Web dev + IT: unique roles, equal partners in application success

24 Jun 2019
Fred Plais
CEO

When web teams build a site, DevOps is one of the least visible tasks—and one of the most time consuming. A shiny, user-friendly site, with relevant features and a well-structured content hierarchy, garners all the attention. In the background, approximately 30 percent of the typical web dev team’s time is devoted to plumbing: cloud infrastructure, the database, the search engine, and the so-called services layers the application requires to run.

The plumbing generally falls within the realm of the IT department (or more recently, the DevOps team within the IT department). Traditionally, the digital application team and the IT team have collaborated to build and run a web project.

With Platform.sh, digital teams have now the ability to work in full autonomy without requiring any build work from the IT team. That independence comes with significant benefits and hugely accelerates the delivery of an application. Think of it: no need to wait for IT to provide the development and staging environments. With Platform.sh, it comes right out of the box—in seconds. No need for the painful process of sending tickets back and forth. And no need to set up the machine of each developer on the team. It’s all fully automated. Yay! (This is so much better for everyone.)

But, as with most things, there’s a limit. Even if the IT department doesn’t have to build anything, they still have mission-critical work to perform. And Platform.sh has built a platform that supports and enhances an IT team’s requirements.

What’s IT’s role in a web project built on Platform.sh?

Define governance. There are a few fundamental questions that need to be answered in every project. Who has permissions to push to production? Who has access to the data? Who has access to confidential data? Who can commit code and in which branch? Determining governance is crucial. At the end of the day, IT is responsible for access management, and every project will need to be compliant with a company’s general guidelines. Platform.sh accommodates these requirements very nicely. Environments (including production) will be made available only to the right team members, who will either be a viewer, a contributor, or an admin. This approach enables very fine-grained user management and maps to the company’s governance policy.

Ensure security. In today’s world, security is the primary responsibility of any IT team. Most companies have in-house security specialists who are in charge of reviewing external parties’ and vendors’ security practices and policies. At Platform.sh, we take security extremely seriously. Among the really cool things we offer? Robust traffic routing controls, DDoS mitigation, and a web application firewall. All of our containers are read-only. We use hardened kernels and have auto-updated services (and many other really nice features). It’s the job of the security team to review these features to ensure compliance with their internal policies.

Manage compliance guidelines. In the enterprise world, IT will also define criteria their vendors must meet. Here at Platform.sh, we’re on a rigorous compliance track of our own. We’ve already secured SOC-2 certification and maintain GDPR compliance. This is just the beginning; PCI compliance is now in progress, and there’s more to come.

One platform for all

At Platform.sh, we see many customer projects kick off as shadow IT. We understand the need for speed, and why digital teams under time constraints may want to take shortcuts. But web dev teams can confidently involve their IT counterparts in their projects. IT staff play a critical role in demanding web projects and beyond. Our team prides itself on being strong partners to IT staff; we understand their needs and their concerns. To support them, we’re building a platform that’s absolutely IT-aware and IT-friendly. So, together, digital and IT teams can collectively drive project success.