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Bringing Together DevOps and Mainframe Security

Milan Shetti

November 20, 2023

Intro: As more businesses look to modernize their DevOps toolchains, evolving security challenges have made DevSecOps a critical component of ensuring an organization is able to secure its mainframe operations.

The DevOps ecosystem of today is becoming increasingly more complex. No matter the industry, organizations are increasingly looking for ways to optimize mission-critical software development processes. Businesses are under constant pressure to adopt new processes and platforms to achieve the goals set out 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 those challenges? Security.

Mainframe developers face unique challenges when ensuring their IT environments are secure. Tools like open source have helped give a boost to software development, but it also means security needs to always be top of mind. Incorporating security best practices into the DevOps toolchain—also known as DevSecOps—helps ensure security remains a consistent, shared responsibility throughout the software development life cycles and that security updates are added quickly and smoothly, reducing the chance of threats.

What’s the state 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 the topic.

Challenges Surrounding DevSecOps

There’s no question that DevSecOps is critical to ensuring mainframe security, but the path to establishing those processes is not always straightforward. According to Rocket Software’s survey, 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 tool chains. Other barriers that respondents identified include auditability and tracking of changes and actions, resistance to change from traditional security practices, and lack of specialized skills and expertise in mainframe security among DevOps teams.

In the face of those challenges, DevOps teams have their hands full when it comes to securing the mainframe and DevOps toolchains. Mainframe security is paramount, but businesses also need to ensure they’re getting the most out of their DevOps toolchains, enabling development teams to manage multiple environments and applications, minimize costs, and reduce time of development. On top of all of these factors, DevOps teams also need to grapple with compliance needs, ensuring they are falling in line with the organization’s existing governance structure.

Building a DevOps Toolchain that Works

So, what can be done to mitigate these barriers to successful DevSecOps implementation? When looking at the DevOps toolchain, every organization needs to ensure they are folding in critical security best practices for their teams to follow. Solutions like Rocket DevOps make it easy for businesses to bring DevSecOps best practices into action, enabling them to pursue experimentation, respond to compliance audits, and adapt to the ever-changing expectations of processes, technology, or experiences. Knowing that limited automation capabilities were identified as the top concern among Rocket Software’s respondents, the right technology partner and solutions can also make a huge impact. By leveraging a DevOps orchestration solution, DevOps teams can easily achieve end-to-end automation of processes across business 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 agility, and automation of end-to-end processes. With teams stretched thin managing multiple platforms, it’s also critical to utilize DevOps tools that give them a centralized view of every process and task running across applications. Unifying the view of these processes helps ensure everyone is working together and can also help ensure every component operating in the mainframe is accounted for and secure.

Where DevOps Fits Into Mainframe Security

By now, most organizations understand just how important DevSecOps has become, particularly with respect to keeping the mainframe secure. But even with that knowledge in hand, actually implementing the necessary changes comes with a host of challenges and obstacles to navigate—from a lack of skills and know-how to limited automation capabilities. Fortunately, with the right solutions in place, successfully implementing DevSecOps is not as far off as it may seem.

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