Agile Security for Today’s Remote Work Environments
- By Zeev Draer
- Jan 22, 2021
Expect the unexpected is perhaps one of the many would-be mottos fit for today’s security groups. Teams are faced with constant change, both in terms of threats they constantly face and their own infrastructure and resources that need protection. While much has been written on the tremendous change driven by the pandemic, the conditions are nothing new to security practitioners. Even the degree to which companies have shifted their workforce from on-site to remote does not represent a novel challenge to security teams, given that many companies had already embraced the idea of mobility and a work-from-anywhere workforce.
While dynamic change has been the reality for some time, few security groups are able to stay ahead or even keep up with its rate. Most teams admit that they are primarily reactive, if only because of the immense challenges they face. In general, teams are overworked and understaffed. At the same time, being a defender makes the odds of success small compared to those attackers have. Attackers essentially have the advantage of first-mover strategy and unlimited creativity of compromising a company’s network or assets and they only need to be successful with one of them, while defenders must successfully defeat every attempt, every time to remain secure.
Fortunately, security technologies and tools are constantly improving. Practices and strategies are maturing and evolving as well. One added capability could provide game-changing effectiveness to security teams to help shift challenges and boost the odds of success. Agility for security is emerging as a concept that is both crucial and decisive. In the whitepaper, New Security Realities Demand Next Generation Visibility, Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst, ZK Research, notes, “For most organizations, it’s very difficult to deploy new security technologies or rip and replace older ones. Doing so potentially disrupts the current environment and requires extensive steps and approvals.” Security organizations must change this dynamic to ensure that they can take advantage of the latest advances in technology to help combat threats and challenges.
Agility for security involves multiple aspects. The obvious one is the speed at which one can adapt new solutions and procedures and put them into place to gain advantages or satisfy needs. Another aspect revolves around whether infrastructure, policies and politics actually work against the security team by making any proposed change a difficult, time-consuming process that adds to already staggering workloads. Such conditions become a discouragement for teams to want to change. They impact morale and ensure that security solutions will often be out of date or not fully optimized.
When you think about it, the idea of agility is already part of DevSecOps and SecOps strategies. Both of these disciplines embrace the concept of easing the process of getting things done and reducing the amount of friction involved. They also are designed to solve issues early or to become more proactive in preventing problems by adding in security considerations into designs or by providing greater operational efficiency.
Operational efficiency enables security teams to focus on what is truly important - finding an attack early and cutting off the threat to minimize any theft or damage, or to shore up significant vulnerabilities. Too much time is consumed by wild goose chases of false positive alerts and items that are relatively unimportant. Too much time is also taken by processes and constraints that make the work of security more difficult and less efficient. By becoming efficient, security teams can become more effective. Expanding remote work conditions, evolving cloud infrastructure and dynamic threats and challenges all require greater efficiency and effectiveness for security teams to remain successful. Security agility ensures that security teams are ready.
Zeev Draer serves as vice president of corporate strategy at Niagara Networks.