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Improving Developer Sentiment Towards Organizational IT Security


Imagine this: a developer encounters a security roadblock while coding, submits a support request, and… silence. Days turn into weeks, deadlines loom, and frustration mounts. This all-too-common scenario highlights the friction that can exist between development teams and IT security. While security plays a vital role in protecting an organization's digital assets, delays and inefficiencies can create resentment and ultimately undermine security efforts.

Developers are the driving force behind innovation in most technology companies today. However, rigid security practices often hamper their productivity by delaying access to critical systems and tools. This results in frustrated developers and simmering tensions between development and security teams. HOW DO WE ADDRESS THIS?

Identifying the Possible Root Causes

  • Understaffed security teams: Security professionals juggle numerous requests, leading to backlogs.
  • Lack of prioritization: Urgent security issues might get lost in the shuffle of routine inquiries.
  • Bureaucratic hurdles: Lengthy approval processes and red tape bog down progress.
  • Resistance to change: As organisations get larger it becomes more difficult to motivate the need for procedural changes usually due to unknown risks
  • Skills gap: The nature of security sometimes requires limited sharing of knowledge, which can lead to a skills gap over time.

These issues, if left unaddressed, can lead to vulnerabilities, increased risk, and potential breaches. Therefore, it is crucial to take timely action to mitigate these risks and improve the organization’s security posture

Building Bridges, Not Walls

Here are some actionable steps to improve the dynamics between developers and security:

A. Enhancing Response to Support Requests

  • Automation: Utilize automation tools to handle routine inquiries, freeing up human resources for more complex issues.
  • Staff Augmentation: Consider hiring additional staff or outsourcing to ensure adequate coverage for support tasks

B. Streamlining Implementation Processes

  • Continuous Training: Ensure the security team is up-to-date with the latest technologies and practices to reduce resistance and delays to new implementations.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Improve communication and collaboration with other departments to facilitate smoother implementations.

From Frustration to Collaboration: Building Bridges Between Developer and Cyber Security Teams.

While empowering developers with self-service options fosters their ownership and proactivity, the potential for vulnerabilities persists. This is where the "deny by default" security principle comes into play. It dictates that access to resources and privileges within mission-critical apps be explicitly allowed, not implicitly granted. This approach minimizes the attack surface and reduces the risks associated with unintended access or misconfigurations. However, "deny by default" can also create friction for developers accustomed to more open environments which is why finding a good balance is crucial.

C. Achieving The Right Balance

  • Regular policy reviews: Conduct routine assessments of security policies to identify and remove outdated controls, streamlining processes and reducing unnecessary friction.
  • Self-service security options: Implement user-friendly self-service tools for common security tasks, empowering developers to proactively manage security concerns and freeing up security teams for strategic initiatives.
  • Feedback loops: Establish regular communication channels to gather feedback from both developers and security personnel, allowing for continuous process improvement
  • Performance Metrics: Implement KPIs to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of the security team’s responses and implementations.

Closing thoughts

Bridging the gap between developers and security is not about assigning blame to a specific team(IT security🙂) for existing challenges, It is about recognizing the shared goal of protecting the organization's digital assets. I think it is important that organisations strive to build a culture of effective collaboration, where security becomes an enabler, not a roadblock, on the path to innovation and success. Security does not have to come at the cost of efficiency – with the right approach, it can become a driving force for progress.

Do you have any more ideas on how we can improve security without blocking progress? I would love to hear your thoughts.