Bringing together DevOps and mainframe security

Today’s DevOps ecosystem is becoming increasingly complex. Regardless of industry, organizations are increasingly looking for ways to optimize business-critical software development processes. Companies are under constant pressure to adopt new processes and platforms to achieve the goals set by business leaders. As development teams grapple with the challenge of modernizing their DevOps toolchains, a number of concerns and challenges have followed closely behind. Chief among these challenges? Security.

Mainframe developers face unique challenges when trying to ensure their IT environments are secure. Tools like open source have boosted software development, but it also means that security must always come first. Incorporating security best practices into the DevOps toolchain (also known as DevSecOps) ensures that security remains a consistent, shared responsibility throughout the software development lifecycle and that security updates are added quickly and smoothly, increasing the opportunity threats are reduced.

What is the status of DevSecOps today? Rocket Software’s State of Mainframe Security survey of 250 global IT directors and vice presidents in companies with more than 1,000 employees sheds some light on this topic.

Challenges surrounding DevSecOps

There’s no doubt that DevSecOps is critical to ensuring mainframe security, but the path to setting up these processes isn’t always easy. According to Rocket Software’s research, the top barriers to managing DevSecOps and mainframe security were limited automation and integration capabilities and incompatibility between legacy mainframe security tools and modern DevOps toolchains. Other barriers respondents cited include auditability and tracking of changes and actions, resistance to change from traditional security practices, and a lack of specialized mainframe security skills and expertise among DevOps teams.

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In light of these challenges, DevOps teams have their hands full when it comes to securing the mainframe and DevOps toolchains. Mainframe security is of paramount importance, but companies must also ensure they get the most out of their DevOps toolchains, allowing development teams to manage multiple environments and applications, minimizing costs and reducing development time. In addition to all these factors, DevOps teams must also address compliance needs, ensuring they align with the organization’s existing governance structure.

Building a DevOps toolchain that works

What can be done to reduce these barriers to a successful DevSecOps implementation? When looking at the DevOps toolchain, every organization must ensure they implement critical security best practices for their teams to follow. Solutions like Rocket DevOps make it easy for companies to put DevSecOps best practices into practice, allowing them to experiment, respond to compliance audits, and adapt to ever-changing process, technology, or experience expectations. Knowing that limited automation options were ranked as the top concern among Rocket Software respondents, the right technology partner and solutions can also have a huge impact. By leveraging a DevOps orchestration solution, DevOps teams can easily achieve end-to-end process automation across enterprise applications and multiple platforms.

Considering how quickly the development ecosystem can change, effective security will also depend on a DevOps strategy that enables cross-platform integration, greater flexibility, and automation of end-to-end processes. Because teams have multiple platforms, it’s also critical to use DevOps tools that give them a centralized view of every process and task running across applications. By unifying the view of these processes, you ensure that everyone works together and you can also ensure that every component running in the mainframe is accounted for and secure.

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Where DevOps fits into mainframe security

By now, most organizations understand how important DevSecOps has become, especially when it comes to securing the mainframe. But even with that knowledge in hand, actually implementing the necessary changes comes with a host of challenges and obstacles, from a lack of skills and know-how to limited automation options. Fortunately, with the right solutions, successfully implementing DevSecOps is not as far away as it seems.

Is your DevOps toolchain ready to secure mainframe operations? Learn more about the state of mainframe security and how Rocket Software can help you.