Cybersecurity attacks are increasing. The new challenge of supporting remote workers during the pandemic, and beyond, only makes it more difficult to detect and prevent threats. Organizations must create a safe environment for their products and operations. This is particularly true for IT companies that push innovation forward with rapid development cycles.
When it comes to establishing relationships between clients, partners, users and other IT professionals, trust is a key aspect of the IT industry. A solid SecOps strategy will help you to build that trust. It is difficult to stay ahead of hackers. To combat cyberthreats, organizations are increasingly relying on SecOps teams.
In this article, I will discuss about SecOps in detail.
What is SecOps?
SecOps is short-term for “Security Operations” (Security + Operations = SecOps). Its purpose is to reduce security risks in both daily operations and in development. It’s a collaborative effort to create a safe working environment and safer software and apps.
It is the proactive integration of security and operations teams, which share the responsibility for predicting, monitoring and addressing potential risks and vulnerabilities. Automating security tasks does not hinder the development cycle. SecOps is more than just an organizational concept. It touches every aspect of the organization’s daily life. SecOps is a way to do things, a method that encourages collaboration and automates processes during development. This helps improve security. It shares the DevOps holistic view, but puts security at the same level as quality and speed.
Security can become a burden due to the constant need for innovation. SecOps offers a comprehensive approach to minimizing risks by integrating security practices into all operational stages. Security and operations teams are responsible for maintaining a safe environment. They evaluate and signal vulnerabilities, share information, and resolve security issues. SecOps is all about communication. All rules and procedures should be clearly defined, from the tools to the roles in prevention, detection and resolution. This will ensure that no vulnerabilities are overlooked.
SecOps goals and benefits
It is often difficult to identify cybersecurity threats and defend against them, or, if they become attacks, mitigate them. IT operations and security teams are often separated. Organizations can quickly and intelligently address security issues by combining IT operations and security into a SecOps team.
SecOps offers the following benefits and goals for businesses:
- Continuous protection
- A quick and efficient response
- Operation costs and breaches are reduced
- Prevention of threats
- Security expertise
- Communication and collaboration
- A better business reputation
Key roles in a SecOps group
Security Operations teams have many specialist roles that cover all stages of attack mitigation and threat prevention.
- Incident Responder – The Incident Responder is the first person to arrive on the scene. Their role is to monitor, identify threats, and respond to alarms.The responsibility of the Incident Responder is to collect the incident information and pass it on to the Security Investigator.
- The Security Investigator – This is responsible for identifying what’s happening and taking immediate action.Security investigators are responsible for signaling affected areas, conducting analysis to assess damages, identifying the origins and causes of the incident and defining the methods used. Security Investigators are responsible for deploying countermeasures and mitigation strategies.
- Advanced security analyst – This role is responsible to test and analyze systems in order to find undetected vulnerabilities, and to recommend new strategies or fixes to avoid incidents.
- SOC manager – Chief of Operations, with a broad perspective on the entire process.They act as the link between team members, management, business leaders, partners and other stakeholders. This requires strong soft skills. They are the ones who respond to crises.
- Security architect/security engineer – Responsible for security architecture of the organization.This position is responsible for security compliance during the development process as well as for evaluating security analysis tools.
What does a SecOps Centre do?
IT organizations have to establish clear objectives, roles and responsibilities for SecOps. This is one of the biggest challenges they face. Operations and security should work together to ensure the protection of information assets and meet service level and performance requirements. Many IT companies have a dedicated security operation center that SecOps team members can work together to achieve these goals.
The security operations center has the following capabilities and activities:
- Network Monitoring – SecOps teams are responsible for monitoring activity in the enterprise’s IT infrastructure. This includes private, public, and hybrid clouds.Monitoring network activity includes the monitoring of security events as well as the performance and operational status of deployed applications.
- Incident Response – SecOps Teams are responsible for the implementation of an incident response plan when an unexpected or unwanted situation arises.Although incidents may be reported by end-users, they are often discovered by network monitoring software before they reach the end-users. An incident response team responds to security breaches by taking the necessary steps to stop the attacker from accessing more of the network.
- Forensics & Root Cause Analysis – SecOps has the ability to analyse and assess data to find the root cause of security breaches, performance issues or other unexpected events on the network.SecOps teams make use of specialized security software to perform root cause analysis and determine the underlying causes for security problems. Once they are fixed, they can exploit them again.
- Threat Intelligence – Threat intelligence is a security procedure that consists of two steps. It aims to gain knowledge and understanding about possible security threats and to establish methods to detect, respond and prevent such threats from ever happening.You can conduct threat intelligence as a team within SecOps, the entire company, or between business entities that share a common interest in protecting their internal systems.
Best practices to implement SecOps within an organization
Although it is a good idea to shift the team culture from Agile or DevOps in order to include security measures, it could slow down the development process. Programmers are used to create new features and software versions at a fast pace. Security is not usually backed into the process. It is more reactive and only considered when there is an emergency. Let’s look at some best practices to incorporate SecOps in any methodology that you may be using within your organization.
Some organizations may choose to create their own SecOps procedures and training. Some may prefer to follow established training frameworks. It is possible to quickly and easily implement training programs using third-party courses.
Avoid potential pitfalls
SecOps has many benefits. One is the increased teamwork among all involved in software production. Having closer collaboration between all teams will reduce disagreements between Security and Development teams about how code is produced.
Access to SecOps tools
Apart from the most popular tools such as GitHub, AWS, and other development tools like e.g. AWS and GitHub are two of the most popular development tools. However, you can also use security tools to help implement SecOps in your system while still maintaining speed. Automation platforms can handle many security procedures and work well with a documented SecOps process.
Know which processes to automate and should stay manual
Automation is essential for SecOps success in a fast-paced, large-scale IT environment. Automation is essential to automate processes like monitoring, anomaly detection, and vulnerability scanning. This allows you to do these tasks at scale and in real time.
SecOps cannot automate every process. Complex tasks such as responding to security incidents that aren’t covered in your monitoring or incident remediation tools take a lot of effort. Even more, you need to create response playbooks for new types of incidents that can be managed automatically in future.
Although SecOps implementation in an organisation can be costly and time-consuming for both operations and security teams, the short and long term return on investment is clear. Follow the best practices discussed above to ensure your organization reaps all the benefits of SecOps. SecOps implementation will lead to increased visibility of security vulnerabilities, decreased application and service disruptions, and secure continuous integration and delivery, among other benefits.