Shift left approaches to software development can lead to enhanced software security without creating more work for developers. These initiatives are made possible in large part by workflow integration.
Workflow is a big part of software development, because when it’s automated, workflow is what enables teams to complete tasks more quickly and increase efficiency and accuracy. Other benefits that can come from automating workflow include cost savings due to increased productivity; greater transparency of processes; and better quality products.
Why You Need to Integrate Software Workflow with Security
From a cyber security standpoint, the key benefit is that the integration of workflow with security can drive the security of the finished product. Within a DevOps development environment, the success of cyber security ultimately depends on how well security controls are part of the workflow.
For example, let’s say a developer is working on code for a new application, and then has to conduct a test related to a security issue. The developer would typically have to stop the development work on one user interface, move to another user interface to do the testing, and then go back to the initial work environment to continue the coding work.
That’s all adding work for the developer and increasing the complexity and friction of the process. On the other hand, if there is a security tool deployed that integrates security right into the development workflow so there’s no need to moves things around, that greatly eases the process and eliminates the complexity.
How Integrating Software Workflow Enhances Security
How does that lead to more secure products? If teams can integrate security directly into the development workflow, it is less likely there will be missed or ignored steps that could lead to vulnerabilities in the software. Workflow integration means security becomes an automated function; it becomes a part of the process.
The key thing is cyber security tools need to be capable of such integration. As important as security is to the overall development process, the addition of security components into the software can’t be continually interrupting the development process.
The objective should be to build security into the DevOps workflow. If the security tools are changing DevOps workflows and processes, they are simply the wrong tools to be using. This is especially true in a competitive environment that requires teams to finish projects quickly.
Looking at it another way, security tools and processes should be considered the same way as quality assurance (QA) testing to measure product quality. Security is just part of the effort to create new software products—albeit an extremely important one.
It comes down to the idea that the best way forward for security teams and development teams is to work together in ways that are mutually beneficial. They are not adversaries, but different components of the same overall effort to get the best and most secure software products out the door as quickly as possible.
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