You can’t control the pace of change; instead, consider that we are in a process of reinvention—both with regard to the way organizations use technology and how vendors position their offerings. At the same time, it’s never been more important for IT organizations to have complete visibility into the way technology is used from both a security and operations perspective.
This need to embrace reinvention while continuing to have broad and deep insight across all technology platforms led me to create a 2022 DevOps Radar Report. In this article, I highlight three near-term priorities that must be on every technology team’s radar. In addition, I’ll point out some long-range radar trends that should be on your agenda.
Collision Warning! Your Current Radar View
APIs are the lifeblood of the cloud-native and app-based economies. Increasingly, poor API security across a variety of applications and systems puts your organization at risk. A compromised API or the use of unsupported or outdated APIs can prove to be an easy attack vector for cybercriminals. In addition, API vulnerabilities are calling into question how organizations approach application security and the usefulness of web application firewalls (WAF) and encryption protocols. Therefore, API security is rapidly becoming a top security priority for enterprise security teams and software professionals.
Failing to adequately manage the security of APIs creates a host of new challenges and questions that you must consider. For example, who is using which APIs? Are your APIs updated? Did your DevOps team evaluate the security of your APIs during their selection process? Have you formalized the way your organization is evaluating API security?
It is increasingly clear that an API breach can lead to the downfall of your entire digital software strategy—but it doesn’t have to be this way.
At Techstrong Research, we segment the market into “pure-play” API security vendors and larger security vendors with specific API security offerings. Our team will be publishing a Market Vista report on the API security landscape soon, so if you want to share your opinion or thoughts, please reach out.
Below is a brief list of some of the vendors we are tracking in the API security market. Of course, expect consolidation—some of these pure-play vendors will likely be acquired in 2022.
Pure-play API security vendors we’re tracking include:
General security vendors with API security offerings that we’re tracking:
Observability is Evolving to AIOps
Modern applications are composed of containers and APIs that your organization can’t control, and into which visibility is difficult. Monitoring and application performance management (APM) solutions aren’t new; for many years log vendors built their businesses on collecting log files and sending alerts … so what’s changed?
First, logs without context are meaningless. You need to understand upstream and downstream dependencies. Additionally, speaking for myself, I’m a mere mortal—if your teams are also made up of mere mortals, there is no way they can ingest, correlate and understand the tsunami of incoming DevOps log data quickly enough to take proactive measures.
Besides the need to understand context, we are dealing with multiple cloud and on-premises platforms that each have their own logging protocols. Ultimately, the goal of observability and AIOps is to understand what’s happening across and among all these environments and technologies so you can detect and resolve issues as quickly as possible to keep your systems efficient and reliable and your customers happy.
Humans are the Biggest Security Vulnerability
As an industry analyst, I see our clients pouring resources into cybersecurity efforts to prevent zero-day attacks and sophisticated advanced persistent threats (APTs). These threats, while real enough, are mostly external and may not pose as great a threat as many organizations believe. In fact, the vast majority of security vulnerabilities are caused by:
- Well-meaning employees making innocent mistakes, including:
- Falling victim to phishing attacks
- Poor corporate password policies
- Cloud misconfigurations and open ports
- Technical debt—relying on older software and hardware that was never designed for a 100% mobile workforce, for example
The first step in combating this problem is improving security awareness and building a cybersecurity culture. That starts with everyone in your organization understanding that security is a team sport and that it is a 24/7/365 responsibility. Even if you work from home; even when you’re cooking dinner while checking email on your phone, you need to have your “corporate security/Is it safe?” hat on.
At the same time, machine learning, AI and automation have a role to play. There are emerging offerings that help enforce DevSecOps best practices and help security teams reduce the constant noise so they can focus on the most vital threats.
Longview Radar: Plan Your Strategy Now
To support emerging business models, what do DevOps leadership teams need to be thinking about from a long-term perspective?
- Web3/Web 3.0 and the potential for change to the internet business model. But there is still a ton of opportunity with Web 2.0.
- How will you support low-code/no-code? As a business model, vendors are selling directly to business units—it’s likely that your IT team has an existing solution to solve the business pain point(s).
- Packaged software offerings that include blockchain, NFTs and other digital ledger technologies.
- How to upskill teams, both from a technical perspective and a business perspective.
- Providing developer teams with the tools they need while establishing guardrails to enforce governance and compliance requirements.
- How to manage cloud costs in a predictable way no matter how many cloud vendors your organization uses.
Conclusion: You Can’t Put the Brakes on Change
Attempting to control change and the speed of reinvention is futile. You need to get comfortable riding the waves of industry change, or you’ll be swept away! Every IT leader needs to learn how to roll with and manage the ebb and flow of business, IT and personnel change.
The best place to start is by building a successful culture within your organization. Although we often talk about technology-focused solutions to business problems, the first step on this journey doesn’t involve tech at all; it involves helping IT and business teams understand each other’s pain points and learn how they can each support a continual reinvention process.
I will be tracking these incoming radar targets and other associated trends throughout the year and I look forward to your input. Do you think I missed something? Have a question or want to share what your organization is doing to support the need for continual reinvention?
Feel free to engage with me – @DDKirsch, LinkedIn or, of course, email.