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DevOps Principles For CISOs: Delivering High Quality While Maintaining Compliance Protocols

DevOps principles can help CISOs maintain quality and compliance.

The speed of business increases every day. According to Gartner, 65% of executives accelerated the pace of their digital business initiatives in 2021. The need to rapidly respond to market changes and customer needs is putting massive pressure on organizations to release new features and updates faster.

However, CISOs need to make sure that compliance doesn’t fall by the wayside in the push to get new features out faster. Product changes must meet quality standards, customer needs, and compliance requirements.

Let's take a look at some DevOps principles that help CISOs maintain quality and compliance as delivery speeds up.

DevOps Principles for High-Quality Commits

Greater levels of visibility and responsiveness provide CISOs with the tools they need to assure the highest quality of products — at a reduced time.

The ultimate goal of DevOps and CI/CD is to build a resilient development lifecycle that can continuously improve. Copado breaks this journey down into five steps:

1. Visibility. Improve your situational awareness so you can respond quickly to customer requests, change requests, updates, and errors.

2. Quality. Develop quality gates, both human and automated, to ensure that only high-quality commits make it through testing and to the production environment.

3. Speed. Automate testing processes and push commits through the pipeline only once they have achieved the necessary quality.

4. Innovation. Visibility, quality, and speed let you control the blast radius on mistakes. When a single error won’t bring down a project, people are empowered to innovate. Reward and prioritize innovation.

5. Resilience. Iterate through the four previous steps to constantly improve upon and stabilize the system.

Rather than being linear, these steps form the basis of an iterative and continuous cycle. Technology and markets are always evolving, so your DevOps practices need to continuously improve to keep up.

DevOps allows organizations to improve speed and quality simultaneously. Automation and streamlined processes reduce error and make it easier to catch and fix mistakes early on. Companies can respond to mounting market pressures and changing customer needs without sacrificing quality or compliance.

Better Compliance with DevOps 

Through DevOps, organizations can maintain compliance through a series of controls and checks — without having to sacrifice speed or agility. Under DevOps, compliance protocols are controlled through a series of compliance checklists and quality gates. Compliance-as-code makes it easier to apply standards consistently throughout development.

For CISOs, DevOps practices provide a few major benefits:

  • Responsiveness. Organizations can update their regulatory controls quickly to account for new and emerging standards.
  • Accuracy. Streamlined, automated regulatory controls are less likely to fail — there's less room for human error.
  • Time. An automated regulatory control system is also less likely to take up organizational time that can be spent elsewhere.
  • Auditability. The entire process is visible and well-documented, providing complete audit trails and tracebacks. 

DevOps pushes commits through a stringent process of controls, checks, and tests, all of which can improve the organization's quality standards and regulatory compliance. When DevOps is applied correctly, commits fly through the developer pipeline without any sacrifice to security or quality.

Why Embrace DevOps Principles as a CISO?

DevOps enables CISOs to focus on the bigger picture. Standards for both security and compliance change frequently. There may be multiple competing compliance requirements depending on an organization's industry.

Even without regulatory issues, CISOs know that organizations today face greater security challenges than ever before. Businesses are constantly under attack by malicious actors. CISOs must balance quality, speed, and the need to maintain security — all while still responding to market pressures.

Through DevOps, CISOs can automate and improve their security, quality, and compliance standards. By trusting in the process, CISOs give their team the tools to roll out lightning-fast commits with fewer compliance or quality issues.

But DevOps isn't a magic bullet. An organization still needs to implement its DevOps strategies correctly. A transition to DevOps can become unwieldy and reckless when not properly managed. Without the proper controls in place, an emphasis on speed over quality can quickly become a liability.

How CISOs Can Help Their DevOps Team

What is the CISO's role in DevOps? How can CISOs support a transition toward DevOps in the least disruptive way possible?

CISOs must:

Provide their teams with the right tech stack.

DevOps is easier with the right tools. Teams can collaborate, understand each other’s work, and try new things. But the move to DevOps may complicate delivery and deployment if your team is working with legacy tools or outdated on-premise systems.

Understand the advantages (and limitations) of automation.

Automation is the perfect tool for checking systems against known standards. But too much automation may weaken a system rather than strengthen it. Make sure you automate strategically by understanding both which processes you’ll automate and what resources your organization has available for this initiative.

Increase transparency and foster an environment of communication.

The better a DevOps team communicates, the more effective, innovative, and strategic the results. These changes must be embraced at all levels of an organization, from the top down.

As a CISO, it's your role to provide your team with the tools to succeed. Ease the transition to DevOps with the right technology and processes.

Achieve DevOps Principles with Copado

Make your move to DevOps today. Copado has numerous solutions to help organizations meet their compliance standards. Copado GovCloud, our FedRAMP In-Process solution, helps governments deliver new features to their constituents while following federal security guidelines. Copado Compliance Hub makes continuous compliance simple.

By working with platforms like Copado and Salesforce that adhere to regulatory standards, you can quickly shore up your organization’s compliance. Develop quickly in a low-code environment that already meets some of the strictest compliance and security requirements.