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Developing ‘fast’ and ‘safe’ – but how secure are you?

In software development, two objectives prevail: speed and safety. However, as the digital threat landscape is evolving and environments become more complex due to innovation and cloud modernisation, delivering quickly and reliably is no longer sufficient – the definition of safety must also encompass security – requiring a new model and approach. But exactly how do we distinguish between fast, safe, but also secure? Let’s explore these elements and software supply chain security. 

software supply chain security

Understanding the interaction of fast, safe, but also secure software supply chain

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Fast equals Agile (dev)

Being fast in software development implies agility and responsiveness. It’s about quickly delivering solutions to meet customer demands and market trends. High-velocity development ensures faster time to market, enhancing competitiveness and customer satisfaction. Fast development practices are characterised by Agile methodologies and continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD). Fast is an imperative – meaning, when adding the security lens, developers need solutions that won’t slow them down.

Safe equals quality (ops)

Safety is defined as ‘not likely to be exposed to danger or risk.’ Safety in software development typically denotes quality assurance, risk management, and compliance. A safe development process minimises defects, mitigates risks, and ensures regulatory adherence. It prioritises stability and reliability, fostering trust among users and stakeholders. Audits, quality control measures, and rigorous testing regimes are hallmarks of a safe development environment. However, today, safety must also include security.

If I’m safe, I’m also secure, right?

Not necessarily. Let’s look at the definition of secure.

Secure equals protected (Sec)

The definition of secure iscertainty in remaining safe and unthreatened’.

Therefore, in the context of development, ‘secure’ means delivering certainty to your software development pipeline by protecting it against threat or harm of attack.

Security adds another layer to safety by focusing on protecting systems and data from unauthorised access, breaches, and cyber threats. It involves implementing robust authentication mechanisms, encryption protocols, and role-based access controls. Secure development practices encompass securing applications, APIs, tools, and cloud infrastructure, as well as addressing vulnerabilities throughout the software development lifecycle.

software supply chain security software supply chain security

Slide arrow across to interact – defining ‘safe’ and ‘secure’

Delivering certainty into your software development pipeline: from safe to also secure

While fast and safe development practices have become ingrained in modern software engineering, the transition to a truly secure environment remains a challenge. Incorporating security into the development pipeline, known as “shifting left,” without impacting speed is crucial. DevSecOps is a methodology that integrates security practices into the software development and IT operations processes. The ultimate goal of DevSecOps is to foster a culture of security awareness and collaboration throughout the software development lifecycle, from plan and design to development, deployment and software management. In traditional software development, security considerations were treated as an afterthought, added on at the end of the development cycle or handled by a separate security team. This approach can lead to vulnerabilities and security issues being discovered late in the development cycle, making them more difficult and costly.

The key principles an organisation should consider when adopting to DevSecOps are:

  • Automating security testing, scanning of security vulnerabilities in source code and continuous security monitoring will increasingly help detect vulnerabilities as early as development phase. According to the 2023 State of Software Security Report, organisations using automated security scanning tools in their CI/CD pipelines experience a 27% faster remediation time for vulnerabilities compared to those relying solely on manual testing.
  • Identity Security safeguards all your digital identities – both human and non-human to enable secure privilege controls and strong cyber defences.
  • Security policies and configurations are treated as code which allows for version control, testing and automation.
  • Threat modelling helps to identify potential security risks as early as design phase.
  • Close collaboration between development, security and operations teams promotes a proactive approach in discovering, remediating and monitoring security vulnerabilities.

Securing cloud workloads, identities, and APIs is imperative in today’s interconnected digital ecosystem. There’s a growing concern from enterprises about cloud security, with misconfigurations being the leading cause of cloud-related breaches. Recent data highlights that 34 per cent of data breaches involved exploitation of internet-facing applications, and while common vulnerabilities and exposures were often exploited, and so too is human misconfiguration of devices like unsecured application programming interfaces, or bugs and flaws in software such as insecure direct object references.

I’m a developer, I don’t need to worry about security.

Incorporating DevSecOps requires a shift in the way things are done, that fosters a culture of security awareness among developers and IT teams is paramount in mitigating cyber risks effectively. While developers need to focus on developing, they must also understand and work with security to implement effective strategies across people, tools and processes to ensure they remain fast.

Common threats and associated impacts

Hover over the boxes to learn more about the common threats and associated impacts in your software.

The DevSecOps Imperative – Software supply chain security

In response to growing cyber threats, organisations must prioritise security alongside speed and safety, making the adoption of DevSecOps essential. DevSecOps seamlessly integrates software supply chain security, ensuring that it doesn’t hinder agility and innovation but rather supports them. By automating security processes, fostering collaboration between development, operations, and security teams, and embracing a proactive security mindset, DevSecOps enables fast, safe, and secure software delivery. This approach is crucial in safeguarding digital experiences against evolving threats and ensuring resilience and trustworthiness for users and stakeholders.

How are you balancing fast and safe with security throughout your development process? Take the self-assessment.

Addressing the nuances of fast, safe, and secure development requires a planned approach.  Organisations can lay the foundation by first evaluating their readiness to confront the evolving challenges of the digital age with Avocado’s self-assessment.

This self-assessment is designed to quickly gauge your maturity level so you can understand the key areas of development required for your organisation.

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Our DevSecOps Services - Uplift your software supply chain security

Our DevSecOps Services

Avocado provides leading DevSecOp services focused on roadmap creation, implementation planning and action. 

Our approach to DevSecOps gives you complete visibility and balances speed and security to make you fast, safe and secure.

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Consulting Services

Discover how our Strategy and Tactical Roadmap with our Maturity Model can help accelerate your DevSecOps adoption.

Change Management, Training & Tools Adoption

Ensure a smooth transition, upskilling, and effective utilisation of new tools within the organisation’s processes. 

Deploy and Implement

Take advantage of our certified engineers and their expertise to deploy and implement DevSecOps security platforms into your development environment and cloud. 

Security Integration with DevOps Tools

Ensure the right security practices and privilege access controls are seamlessly integrated within your DevOps workflow. 

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