What was once a new, exciting, seldom-used methodology is now picking up steam across all industries. DevOps is becoming a preferred software development technique, and automated orchestration tools have become the lifeblood of this mindset. While this shift undoubtedly brings countless perks, it also provides a whole new set of concerns.
Orchestration tools help manage configuration and application deployment. They track and control code base changes and store file versions in a central configuration management database, allowing different developers to work on the same code base without worrying about version control. They also automate releases, enabling DevOps teams to achieve one of their core goals: continuous delivery.
Essentially, these tools control and automate everything about the delivery pipeline in software development. Automated processes reduce governance and compliance risks while allowing for a regular cadence and predictability around all DevOps tools.
The numbers regarding the use of DevOps and continuous delivery show promise. In fact, a recent survey found that companies that embraced a DevOps methodology increased their speed to market by 20 percent, leading to a 22 percent boost in customers and a 19 percent increase in revenue. Another survey revealed that 52 percent of companies that adopt DevOps methods increased their customer satisfaction and conversion rate, and 38 percent increased their sales.
The cultural aspect of a DevOps team — a team that's busting down siloes, working together, being flexible, and striving to improve — is an added bonus. So why hasn't every enterprise adopted this DevOps mindset? The answer: security risks and fear of the unknown.
The risks of trusting DevOps orchestration tools
DevOps methodologies completely disrupt traditional team setups, and implementing automated orchestration tools is sometimes seen as too far of a departure from traditional deployment techniques.
But companies that do embrace these orchestration tools often put too much trust in them. You could become a target for hackers when you rely on them as centralized tools that enforce policies across your whole enterprise. Once hackers get into your system, they hold the keys to the kingdom. They can modify any configurations they want — like altering firewalls, adding accounts, granting remote access to production systems, extracting data, changing prices, and installing known vulnerable software.
Keep in mind that the tools themselves — like Chef, Puppet, and Ansible — are not the threat. The real threat is the lack of identifying the risk and making plans to reduce it, so DevOps adoption simply needs to be accompanied by a thorough risk analysis.
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