Overcoming the Challenges of SecOps Implementation
Security Operations shifts security to the left to ensure that security is met at every level, making it both a necessity and a challenge.
- By Gilad David Maayan
- Aug 06, 2019
The increasingly volatile digital landscape has made SecOps both a necessity and a challenge. The security perimeter is riddled with blind spots, as endpoints introduce vulnerabilities into cloud computing environments. When utilized on the dark side of the net, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies turn into sophisticated weaponry machines. SecOps brings IT and security together as a joint force charged with protecting networks and assets.
What Is SecOps?
The term Security Operations (SecOps) applies to organizational roles, specific tasks and business practices that merge security concerns with IT operations. Applying SecOps in a project or an organization often requires a cultural change through which security concerns become a collaborative work shared by IT and security.
SecOps shifts security to the left to ensure that security is met at every level. To provide organizations with holistic security measures, SecOps operations make use of modern security operations center (SOC) practices, processes and tools. To prevent backlogs and promote cost-effective efficiency, SecOps teams employ the use of virtual SOCs, security automation threat intelligence and incident reports.
The Challenges of SecOps
1. Securing Endpoints
The proliferation of cloud-native ecosystems, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) practices and Internet of Things (IoT) devices is threatening to obliterate the traditional security perimeter.
On the one hand, providing personnel and interested parties with access to the network enables efficiency. On the other hand, each private device that connects to the end point of the network creates a blind spot in the security perimeter. When employees use endpoints to access cloud environments, they may introduce a vulnerability into the company’s network.
2. Security Analysis
The expansion of the security perimeter has led to an increasing amount of activity. SecOps teams can easily drown under the massive amount of data generated by network activity.
In order to properly secure the network, SecOps teams need to analyze data from all points on the network. The goal is to compare normal activity with abnormal behavior, and then apply proper remediation.
However, before SecOps teams can remediate, they need to glean insights about threats, prioritize risks and devise appropriate fixes. In a big data environment, manual security analysis often turns into a time-consuming process.
3. Strategic Security
The global digitalization trend has prioritized efficiency and left networks open to attacks. To fix this, company leaders need to cooperate with SecOps teams.
SecOps is a cultural change that should be applied at all levels of the organization, including leadership positions. In today’s chaotic digital landscape, SecOps teams need to prioritize vulnerabilities. To do so properly, they need to be made aware not only of which vulnerability is considered the most dangerous, but which company assets are considered the most valuable.
4. Integrated Security
The demand for fast software delivery has led to efficiency-first policies that override security procedures. A SecOps policy is required to help organizations shift security to the left.
Any cultural and organizational shift will meet resistance. To smooth the way, organizations should write a comprehensive policy that serves as a guideline. Each role, event and response should be clearly defined to ensure that security is prioritized at every level. Otherwise, you might be looking at major battles for power and a chaotic work environment.
5. Security Talent
The increase in the deployment of disruptive technologies has created a volatile digital landscape. As attacks become more automated and sophisticated, SecOps require more talent.
Over 5,000 vulnerabilities have been reported in the first quarter of 2019, and as technology advances, so does the level of attacks. Most attacks are automated with varying levels of autonomy through AI, keeping SecOps teams busy.
Unfortunately, while the frequency of attacks increases, the amount of security talent decreases. (ISC)² estimates that by 2022, there will be 1.8 million unfilled cybersecurity vacancies.
6. Security Budget
The increasing complexity of digital environments and network has led to confusion. Many organizations lack the skills to assess their needs and designate an appropriate budget.
The traditional SOC is a physical facility that houses the security teams that secure and check the software prior and/or after its release. It’s an expensive undertaking that creates backlogs, and available only to large-scale enterprises. SecOps teams would be better off using modern, and virtual SOCs, which are cost-effective, time-efficient and can be more easily integrated.
How to Implement SecOps
The implementation of SecOps requires an organizational and cultural change, and you can start now by using these steps to guide you through the process. You can treat these steps as linear implementation milestones or use them as stages in a continual approach that promotes the adoption of SecOps on a regular basis.
- Write a SecOps implementation strategy—clearly define your goals, outline the actions that would lead you to each goal, and create an appropriate budget.
- Apply a top-down, bottom-up approach to the adoption of SecOps—help the leaders of the organization lead the change, so the rest may follow.
- Prepare your personnel with proper SecOps training—give your teams the educational resources required to transition to their new roles in the SecOps team.
- Create a clear SecOps Policies and Procedures (P&P)—guide the implementation of the SecOps methodology with clear definitions of roles, events and responses.
- Define realistic metrics for tracking SecOps success—provide interested parties, such as personnel and key stakeholders, with quantifiable proof of SecOps success.
- Provide your SecOps team with appropriate tools—to ensure your pipeline remains fast and efficient, support the SecOps operation with automated and intelligent tools.
It’s a Wrap!
SecOps is a holistic approach that shifts security to the left, without harming the efficiency and speed of the software delivery cycle.
You can apply SecOps in development-heavy organizations, to eliminate the backlogs associated with traditional SOC. SecOps is also applicable to regular organizations looking to ensure their network remains secure, by promoting a security-first mindset at the cultural level.
Modern SOC tools has made appropriate SecOps tools available for many organizations. Through the aid of automated, intelligent and sophisticated tools, organizations can overcome the challenges of SecOps implementation.