What is security operations (SecOps)?

Discover how the union of IT security and IT operations can eliminate classic silos in your organization.

As IT security becomes more robust, streamlining IT operations as a whole becomes more crucial than ever—especially as security threats continually evolve and pose unique, unanticipated threats.

Security operations is the merger and collaboration between IT security and IT operations, which prevents silos within the wider IT organization. The objective is to meet security goals without compromising any IT performance.

Security operations defined

SecOps was born partly as a result of the significant advantages and successes provided by DevOps. The DevOps methodology addresses the inherent misalignment between teams and departments. Specifically, DevOps brings together Development (Dev) and IT Operations (Ops) to better coordinate priorities and optimize communication, while integrating automation to ensure fast and eligible software delivery.

DevOps changed the way that organizations build software, resulting in major advances across a range of industries. As such, combining security and operations seemed like an obvious next step. SecOps aligns IT security and IT operations teams to ensure that all processes, including DevOps processes, can operate safely and securely.

Goals of SecOps

Higher-level goals of SecOps are:

  1. Creating collaboration across teams to account for security in the application and software development lifecycle.
  2. Increase visibility of the security infrastructure for stronger security practices.
  3. Ensure that management has bought in at all levels to create a roadmap to increase and improve the organization’s security.
What are the aspects of Security Operations (SecOps)?

Basic components

  1. Earlier detection and prioritization: SecOps tends to focus on checking smaller, more productive segments rather than large batches or entire programs at once.
  2. Increased transparency: The increased ties and collaboration between development, security, and operations can create transparency.
  3. Security improvements: SecOps improves security alongside the programming and operational aspects of DevOps.
  4. Threat awareness: SecOps teams are typically trained in security operations to ensure that everyone understands the security threats.
What are the aspects of Security Operations (SecOps)?

  • Continuous network monitoring: Careful monitoring of a network includes everything in the IT environment, including public, private, and cloud infrastructures.
  • Incident response: Any sign of unexpected activity on a network can be indicative of a security event. It is the role of the SecOps team to implement incident response protocols and take the appropriate steps to contain any damage or take preventative measures.
  • Forensics and root cause analysis: Post-incident analysis is a crucial responsibility of the SecOps teams. This is the opportunity to assess and analyze security incidents and other unexpected events to find the root cause, whether there was a breach and loss of data or if there was just a software performance issue.
  • Threat intelligence: The process of gaining knowledge about possible security threats, and planning methods to prevent or respond to events.

SecOps is continually evolving, which often leads to more complexities. Now, more than ever, organizations are facing a more sophisticated threat landscape from across the globe, and security vulnerabilities are becoming more and more prevalent. But, many organizations still haven’t implemented a sophisticated SecOps team. 28% indicated that SecOps teams are only brought on at the beginning of crucial IT projects. 15% say that they are brought on for every new project. The remaining 54% indicated that they are merely consulted on a few projects, if even at all.

72% of companies indicated that security operations have become increasingly more difficult, even when compared to two years ago. However, companies that have implemented SecOps have found it beneficial and great for ROI. Operations are improved and processes are more efficient across the security landscape and the rest of the IT infrastructure.

  • Security threats grow and become more and more creative every day. It almost seems like there won’t ever be enough people in an IT security program to dodge every attack and prevent every security incident from occurring. A more robust team can help with the deployment of applications and help oversee the security during all phases of deployment in order to grow a team and put more hands on deck.
  • Speed and tool adoption are prioritized over security. Often, operations and development teams are concerned with the speed of applications and their usefulness as a tool. When there isn’t enough emphasis on security, an application can be vulnerable to attacks and become compromised.
  • Innovation has outpaced security and it is crucial to keep security side by side with innovation. Otherwise, an innovation can just be a liability and a vulnerability.
  • Time to exploit vulnerability has decreased as cybercriminals are becoming more and more creative with their attack methodologies. Faster security responses are crucial to protecting data and the integrity of a company’s information.

Return on investment: there is a greater ROI when SecOps is implemented as opposed to a traditional security environment.

Security and operations become streamlined: priorities are better managed and consolidated, communication and information are integrated, and tools and technology are joined together.

Reduced resources: key security procedures are automated, and effective responses are orchestrated for an all-around streamlined security plan.

Fewer cloud security issues: fewer security breaches, fewer vulnerabilities, and fewer security distractions for a safer security environment.

Fewer app disruptions: fewer configuration errors are made, and changes in application code are tied together with rules of deployment.

Better auditing procedures: known vulnerabilities can be proactively addressed. Policies for compliance with appropriate standards are automatically checked and enforced.

Provide SecOps training

Some organizations may develop and administer their own training courses, some may seek out third-party courses created by a SecOps vendor, and others may create a hybrid training of the two. Regardless of the methodology, a company needs a well-trained and knowledgeable SecOps team to understand their roles, how security and operations merge, and how to function together as a whole.

Avoid potential pitfalls

A benefit of a SecOps organization is that there is better collaboration between teams and communication about operations and security. Rather than disagreeing on code and applications during development and after deployment, a SecOps team would work simultaneously to create something more holistic.

Provide proper SecOps tools

There are several development tools available, but there need to be security tools available in conjunction with development tools to keep the system well-secured and running smoothly. There are many automated platform options that can manage procedures and run well with internal SecOps processes.

The benefits of SecOps are widely recognized. However, many businesses have trouble fully embracing this methodology to improve practices and processes. As we move further into the future of SecOps, organizations will begin to recognize that in order to enjoy the full advantages of SecOps, IT and security teams will have to become more aligned—not only on goals, but also in terms of improved communication. As security and IT departments become more accustomed to seeing each other as allies rather than obstacles, they will begin to see improved results from SecOps implementation.

Technology-enabled cultural shift

As with DevOps, the ideology of SecOps will be the catalyst that drives the creation of new and better SecOps tools. As they become more widely implemented, these new tools will make SecOps even more accessible, winning over hold outs and becoming ingrained in practices across essentially every industry. When this happens, we will see SecOps truly begin to take shape, causing a cultural shift towards unified security and IT practices.

SecOps tool requirements

As SecOps becomes standard, organizations will need to be able to automatically implement security features to every new IT resource. Security-policies-as-code solutions, tailored to SecOps processes, will help provide reliable protection against digital threats, while also remaining flexible not to hamper innovation. Additionally, SecOps will move towards a more standardized format for security-incident tracking, allowing for identification, prioritization, and remediation all on a single platform.

Automation

Automations is becoming absolutely essential, and will become even more integrated with SecOps process in the coming years. Evolving from SOAR solutions identification and resolution. SecOps automations will become essential to the methodology. SecOps automation will use fine-tune, role-based access, to acquire and eliminate threats, without hampering operations' ability to evaluate security fixes and ensure that they don't have a negative impact on important business operations. 

SecOps is poised to change the way that IT security and IT operations coordinate, to produce air-tight security solutions delivered faster than ever.  Learn more about SecOps and how it can improve your business.

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