Regulation, data privacy and trust are critical to retain customers and avoid punitive regulatory penalties. Organizations are shifting focus to security and compliance early in the development process instead of addressing them later in the review stage. The need for speed and ensuring compliance are sometimes diametrically opposed to each other. For innovation, trust and data privacy to move in tandem, robust platforms are essential for product or service delivery, all the while staying compliant with data protection.

DevOps is an agent of swift change. It is the unique combination of diverse cultural doctrines and tools that bolsters the organization’s capability to deliver applications and services faster. Its defining feature is its agility and automation that go a long way in streamlining and rationalizing compliance overtures. Agility enables organizations to service their customers better and compete effectively.

IDC’s study forecasts the worldwide DevOps market to reach $6.6 billion by 2023.

At the same time, this has placed a serious challenge before security and compliance teams. Their roles have evolved to scale up and match the speed of DevOps since they have little time to understand and manage the risks at various stages of the software development cycle.

The Role of Infrastructure and operations (I&O) Leaders

Increasing cyber-attacks and privacy regulations have made security a primary consideration of application delivery achieved through continuous testing and integration. Anything less puts your organization at risk, and this is where IT leaders play a crucial role.

The IT infrastructure and the development teams are widely responsible for the general management of technology, data, and information in this rapid transformation. These teams combine many elements that include computers, servers, processes, storage, security, and cloud-based services to deliver on security and compliance.

They create policies, generate test strategies, and manage upgrades, and installation and repair. However, their technical tasks are aligned with broader organizational goals and strategy. They must keep learning the latest thinking in enabling technological innovations assisting organizations in reaching their digitization goals concurrently with improved quality of services and reduced costs.

I&O leaders must be quick on their feet by delivering service production at a rapid rate to respond quickly to the looming security threats. Simultaneously, it is critical to set a balance between production speed and compliance measures. The compliance framework must be monitored continuously to improve it as and when required. The leaders must ensure that compliance is the shared responsibility of all the stakeholders in the organization.

Because of its inherent agility, DevOps has seen increasing adoption. DevOps approach to application delivery offers more advantages over traditional methods, with faster and better deployments. I&O leaders must ensure that all the stakeholders in the cycle are well-aware of the compliance requirements so that the entire audit process is smooth.

DevSecOps: The Ultimate Shield of Security

DevSecOps is ubiquitous in the entire IT domain, especially DevOps, encouraging the application of the security-first doctrine in the DevOps approach. It is integrated with the security measures that resonate in the entire DevOps mechanism.

Source: ADAPT model community

The ADAPT model provides:

  • Rapidity in the system making the security system agile
  • Initiating change response mechanism which is better than before
  • Quick detection of system vulnerability and code bugs
  • Healthy medium for better collaboration and coordination.
The goal of DevSecOps is to security measures at every stage of the software development cycle, instead of introducing them at the final stage. It makes security a shared responsibility of every team involved in the workflow. DevSecOps minimizes system vulnerabilities, reduces compliance costs and expedites time-to-market. A Five-step Approach to Ensure Compliance

Protecting businesses and their sensitive data has become the new norm with newer threats emerging every day. As part of their system standards compliance, most IT departments have a list of optimal standards on how systems should operate (e.g., patch level and network settings). But in the regular course of business, systems can deviate from the established standards because of software patches, updates, or any such development. Therefore, an IT system should detect those systems which no longer meet the defined process and spring them back into compliance.

Heavily regulated industries such as healthcare and financial services need the highest level of compliance initiatives to avoid losing customer trust, paying monetized penalties, and facing severe legal consequences. The five-dimensional approach will serve as the perfect remedy for compliance management.

Restricting Shadow, IT Practices with Optimized Operations and Infrastructure

IT infrastructures are complex enough to make compliance a difficult job to carry out. With complex infrastructures comes the onslaught of poor agility leading to increased shadow IT activities.

Businesses have a pressing need to serve and exceed customer expectations and, in the process, they may bypass their internal IT organizations, responding to competition. Such activities pose a threat to the organization’s security protections, endangering subscription management. Hence, it is crucial to optimize IT operations to reduce shadow IT activities.

Organizations can improve their speed and agility in service delivery by employing efficient servers and container infrastructures. With proficient tools available, infrastructure simplicity can be easily achieved. These tools can optimize operations with rationalized and simplified management across DevOps activities. I&O teams can also successfully build and deliver container imagers, thereby improving configuration management. When practiced in unison, it supports continuous integration which is the characteristic of an actual DevOps environment. With fewer shadows, IT activities, compliance in security, licensing, and system standards is achieved.

Monitoring Deployments

Besides optimizing operations, compliance also requires the need to monitor deployments ensuring internal requirements are met with ease. IT can conveniently track compliance with a single infrastructure management tool with well-defined and system standards and finely etched subscription standards. License tracking is one of the ways that aid I&O leaders in simplifying and automating software licenses for the continuation of long-term compliance and impose software usage policies that warrant security. Easy and rapid monitoring goes a long way in deducting oversights into container and cloud VM compliance across DevOps environments. By effective management of configuration changes with a single tool, compliance control, and validation across the entire infrastructures can be augmented. Infrastructure management automation and heightened monitoring can ensure system compliance using automated patch management with regular notifications of systems on the breach of compliance regulations set in the current patch level.

Collaboration is the key

The key to successful compliance is a dedicated collaboration with the primary stakeholders in the entire set of processes that include development, legal, internal audit, and security. I&O leaders should open a podium to discuss the organization’s risk-taking appetite and solutions to overcome it. Before documenting these initiatives, all stakeholders must give their nod for risk mitigation guidelines. DevOps teams must learn the rudimentary basics of security and risk practice with a mindset to offset a threat whenever they arise. The routine operations of the teams should include compliance assessment at all steps. The documented risk mitigation plan must be reviewed periodically, and changes made as and when necessary.

Compliance is not just one team’s responsibility; it should resonate in the entire organization. Hence, a collaborative effort with not only the leaders but also the team will go a long way in pushing towards fulfilling regulatory requirements.

The Need for Compliance as Code (CAC)

Organizations that followed the waterfall development methodology defied the very purpose of DevOps. It was a traditionally bound approach that offered preventive control measures that ended up taking more time and promoting manual labor. Regulatory compliance was a difficult task for I&O leaders because they had to present every document and proof validating controls.

DevOps is all about the rapid delivery of services at a consistent level, and I&O leaders should make sure that compliance follows the same principle. Every little step taken to make the service endowment efficient has to be backed by rapid automation, continuous testing, validation, and collaboration. When the entire process is automated, it removes manual efforts reducing the scope for human errors making the whole system more flexible and consistent. A significant difference is that the new approach overcomes the hurdles of costs associated with meeting compliance and substantially reduces the timeline for meeting regulatory compliance standards.

CAC needs to be implemented to assure continuous automation of compliance. This will help in active monitoring, testing, and evaluation for report generation on the latest compliance status. DevOps and CAC should go hand in hand. The entire initiative should be applied holistically to all the processes, old and new, to meet old compliance, with new ones following the suit.

Securing Data Access Control

Regulations around data privacy and security are grave and still growing. Organizations need to consider data access controls right from the word Go seriously with the building of applications. At the outset of the project, the organization may impose and implement restrictions. However, such controls may go for a toss if these restrictions are not reinforced in the system. Automated mechanisms detect any potential data leak even before it hits production.

Final Words

DevOps has the endless potential to change the way business functions and grows. It offers agility and elasticity to the entire process. Still, in the presence of complex IT architecture, innovation becomes complicated, which makes it tough for compliance to function concurrently. The five-dimensional approach can help boost collaboration, streamline operations, and optimize the IT environment gearing it for innovation while ensuring better compliance monitoring.Ensuring Compliance and Audit in DevOps