Short Release Cycles: Pros & Cons

Luis Guzmán
March 22, 2023
Short Release Cycles: Pros & Cons

Software development is always looking for new best practices and techniques to improve the speed and efficiency of delivery. Having a short release cycle is a common software practice today, wherein teams aim to deliver new functionalities and improvements to their users as quickly as possible. 

Short release cycles offer tremendous benefits to organizations and their customers, but they can come at the cost of security. Here are some thoughts from 𝙇𝙚𝙩'𝙨 𝙏𝙖𝙡𝙠 𝘼𝙥𝙥𝙎𝙚𝙘𝙊𝙥𝙨 #5:

Short release cycles—why are they trendy?

Having a frequent release cadence, meaning releasing updates and new functionalities at a fast pace, offers a few advantages: 

Agile development

Firstly, agile development allows for a faster delivery of new features to market, keeping customers up-to-date with the latest and greatest the company has to offer. This agility helps in meeting the evolving needs of the market and ensuring that the company stays ahead of the competition. Additionally, with a quick release cycle, it’s easier to more accurately align the product's goals and objectives with what is delivered, making the overall development process more efficient.

Improved security

In today's fast-paced and ever-evolving threat landscape, being able to quickly identify and patch vulnerabilities is crucial in reducing our organizations' cyber risk. 

Short release cycles allow for a quicker response time to zero-day threats. With a well-oiled software assembly line, security teams can better collaborate with development teams to address vulnerabilities and ensure a healthier security posture.

Exploring common drawbacks

Not all that glitters is gold, not everything that’s fast is flawless.

What’s something teams are struggling with the most, when it comes to faster release cadences? From our experience, it's being able to understand that the right audience needs to have the right information to remediate vulnerabilities without breaking business continuity.

Rapid cycles create conditions of insufficient cohesion and communication between security and dev teams, leading to friction and potential security gaps in their product. What's more, pressure on the security team to quicken their side of SLAs can be unequally balanced, leading to burnout and heightened tensions.

How to rise above the challenges

Our State of AppSecOps Report from 2022 suggests that the optimal release cycle is between 1-2 weeks, with 2 weeks being the most common. This cycle provides a good balance between security and engineering initiatives, allowing organizations to effectively manage their AppSec operations. 

This cadence helps organizations ensure that their software is secure and that new functionalities are delivered to market quickly, while also maintaining a stable and secure environment for their customers—the "sweet spot" in production, as Mark would say.

Conclusion

Summing up: agility and an "allegro" release cadence offers lots of benefits, like faster delivery to market, improved accuracy toward goals, and a quick reaction time to zero-day threats. And while there are some drawbacks, namely the lack of cohesion between security and dev teams, these challenges can be overcome with proactive communication and proper support... Oh, and of course with a little dash of ArmorCode AppSecOps.

Looking for more of this content? Watch the full 𝙇𝙚𝙩'𝙨 𝙏𝙖𝙡𝙠 𝘼𝙥𝙥𝙎𝙚𝙘𝙊𝙥𝙨 episode with Mark and I here.

Luis Guzmán
Luis Guzmán
Senior Solutions Engineer
March 22, 2023
Luis Guzmán
March 22, 2023
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