DevSecOps And GDPR

Data security is a multi-billion dollar question which needs our attention at present. Can DevSecOps help companies comply with GDPR?Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

The existence of GDPR and recently the CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) announcement got many people thinking about their data privacy in a serious manner.

On one side, we are receiving constant updates on ‘Brexit’ delay which is causing uncertainty, and on the other side, we are trying to gauge the impact of Brexit on Europe, UK, world, and on every business sector including IT. Along with Brexit deal, the software development industry is experiencing a bigger change in the policy and that change is GDPR.

We have recognized that data is the new asset of the 21st century. It is as valuable as currency these days following the need to have a business-critical decision-making process.

The laws such as GDPR and CCPA have changed the way people are approaching Data Security.

Hence, in this post, we are addressing some general questions related to GDPR and also help you understand how DevSecOps will be the best fit for security-driven software development.

If you’re wondering why we are talking about GDPR and Data security, it’s because data security has become immensely important and this is the right time we consider security as a strategic aspect rather implementing as a part of the software development process. To do so, DevSecOps seems to be the appropriate model that can fulfill security requirements right from the start of the software development life cycle.

The main issues we will address are:

  • What is GDPR?
  • How does GDPR affect software development?
  • Are GDPR and Brexit related to each other?
  • Does this data protection rule apply to every company?
  • How DevSecOps can help comply with security standards?
  • Is it implemented globally or only in Europe?
  • Which other countries have taken a step in the direction of data security across the world?

Let’s answer each aforementioned question one-by-one.

What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation

It aims to reshape the entire framework for data collection and processing of data within the European Union. This data protection rule empowers people to take control of their personal data.

This rule is considered as a huge change in data protection and data security in years. Under this regulation, people can take control over how data is collected and processed along with their consents.

How does GDPR affect software development?

Over recent times, we have observed that software evolved to a greater extent in terms of scalability, stability, agility, and security. The IT industry is moving ahead at pace empowering businesses to scale faster with secure, reliable, and feature-rich software solutions.

GDPR compliance is a top priority for software development companies as they often interact with personal data of anyone around the world. This is a major concern for them to cope up with data regulation because it requires additional investment to observe overseas data-transfer, adequate comply with GDPR, and foremost need to hire data processing officer(DPO).

Key takeaways for software development companies

  • You can’t overlook GDPR being a software development company
  • Carefully read and understand what standards GDPR have for your business/services about security
  • Think about security as one of the major factors in successful software development
  • Changing your software development model to DevSecOps will save your cost and time and also help fulfill regulatory standards
  • Security-driven infrastructure can gain you a competitive advantage
  • Violation of any GDPR terms may lead you to pay fine
  • Treat software security as a shared responsibility

Moreover, the software is built with more iterations and deployments at present, making software developers pay extra attention to the security aspects.

Are GDPR and Brexit related to each other?

No. Brexit refers to the process of the UK leaving the European Union which is still under process. GDPR is a revolutionary data regulation act created by the EU in order to protect the privacy of an individual within the EU. It has also established data privacy standards for international business.

After two years of the transition period, GDPR came into effect on 25th May 2018 across the EU.

The UK was expected to abide by the GDPR act before Brexit deal as it was a member state of EU. At present, they have their own Data Protection Act 2018 which is referred to as the UK’s implementation of the GDPR.

Once the UK leaves the EU, both governments will ensure the smooth and secure flow of data between the UK and EEA (European Economic Area) countries.

Does this data protection rule apply to every company?

This is one of the most important questions. According to the official European Commission website, the law applies to:

  • A company or entity which processes personal data as part of the activities of one of its branches established in the EU, regardless of where the data is processed; or
  • A company established outside the EU offering goods/services (paid or for free) or monitoring the behavior of individuals in the EU.

In the simplest terms

The law applies to any company/organization/individual who offers services/products to EU individual or getting involved in the monitoring of data of an EU individual.

In short, this law applies to every company regardless from where they are operating(inside or outside of the EU) and associated with any data processing(storing, monitoring, generating, collecting, and altering, removing, using, and so on) of an EU individual.

If you are a small or larger business enterprise dealing with any personal data (any information about an individual including name, identity, date of birth, place, biometric records, or any educational, financial, medical, employment related information), you must comply with GDPR standards.

How can DevSecOps help comply with security standards?

Security no longer applies to only one phase of development.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, called GDPR a “very positive step for the Internet” and there are some other leaders who found GDPR unclear and ambiguous.

GDPR has raised some important questions and discussions about data security. One must need to act in accordance with data security standards that protect visitors’ and users’ data.

However, For IT professionals, it looks like more of a trouble to obey the terms of such privacy acts and it’s now challenging for them to design their software in a way that must fulfill data security requirement. To do so, one must consider DevSecOps for not only GDPR compliance but, for any other protection acts across the world.

Is there any need to revisit software development methodologies?

The answer of the question is subjective and depends on your requirement like what your project type is, how you use data, how major your database is, how you process and collect data, and so on.

However, data protection became essential for every company and organization to protect their users’ data and ensure there is no vulnerabilities and breach. People become aware of their data safety and they’re often more concerned while providing their personal data to any company.

Why use DevSecOps to address data security needs?

  • It suits data protection laws like GDPR and CCPA and many more
  • It ensures your software meets all the data security standards
  • It helps design security-leading software solutions
  • It promotes security as a collective responsibility for everyone in the organization
  • It focuses on faster delivery of the software with maximum attention on security
  • It streamlines data storage, processing, and collection that can guarantee proper compliance
  • A logical, strategic and potential approach to software development with security as a key component

Apart from that, DevOps has the ability to produce great results when it comes to building modern software with maximum quality and agility. By implementing ‘Security As A Code’ in the software development process, any organization can leverage this powerful combination of security and agility to foster collaboration and transparency.

DevSecOps puts security not at the end of the software lifecycle but at every stage to ensure a secure and smooth flow throughout the development process.

DevSecOps enforce security as a shared responsibility that can measure applications’ security from the starting phase of software creation.

The IT world has embraced DevOps not only as a software development model but DevOps As A Philosophy to bring changes via continuous integration and continuous delivery.

Be it a DevOps or DevSecOps, security is a must.

Moving further, DevSecOps emerged as one of the major practices in the IT industry due to its potential to overcome revolutionary data protection acts such as GDPR.

Applying high-level security on software while maintaining agility is very crucial in order to create next-gen software solutions.

Is it implemented globally or only in Europe?

The law is designed to protect personal data of EU citizens, but, due to extraterritorial scope, the companies who offer services/product to EU citizens or are involved with the monitoring of data of an EU individual must follow GDPR standards.

Which other countries have taken steps in the direction of data security?

It is not only the EU and UK who have taken serious steps against data security violations. There are many countries that are planning to set up their own data protection acts, such as:

  • California Consumer Privacy Act(CCPA) — effective from January 1, 2020
  • Brazil — General Data Protection will come into effect from February 2020
  • Serbia and Jersey — align with GDPR standards
  • Ukraine, Monaco, Malaysia, Switzerland, Bosnia will pass their data security amendments in 2020
  • Hong Kong established a “New Ethical Accountability Framework” which takes control of security in business operation

Implementing DevSecOps in your organization

If you haven’t considered or taken GDPR and data security into account, you’re missing an important part of software development. As data security is considered more than a just strategy, it’s the right time to think in that direction.

Is your company ready for DevSecOps implementation?

DevSecOps is the best model to implement security from the start. It doesn’t only help comply with GDPR but it supports almost all types of data protection laws around the world.

What are your thoughts on Intersection Of DevSecOps And GDPR? Let us know via the comments.

Note: This post was previously published on our Blog: here

DevSecOps And GDPR was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Publication date: 
05/22/2019 - 06:18

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