SecOps is a culture-lead change, and it starts with you. In a SecOps operation, everyone join forces to secure the organization. As connected devices continue to penetrate the market, a SecOps approach will become vital for the sustainability of operations.
With endpoints introducing vulnerabilities, such as malware and ransomware, into the network, organizations need more visibility. Visibility starts with expanding the perimeter through the proper training of all personnel and continues with a SecOps approach for holistic and continual security.
Read on to learn about the benefits of SecOps and how to implement it in your organization.
What Is SecOps?
Security Operations (SecOps) is a work practice that promotes the collaboration between security and IT operations teams. SecOps involves a cultural change, in which security and IT share the responsibility for security concerns. The goal is to shift security left, to the beginning of the software development life cycle (SDLC), thus turning security into a dynamic process.
SecOps modernizes the traditional security operations center (SOC) practices, processes, and tools. The traditional SOC is a physical facility, where security teams measure security based on a checklist. It was expensive and caused backlogs, due to the prioritization of security at the end of the waterfall pipeline. The modern SOC is virtual, scalable, cost-effective and efficient. It’s affordable to medium-sized organizations, as well as large-scale enterprises.
Benefits of SecOps
Security-Oriented Communication and Collaboration
SecOps is applied at the cultural level, enabling open channels of communication between all parties involved—from IT and security professionals, to third-party entities and integrated software, to personnel and visitors who connect to the network at the end point.
In a SecOps ecosystem, everyone is aligned with the goal of securing the company network, and everyone collaborate to achieve security goals. When priorities unite, security goals can be met efficiently, organizations can increase the Return On Investment (ROI) through shared resources and streamlined operations.
Secure Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD)
SecOps practices ensure that CI/CD pipelines prioritize security, as well as fast delivery. SecOps teams apply security measures in Continuous Integration (CI), ensuring the codebase is secure, and in Continuous Delivery (CD), speeding up security tasks with automation.
Merging SecOps and CI/CD practices ensures that teams and technologies collaborate to continuously secure the network and codebase, without causing backlogs. SecOps teams can then use automation to reduce application and service disruptions, streamline security audits and enhance the visibility of security vulnerabilities.
Best Practices for Implementing SecOps
Here are a few steps to guide you through the process of implementing SecOps in your organization.
- Start with a strategy
The implementation of security operations involves cultural and organizational changes. The changes will be applied to people and systems, both of which need to be properly prepared in advance.
Before subjecting your people and systems to change, clearly define your goals. You can use the S.M.A.R.T goal setting system, to ensure that your goal is sufficiently Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Use your strategy as a guideline for all parties involved.
- Lead the change, don’t force it
People have proven themselves to be an adaptable force. However, when pressed, people might try to bend the situation to their wants. Instead of forcing a change, in a way that will antagonize or stress your personnel, you can turn this into a collaborative change lead by C-levels and executive decision makers. Once the leaders know why DevOps is important, they can help IT and security teams design an appropriate organizational change.
- Train your teams properly
Before you can implement security operations, you’ll need to help your teams gain the relevant knowledge and skillset required for the transition. Your IT teams will need security training, your security teams will need IT training, and they will need to learn how to work together.
You’ll need to redefine roles, restructure the organization, and ensure that each role gets proper security operations training. Do this carefully, and in a timely manner – give your people the time and resources they need to fully adopt the change.
- Clearly define your SecOps policies and procedures (P&P)
SecOps is a cyclical process. Your SecOps P&P should break the process down into measurable actions, and provide guidelines through each event. A clear P&P will set the tone and lead the process, defining how teams and individuals react to specific events, what is the scope of responsibility for each role, and what are the tools will help them achieve their goals. As you implement SecOps, your P&P will change and expand appropriately.
- Identify measurable metrics of improvement
You’re putting your organization through an enormous shift. Make sure you have the right metrics to measure the success of the implementation. These metrics will help you reward your teams for their successes, and identify issues that require additional work.
You can use these metrics to create a report that shows the success of your SecOps operation, and provide proof of success to any interested party. Use realistic metrics that coincide with your S.M.A.R.T goals and your strategy.
- Equip your teams with the appropriate SecOps tools
A security operation relies on the efficient use of technology. The goal is to shift security left, so that security is prioritized through all levels. SecOps tools support SecOps teams, by providing automation and management controls, such as automated incident response, security monitoring, codebase testing, configuration management, and container technologies for fast and deployment. Choose the tools that best suit your operation and ensure your teams receive the relevant training.
It’s a Wrap!
SecOps is a massive undertaking that requires cultural and organizational change. It can be threatening to professionals who hold traditional positions, and to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers who cater to traditional operations.
However, SecOps pays off in the long term. Applied right, security operations can increase the ROI through improved productivity, eliminate backlogs through collaborative work and provide organizations with holistic security at the cultural level.