Agile and DevSecOps methodologies are designed to work together for software development. Agile emphasizes the need for adaptability in the development process, while DevSecOps emphasizes the importance of security focused development. In essence, Agile establishes the mindset toward development, whereas DevSecOps provides principles for how to embed security into the development processes. It is not a case of either/or. They are intended to be used together.
Therefore, in this blog post, we will go over both methodologies, how they complement each other, and why they should be used together.
What is Agile?
Agile project management and software development is an iterative strategy that helps teams provide value to clients faster and with fewer difficulties. An agile team provides work in tiny, digestible increments rather than relying on a “big bang” launch. Teams have a natural mechanism for adapting to change rapidly since requirements, strategies, and outcomes are assessed on a regular basis.
To be more precise – agile software development is a collection of iterative software development techniques in which requirements and solutions emerge from cooperation among self-organizing cross-functional teams. The Agile methodology encourages regular examination and modification through a rigorous project management process. Aside from that, it promotes a leadership philosophy that values collaboration, self-organization, and responsibility. It also comprises a set of engineering best practices aimed at delivering high-quality software quickly, and a business strategy that connects development with customer needs and company objectives.
Any development method that adheres to the Agile Manifesto’s principles is referred to as agile development. The Manifesto was written by a group of fourteen prominent software industry experts, and it represents their knowledge of what techniques work and do not work in software development.
The Agile software development community places a strong emphasis on cooperation and the self-organizing team. That is not to say that there are no managers. It means that groups can determine how they are going to handle problems on their own – in other words, those teams are cross-functional. They don’t need to have particular duties; instead, when they are put together, they should make sure they have all of the necessary skill sets.
What is DevSecOps?
DevSecOps is a relatively new concept in the application security (AppSec) field that focuses on incorporating security early in the software development life cycle (SDLC) by extending the DevOps movement’s close collaboration between development and operations teams to include security teams as well. It necessitates a shift in culture, method, and tools across the development, security, testing, and operations functional teams. DevSecOps essentially implies that security is a shared responsibility and that everyone participating in the SDLC has a role to play in incorporating security into the DevOps CI/CD process.
Traditional application security teams are unable to keep up with the speed and frequency of releases in order to verify that each release is secure.
To solve this, businesses must continually incorporate security into the SDLC so that DevOps teams can produce safe apps quickly and with high quality. The sooner you integrate security into your process, the sooner you will be able to discover and address security flaws and vulnerabilities. This idea is part of the “shifting left” movement, which pushes security testing closer to developers, allowing them to resolve security vulnerabilities in their code in near real-time rather than waiting until the end of the SDLC when security was previously tacked on.
Organizations may effortlessly incorporate security into their existing continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) practices using DevSecOps. DevSecOps includes real-time constant feedback loops and insights across the SDLC, from planning and design to coding, building, testing, and release.
The values and principles of DevSecOps and agile are similar. Both place a strong emphasis on cross-functional collaboration to break down information silos. They both emphasize fast feedback and continuous improvement. The question of whether to use DevSecOps vs Agile is answered by understanding how they work together.
Seeing DevSecOps vs. Agile as a black-and-white binary is incorrect. There is no need to compare the two because they are meant to work together. DevSecOps requires that you have agile teams implementing development activities. Agile practices align with the DevSecOps principles of culture, automation, lean flow, measure, and sharing. In particular, lean flow requires agility at the team level.The agile methodology can safely and effectively deliver secure products with DevSecOps as a foundation.
There are many approaches to automate security validation of solutions and maintain consistent user experience and data security, however, it is not about the tools in DevSecOps or Agile. Instead, it is a question of mindset, culture, and shared understanding. When done correctly, teams think and behave differently, resulting in improved outcomes such as faster software delivery through use of continuous integration (CI), continuous deployment (CD), continuous improvement, more collaboration, and fewer silos. Improved quality, greater automation, and improved customer satisfaction are among the other outcomes.
Concepts They Have In Common
The Agile Manifesto is linked to some of the Agile concepts they share; the first four principles are the most well-known of the twelve:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
- Working software over comprehensive documentation.
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
- Responding to change over following a plan.
The CI/CD pipeline, improving software delivery and quality, a culture of innovation, service-level goals and indicators (SLOs and SLIs), collaboration across teams, and automation are all DevSecOps concepts shared with agile principles.
DevSecOps facilitates communication between development, operations, and security teams. DevSecOps also reduces the gap between teams dealing with different parts of the project, allowing them to better grasp what it’s like to walk in one another’s shoes because they now work as one.
Agile teams deliver often and quickly, adjusting gradually along the way. For most software or product delivery teams, working in two-week sprints appears to be the sweet spot. DevSecOps concepts may be used by agile teams (for example, creating a CI/CD pipeline), and dev and operations teams are likely to work in two-week increments.
Traditionally, DevSecOps has resulted in continuous deployment, delivery, and integration. Teamwork is interwoven, and development, operations, and security all share responsibility for problems and failures.
Remember that Agile is a mentality; the principles it encompasses encourage a cultural transformation in the organization’s departmental activities, project management methods, and product development. Similarly, DevSecOps necessitates a culture transformation.
The distinction between DevSecOps and agile software development techniques may be explained in terms of one element of software development: security. The two techniques differ in terms of when, where, and who implements security in software development.
Iterative development cycles, in which input is continually reintegrated into current software development, are at the heart of agile development techniques. Security is typically introduced to software as an afterthought, even in mature agile development methods. This is not to say that software developers are to blame for underestimating the risk of infection or neglecting the necessity of cybersecurity.
Instead, many organizations simply do not expect developers to consider the security implications of their code because the security team will review the program before release. However, DevSecOps places a strong emphasis on security from the beginning of the development process and considers security an essential element of overall software quality.
Agile and DevSecOps are both used to encourage change and cooperation, resulting in a cultural shift in the behaviors of those who use them. It is essential that a company uses both agile and DevSecOps principles. You can implement agile without using DevSecOps, but you cannot implement DevSecOps without an agile mindset.
DevSecOps focuses mainly on value delivery, pushing past departmental boundaries, and urging Development and Operations to collaborate for more successful planning, design, and release. Furthermore, including security into the coding process (i.e., DevSecOps) exposes gaps and flaws early on, allowing remedial steps to be taken.
DevSecOps incorporates lean practices like Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment. This encourages and supports frequent code check-in, version control, sensible test automation, continuous low-risk releases, and feedback, often through various software development tools. The Business may benefit from DevSecOps techniques in a DevSecOps environment by saving money and resources through enhanced operations, less rework, increased quality through automated testing and monitoring, and projects delivered early and often to the customer or end-user with shorter cycle time.
If you want to push your organization’s capacities to the next level, incorporating DevSecOps is a great way to do that. And here is some great news – The i4 Group’s DevSecOps Consulting is here to help!