Integrating IT with security knowledge and strong business interaction is essential

Door: Wouter Bisschop 31-8-2020

Categorieën
:
Business transformation, Management,

As we continually try to evolve also IT departments change significantly as their roles expand to also directly impact customer service, sales, and business strategies. As a Sales Manager, I speak to several experts in the field in order to be aware of the IT trends. This is why I spoke to Sebastiaan Kalshoven, IT Area Lead at ING Bank. On 16 September, he is hosting a webinar about DevOps. I took the opportunity to speak to him about this topic in advance.

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You told me you started off with DevOps, gradually changed to BizDevOps and that you are now moving to BizDevSecOps. Could you explain why?

“DevOps is mostly a mindset focused on challenging the status quo. DevOps is about collaboration, about interaction and about breaking down silos. It is about continuous improvement based on continuous feedback. By introducing DevOps we tried to bridge the gap between the earlier Development (DEV) and System Management (OPS) teams. Over time we have learned that this was not enough to become really succesful. If you want to be able to deliver the right solutions for your customers you need to know how they think and what they need. Therefore you as IT engineer have to collaborate with your business (BIZ) peers and preferably start understanding the customers needs yourself. Therefore integrating the business expertise in the IT teams, resulting in the BizDevOps teams was a logical outcome. Next to that we have always known that security is a key element to the work of the engineers. Therefore we are now integrating Security (SEC) into the teams also. Combining those four groups / skillsets is really important. I think security and business are intrinsically linked to IT. For example to improve on our security posture, at ING our IT professionals are trained to become a security champion. We have found out that 80-90% of the vulnerabilities found in testing, could be identified as being similar in all projects. Most of these issues can be prevented beforehand by implementing proper training and awareness. Now what is left after that, is the real intellectual challenge for our security specialists.”

You mentioned the business connection. How does IT remain in connection with the business?

“Adopting an agile mindset, based on continuous feedback on the products, is really important in the current marketplace. This for our business colleagues for instance also meant for them that they should be able to assist in defining their wishes and the outcomes of new developments in a more technical, outcome-driven way. A good example of this is Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD), a methodology based on communication between the business, customers, developers and testers. It basically means we actively ask the business what they for instance want to see on their screens. When you do that, the business is involved with the actual development process.”

In what manner does this way of working have an impact on the people who are working in your teams?

“It depends. The more senior people know the culture and the way of working of the organization really well, which is essential if you want to accomplish innovative projects in our current landscape. On the other hand, we also work with the digital natives who easily adapt to new things and who are willing to give their opinion about the future of this organization as well. We empower our engineers to attain multiple skills and become ambidextrous, like a two-footed football player. For instance, besides the specialization you already might have, we think knowledge about infrastructure or security is really important. But in the end, it is all about the mindset.”

What kind of mindset do you think is important?

“I call this a growth mindset: how much do you want and are you able to develop yourself? As a manager it is a challenge to facilitate this and at the same time manage expectations. It helps if people have a diverse background with wide work experience. Often people are willing to develop themselves relatively easily in a new role.”

About Sebastiaan Kalshoven

Sebastiaan Kalshoven is an IT Area Lead at ING, where he is responsible for the Strategic Core Banking Platform. He graduated in 2001 at the University of Applied Science in Utrecht, specializing in Communication and Management. He initially fulfilled the role of a Network Specialist in the Telecom sector, but eventually started to work for ING. Here, Sebastiaan has been actively involved in the transition to DevOps. As IT Area Lead, he ensures the stability of the systems which are used by more than 10 million people.

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DevOps has grown in popularity over the last few years. As the methodology matures, making a transition to DevOps is certainly not easy as it requires a cultural change within the organization. But how do you manage a transition like this? And what are the steps that you need to take? Sebastiaan Kalshoven, IT Area Lead of ING Bank, will share his insights about DevOps during this free webinar.

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