Rich here,

As technology professionals we always place bets with our careers. There is no way to really know, for certain, which sets of skills will be most in demand down the road. Yet, as with financial investments, we only have so many resources (time and brain cells) to allocate at any given time. Invest too much too early and your nifty new skills won’t be in demand. Too late and you miss the best opportunities, and are stuck playing catch-up if that’s even possible.

Sometimes we make deliberate decisions, and sometimes we just sort of luck out.

This week I am excited to announce my involvement as an Advisory Board member of It’s something I basically fell into when I mentioned to Alan Shimmel, who founded it, that I was spending a ton of research time on DevOps and security.

I never really intended to revert to my roots and start writing code and managing systems again – never mind realizing I was hooked into what may be one of the most important operational framework changes to hit IT in a long time. For me it was a series of chained intellectual and professional challenges that self-organized into a logical progression. I would love to say I planned it, but really I mostly tripped into it.

It all started when Jim Reavis of the Cloud Security Alliance asked if I would be interested in building a training class for the CCSK exam. I said sure, but only if we could build some hands-on labs so security pros would learn how the cloud really works, and weren’t merely looking at architectural diagrams.

I had launched some things in Amazon before, but I had never needed to create packaged, reproducible environments (the labs). Never mind ones that could hide complexity from students while still allowing them to create complete application stacks almost completely automatically. At the time I was solving problems to make labs and teach a few cloud security essentials. In the process, I was learning the foundation of techniques that underlie many DevOps processes.

Total. Blind. Luck. This was before DevOps was a hot term – I just worked from problem to problem to meet my own needs.

Then I refined the labs. Then I decided to create some proof of concept demonstrations of Software Defined Security techniques. Solving, in the process, some core DevOps problems that weren’t well documented anywhere. I wasn’t the first to hit the problem or come up with a solution, but no one else seemed to write it down, so I had to work my way through it from scratch.

Then I started hearing more about DevOps. And as I dug in, I realized I was solving many of the same problems with many of the same tools.

This is why I think DevOps is so important. I didn’t set out to “learn DevOps” – I set out to solve a set of practical implementation problems I was experiencing in the cloud, and in the process found myself smack in the middle of the DevOps ‘movement’ (whatever that is). Anyone who wants to operate in that environment needs the same basic skills, and any organizations deploying applications into the cloud will find themselves using the same techniques, to one degree or another.

It is early days still, but I am not doubling down on cloud and DevOps because I think they are overhyped analyst fads. Spend some time in the trenches and you will realize there really isn’t any other way to get the job done, once you start down a certain road.

On to the Summary:

Webcasts, Podcasts, Outside Writing, and Conferences

Favorite Securosis Posts

Other Securosis Posts

Favorite Outside Posts

  • Mike Rothman: The cost of doing business at the RSA Conference. Big money. Big money. No whammies. Check out these numbers and maybe you will understand why some companies opt for a suite at the W to do meetings.
  • Adrian Lane: To Wash It All Away. And epic rant that includes such gems as “For the uninitiated, Cascading Style Sheets are a cryptic language developed by the Freemasons to obscure the visual nature of reality and encourage people to depict things using ASCII art.” and “Here’s a life tip: when you’re confused about what something is, DON’T EXECUTE IT TO DISCOVER MORE CLUES!”
  • Rich: Does devops leave security out in the cold? I will be writing more on this in coming days, but I think it’s safe to say this article misses the target. I guarantee you security can effectively integrate with DevOps, but not using some of the techniques mentioned in this article. Security has to fully integrate into the process.
  • Gunnar Peterson: Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Dealing with Haters.

Research Reports and Presentations

Top News and Posts