5 Tips To Build A Fail-Proof DevSecOps Culture

MSys Marketing Aug 10 - 6 min read

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A simple yet overlooked concept lies at the heart of a successful DevOps initiative: Developers drive the software agenda, so developer participation is essential for achieving a more secure framework. That is where the term DevSecOps comes into play – and more importantly, the practices and culture it represents – can begin to make a huge difference.

A solid DevSecOps culture suits our evolving hybrid computing environments, faster and more frequent software delivery, and other demands for modern IT. This is the main reason why DevSecOps matters to IT leaders. DevSecOps helps ship safer applications by prioritizing secure development alongside speed by making security part of the current DevOps pipeline. It’s more than just reviewing the security vulnerabilities or sorting through false positives. Here are 5 essential tips for nurturing a DevSecOps culture of your own – and using the metrics to gauge success.

1. No “one size fits all” concept

A downside of a methodological and cultural shift like DevSecOps is that people might assume there’s just a single “right” way of doing DevSecOps. But that’s not true.

Not all enterprises are built equal, which is why there’s more than just one model to implement DevSecOps. You can take your security staff and embed them into your DevOps teams. Or you can train up your developers to become the embedded security experts. Or you can build cross-functional teams or task forces. It’s simply any combination that works organizationally and culturally.

These setups share a standard denominator core to DevSecOps: Recognizing and addressing security concerns as early as possible. So that any of them can help endorse a powerful DevSecOps culture, given they make better sense for your organization and culture.

2. Transparency

If you think the battle between traditional development processes and operations silos was bad, well, those teams were comparatively agile compared to the traditional isolation of security teams.

Strangely, most of these silos are deliberately created by the workforce because they believe it makes them more secure. But it doesn’t. All these silos create an incapacity for each team to speak the same language. As a result, they face difficulty in translating what they do back into people and processes.

Getting rid of the isolation of security teams and making use of some model that better combines multiple roles and responsibilities together and can yield meaningful benefits.

The foundation of a thriving DevSecOps culture is total organizational transparency, including all the aspects of the IT department, which implies that security can no longer be siloed.

Enterprises going through a digital transformation or developing modern applications work off the same data through various lenses, bringing together everyone instead of creating silos.

3. Security education and training investment for Developers

Training and educating software developers (and related job titles and roles) is an excellent step toward a healthy DevSecOps culture. It’s because security is everyone’s responsibility, and it’s essential to arm everyone with the right knowledge and tools required to make that so.

The developers who previously didn’t have to bear much responsibility for the security of their code can’t be suddenly expected to bring in the hardcore security know-how of a white-hat hacker. But if you do invest in enhancing your developers’ security knowledge and tools, everyone benefits from it.

Today’s IT leaders must invest in security training, which can come in the form of short sprints, code review, understanding which libraries are safe to use, or setting up feature flags that will review the code accurately, one piece at a time. This way, if anything goes wrong, the DevSecOps team can immediately get into the quality assurance mindset for applying fixes accordingly, with security as a top priority.

4. Make “sec” in security silent

The key to a perfect DevSecOps culture is to eliminate as much friction as possible from processes. The perfect way to think about implementing security into DevSecOps is to make ‘Sec’ silent. To lessen friction or make security “silent,” include automation into your security processes and tools.

The ultimate purpose is to enable DevOps teams to implement security automatically as part of their everyday processes. By implementing security controls directly into the CI/CD pipeline and taking development tools as an example, you’ve got good options at your disposal, including plenty of open source platforms.

From a technical perspective, an excellent place to start is to make sure each team makes use of the available open source tools to perform security-related tasks. Configuration management tools also have made the integration of operations and security a much easier proposition.

5. Shared goals and KPIs

A robust DevSecOps culture also depends on eliminating the conflicting performance incentives across various roles on the same team. A typical struggle in this category would be for developers who are measured almost solely by how quickly and frequently they ship code and security pros tasked with limiting vulnerabilities in production. One wants to move as fast as possible; the other is motivated to slow down everything.

DevSecOps must be, in part, about getting people on the same page, working toward collective goals – with shared responsibilities and metrics. There are numerous key performance indicators as examples for measuring the DevSecOps efforts. Everyone should share in the responsibility for these measurements and not just the security team:

  • Number of app security issues discovered in production: You want this number to decrease. Issues identified in production are issues missed during the development period, so this number should be minimized.
  • Percentage of deployments stopped/delayed due to failing security tests: Ideally, such issues should be resolved before deployment.
  • Time to fix security issues: This is a time-consuming approach that must decrease over time; it should be a reward for a healthy DevSecOps culture. In that, it reduces the effort and pain involved in resolving security issues when they do occur. Hopefully, issues that are discovered pre-integration are easier and faster to fix, so this is also a perfect picture of how well the team is performing.


Enterprises that values security see it to be a culture rather than just a step. And for this to be accomplished, it’s crucial to have a robust DevSecOps culture. With this, security won’t be viewed just as a technological flaw and won’t be ignored. It’ll be prioritized, and the ways discussed above are a few of the ideas on how your organization can go ahead and implement this.

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