How To Easily Shift Left in DevOps
DevOps combines development and operations project roles, promoting collaboration to create better products. The goal is to increase production speed while improving quality and customer satisfaction.
A role of DevOps is improvement in the software development lifecycle (SDLC). The term “shift left” refers to the philosophy of pushing good practices as early as possible in the development process. By using “shift left” developers can pinpoint any problems earlier in project development to avoid timely workarounds or faulty implementations.
As we move into an era where technology is ruling the world, it’s essential to develop programs with fewer vulnerabilities and higher efficiency. Studies show that at least one third of applications have at least one major vulnerability, leaving them open to costly errors such as security breaches. By implementing shift left, these vulnerabilities can be discovered earlier on in the process, saving time, money, and ensuring a trustworthy program.
This article will introduce the concept of shifting left in a DevOps environment. It will give an overview of why testing earlier in development is necessary and how companies can do it.
What Are the Benefits of Shifting Left?
Shifting left in the SDLC is a crucial component of DevOps. Shifting left involves moving all aspects of software testing to the beginning of the SDLC, which allows for earlier bug detection and less rework. Testing at every stage also helps deliver more secure products to customers with fewer problems.
To quickly shift left in DevOps, the keys to remember are automation, early security testing, and a focus on good practices from the beginning of the process. By following these guidelines, companies can help to ensure that applications are delivered quickly and securely.
Until recently, companies performed security testing at the end of the development cycle, leaving room for error. However, with studies from Ponemon’s research showing that vulnerability can cost up to $12 million a year, the increased focus on using shifting left for security testing throughout the SDLC is essential. Teams can do this testing by using automated tools that help to identify vulnerabilities early in the process.
Automation speeds up the process of code compilation, testing, and deployment. Automation can help eliminate human error and speed up the process of getting code from development to production.
Automated testing tools can help automate various aspects of the software development process, making it easier to shift left in DevOps. This automation also makes it easier to get software and apps into production without all of the errors associated with manual processes.
What Are Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery?
Continuous integration (CI) and delivery (CD) are two essential concepts in DevOps. They help automate integrating and delivering software, making it easier to shift left in the SDLC. CI and CD allow new code to be monitored and tested constantly.
CI is the process of saving code changes in a central location where automated processes run. This centralization allows code to be tested continuously and approved faster.
CD sends these approved code changes to different areas for specialized testing in live production environments. This testing gets more eyes on the project and offers additional opportunities to identify problems.
What Are the Challenges Involved with Shifting Left?
One challenge involved with shifting left is compliance certification. Before code compilation can begin, the source code must pass through several stages of compliance testing for various legislations, such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
However, companies can achieve this type of regulatory compliance by automating compliance testing and making it an integral part of the development cycle. Even though these tests may be lengthy, the time saved in the long run justifies their inclusion.
Security testing must comply with industry standards and guidelines set by organizations such as OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project). This type of compliance can help build trust with customers while promoting secure software development automation.
Corporate culture can prevent the effective implementation of shift left procedures. Upper-level managers and executives are often wary of transformative processes that stray widely from business as usual software testing. While change is necessary for improvement, it can be difficult to convince individuals in positions of power to champion such change.
Deadlines can mean that there is little thought to innovation, and simply getting a project out the door on time is seen as a win. Companies are often structured to reward individual employees who meet their deadlines, even when doing so causes problems in the long term.
Also, giving work to teams already pushed to the limit will not be effective, often resulting in burnout and increased turnover. An entire plan must deploy that involves staffing and redefining roles before teams can implement any specific changes.
Shifting left has improved development and production speed but also increased security risks. It is no longer possible for developers to ignore security and hope that it will be taken care of by someone else later. Teams must now integrate security into the development process from the beginning, or else applications will be vulnerable to attack.
Traditionally, software development projects leave testing until right before production begins. This delay can cause problems as it can be difficult, if not impossible, to fix issues found once the software is in use by customers.
When done correctly, shifting left can improve both development and production speed. Automated testing is more thorough than manual testing because machines never tire or lose focus, leaving less room for human error. However, in order to efficiently incorporate shift left, it’s important to analyze and incorporate feedback.
Once these quality assurance steps are taken care of beforehand, the only thing left for developers to do during production is fix any issues that come up. This helps reduce costs exponentially, as problems found down the line can create significant delays.
How Can Shifting Left Be Streamlined?
Companies can do a few things to make shifting left easier. One is to use automated tools to help identify vulnerabilities early in the process. Automation speeds up the process of code compilation, testing, and deployment. Automation can help eliminate human error and speed up the process of getting code from development to production.
DevOps teams have found that security teams need to work closely with other teams to ensure that essential features go into the applications from the beginning. Implementing security automation, shifting left in testing, and using static analysis tools are possible ways to achieve this goal. The abbreviation DevSecOps means to add security into the process of eliminating roadblocks between development and operations groups.
Operations teams must also shift left to ensure that they are prepared to handle the increased load with faster application delivery. They need the right tools and processes to manage the delivered feedback in order to resume a security tight system in times of high traffic.
Education can help people transition into a shift-left mindset. There are risks associated with shifting left – testing must keep up with the speed of development. Traditionally, employees who have not dealt with risk management must see how new procedures will impact product development. Different departments must understand each other’s workflows.
The concept of shift left can be applied to other business areas as well. For example, it can improve the quality of data collected and ensure that it is cleansed and ready for analysis. Teams can also use it to improve the data warehouse’s quality and ensure that it is in a state to be used for both reporting and decision-making.
How Can Company Leaders Assist with Shifting Left?
It is essential to not only integrate new processes but also incentivize the right behaviors, such as rewarding teams who create secure code rather than those who simply meet deadlines.
Shift left efforts can fail because companies neglect to consider certain crucial elements. Many see it as a project that can be done at any time during development without much disruption, while others neglect to bring new staff on board or attempt to introduce new processes.
Shifting left in the SDLC is becoming more and more common in today’s industry, meaning that companies need to do it effectively if they want to stay ahead of the competition. Thankfully, plenty of tools and techniques are available that can help make the process a lot easier.
What Tools Can Assist with Shifting Left?
- Using a DevOps platform benefits the overall project organization. These platforms help to automate the process of configuring servers and applications. They also provide a centralized repository for all configuration files, making it easier to manage changes and updates.
- Testing can sometimes require a lot of data, especially when simulating a real-world environment. This data can quickly become unmanageable if it’s unorganized. One way to avoid this is to use a dedicated data management system that will help track all the test data and make it easy to access when needed.
- A good bug tracking system is essential for any software development project. It helps track and manage all bugs found during the development process, making it easier to fix them.
- DevOps projects require a quality monitoring system. This helps to analyze the performance of all apps and make sure they are running as expected. Several different monitoring tools are available, so it’s essential to choose one that fits the project’s specific needs.
To shift left successfully, a commitment to change is necessary. This change includes adjusting the way work is assigned and structured and rewarding employees. Management must be on board with the plan and support needed changes.
Shifting left demands a new way of thinking within an organization. It is not something that teams can implement overnight. It takes time and effort to impact how people think and work. However, the benefits of doing so are straightforward and evident in the improved quality of the produced applications and data.