Innovative organizations are moving towards “continuous compliance,” and using DevOps to architect for it

Congratulations! You’ve just been informed you’ll undergo yet another compliance audit. No, really –congratulations. This time, you’re going provide the compliance information with one click.

This isn’t some kind of enterprise April Fool’s joke. It’s what can be accomplished when you connect the objective of DevOps to the requirements of compliance.

Here today, gone tomorrow

Wouldn’t it be great to know that if you were compliant today, you’d be compliant forever? Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen. At least not if you’re still going about the process with a reactive frame of mind.

Regulations are going to change. Your IT infrastructure will, too. The only thing that won’t change is the amount of vigilance required by your organization. That, and the ability to produce detailed surveillance reports that prove your data is protected.

The Holy Grail is continuous compliance. Yet many organizations are wondering if a state of continuous compliance and monitoring is going to consume more time and resources than the way they currently approach the effort. The solution is automation.

DevOps + Compliance = ?

It seems counterintuitive at first. Regulatory compliance is all about oversight and defense against vulnerabilities. DevOps is all about iteration and innovation as fast as it can happen. How could it possibly be a solution? It would seem that compliance might actually be the obstacle to faster and more frequent release schedules.

That might be the case, unless you dig a bit deeper and remind yourself what DevOps is all about, and what’s required for it to even have a chance to succeed in the first place. Yes, continuous delivery is one of the benefits. But to get this, all key stakeholders must form a holistic view. DevOps requires a level of collaboration that likely has never been seen.

Everybody out of the silos

DevOps needs collaboration to fuel the streamline of development. It’s the only way you’ll achieve the necessary level of constant evaluation and adjustment. Hey, guess what staying compliant requires, too?

Data threats and the sources of data coming into your organization remain in a constant stat of flux. Compliance can’t be the barrier to the benefits of data, just as IT security can’t be the obstacle to access.

Let’s add a couple more departments into this mix: We’ll pick operations and HR. Generally, these areas aren’t known for generously sharing information. Each, however, is responsible for critical data.

In the world of DevOps, individual departments would all find themselves out of their silos and on the same team. They’d be sharing information and defining their value based on what they do with data. As an organization, rather than by department, they’d adopt the DevOps approach and look for data similarities and inefficiencies. Data-gathering goals would be defined and aligned. And to that process, the requirements of compliance can be injected.

Whose job is this, anyway?

The entire organization needs risk management. It must be able to provide transparent, repeatable, cost-effective, and reportable information security. Compliance shouldn’t drive this process, and your IT department shouldn’t be tasked with the sole responsibility of accomplishing it.

DevOps creates a platform that levels the playing field. Any part of an organization that needs or generates data has a place at the table. IT assumes the role it should have always taken, supporting the creation of a dynamic framework where data determines the amount of resources pushed at departments. The collaborative nature of DevOps is the engine that leads to continuous monitoring, risk assessment, and iteration.

If you integrate the strategy of DevOps with the goal of continuous compliance, your organization can:

  • Put compliance and security at the start of the process
  • Integrate automation with security
  • Have all parts of your organization on the same page
  • Start with end-to-end security, rather than move toward this goal
  • Foster development and iteration while retaining governance

The most important benefit

DevOps is a holistic process. Injecting it into compliance means you will develop and launch consistent automated processes that are logged and documented. It requires traceability. You create an audit trail system that can generate granular reports with a single click.

So, congratulations! You’ve just been audited. Who gets to click the report button?

If you’d like to learn more about how DevOps can foster continuous, easy compliance, give our team a call today at 800-860-2040 or fill out our online contact form to get in touch.