive manual checks.

You can make your developers your most valuable security asset by providing them with the resources, training, and incentives they need. You can learn how to improve the security of your software development team in three simple steps by reading Secure Code Warrior’s “Fast Guide.”

Final Thoughts

DevSecOps emphasizes development, operations, and security collaboration and integration. GitLab’s “2019 Global DevSecOps Report” found that 44% of developers weren’t graded on security vulnerabilities. Cultural transformation, developer buy-in, and automated security solutions are needed. Leaders must oppose distributing flawed products. Instead of responding to security threats, they should be prevented.

Developers shouldn’t be the enemy or the weakest link. Developers need regular hands-on learning to build their skills in the real world. To gain new business, focus on application security as much as your product and engineers.