Getting DevOps Right: Enabling True Compliance with Audit Trails

July 30, 2020

iauro Team

Contributing immensely to the global software solutions ecosystem. DevOps | Microservices | Microfrontend | DesignThinking LinkedIn

In the last few months, the IT industry has seen great business uncertainty, and the need to stay resilient and agile has never been greater. We need to hustle, have the ability to get things done as quickly as possible, and not let the dynamically shifting markets and economic inefficiencies affect the modes of operation. DevOps, in the last decade, has evolved from being another buzzword to a methodology that almost every tech company, no matter their scale or size, has been utilizing, to better the overall delivery processes. 

Focused on driving developer productivity through collective collaboration, enhanced automation, and incremental improvement, DevOps enables robust, quality, and powerful code and services. But the reality is that if these outcomes are not aligned to the larger business picture, then they are of little value. IT leaders need to ensure that both goals are synced with the demands of internal and external stakeholders, and the goals of the enterprise are met effectively through actionable technology improvements. 

What do you need to pass an audit?

No modern enterprise can succeed in the absence of proper governance, and IT audits form an (sometimes scary) important part of governance that teams need to adhere to. In one way or another, they mandate compliance from an IT standpoint and are focused on long term business advantages that tech can enable. In order to pass an audit and ensure complete compliance, enterprises need two things. One, is the evidence of intent. This can be as simple as a process diagram for actionable items, like a service ticket for customer outages. 

The second, and more important, is audit trails –  a complete record of actions undertaken for all projects. This looks at the complete record of entire projects, starting from initial handling, problem resolution at every step of the way, and finally leading up to the overall impact for internal teams and customers alike. This review is a close part of continuous improvement culture and forms the backbone of the incremental improvement philosophy. 

Driving Audit Trails for DevOps

In the context of DevOps, audit trails form a critical part of a review when it comes to analyzing the overall efficiency of the methodology. These trails ensure not just a single source of truth for IT managers and leaders, but also give them complete transparency into compliance monitoring, thus making for quality assurance while maintaining the security of each project. 

Introducing security and quality assessments early in the software development cycle goes a long way in keeping these audit trails true. As teams progress with continuous integration and delivery, it becomes harder to bring this in at a later stage, for then, it’s easier to lose track of corrective action. The more you keep track of changes, the lesser questions auditors will have for you, and the better your overarching processes will look like for future projects.

Another advantage of maintaining audit trails for DevOps is the addition of compliance as code. These monitors compliance policies with respect to the code quality, its functionality, and time taken to write the code, and checks into continuous delivery mechanisms. If this is mapped in real-time, it is beneficial to the enterprise as a whole and developer teams as well. It makes for fully automated processes covering security, testing, and deployment of software processes seamlessly! Compliance as code, when added as an early part of the development pipeline, saves massive time and effort for the development team. This is great for risk mitigation as well, since it anticipates risks quite effectively and helps build preparedness and resiliency. 

With audit trails in place, it also becomes simpler for developer teams and IT managers to trace software releases as and when they happen. Automated environments, coupled with compliance measures, enable adding custom features and microservices led modules into the software cycle without tedious approvals. This reduces a tremendous amount of back and forth, saving not only precious time but resources and costs to a large extent! Consolidated data logs have the power to save weeks and months of time that are spent looking for compliance-related information. Imagine how efficient it is to have everything in one place!

Getting this right may seem like a daunting task, but having the correct set of people with deep expertise in DevOps can truly lessen the burden. Look for partners who understand the value of aligning such processes with business returns, and that’s half the battle won already. The end result is not just flexibility, scalability, and speed, but also a self-reliant, much-improved enterprise!


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