What Is DevOps and Why Is DevOps Failing

What Is DevOps and Why Is DevOps Failing?

July 19, 2023
| David Tidmarsh
| DevSecOps

You’ve probably heard the term countless times, but maybe you’re still wondering: what is DevOps, and why DevOps? DevOps is a software development methodology that aims to break down the barriers between an organization’s development and operations teams, fostering closer collaboration (AWS).

DevOps combines the two functions of software development and IT operations, which have historically been divided into separate teams. The goal of DevOps is to improve the efficiency, speed, quality, and reliability of the software development lifecycle.

Unfortunately, companies may suffer from a number of issues if they fail to implement DevOps effectively. Below, we’ll investigate the problems with DevOps and the increasing support for its replacement: DevSecOps.

Why DevOps Will Become Obsolete in The Future

The history of DevOps dates back to the late 2000s, and the methodology was heavily inspired by similar development philosophies such as agile. Since its beginnings, DevOps has grown to become one of the most widely used software development practices. According to Puppet’s “State of DevOps” survey, 83 percent of IT decision-makers say their organization is currently implementing DevOps practices (Puppet).

Companies adopt DevOps for many different reasons, but all of them seek to improve business processes surrounding software development. Faster software delivery, higher software quality, and stronger communication are just a few reasons why DevOps is important for so many organizations.

Despite the widespread (and increasing) popularity of DevOps, the methodology suffers from some fundamental flaws. The IT research and consulting firm Gartner, for example, estimates that 75 percent of DevOps initiatives will fail due to problems with organizational learning and change (Costello, 2019). As we’ll discuss below, organizations that haven’t effectively implemented the DevOps process effectively suffer from a number of common problems.

Insecure Software

DevOps prioritizes speed during the development process, which may at first sound like a positive. However, this often means that DevOps teams don’t have time to consider security issues. As a result, software applications are riddled with security vulnerabilities and bugs in production.

Slow Releases

Some DevOps teams do consider security issues during software development, using techniques such as vulnerability assessments and penetration testing. Unfortunately, many organizations don’t know how to implement these methods efficiently and automatically. As a result, the speed of software releases slows down.

Budget Overruns

Failing to consider security issues upfront during software development can lead to unexpected costs later. Development teams may be forced to address vulnerabilities later during development or even while the software has been deployed to production. This tends to be significantly more expensive than addressing problems when they crop up during development.

Increased Risk of Attacks and Issues

The DevOps lifecycle often involves a variety of software components and dependencies from vendors and libraries. This creates the risk of supply chain attacks: attackers inject malicious code into third-party plugins or frameworks, creating a downstream effect that allows them to exploit many different applications. Misconfigurations in software, infrastructure, or cloud services can also introduce security flaws.

Difficult and Slow Breach Detection

Due to the lightning-fast pace of DevOps, it can be hard for teams to pay attention to security issues and intrusions. Without tools such as SIEM (security information and event management) platforms and IDS/IPS (intrusion detection/prevention systems), DevOps teams may be unaware of an ongoing attack, letting adversaries continue to exploit vulnerabilities.

Damage to Reputation and Trust

The application security problems that arise due to issues with DevOps can cause long-term damage to a company’s reputation. If sensitive data is compromised or business operations are disrupted, the organization may struggle to regain customers’ trust and can even suffer legal or financial penalties.

DevSecOps: The Need for a Security Layer During Development

Given the issues with DevOps listed above, more and more organizations are looking to include security as a fundamental component of the software development lifecycle. That’s exactly the motivation that has led to the newer alternative to DevOps: DevSecOps. As the name suggests, DevSecOps integrates not only software development and IT operations but also IT security concerns. Rather than being an afterthought once software has already been deployed to production, security is an essential part of the DevSecOps practice. Not only does DevSecOps prioritize speed and efficiency during development, but it also emphasizes the value of high-quality software that is free of security flaws.

For example, DevSecOps encourages businesses to automate their security testing and monitoring workflows throughout the software development lifecycle. This includes techniques such as security scans, penetration testing, and code analysis that uncover hidden flaws in the software before it is released. By detecting these problems early on, DevSecOps teams can save companies valuable time, money, and effort—which is also the goal of standard DevOps as originally envisioned.

The Importance of DevSecOps for Organizations

Businesses of all sizes and industries stand to gain a great deal by switching from DevOps to DevSecOps. Below are just a few reasons why DevSecOps is so important for organizations:

  • Cost savings: As practitioners of DevOps know, small issues that are unresolved early in the development process can spiral into massive problems later. DevSecOps helps detect and resolve security issues early in development, reducing the cost of fixing them and the likelihood of an expensive data breach.
  • Regulatory compliance: Depending on their industry and location, organizations may be subject to data privacy and data security laws and regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI DSS. By incorporating security into the software development process with DevSecOps, businesses can demonstrate that they are taking adequate measures to comply with these regulations.
  • Greater trust and better reputation: Organizations that prioritize building secure, high-quality software are more likely to earn the trust of their partners, stakeholders, and customers. By dedicating themselves to protecting sensitive data and mitigating business risk, these companies demonstrate that they take the security of themselves and others seriously.

How EC-Council’s DevSecOps Engineer (E|CDE) Program Helps

Individuals who offer expertise in both software development and IT operations are known as DevOps engineers. What does a DevOps engineer do? The role involves implementing common DevOps tasks such as infrastructure management, CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous delivery), configuration management, logging, monitoring, and more.

Organizations are increasingly concerned with cybersecurity, leading many to shift their development methodologies from DevOps to DevSecOps. As IT security occupies a greater role in software development, businesses will be looking not only for DevOps engineers but DevSecOps engineers who understand how to fully address and integrate security concerns.

Because DevSecOps is a new and evolving field, relatively few DevOps engineers have deep real-world experience with security issues. Instead, DevOps engineers are making the transition with DevSecOps certifications
such as EC-Council’s Certified DevSecOps Engineer (E|CDE) program.

The E|CDE program teaches students the essential skills to design, develop, and maintain secure applications and infrastructure throughout the DevOps lifecycle. It involves more than 80 practical, hands-on labs and seven modules covering the entire DevSecOps pipeline, thoroughly preparing IT professionals for real-world DevSecOps challenges.

E|CDE has been built from the ground up by DevSecOps and DevOps professionals and related subject matter experts around the world. The course offers extensive coverage of on-premises environments, as well as the Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure public clouds. Students learn about dozens of DevSecOps tools, services, and platforms for real-world scenarios, from threat modeling and security testing to automation and CI/CD.


AWS. What is DevOps? https://aws.amazon.com/devops/what-is-devops/ Costello, K. (2019, April). The Secret to DevOps Success. https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/the-secret-to-devops-success

Puppet. (2021). State of DevOps Report. https://www.puppet.com/resources/state-of-devops-report

About the Author

David Tidmarsh is a programmer and writer. He’s worked as a software developer at MIT, has a B.A. in history from Yale, and is currently a graduate student in computer science at UT Austin

Share this Article
You may also like
Recent Articles
Become a Certified DevSecOps Engineer (E|CDE)​

"*" indicates required fields