Four Ways to Leverage DevOps for Compliance

DevOps amalgamation within an organization seeks to foster the faster production of code and software, typically through the automation of specific processes. Companies can increase their efficiency and become more transparent by automating manual processes since changes can be exercised quickly. 

Although the speedy production of code and software holds a sacred place in the modern IT landscape, the benefits offered by DevOps can be harnessed in multiple ways, including the increasingly significant aspect of compliance. 

As an increasing number of organizations jump on the digitization bandwagon and welcome a horde of 'modern' technologies (such as AI and ML), companies need to acquaint themselves with new procedures and compliance regulations. This is where the inclusion of DevOps comes in handy. Although opinions vary on the significance of DevOps within companies, and many experts consider it nothing more than a fad, DevOps can prove highly lucrative in ensuring that all compliance regulations are met. 

In an attempt to aid Infosecurity readers, this article dives deep into the strategies that leverage DevOps for compliance. 

1. Keep Tracking Documentation

The documentation process is critical to compliance, so DevOps teams should always prioritize it. Organizations need to ensure that their DevOps implementation fosters compliance to track documentation constantly, regardless of how dull it might seem. 

With a combined development and operations team at their disposal, organizations can leverage the power of DevOps by combining the documentation processes of the individuals responsible for making the changes with those who release them. Furthermore, getting everyone on board with the compliance requirement becomes much easier to accomplish with a combined DevOps team. 

In addition to scrutinizing the documentation process, organizations can also leverage the harmonious energy between the development and operations teams to deter any documentation bottlenecks. Organizations rely on DevOps to steer clear of documentation loopholes by adopting a unified and trackable version control system. Moreover, organizations may also use third-party tools such as Git, Wiki pages and dashboards for more effective documentation and version control. 

2. Utilize DevOps Automation for Compliance

Another significant advantage offered by DevOps is that it automates certain processes and makes the overall operations of an organization highly effective. 

With the amalgamation of DevOps, specific time-consuming and tedious processes such as surveilling and scrutinizing pull requests, code reviews, access controls, failovers and code coverage can all be optimized through automation.

Additionally, organizations may utilize DevOps automation to ensure that compliance regulations have been met simply by optimizing processes such as failover/recovery. It is also worth noting that if these processes are not optimized through a unified automated system, it may cause an organization's compliance effort to be lost. 

3. Streamline Development Workflows to Foster Compliance

As most compliance loopholes arise from a clustered and messy development workflow process, it is abundantly clear that organizations need to streamline development workflows to ensure that their organization is in tandem with compliance regulations. 

An example of messy development workflows contributing to poor compliance measures is when an update is sent into production without reviewing it internally or even undergoing regular stress tests. Organizations have to face the dangers of releasing a vulnerable product. They also have to deal with the chaos of managing multiple teams working on different components of the development process. Furthermore, there is also a big chance that the haphazardness of the development stage could let small updates go undetected, potentially introducing an arsenal of vulnerabilities in the organization. 

Fortunately, since DevOps integrates the stress testing component into the development process, it helps organizations steer clear of any accidental compliance breaches. With the inclusion of DevOps, organizations don't have to wait until an update is ready for production to stress test it. Instead, they can keep track of the code and run several tests while it is in the production stage. 

4. Promote a ‘Compliance Culture’

The biggest obstacle standing in the path to compliance is that individuals and teams fail to take responsibility for their mistakes – the failure to comply with regulations and security results in a blame game between teams and departments. 

Effective communication and culture development must occur between teams to ensure compliance within an organization. DevOps enables improved inter-team dynamics, automates specific processes, and increases transparency. Equipped with better communication and an effective and unbiased system to rely on, the DevOps teams can easily highlight the potential trouble spots and find ways to resolve them. 

As your organization promotes a compliance culture, rather than blindly pointing fingers at others, you'll find a change within the employee's attitudes since they'll be acutely aware of their responsibilities, shared or otherwise. Moreover, a compliance culture also paves the path for better risk management since teams can prioritize specific vulnerabilities and offer solutions to combat these flaws by using security-boosting tools

The Bottom Line

The above strategies are four of the most prominent ways DevOps teams can ensure that their organizations are compliant. Organizations need to realize that DevOps can also be utilized for compliance measures and that it is not limited to faster product delivery. 

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