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DevSecOps Requires Teamwork for Success

 Published: January 8, 2020  Created: December 2, 2019


While the manifestos surrounding the current development pipelines may differ, there is one concept that remains constant: teamwork. All the various frameworks populating the development landscape bring together teams of people to build and deliver applications. This is especially true of DevOps, which focuses on a technical culture with defined roles on a quest for responsiveness. 

Yet, many organizations seem to be failing miserably when it comes to bringing cybersecurity into IT operations, especially where DevOps is concerned. New research from Tanium, a purveyor of endpoint management and security platform solutions, illustrates that all is not well where cyber and IT operations intersect.

Tanium commissioned Forrester Consulting to survey more than 400 IT leaders at large enterprises to uncover the challenges, consequences and gaps they face when managing and securing their endpoints. That research revealed that two-thirds (67%) of businesses say that driving collaboration between security and IT ops teams is a major challenge.

That lack of collaboration has a cascading effect, impacting the overall security hygiene of the enterprise and exposing systems to even common threats. Simply put, teamwork requires much more than just building camaraderie between security, operations and development folks; success requires that various team members come together to support the culture of DevOps. 

Strained relations between those players can lead to security failures, an assumption evidenced by Tanium’s research. The survey results indicated that security and IT ops teams with strained relationships more often struggle with basic IT hygiene, taking nearly two weeks longer to patch IT vulnerabilities than teams with healthy relationships.

It is those types of issues that can weaken the confidence of  IT decision-makers to make the correct decisions. The report claims that they have a misplaced sense of confidence, with 80% certain they can act on the results of vulnerability scans but only 49% feel confident they have full visibility into all the hardware/software assets on their environment. 

According to Tanium, that misplaced confidence is attributable to the increased investment in IT security and operational tools. However, just increasing security budgets does not always deliver on improved capabilities. As the survey results indicate, throwing money at the cybersecurity problem often creates a false sense of security regarding how well businesses can protect their IT environment from threats and disruption.

Many of those threats seem to fall through the cracks, a problem often blamed on the lack of end-to-end visibility of endpoints and their health. Solving that particular issue requires that IT security professionals interact more effectively with their IT operations and development counterparts (again, teamwork). Further exacerbating the problem is that many applications and services still operate in silos, which inhibits the visibility and control needed to properly protect the environment.

“According to our research, most teams are confident in their ability to take timely action on the results of their vulnerability scans. However, further investigation shows teams are admittedly suffering from visibility gaps of all hardware and software assets in their environment, which undermine these efforts to take action. With around 50% of IT leaders showing confidence in asset and vulnerability visibility, you’re essentially leaving your security to a coin flip,” said Chris Hallenbeck, Americas Chief Information Security Officer at Tanium.

Ultimately, Tanium recommends adopting a unified endpoint security solution to address the gaps in protection, while also encouraging security and IT ops teams to work more closely together. However, it is likely it will take more than just that to fully integrate security into the DevOps pipeline. Cybersecurity pros will need to get involved in the development pipeline to ensure that security becomes a foundational element of the application development and delivery process.

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