Implement a Well-Architected Framework for Your Cloud Using DevSecOps

November 5th 2020
Cloud services have become a key component in digital infrastructure projects throughout the world.
Vladyslav Gram
Head of DevOps

From startups to Fortune 500 companies, the convenience and flexibility offered by cloud-based infrastructure makes it easier than ever to undertake digital transformations and deliver products that users can rely on. 

But depending on any pre-existing infrastructure or underlying tech needs of an organisation, implementing components of a cloud framework isn’t necessarily as straightforward as it may seem. Between navigating legacy applications and juggling multiple service providers, a poorly-executed cloud framework can waste money, deliver negligible performance gains, and complicate an organisation’s overall tech stack. 

Cloud frameworks can get even trickier when navigating security. Even as it’s more important than ever before to deliver solutions that keep private and proprietary information safe, the task of integrating proper security measures can become exponentially more difficult while juggling access to multiple services.  

Developing a well-architected framework that adheres to DevSecOps principles can serve as a crucial safety barrier for any cloud solution. By making key decisions on the structure of a cloud framework with security in mind from the ground up, organisations can avoid future headaches brought on by needlessly complex solutions that lack proper protection.    

What does a well-architected framework look like?

At its core, a well-architected framework is a set of best practices that help organisations optimise workloads. While following the principles laid out in a cloud provider’s well-architected framework aren’t necessarily requirements, they do provide some of the best available advice for building an architecture that best manages cost, performance, and reliability. 

Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, three of the most significant cloud service providers, each have their own sets of well-architected framework principles that roughly seek to achieve the same purposes. While each company constructs slightly different pillars of well-archived frameworks, they nevertheless share many common goals that are intended to deliver consistent, high-quality workloads.

There are generally five principles of a well-architected framework:
  • Operational excellence. Combining processes, continuous improvement, and monitoring systems, the design should lend itself to being efficiently run, monitored, and managed in order to deliver the most value. Small, easily-reversible changes should be implemented as quickly as possible, operational procedures should be revisited frequently, and failure should be expected and treated as a learning opportunity.
  • Reliability. Because workloads must be expected to carry out intended functions correctly and consistently, the system architecture must be designed in order to adhere to specific thresholds. Highly-available solutions should incorporate automation in order to meet the demands of specific time periods, increased workflows, and be ready to automatically recover from failures with little to no disruption. 
  • Security. Applications and data should be protected from threats and adhere to any necessary compliance or privacy requirements. In order to protect systems, information, and assets while delivering key business needs, strongly identify foundations must be constructed, automated security must be applied across all layers, and users should be kept away from data whenever possible. 
  • Performance efficiency. For the best user experience, applications should be frequently fine-tuned and be ready to adapt to changes under any given performance load. Computing resources must be used as efficiently as possible, taking advantage of serverless architectures, managed services, and virtualised or automated systems whenever possible.   
  • Cost optimisation. The lowest possible price must be achieved without sacrificing reliability, security, and performance. By avoiding unnecessary costs through consumption models, managed services, and careful analysis of expenditures, organisations can maximise the value of any given solution while maintaining acceptable service. 

Taken together, these five principles of a well-architected framework can help ensure that cloud solutions can reliably and securely handle workloads with high performance at the lowest possible cost. 

Where does DevSecOps fit in?

Flexible infrastructure services such as AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure can seamlessly work in tandem with DevOps practices.

As a combination of highly-regarded workplace tools and cultural practices, DevOps allows organisations to build and improve products with greater speed and agility. By breaking down the traditional silos of separate development and operations teams, DevOps principles help integrate separate groups into a singularly-focused team. 

DevSecOps expands upon DevOps practices by integrating information security throughout every step of the application lifecycle. Rather than treating security as a separate team or consideration, security principles are adhered to at the ground level.

One of the key components of DevSecOps is the integration of development, QA, IT, and security services into a single unified culture. Just as traditional DevOps models work to reduce cycle times, carry out productive planning, and ensure that teams throughout the organisation understand the software lifecycle, application and infrastructure security is treated equally important from the start. 

Even though security is one of the key pillars of a well-architected framework, DevSecOps helps ensure that it’s given proper consideration throughout the entire development lifecycle. Instead of leaving security tasks isolated to specific teams down the line, DevSecOps ensures that security receives equal attention throughout the process, rendering it as an integral piece of the life cycle and not as a tacked-on perimeter.

Fortunately, the DevSecOps process makes it easy to adhere to well-architected framework architecture best practices. The highly iterative nature of the DevSecOps model complements the well-architected framework’s reliance on small but frequent updates, fine-tuning, and a willingness to communicate and cooperate throughout the development process. Added attention to security from the start will also help ensure that solutions are protected against issues that could jeopardise private or proprietary data. 

Ciklum, a leading global digital solutions company trusted by Fortune 500 and fast-growing companies around the world, helps organisations introduce DevSecOps practices into the application development lifecycle. With comprehensive knowledge drawn from the company’s award-winning security experts, cloud architects, and managed services teams, Ciklum can help any organisation achieve its business objectives through enhanced security and cloud performance.

To fully implement a well-architected framework for a cloud solution, contact Ciklum today!

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