The shift from traditional IT security approaches to integrated DevSecOps practices in the rapidly evolving information technology landscape marks a significant transformation. This integration, blending development, operations, and security, challenges traditional IT security professionals to adapt to a faster, more agile environment.

Background on Traditional IT Security

Traditionally, IT security has focused primarily on perimeter defense, guarding against external threats with a clear boundary between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’. Security teams operated in silos, with distinct roles that rarely overlapped with those of developers or operations staff. Their work was largely reactive: identifying and mitigating threats and ensuring compliance with external standards and regulations.

The Rise of DevSecOps

DevSecOps represents a paradigm shift in how organizations approach software development and security. At its core, DevSecOps integrates security as a shared responsibility throughout the application development lifecycle rather than as a final checkpoint before deployment. This methodology emphasizes automation, continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD), and a proactive stance on security.

The culture of DevSecOps is fundamentally collaborative, breaking down traditional silos and encouraging ongoing communication between developers, operations, and security teams. This integration ensures that security considerations are not an afterthought but are integrated into the daily workflows of all team members.

Core Challenges for Traditional IT Security Professionals

The transition to DevSecOps presents several challenges for traditional IT security professionals:

  1. Shift from Gatekeeper to Collaborator: Traditionally, security teams acted as gatekeepers, deciding what could be deployed and when. In DevSecOps, the role transforms into that of a collaborator, continuously working alongside others to embed security into the pipeline. It requires a shift in mindset from controlling to enabling.
  2. Automation of Security Tasks: DevSecOps relies heavily on automation to ensure security at speed and scale. Security professionals must now understand and develop automated tools and scripts, a significant departure from their conventional, often manual, security practices.
  3. Culture and Mindset Change: Perhaps the most significant challenge is the cultural shift required. Traditional security often operates under a risk-averse, ‘say no’ mindset. DevSecOps, by contrast, advocates for a risk management approach where security risks are balanced with business needs. This culture also emphasizes continuous improvement and learning, which can be a departure for those accustomed to static security environments.

Skills and Mindset Adjustments Needed

To thrive in DevSecOps environments, traditional IT security professionals must develop both new skills and a new mindset:

  • Technical Skills: Proficiency in automation tools, an understanding of secure coding practices, and familiarity with cloud-native technologies are essential. Knowledge of CI/CD methodologies and the ability to write and understand code can significantly enhance a security professional’s effectiveness in a DevSecOps environment. Adaptive Mindset: It is crucial to embrace a growth mindset, viewing challenges as opportunities to learn rather than obstacles. Security professionals must be willing to step out of their comfort zones and engage continuously with new tools, technologies, and methodologies.

Bridging the Gap: Strategies for Transition

Successfully integrating traditional IT security professionals into DevSecOps teams involves strategic initiatives and supportive leadership:

Education and Training: Continuous learning opportunities, such as workshops, courses, and certifications, can help traditional security professionals update their skills to align with DevSecOps requirements. Cross-Functional Collaboration: Facilitating shadowing programs, where security professionals work closely with DevOps teams, can help build understanding and appreciation of each other’s roles and challenges. Incremental Involvement: Gradually involving security teams in DevSecOps projects can help ease the transition. Starting with minor, low-risk projects can build confidence and competence in the new environment.


The evolution from traditional IT security to DevSecOps is not merely a change in technology or processes but a significant cultural shift. For conventional security professionals, adapting to this new environment requires a change in mindset from being gatekeepers to enablers, from working in silos to collaborating across functions, and from focusing solely on security to balancing security with speed and innovation.

As organizations continue to embrace DevSecOps, the role of the IT security professional will only grow in complexity and importance. By adopting these changes, traditional security professionals can survive and thrive in this new landscape, contributing to safer, more resilient systems.

Andreas Tiefenthaler

Andreas likes security, enabling teams to ship secure products and coffee.