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Platform Engineering Strengthens Security, Productivity, DevOps Report Finds

DevOps is benefiting in many ways from platform engineering, according to a new report from Puppet by Perforce.

A new report from Puppet by Perforce reveals how platform engineering teams are delivering improved security, efficiency, and developer productivity. Platform engineering is an increasingly common part of IT operations and DevOps, and the "2024 State of DevOps Report: The Evolution of Platform Engineering" examines in detail the popularity and practical benefits that the platform engineering teams provide.

The report summarizes findings from a global survey of more than 500 IT professionals working with platform teams.

Key findings from the report include:

  • 83% say the platform team has helped their company become more compliant.
  • 51% of respondents say that platform teams are responsible for enforcing software and tool versions for security updates.
  • 66% report that automating workflows and processes "is in scope" for their growing platform engineering teams.
  • 65% of respondents report that the platform team is important and will receive continued investment.

"The maturity of the platforms was a surprise, with the majority being five years or older," David Sandilands, principal solutions architect at Puppet by Perforce, told ITPro Today.

Why Platform Engineering Has Been Widely Adopted

There are numerous reasons why platform engineering makes sense for so many companies. At the most basic level, it offers the opportunity for organizations to improve speed of innovation, delivery, and efficiency.

According to Kapil Tandon, vice president of product management for Puppet by Perforce's IT Ops Business Unit, platform engineering aligns very well with the pressures every company is facing today. Those pressures include the need for simplicity in execution of the DevOps lifecycle and dealing with increased complexity of modern software architectures — in a simple, methodical, repeatable way.

Automation is a key highlight of platform engineering, according to Margaret Lee, manager of product management at Puppet by Perforce.

"We are seeing companies understand and see the benefits of automation at the organizational level," Lee told ITPro Today. "Individuals and teams were siloed in seeing benefits; now there is true organizational alignment on how and why they should embrace this."

The Intersection of Security and Platform Engineering

The report highlighted security as a top priority, with 43% of respondents saying their platform engineering team has dedicated security and compliance staff. 

Additionally, 51% noted these teams are responsible for enforcing software and tool versions for security updates. Of particular note, 70% reported that security was built into their platforms from the start.

According to Lee, the fact that security is built into the platform early came as somewhat of a surprise.

"Previously, we had seen that security was top of mind for folks but not necessarily something DevOps teams took as much involvement in the ownership side of it," Lee said.

Dealing with the Challenges of Platform Engineering

The report outlined areas where platform engineering teams still face challenges:

  • 41% need greater understanding of internal user needs.
  • 36% noted proper resource allocation as an issue.
  • 34% said adapting workflows to tools is difficult.
  • 34% struggle with establishing feedback loops with developers.

Lee noted that cost and complexity are challenges that can also creep up on platform engineering teams.

"You need to think about what problems there are to solve so you aren't over-engineering or solving the wrong problems," she said.

When it comes to complexity, Lee said that if the platform engineering strategy is not able to show benefits for developers, then they will go do it their own way, adding complexity back into the environment.

Looking forward, Lee said it will be interesting to see how the rise of AI changes what teams are doing, what improvements AI makes to automation, what challenges it introduces, and how it affects security for organizations.

"It's an ever-changing landscape, and it's moving fast," she said.

About the author

 Sean Michael Kerner headshotSean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.
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