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IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: Revolutionizing DevOps

June 28, 2024 No Comments

The Essential Role of Embedded Security—Q&A with Yogesh Ramaswamy

by Kelly Hartog

Embedded security delves into the crucial evolution of DevOps methodologies, where security is no longer an optional add-on but a fundamental component. A significant shift, known as DevSecOps, illustrates why and how integrating security measures from the outset is vital for modern software development cycles. In many cases, this integration has a transformative impact on the efficiency and security of applications, highlighting the seamless incorporation of security checks, automated testing, and continuous monitoring throughout the DevOps pipeline.

            Q: What trends and technologies do you see as having led to recent innovations that redefine the landscape of secure software development?

            Ramaswamy: I see two main factors. The first is infrastructure as code (IaC). It allows infrastructure to be managed and provisioned through code against all automation, enabling consistent and repeatable deployments. This practice also introduces the need to secure the infrastructure code itself. That’s why various security tools exist, such as policy, code framework, and configuration scanning tools. One of these, among many, is Veracode, which is used for vulnerability scanning to ensure that infrastructure configurations adhere to all the security best practices and compliance requirements.

            The second is coding practices. Following secure coding practices is essential. As such, educating developers about potential security risks is foundational to secure software development.

            Q: How exactly does DevSecOps integrate security into the DevOps lifecycle?

            Ramaswamy: DevSecOps embeds security at every stage of the DevOps lifecycle. This creates a culture of shared responsibility for security among all development operations team members. This is essential because it breaks down the traditional silos between development, operations, and security teams. In a conventional setup, security is often addressed only at the end of the development process. This can lead to significant delays and the potential for critical vulnerabilities to be overlooked until it’s too late. By fostering a culture of shared responsibility, security can be prioritized throughout each stage of the lifecycle of an application.

            Q: What are those stages?

            Ramaswamy: The highest level is the planning or requirements-gathering stage. This entails working with stakeholders, discussing all the security requirements, and outlining them alongside the functional and compliance requirements and security policies. That’s then communicated to all team members.

            Next is the coding phase, where the security code is written to mitigate common vulnerabilities. This is followed by the build phase, where various tools scan all third-party libraries and dependencies. After that is the all-important testing phase, where various automation tools, such as Selenium, are used to test the running application for security vulnerabilities in a production environment.

            At this point, the team enters the release phase, during which CI/CD is implemented. This is the equivalent of building security gates, guaranteeing the application meets all the predefined security criteria before being deployed into production. The last phase is the deployment phase via IaC.

            Q: What are some benefits that software development teams can expect when they adopt DevSecOps?

            Ramaswamy: Beyond the infrastructure security coding practices, there have been significant advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to enhance security measures. These technologies can analyze vast data and predict anomalies and potential threats. AI-driven security tools can provide real-time insights and proactive security measures. These tools allow for cost efficiency within companies because addressing security vulnerabilities early in the software development lifecycle is significantly cheaper than fixing them after deployment.

AI and ML also enable scalability and reliability, which are critical for DevOps resource management. With automated security testing and compliance checks, it’s easy to scale and develop as the application is created while ensuring that security remains robust even as the organization grows, and the number of deployments increases. DevSecOps ensures that security standards are uniformly applied across any development project, regardless of scale.

            In addition, all these tools allow for faster speed to market. By integrating security into the DevOps development operations pipeline, teams can eliminate bottlenecks, enabling faster software delivery. All these components have led to the shift-left approach, with development teams prioritizing security from the outset of the development life cycle rather than treating it as an afterthought.

            Q: What else do companies need to do to succeed in DevSecOps?

            Ramaswamy: An educational focus is critical to long-term organizational success. Because it’s an emerging technology, not everybody is well-versed in DevSecOps. To succeed, companies need people with a security and DevSecOps background. Companies can also designate “security champions,” such as a subject matter expert or a security architect, to work with development teams to advocate for best practices and peer mentoring to ensure security remains a top priority.

            With a strong team in place, companies need to support continuous learning about the latest DevSecOp tools, practices, and emerging threats. The ability to troubleshoot, think analytically, solve complex issues, and create innovative solutions that address problems without compromising the speed and agility of the development process is essential.

            It’s critical for those working in the field to adapt to changing technologies and methodologies, be open to integrating new tools and practices into the workflow, and be proficient in automation. This requires staying updated with automation tools, including Ansible, Puppet, Terraform, and more. Automation is the heart of DevSecOps.

            Finally, from a leadership perspective, to thrive in this field, company leaders must have strategic thinking and vision. That means they can develop and implement a long-term DevSecOps strategy that aligns with their company’s overarching goals and objectives. This forward-thinking approach will guide their team toward innovative solutions that enhance security and efficiency.

The future of DevOps

            Looking ahead, DevSecOps will likely rely more on automation as security testing, vulnerability scanning, and compliance checks as standard practice. Automation tools will also help identify and remediate security issues in real time, reducing the manual workload and the number of security teams and ensuring faster response times. In addition, companies can expect to see more cloud integration as organizations increasingly adopt native cloud architectures. The plethora of tools that allow for continuous monitoring, vulnerability scanning, and threat detection without human intervention will ensure that security is maintained at every stage of the software development lifecycle development process. This will considerably reduce the effort and time required for security checks and allow teams to focus on other development innovation features.

Yogesh Ramaswamy is a seasoned senior DevOps engineer with over 13 years of experience. He excels in designing, implementing, and transforming robust CI/CD pipelines, automating complex deployments, and developing scalable, high-impact code. With expertise in optimizing cloud infrastructures, automation, and containerization technologies, he maximizes system efficiency, reliability, and performance. Throughout his career, Ramaswamy has been at the forefront of developments at major organizations across various industries, consistently driving innovation and excellence in DevOps practices. Ramaswamy recognizes the importance of addressing the trends transforming the landscape of secure software development in the fast-paced world of DevOps.

About the Author:

Kelly Hartog is an award-winning freelance editor and writer. She can be reached at

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