Security is everyone’s responsibility. And when everyone works together and has access to the same tools, you don’t have to sacrifice performance, efficiency, or security. That's the message from the respondents of our recent survey of software developers, IT operations, and IT security professionals worldwide. Where there is unity among Development, Security, and Operations in the common goal of securing the software supply chain, there is success.
Our first report from the survey, Security Without Sacrifices, focuses on this throughline and illuminates where DevSecOps professionals feel positive about their efforts to secure the software development lifecycle and where they feel work still needs to be done. While the results are not surprising — they align with what I hear from customers every day — they reinforce GitLab’s belief that DevSecOps principles, coupled with a DevSecOps platform, help organizations ship more secure software, faster.
For instance, in last year’s report, a majority of development, security, and operations professionals said they felt individually responsible for security. This year, 53% of respondents said they are responsible for application security as part of a larger team. And 71% of security professionals said at least a quarter of all security vulnerabilities are being spotted by developers, up from 53% in 2022.
What this tells us is that security is indeed making its way deep into the software development lifecycle and as more innovation is introduced into the daily workflow, including AI-assisted capabilities, the benefits are tangible.
Here’s what the report findings suggest organizations should keep in mind so they can get the most out of DevSecOps.
AI is now inseparable from DevSecOps
For the past several years, we’ve seen AI become more and more established in software development workflows. In this year’s report, nearly two-thirds (65%) of developers said they are using AI in testing efforts or will be in the next three years. We also saw an uptick this year in the number of developers who are using AI to check code.
AI represents a tectonic shift in the market that will have profound effects on how organizations deliver value to customers. To take full advantage of AI, it will be critical for organizations to apply AI-assisted workflows across the entire software development lifecycle and make them available to all personas — not just developers but everyone involved in the delivery of software value, from security and compliance teams to product development and marketing.
Security toolchain expansion is unsustainable
This year’s report showed that toolchain sprawl may be a bigger concern for security professionals than for the rest of the team; 57% of security respondents said they use six or more tools, compared to 48% of developers and 50% of operations professionals. We’re also seeing signs that security professionals are using more tools than in past years. This is in line with what security practitioners tell me: They use different tools for each security function, including composition analysis, fuzzing, DAST, and dependency scanning.
The rise of DevOps and DevSecOps is making it easier for software development teams to consolidate tools, but the increased pressure around software supply chain security means this trend is not holding for security as it is for other roles. Security practitioners select the tools that get the job done and the tools they’re most comfortable with, but as security budgets tighten, that’s no longer going to be a sustainable strategy. We should expect to see a bigger push to consolidate security toolchains over the next several years.
Efficiency and security cannot be mutually exclusive
The first wave of budget tightening seems to be here already — 85% of the security professionals we surveyed told us they have the same or less budget this year than they did in 2022, and security professionals were also more likely than both developers and operations professionals to cite macroeconomic forces as a primary factor driving DevOps/DevSecOps to scale at their organizations. In this environment, organizations (and security teams) need to do more with less.
For many of the organizations I’ve talked to, tighter budgets mean more than just cutting costs. Organizations need to ensure they’re getting a swifter return on their DevSecOps investments. That return on investment could look like increased efficiency, translating into accelerated value delivery for customers, faster innovation, and more revenue. Or it could mean incorporating security and compliance tools earlier in the development lifecycle, reducing risk. Ideally, it’s all of the above. As organizations seek ways to stay ahead of the competition, security and efficiency are both non-negotiable.
A platform approach: The winning formula for DevSecOps
How can organizations foster collaboration, reduce toolchain friction, and boost efficiency without sacrificing security? A platform that puts DevSecOps methodologies into practice. This year’s respondents identified security and efficiency as the top two benefits of adopting a DevSecOps platform, ahead of automation, cost savings, and collaboration.
A DevSecOps platform enables teams to collaborate in a single application, shortening cycle times, reducing risks, and accelerating everyone’s workflows. We see proof points in this year’s data: Security professionals who use a DevSecOps platform were significantly more likely than those who don’t use a platform to say developers catch more security vulnerabilities and had a higher opinion of their organization’s security efforts.
It has become important for organizations to foster collaboration and engagement to keep development, security, and operations teams happy.
Explore this year’s report
Read the first report in our 2023 Global DevSecOps Report Series, Security Without Sacrifices, and stay tuned for more reports on the data in the coming months.