Survey Surfaces Spike in Cloud-Native App Development

The results of a survey of 350 IT decision-makers and 350 developers that work with cloud-native environments suggest the number of cloud-native applications deployed over the next 12 months will significantly increase.

The survey was conducted by Styra, a provider of a platform for managing authorization, and finds 97% of IT decision-makers and 96% of developers say their organizations plan to expand use of these applications.

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Furthermore, 97% of IT decision-makers and 96% of developers also rated their abilities to manage cloud-native application security as being strong. However, there is some disagreement over who is responsible for securing these applications.

Close to half of IT leaders said the IT infrastructure and operations team (45%) should define the policies that control how cloud applications are secured and managed, compared to 21% of developers that agreed with that statement. A total of 41% of IT decision-makers also believe that IT infrastructure and ops teams are responsible for proving that applications are compliant internally compared to 22% of developers that agreed.

Who should be responsible for meeting and proving compliance to external auditors, however, is also a subject of debate, with 42% of developers saying it is the security teams’ job while only 25% of IT decision-makers agreed.

Styra CTO Tim Hinrichs says the results suggest that more developers are becoming comfortable with assuming greater responsibility for the security of cloud-native applications that are much more frequently updated than legacy applications. Securing those applications both before and after they are deployed will also require a level of collaboration between developers, IT operations and security teams that many organizations have yet to achieve, he adds.

The survey also finds 63% of IT decision-makers believe training employees to use cloud-native and open source tools will be the biggest challenge over the next 12 months, while 70% of developers say onboarding each piece of new technology and phasing out old technology is the biggest challenge.

Developers also said migrating legacy applications to the cloud (67%) and building production-ready, customer-facing cloud applications (66%) should be the first priority, while IT decision-makers cited enhancing data privacy security measures (77%) and then migrating legacy applications to the cloud (59%). Both parties believe building a proof-of-concept application in the cloud should come third on the priority list, according to 57% of IT leaders and 65% of developers.

As the rate at which cloud-native applications are being built accelerates, the biggest issue IT teams may soon face is simply deploying and maintaining them. Many of these applications may wind up being rolled out at roughly the same time. More challenging still, they are frequently updated. While most organizations tend to have a handle on continuous integration, the percentage of organizations that have mastered continuous delivery is still low.

Regardless of how—or even who—deploys those applications, however, it’s clear everyone involved in IT has their work cut out for them in the months ahead. It will remain a challenge to manage, maintain and secure more cloud-native applications deployed alongside existing monolithic applications that are not likely to be retired any time soon. The challenge, then, becomes finding the best way to apply DevOps best practices across both emerging and legacy applications.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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