The ever-evolving world of cybersecurity dictates that security agencies keep up a breakneck pace in expanding their network of solutions. The quandary these agencies grapple with is whether to keep the outdated systems active or venture to miss crucial coverage during the shutdown a comprehensive overhaul would require.
Simultaneous uninterrupted service and fully optimized operating capability is the gold standard for the industry. While average software has a lifespan of roughly five years, the systems larger governments employ can be bogged down by decades of technical stagnation. Attempting to store nearly infinite data in archaic programming risks catastrophic failure. Mission-critical systems must run without hindrance or interruption to perform as expected on the macro scale associated with government programs.
A clear path forward for government IT service providers has manifested in the combination of Agile software development practices and DevSecOps, a tactical tool to bring together development, security, and operations. An organization can engage these practices to help build an ambitious infrastructure with top-notch safety measures in place. The software development process can continue while emphasizing security on the front end, affording clients the opportunity to delve deeper into the research and development that matters.
The successful integration of Agile hinges on cooperation between self-organizing and cross-functional teams and their end user to discover and develop solutions for the most relevant and pressing goals, which is of particular importance to government agencies. “I thought [Agile development] was a gimmick filled with buzz terms and would never work,” said Alistair Montgomery, an IT Manager for Transport for London. His cynicism was quickly silenced. “There was no hierarchy—it was all peer to peer—and I could see progress quickly. That’s why people have been won around to this.”
The U.S. government has already begun implementing these principles into its IT infrastructure, utilizing Agile and DevSecOps for background investigations, software asset upgrades, and more, to produce solutions more quickly and cheaply. Nevertheless, challenges remain as some agencies may find simultaneous modernization and operation difficult given budgetary compartmentalization.
The projected IT budget of $90 billion for the U.S. this year points to the prerogative of all governments to stay competitive in the area. Perhaps Agile and DevSecOps will be tapped as the stewards of IT development for a majority of international governments.