You’ve Tackled Shadow IT - Now It’s Time to Tackle Shadow DevOps

Noah Simon


Head of Product Marketing


For years, companies have been solving Shadow IT - the use of software, hardware, or SaaS services without the knowledge or approval of the IT team. 

While Shadow IT remains an evolving challenge, IT and Security teams have been able to improve shadow IT discovery through solutions such as:

  • Remote Monitoring, Mobile Device management, and Endpoint Security solutions
  • SaaS and Secure Service Edge (SSE) solutions
  • Network Monitoring tools

Now that just about every company is a software company, a newer challenge has emerged: Shadow Devops.

What is Shadow DevOps?

ShadowDevops consists of essentially “shadow code” and “shadow pipelines”. 

Let’s start with shadow code - code that makes its way into production, but is not known, maintained, documented -- and most importantly, vetted and approved. Shadow Code can take a few forms:

  • Legacy code that is no longer actively maintained or documented, but still being used
  • Third-Party / Open source: the use of third-party libraries and code obtained and used without official approval and vetting
  • Unofficial code: undocumented code written by developers that have not gone through official testing processes

Shadow pipelines occur for many of the same reasons as well. Unknown development pipelines include:

  • Non-standard development practices: individual developers or teams may use development practices and tools that differ from the standard processes put in place by the DevOps or IT team.
  • Ad-hoc pipelines: developers may create their own separate pipelines for the purposes of prototyping or experimenting, and these pipelines may contain code that eventually works its way into production.

What Risks Are Introduced From Shadow Devops?

ShadowDevops can pose risks internal to your business, but also to the applications that are built and used by customers and consumers.

Let’s start with the risks of shadow code. These include:

Shadow pipelines may result in the risks above, and additionally knowledge transfer. As developers enter and exit teams and companies, shadow pipelines make it difficult to track down documentation and knowledge about specific code bases.

How to Monitor Shadow DevOps

Just like Shadow IT,  there are processes and technologies you can implement to monitor and reduce Shadow DevOps. 

From a process standpoint, enforcing code documentation, reviews, version control, and codebase inventory are extremely important. Yet, even with strong reinforcement - any process can break down, especially in fast-paced development environments.

Many companies supplement these processes with a few technologies, including: 

  • IaC Platforms: The use of IaC platforms usually result in more efficient and transparent infrastructure changes that are parallel to application development
  • AppSec Tools: Source code analysis (SCA) and dynamic or static application testing (DAST/SAST) can identify undocumented or potentially risky code within your software systems
  • CI/CD scanning: GitHub, GitLab, Jenkins, and other CI/CD platforms have native capabilities to scan code repositories
  • IDE scanning: many IDE-integrated tools feature the ability to run scans directly within the IDE

The Dazz Approach

The fact is, there is no one size fits all to find Shadow DevOps today. Many teams have codebases in multiple languages, and many ship production-ready code to more than one cloud provider.

This means a more comprehensive approach is needed to find Shadow DevOps - whether it is found pre or post-production. 

Dazz easily integrates to numerous sources to identify ShadowDevOps artifacts that may be introducing risk. Common integrations Dazz customers connect to include:

  • Code repositories and CI/CD platforms
  • Container and IaC platforms
  • AppSec Scanners
  • CSPM/CWPP solutions
  • Vulnerability Management
  • Cloud IaaS providers and native solutions

Armed with data points at various stages of the SDLC, Dazz delivers a more comprehensive approach to identify, monitor, and remediate the risk of Shadow DevOps.

Learn about our approach - schedule a demo today.

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