In 2017 DevOps will go mainstream," said Signal Sciences' co-founder & chief security officer Zane Lackey. Historically, in enterprise organizations software developers and IT engineers operate in discrete silos. DevOps, however, is changing the way legacy organizations manage technology.
DevOps is the technology process that marries software development with IT operations. The trend emerged as an inevitable response to the rise of Agile and iterative software project management. The advantage, experts say, is that DevOps helps organizations scale, yet remain nimble. "While it's been steadily picking up speed, in 2017 DevOps will start being a symbol for teams with integrated skills to build, deploy, and maintain applications in a continuous way," Lackey said.
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DevOps is a particularly useful cybersecurity tool, Lackey said. The DevOps trend has emerged rapidly, "as [silos] realize the need to integrate with each other in order to survive," Lackey explained. "With IoT on the rise, security will continue to be the primary obstacle preventing consumers from fully welcoming connected devices into their homes and lifestyles. Consumers and businesses are getting smarter and security vendors will be held more accountable in keeping them safe ... DevOps requires a reinvention of security, including a cultural change. To meet this need, security as a whole will recognize the need to integrate into DevOps to survive."
Many companies, however, remain wary of the potential security risks posed by DevOps. "Continuous delivery and continuous integration pipelines that are now widely adopted in Agile development and DevOps shops are just such a target," said Carson Sweet, CTO and co-founder of CloudPassage. "Consider the impact of advanced persistent threat (APT) malware, but applied at the application level instead of the system level. If a threat actor (one of the nasty people) is able to breach the software development pipeline, they can essentially control the company by subverting their software code and components."
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Healthcare and financial services, Sweet said, are high-stakes industries most at risk by APT threats. "These attacks are likely to be aggressive and very public, meaning that DevOps teams will need to live up to new standards of testing and prevention, preferably harmonizing these operations with existing devops tools and functions."
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Dan Patterson has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Dan is a Senior Writer for TechRepublic. He covers cybersecurity and the intersection of technology, politics and government.