5 tips for developer-friendly DevSecOps

By Nick Liffen, Director, GitHub Security Products

DevSecOps places security at the core of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), offering benefits like minimised risks, reduced remediation costs (IBM reports savings up to $1.68M for organisations with high DevSecOps adoption), and faster and more secure product releases. Yet despite its advantages, developers often face challenges from day-to day DevSecOps practices due to fragmented tool integration and added responsibilities, making the SDLC seem more complex and challenging.

A DevSecOps strategy aims to distribute security ownership across teams instead of siloing it, and it’s critical to ensure security is a natural part of the developer experience to fully reap the benefits. Here are five tips to enhance the DevSecOps experience for developers, focused on making security tools more usable to unlock faster releases of more secure products.

Integrate Security Into Existing Workflows

Many security tools are built for security professionals, so simply bolting them onto existing developer workflows can create friction. When looking to integrate a new tool into the SDLC, consider extracting the desired data from the security tool and natively integrating it into the developer’s workflow, or even better, look to a tool that’s already embedded within the flow. This reduces context switching and helps developers detect and remediate vulnerabilities earlier. Additionally, leveraging AI tools within Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) streamlines the process further, allowing developers to address security alerts without leaving their coding environment.

Prioritise Relevant Alerts

Bringing security into the development process also means remediating alerts, but simply asking developers to remediate all security alerts is unrealistic. A barrage of alerts, especially false positives, can erode a developer’s trust in the tool and compromise their productivity. A well-integrated security tool should have an alert system that surfaces high-priority alerts directly to developers. For example, alert settings based on custom and automated triage rules, filterable code scanning alerts, and the ability to dismiss alerts contribute to a more effective alert system. This ensures developers can swiftly address urgent security concerns without being overwhelmed by unnecessary noise, and helps to ultimately clean up an organisation’s security debt (which if accumulated over time can become harder and more costly to fix).

Get Friendly with AI and Automation

Noisy alerts, increasing system complexity, limited resourcing, and rapid threat evolution have made it challenging for developers to stay ahead of vulnerabilities. The good news is that AI and automation can help by reducing false positives, enabling consistent security checks, and scaling security practices. AI-generated code fixes and vulnerability alerts streamline remediation into the developer workflow. Additionally, AI can enhance the modelling of open source frameworks, making vulnerability detection more accurate. Automation capabilities, including branch protection rules and status checks, further empower developers to proactively address security issues.

Involve Developers in Security Decisions

To ensure a smooth collaboration between engineering and security teams, it is vital to involve developers in the creation of security processes and policy decisions. Before implementing new tools or altering policies, seek feedback from a developer champion. Asking questions around the current effectiveness of security practices, the impact of tools on workflow, and recommendations for tools or practices can provide insights into areas that need improvement. This collaborative approach fosters a more developer-friendly security environment.

Set Clear Expectations Around Secure Coding

DevSecOps should not be about introducing more tooling, rather establishing a clear focus around expectations and processes for using existing tools effectively. Clear communication about policies and secure coding practices ensures a consistent approach to security throughout the SDLC. Organisations should create secure coding standards, then tap champions to clearly communicate policies across teams. This approach eliminates ambiguity, increases security consciousness among developers, and fosters a DevSecOps culture across the organisation.

As developers assume more security responsibilities within the DevSecOps model, improving their user experience becomes paramount. Organisations investing in understanding and addressing developers’ pain points will reap enhanced collaboration between engineering and security teams, leading to the swift delivery of secure code. With developers empowered as the first line of defence, businesses can fully actualize DevSecOps’ advantages.

AIautomationDevSecOpsSecurity Tools
Comments (0)
Add Comment