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Puppet and Government: DevSecOps in government environments

DevSecOps in government environments

This blog is the second in a four-part series about how Puppet can help government agencies meet compliance and security requirements. Read the first post here.

Zero Trust is a strategy created to combat system intrusions through a “never trust, always verify” model. DevSecOps is a collaborative software development strategy that integrates development, security, and operations practices into a continuously evolving lifecycle. Both methodologies are currently being adopted by government agencies today for different (but complementary) reasons. Learn how to leverage DevSecOps as part of your Zero Trust approach to improve the overall security posture of the agency environment.

DevOps to DevSecOps

For decades, government agencies have added security at the end of their development cycle as part of a waterfall software development process. But waiting until the end of the cycle to perform security checks and address issues can be costly and create delivery delays – not to mention that security gaps can occur when security checks aren’t performed earlier in the development process. Same with costs; the longer an issue is unresolved, the more time and effort agencies will have to put into fixing the problem.

Automating and shifting security processes to the “left”—at the start of development—creates a more secure development cycle right from the start. This is known as DevSecOps.

DevSecOps pipelines are built with continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) capabilities and leverage automation to speed up the development and testing of the product. With DevSecOps, security checks and fixes are shifted to the left, happening sooner in the development cycle. This shift helps to make security a foundational part of the collaborative development process. It also enables security gaps to be identified earlier and resolved more swiftly.

DevSecOps and Zero Trust

Zero Trust delivers a continuous distrust of anyone or anything on the network and requires ongoing verification of identity, device, and data. When planned for, DevSecOps can enable agencies to extend their Zero Trust strategies into their development pipelines. The result is a set of infrastructure, applications, and environments that innately and continuously refuse to trust anyone or anything.

Puppet helps agencies bring Zero Trust into DevSecOps with enterprise-grade infrastructure tools that enable security monitoring, vulnerability analysis, and correction to start sooner and persist continuously in the software lifecycle.

Increase efficiencies, maintain compliance

Puppet Enterprise delivers automatic security compliance and continuous enforcement every 30 minutes and can reinforce Zero Trust methods. This reduces the burnout of vulnerability analysis that can plague security teams. The solution also helps agencies maintain automation and control over today’s common hybrid government infrastructure by integrating cloud platforms, operating systems, and network resources. Teams can also write code in Puppet Enterprise to manage and automate policies.

Automating these processes can free up security teams to focus on their agency’s main mission goals and activities. For example, security personnel can instead join CI/CD pipelines to help secure applications and provide additional insights. They are able to exert influence and improve the security of applications in ways that better align with the Zero Trust methodology they are implementing.

Government agencies that use Puppet Enterprise see additional benefits, such as:

  • Reduced change failure rate by 2.5x
  • Improved audit prep time by 2x
  • Reduced audit numbers failed per year by an average of 3.6x
  • Reduced time spent fixing security and compliance issues between 1.6-4.1x

Promoting secure, collaborative development

The automation capabilities of Puppet Enterprise can help agencies more easily align Zero Trust and DevSecOps practices while promoting a culture that fosters team collaboration.

To start leveraging the power of DevSecOps, program teams and agency IT departments can apply some of the cultural practices that support agile development. This means eliminating silos, sharing best practices, and working collaboratively to integrate security into the development process. Puppet can help this process through its active community and support ecosystem. Puppet also has DevOps consulting services that can provide assessments, action plans, and coaching on the best DevSecOps practices and strategies.

Melissa Palmer is the Area VP Public Sector at Puppet.

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