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The ROI of DevSecOps: 5 questions your software team needs to answer

Lisa Azevedo CEO, Containn

Development teams are not typically accustomed to thinking about return on investment (ROI) when figuring out how to modernize applications or build a CI/CD pipeline that supports a hybrid cloud.

Increasingly, though, being a strategic and innovative developer means thinking about the business requirements that you are trying to help enable, both over the short term and—importantly—the long term. Planning only for short-term pipelines will severely limit your ability to scale and support new and emerging requirements as the business grows.

Here are key questions your team needs to be thinking about to ensure optimal ROI when designing and selecting technology for your CI/CD pipeline.

1. Are you reducing complexity?

Resist the tendency to simply throw another tool at a short-term problem. That only creates more technical debt. Multiple manual tools mean more integration and greater ongoing maintenance costs. Your goal should be simplification.

The architecture and tools you select should solve the problem and not add to others. Instead of traditional manual, reactive tools, consider using intelligent tools to simplify your CI/CD pipeline and bring security and compliance in earlier in the lifecycle.

Take advantage of smart tools that leverage artificial intelligence to enable a scalable, fast, reliable, secure, and consistent pipeline. At the end of the day, reducing complexity with simplification is all about efficiency and effectiveness—which brings us to our next point.

2. Are you improving efficiency and effectiveness?

When you have an opportunity to update or create a new CI/CD pipeline, take advantage the opportunity to address ongoing problems. Identify and get rid of all the challenges in the pipeline that were holding back your developers. Introduce ways and solutions to make your pipeline more effective.

This is the best time to drive and implement new operational efficiencies for the CI/CD for your teams to build off your foundation and establish a new culture as you transition to the cloud.

3. Are you lowering risks?

One key question to ask when modernizing or launching a CI/CD pipeline is whether you are lowering risks in your organization from the start. We see a tremendous number of tools that can set you up to the cloud quickly. But often these tools are manual to set up, are complex to manage, present integration challenges, and introduce large volumes of vulnerabilities. Don't confuse speed with scalable, secure architecture.

When designing a CI/CD pipeline, think about how you can shift security left and implement it early in the pipeline. Think about how to build in security instead of doing reactive scanning and identifying fixes after the fact. If you are using only reactive manual tools such as vulnerability scanning tools, your organization will end up spending more on remediation costs and ongoing maintenance. You'll spend most of your time fixing an enormous number of vulnerabilities.

4. Can your pipeline evolve?

Think beyond the short term. Ask yourself if you are building a pipeline foundation that can scale and evolve as new business requirements come in. As the business grows, can your pipeline handle new requirements and risks? By thinking through and building a simplified, effective, and efficient pipeline, you create a foundation that is repeatable and delivers consistency. It can be used across the organization for delivering environments consistently versus living in a black box.

5. Are you increasing speed and scalability?

We all want to go faster as developers. But slapping tools together quickly does not mean you're going at high velocity. Being able to create a CI/CD pipeline where you have all the holistic controls and protections built in from the start and are not depending on scanning can create more speed in your pipeline. Your resources can focus on business-driven development activities versus remediation efforts.

Technical debt is your enemy

It's time to start thinking of ROI when building a CI/CD pipeline or modernizing it. Your business is constantly evolving, and your pipeline needs to be able to keep up with changing business priorities and risk profiles.

Avoid short-term thinking and quick fixes. They only result in technical debt and increased complexity. Plan for the long term instead by harnessing modern, AI-enabled intelligent tools to build a truly scalable and resilient pipeline.

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