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Cybersecurity is one of the most important issues US government agencies are facing – look no further than President Biden’s executive order on the subject. Emerging in the wake of significant attacks on Solarwinds, Microsoft, and the Colonial Pipeline (to name a few), the executive order was designed to help better secure our government agencies and nation as a whole, but also adds another layer of complexity for agencies as they manage the ability to remain efficient and effective while also increasing security. For government agencies to be able to attain both security and efficiency at scale, they must adopt modern frameworks – specifically, DevSecOps practices and processes.

What is devsecops?

The General Services Administration defines DevSecOps as a “cultural and engineering practice that breaks down barriers and opens collaboration between development, security, and operations organizations using automation to focus on rapid, frequent delivery of secure infrastructure and software to production.”

There are a variety of modern frameworks that can help government agencies reach their specific goals.

DevOps: Building quality code and delivering it faster

DevOps is a set of practices that automate and integrate the processes between software development and IT teams so that they can build, test, and release software faster and more reliably. Government agencies often turn to DevOps frameworks to help them increase efficiency in their efforts toward mission success.

SecOps: Making security a team sport

SecOps is a methodology used to operationalize and harden security throughout the software lifecycle by increasing collaboration between IT security and operations teams. It’s commonly adopted by government agencies to increase security and ensure compliance with best practices.

DevSecOps: Delivering code efficiently and securely

Government agencies can no longer focus only on development or security – they must embrace both. DevSecOps is often a natural progression following a successful DevOps approach, bringing both the DevOps and SecOps frameworks together. Maintaining a focus on collaboration, DevSecOps puts security front and center, with a focus on delivering code efficiently and securely.

More specifically, DevSecOps advocates for security being built into the product rather than applied to a finished product, injecting security audits and penetration testing into agile development. This prevents security from being tacked on at the end of the development pipeline, which can significantly delay and increase costs when a vulnerability is found. In preventing these issues, you can enable the security team to address problems from the start and improve your agency’s ability to efficiently and effectively reach your mission goals.

It’s important to remember that DevSecOps is not just a process – it’s also a cultural shift, requiring a change in mindset. Security must be seen as part of the development lifecycle, rather than an inconvenient force moving the timeline and throwing work over the fence at an earlier stage.

Traditional security testing

DevSecOps security testing

The benefits of implementing DevSecOps agency-wide

How to scale your Atlassian products in a high-security environment

One of the most strategically sound best practices of implementing a DevSecOps framework is to ensure that it’s done across the agency at scale. While it’s common for teams to implement these practices at a micro-level (due to the fact that it can be easier than getting agency-wide buy-in), doing the upfront work to implement agency-wide generates exponential benefits, including the following:

  • Improve your mission success. DevSecOps at scale enables teams to be more agile and respond to shifting mission demands by focusing on delivering value quickly, as opposed to a waterfall approach, which follows more of a “big bang” model.
  • Unlock efficiency at scale. DevSecOps is proven to help teams build better and more secure software faster.
  • Improve your security posture. DevSecOps at scale provide a more consistent security posture across an agency and help set baselines for leadership assessments.
  • Break down silos. Practicing DevSecOps agency-wide prevents silos of excellence, hidden dependencies, and pockets of tech debt with higher security risk.

To implement DevSecOps at scale, you need tools that are built to operate at scale and that will help accelerate the transformation while maintaining security. As DevSecOps practices are adopted, it’s common to see increased usage and traffic – a common sign that it’s time to upgrade to Data Center to prevent degraded performance or possible outages. This is paramount when mission success means keeping military personnel safe or rolling out life-saving medicine. In addition to the high availability and scalability that Data Center offers by design, there are a variety of features that are built into the product to help improve your DevSecOps initiatives, such as clustering, zero downtime upgrades, and rolling upgrades.

Atlassian data center

Interested in Data Center? Check out our Data Center Hub or visit the Migration Center to see what your migration path might look like.

To learn more about how to implement modern frameworks like DevSecOps that help break down silos, bring teams together, and better deliver on end goals, take a look at our white paper.

How government agencies can use modern practices in the age of cybersecurity