DevOps and Security

I remember some complaints about DevOps from a couple folks (most notably Rational Survivability) saying “what about security!  And networking!  They’re excluded from DevOps!”  Well, I think that in the agile collaboration world, people are only excluded to the extent that they refuse to work with the agile paradigm.  Ops used to be “excluded” from agile, not because the devs hated them, but because the ops folks themselves didn’t willingly go collaborate with the devs and understand their process and work in that way.  As an ops person, it was hard to go through the process of letting go of my niche of expertise and my comfortable waterfall process, but once I got closer to the devs, understood what they did, and refactored my work to happen in an agile manner, I was as welcome as anyone to the collaborative party, and voila – DevOps.

Frankly, the security and network arenas are less incorporated into the agile team because they don’t understand how to be (or in many cases, don’t want to be).  I’ve done security work and work with a lot of InfoSec folks – we host the Austin OWASP chapter here at NI – and the average security person’s approach embodies most of what agile was created to remove from the development process.  As with any technical niche there’s a lot of elitism and authoritarianism that doesn’t mesh well with agile.

But this week, I saw a great presentation at the Austin OWASP chapter by Andre Gironda (aka “dre”) called Application Assessments Reloaded that covered a lot of ground, but part of it was the first coherent statement I’ve seen about what agile security would look like.  I especially like his term for the security person on the agile team – the “Security Buddy!”  Who can not like their security buddy?  They can hate the hell out of their “InfoSec Compliance Officer,” though.

Anyway, he has a bunch of controversial thoughts (he’s known for that) but the real breakthroughs are acknowledging the agile process, embedding a security “buddy” on the team, and leveraging existing unit test frameworks and QA behavior to perform security testing as well.  I think it’s a great presentation, go check it out!

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