Why use Policy-as-Code?

Policy-as-Code facilitates encoding compliance and operational requirements into code itself, which is then automatically enforced. With this, cloud governance shifts from being reactive to proactive, thereby preventing the introduction of non-compliant infrastructure during CI/CD deployments.

What is Open Policy Agent? 

Open Policy Agent (OPA) adds an extra layer of customizability to Policy-as-Code. It allows engineers to script policies using a language called Rego, making it incredibly versatile. OPA's strength lies in its portability and native integration with Kubernetes, AWS, and GCP, among others. OPA policies can be applied easily across your multi-cloud infrastructure and essentially provide “policy packs” that bring best practices for reliability, cost optimization, and common misconfigurations.  

The Value of Policy Packs

These pre-configured sets of policies can be imported and executed, reducing time spent on manual configuration. They serve as templates that can be modified as needed, providing both best practices and customization capabilities. By leveraging these out-of-the-box policies, teams can standardize configurations across environments quickly and effortlessly to meet many common governance standards.

CI/CD Gating and Runtime Enforcement

Policy-as-Code is not only about preventing issues at the deployment stage. While CI/CD gating is invaluable, runtime policy enforcement is equally crucial. This dual approach ensures that the infrastructure remains compliant even if changes occur post-deployment, offering a comprehensive governance solution. To achieve runtime enforcement requires ongoing governance of new cloud resources, only achievable through automation.

Key Takeaways

  • Policy-as-Code enables proactive cloud governance, making it an essential tool for modern DevOps teams.
  • OPA’s policies represent community best practices to common governance needs. Their customizability makes it possible to apply unique governance conditions, setting it apart in the policy-as-code ecosystem.
  • Policy packs provide an out-of-the-box streamlined method to enforce best practices and compliance requirements.
  • A two-pronged approach involving both CI/CD gating and runtime enforcement ensures comprehensive governance, reducing risks and improving operational efficiency.

The paradigm shift to Policy-as-Code governance is more than a trend; it's a necessity for effective cloud management. It helps organizations scale responsibly, while giving engineers the freedom to innovate, making it an invaluable asset in the modern cloud toolkit.