Over the last few years, the talent gap within the tech community, and more specifically DevSecOps has continued to grow. Both development and security teams have been impacted by the talent gap and are dealing with increasingly thin teams. As a result, there are more security gaps during the development process that can lead to long development life cycles and heightened security vulnerabilities. Developer and security teams are working separately to complete their individual goals and friction occurs with workflow management. By having developer and security teams work together at the conception of a project, security measures can be integrated in real-time saving both teams time and frustration. So, what can developers do to improve cybersecurity efforts? 

Silos are affecting development teams’ efficiency 

Development teams are feeling the pressure to add more tasks to their workload, even outside of their scope, as layoffs and the developer gap continue to create a shortage of skilled developers. Developers are struggling to keep their heads above water, and are often siloed with minimal support from other teams. 

Similarly, IT teams are stretched thin and often thrown into projects later in the development process. It can be overwhelming for them to be introduced into a project and then determine where security needs to be integrated. 

The developer and security gap affects the software development process. Developers typically focus more on functionality over security while IT teams focus more on security over functionality. Each team has their own set of goals and functions for the product. Priorities from developers may not always include security. Developers want to create an efficient product that maximizes productivity and could unintentionally include features with security vulnerabilities. Communication between developers and IT managers is essential to overcome the security gap. Too much red tape for the sake of security will grind development production to a halt while not enough security protocols and measures may lead to vulnerabilities and exposures at great expense to the company. 

Additionally, a perceived push and pull between development and IT teams as they work towards a finished product can contribute to the underlying tension experienced by both teams. Forty-eight percent of developers said that they regularly pushed out vulnerable code into production. The rivalry between the two teams with two different priorities can be taxing for all involved and lead to more frustration and even delays in product launches. Developers may view the security measures as an unnecessary waste of time, which slows down the development process while IT teams may get frustrated with the developer’s lack of prioritization when it comes to security.

Vulnerabilities are slipping through the cracks

Integrating security at the beginning of the development life cycle is essential to creating secure and reliable software. Doing so will help to reduce development costs and time by reducing the technical debt that not doing so would create. It will also help to create fewer security vulnerabilities and improved user trust.

So, why is early security integration so important? During the final stages of the software development lifecycle, vulnerabilities become more apparent and have to be addressed. These remediation updates can slow down the process and also create issues if left unchecked. The security threat landscape is increasingly becoming more sophisticated and even the smallest vulnerability can lead to data exposures. These attacks and vulnerabilities can cause damage to the software, data, and user trust/brand which can lead to a major loss of reputation and revenue. 

All of these small security hold-ups lead to a longer development time, meaning more hours are being spent adjusting code to fix security vulnerabilities. 

Loop IT teams into development processes earlier 

Teams can best position themselves to work hand in hand during the development process by establishing a culture of collaboration and shared purpose. Incorporating a culture of DevSecOps means they can align their goals, priorities and security protocols to create a unified approach to secure software development. Both teams can engage in regular meetings to discuss security and development plans and ensure they have the same goals and processes when creating applications.

Developers can break down silos and work with security teams by educating themselves on security best practices as well as including a member of the security team early on in the design process. The way for security teams to work better with developers is by joining meetings with an open mind to better understand the development process and technologies used so that the security measures implemented can be done with the least amount of friction. Clear communication, shared goals and mutual understanding of each other’s roles can help bridge the security gap between the teams.

Cooperation between developers and security teams can ultimately result in software that is secure, reliable and meets the needs of the users and business. Integrating security at the start of the development process can prevent security vulnerabilities, reduce costs and improve user trust and retention.

Technological solutions that can help development and security teams work together include security vulnerability scanning tools, integrated development environments (IDEs) that incorporate these tools to detect security vulnerabilities. Additionally, collaboration platforms and task management systems can help include both teams during the development process. Finally, new AI engines are being developed to automate a lot of these issues to help find security flaws and vulnerabilities before applications are slated for production.

By developer and security teams working together to integrate security at every step of the development process, better software and workflows are possible. It is a significant issue when teams are siloed and with leadership buy-in DevSecOps can alleviate these tensions. Strong security measures are vital with increases in cybersecurity threats, attacks, and data breaches becoming increasingly more common. Teams must work together to mitigate these problems and protect the software and organizational reputation. If not, the threat of major data breaches will continue to threaten developers' hard work and customer data. Looking to the future, we will very likely see a convergence of these teams as talent shortages continue to impact the tech business.