The recent Cybersecurity Ventures report predicts that in 2023, the global annual cost of cybercrime will exceed $8 trillion. This figure could potentially be much higher than initially thought. With the rise of cyber threats and attacks, government agencies must adopt a proactive approach to protect their networks, data, and systems. As such, DevSecOps, a combination of development, security, and operations, is essential for government cybersecurity.
Recently, President Biden issued an Executive Order on improving the nation’s cybersecurity, and federal agencies have responded by releasing DevSecOps best practices based on the Enduring Security Framework. As a result, government organizations are taking steps to implement and standardize their DevSecOps processes for addressing current cybersecurity threats.
Here is a closer look at why DevSecOps is critical for government cybersecurity, how it can improve local and federal government cybersecurity, and some examples of how government agencies have successfully implemented DevSecOps practices.
Why DevSecOps is Critical For Government Cybersecurity
Traditionally, government agencies have followed a waterfall approach to software development, where each phase of development is completed before moving to the next phase. This approach can be time-consuming and costly, and it does not prioritize security. In contrast, DevSecOps is a continuous process that integrates security into every phase of the development lifecycle, from design to deployment and beyond. Government agencies can then detect and remediate security vulnerabilities early in the development process, reducing the risk of cyber-attacks.
In addition to this, DevSecOps fosters a culture of shared accountability for security by promoting communication between operations, security, and development teams, breaking down organizational barriers. By working together, these teams can more effectively and efficiently detect and handle security issues. This results in a reduced cost of cybersecurity for the organization as a whole.
Improving Local Government Cybersecurity with DevSecOps
Local government agencies often have limited resources and expertise in cybersecurity. They may also be more vulnerable to cyber-attacks due to their reliance on legacy systems and software. DevSecOps can help these agencies improve their cybersecurity posture. This is done by prioritizing security in the development process and providing a framework for collaboration between teams.
Improving Federal Government Cybersecurity with DevSecOps
Federal government agencies face unique cybersecurity challenges. This is mainly due to the sensitivity of the data they handle and the potential impact of a cyber-attack. These agencies must comply with strict security regulations, such as the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework. DevSecOps can help these agencies comply with these regulations by integrating security into every phase of their development process. It further provides a framework for continuous monitoring and remediation of security vulnerabilities.
Other Benefits of DevSecOps
Apart from the specific benefits DevSecOps offer for government agencies, there are many other prominent advantages to adopting this approach. Here are a few of the more common ones.
Reduced Risk of Cyber-Attacks
By integrating security into every phase of the development process, DevSecOps reduces the risk of cyber-attacks that could compromise sensitive government data or systems.
Increased Speed of Software Delivery
DevSecOps enables faster and more frequent software delivery. The main reason for this is the automation of many aspects of the development process without sacrificing security or quality.
Increased collaboration and communication between teams in DevSecOps can reduce errors and redundancies and increase overall efficiency.
With DevSecOps, agencies can promote a culture of shared responsibility for security, which can help ensure that security is a priority at every level of the organization.
DevSecOps can help government agencies meet security regulations. This is done by providing a framework for integrating security into the development process. It further allows continuous monitoring and remediation of security vulnerabilities.
Detecting and remedying security vulnerabilities early in the development process is possible with DevSecOps. This can reduce the overall cost of software development and maintenance for government agencies.
Why Some Government Organizations Resist the Implementation of DevSecOps
A survey conducted by ATARC and the U.S. Air Force, underwritten by GitLab and Red Hat, interviewed almost 300 technical professionals across 27 federal departments, government entities, and state and local governments. The results revealed a complex DevOps environment in the public sector. The teams often faced challenges managing numerous disparate tools and working with legacy development models. The survey highlighted the following reasons for the hesitation toward DevSecOps implementation.
- Cultural resistance: Traditional government organizations may resist DevSecOps because it requires a cultural shift towards a more collaborative and agile approach to software development. This may be perceived as a challenge to the existing organizational culture, structures, and adherence to the waterfall methodology.
- Complex Tools: According to the survey, only 28% of the respondents reported using five or fewer tools in their software development lifecycle, while almost 40% used ten or more tools. The use of multiple tools creates a complex development process. This in turn requires teams to dedicate significant time to managing the tools. The same time could instead be used for building and delivering critical applications for their organizations.
- Regulatory compliance concerns: Some government organizations may be concerned that implementing DevSecOps practices could potentially compromise their ability to meet regulatory compliance requirements.
It is crucial to understand that these reasons for resistance are not insurmountable. Government organizations are capable of overcoming them. Agencies can effectively implement DevSecOps methods to strengthen their cybersecurity posture with the correct assistance, training, and leadership.
DevSecOps is essential for government cybersecurity, both at the local and federal levels. By integrating security into every phase of the development process and promoting collaboration between teams, government agencies can improve their cybersecurity posture while reducing the overall cost and time required for software development. Successful implementation of DevSecOps practices requires a cultural shift towards shared responsibility for security and a commitment to continuous improvement. As cyber threats continue to evolve, government agencies must remain vigilant and proactive in their approach to cybersecurity, and DevSecOps provides a framework for achieving this goal.
TechSur Solutions’ DevSecOps REPLAY Platform can help government agencies strengthen their cybersecurity posture, improve collaboration and efficiency, and reduce the risk of cyber-attacks. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you in implementing DevSecOps practices tailored to your agency’s unique needs and requirements.
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