How SecOps Can Improve Your Security





The increasing value of data in combination with tightening regulations on privacy data has put security at the forefront of a lot of businesses’ minds. If you are in this group and you’re looking for a way to better prioritize security, consider implementing a SecOps team to reduce your risk of data loss and ensure that you are providing the best protection possible to your customers and yourself.

What Is SecOps?


SecOps is the merger of security and operations into a single team, working to improve the security of an organization. It requires the upfront and consistent communication of the needs and goals of its members and an agreement to collaborate in achieving those goals.


The main idea behind SecOps is that greater transparency of security requirements, and their impact on businesses, allows organizations to reduce their risk of damage caused by security threats and increase their ability to provide secure services and products to their customers.

SecOps strategies are increasingly being incorporated into existing DevOps teams, creating DevSecOps, to optimize efficiency and security throughout the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). SecOps teams work well in hybrid IT environments as such environments often require some overlap of responsibilities and collaboration.

Goals of SecOps


To create a functional SecOps team, you must set a number of goals and work towards them:


  • Change Organizational Culture—departmental teams have been traditionally siloed, leading to conflicts of interest and ineffective workflows. Changing the culture to reflect values of collaboration will allow team members to work more effectively. Management buy-in is particularly important.
  • Create Joint-Responsibility—when all parties are responsible for security, they are more likely to follow security policies and be invested in understanding concerns. When more team members contribute to security efforts, the overall work is simplified.
  • Shifting-Left—earlier analysis and management of vulnerabilities improves the overall security of a business and its data by reducing the amount of time that vulnerabilities exist. Shifting emphasis on security to earlier in operational processes reinforces its importance and its impacts on the operations as a whole.
  • Increase Transparency—if the reasons for protocols are not understood or there are no opportunities to provide feedback, team members will resist the integration of security policies. When team members are fully included in processes, they are more likely to work collaboratively and take ownership of work.
  • Use of Automation—the need for specific expertise is reduced when security tasks are automated since security procedures can be standardized and simplified. SecOps automation reduces the chance that team members feel overburdened by new processes and can aid in teaching best practices.

Security Benefits of SecOps


When SecOps strategies are properly implemented they can provide significant benefits to you and your customers.

#1. Faster Threat Response

When responsibility for security is jointly shared, particularly when it’s automated, team members are more likely to be able to respond quickly and effectively to threats. Even if they are unsure how or unable to take action on their own, they are more likely to notice any security issues that may arise, know who to contact, and be able to provide helpful contextual information. This can help mitigate damage caused by breaches and reduce any downtime of systems caused by attacks.

#2. Proactive Security

Shifting security left helps produce more secure products from the start and reduces the risk of compounding vulnerabilities. Built-in, rather than tacked-on, security greatly reduces opportunities for potential attackers to harm your systems and significantly reduces compliance issues since data is overall less vulnerable. An added benefit is that the need for fewer reactionary responses to security issues raises customer confidence and improves brand image.

#3. Greater Efficiency

SecOps teams can more securely deploy applications when they are completed and more quickly patch them or otherwise address customer concerns as they arise, as team goals are not in competition and work is less likely to require revision. Teams can more efficiently use resources such as cloud storage or services due to clear access policies and an increased understanding of what data is being used for or why it is being kept.

A greater ROI is often seen due to a reduced need for expensive security measures, such as external analysts or product testers. Overall, increased transparency leads teams to make better and more efficient decisions.

#4. Opportunities for Innovation

The collaboration of team members from different disciplines facilitates an environment of innovation as the sharing of workloads and goals prompts them to adapt in unique ways. Cross-functional reviews of workflows and risks allow team members to question processes outside their expertise, often challenging traditional views and practices.

This collaboration can help streamline the adoption of technologies that might otherwise be difficult to securely implement, such as cloud services or Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Conclusion


SecOps is not the solution for everyone, nor is it always easy to implement. If you are part of a large, traditional organization, it can be near impossible to convince teams to adapt to new processes and expectations. If, however, you are part of a smaller company or one that believes the benefits SecOps can provide are worth the effort needed to change, learning more about how others are implementing SecOps strategies and what tools they’re using are solid next steps you can take.

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