Hewlett Packard Enterprise Security Research Highlights Gap Between Perception and Reality for Secure DevOps

By CIOReview | Thursday, October 27, 2016

PALO ALTO, CA: Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) recently published the Application Security and DevOps Report 2016, a new research study highlighting the critical need for closer integration between organizations’ security and DevOps teams.

The HPE report closely examines the challenges many organizations face in integrating security across DevOps, and provides recommendations to strengthen these programs. According to the report, which included both quantitative and qualitative responses from IT operations professionals, security leaders, and developers, 99 percent of all respondents agree that adopting a DevOps culture has the opportunity to improve application security.1 However, only 20 percent are doing application security testing during development, and 17 percent are not using any technologies to protect their applications, highlighting a significant disconnect between the perception and reality of secure DevOps.1

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“Our research shows that both security leaders and developers believe that the DevOps movement has the potential to significantly improve application security, but organizations are struggling to realize that potential so far,” said Jason Schmitt (@raidschmitt), vice president and general manager, HPE Security Fortify, Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “By understanding the current state of DevOps and best practices for integrating security into the development culture, organizations can successfully secure software in this new DevOps world without impeding the speed and agility that it brings.”

Key Observations

DevOps presents tremendous promise for more secure software development, as organizations can potentially find and remediate vulnerabilities more frequently and earlier in the application lifecycle, saving cost and time. However, the Application Security and DevOps Report 2016 found key barriers and gaps preventing organizations from successfully integrating security and DevOps, including:

Organizational barriers between security professionals and developers. The report reflected a significant disconnect between developers and security teams – and in some cases, respondents admitted to not even knowing their security teams. This led to 90 percent of security professionals stating that integrating application security has become more difficult since their organizations deployed DevOps.

Lack of security awareness, emphasis, and training for developers. Out of more than 100 job postings for software developers at Fortune 1000 companies, none specified security or secure coding experience and knowledge as part of the skills required.1

Shortage of application security talent. For every 80 developers in the organizations surveyed, there is only one application security professional.1 The lack of security personnel, along with the increasingly rapid development cycle make secure development extremely difficult.

“Adopting a DevOps process can help make applications more secure, since the development and production environment are built the same way and to the same security standards and testing,” said John Meakin, Group Information Security Officer, Burberry (@Burberry). “However, it requires a commitment across the organization to prioritize security, and incorporate more automated testing solutions that make it easier to gather real-time feedback and remediate vulnerabilities throughout the development process.”

Recommendations for Secure Application Development

As organizations continue to adopt DevOps culture, the report offers recommendations to bring down barriers for secure application development, and better integrate security with DevOps teams, including:

Security should be a shared responsibility across the organization to eliminate barriers. Security must be imbedded throughout every stage of the development process, with executive support and metrics to hold teams accountable for secure development. These metrics should focus on mean-time-to-triage (MTTT), mean-time-to-fix (MTTF), and program compliance.

Bridge awareness, emphasis, and training gaps by making it seamless and more intuitive for developers to practice secure development. Organizations should integrate security tools into the development ecosystem, such as HPE Fortify Security Assistant, to allow developers to find and fix vulnerabilities in real-time as they write code. This makes it easy and efficient to develop securely, and educates the developer on secure coding in the process.

Leverage automation and analytics as application security force multipliers. Organizations should leverage enterprise-grade application security automation with analytics built in, such as the machine learning capability of HPE Fortify Scan Analytics, to automate the application security testing audit process and allow their application security professionals to focus only on the highest priority risks. This reduces the number of security issues that require manual review, saving both time and resources, while lowering overall risk exposure.

The recently launched HPE Fortify Ecosystem enables organizations to fully integrate security into the DevOps tool chain by allowing developers to seamlessly and intuitively test and secure applications during the software development lifecycle.


The Application Security and DevOps Report 2016 leverages data and analysis from HPE Security teams, industry leaders, enterprises, and developers to deliver key insights on the multiple gaps and barriers between the promise and reality of Secure DevOps.