SecOps is a management approach that connects security and operations teams, similar to how DevOps unifies software developers and operations professionals. The premise behind SecOps is to ensure that security and operations teams share accountability, processes, tools and information to make sure the organization does not not have to sacrifice security for higher uptime and better performance. Keeping both teams involved in the process provides greater visibility into what changes are required and what the impact of those changes on other parts of the business might be.
The process of merging security with operations involves several steps. The first is to consolidate priorities and decision making processes. Next, communication channels, software tools and authorizations to information need to become shared in order to give every team member a uniform, holistic view of development. Lastly, all development processes need to be updated to incorporate security at each stage.
The most critical difference between SecOps and alternative management methodologies is that security is included in the responsibility of all team members and in every aspect of the organization. For example, a customer service agent may notice a suspicious email notification or an engineer could report a SQL injection attempt.
As information security teams play a more crucial role in organizations, SecOps is important in making sure the gap between security and operations does not cause company-wide issues. The collaboration of security teams with operations teams helps organizations reduce process inefficiencies, become more secure overall and share accountability.
Goals of SecOps
Goals of a successful SecOps approach revolve around introducing security aspects earlier or at every stage of the development cycle. Emphasis is placed on upper management to commit to making security improvements, in order to implement a more holistic roadmap. Objectives can also include cross-team collaboration and cross-functional review of operational risks.
SecOps may be a cultural change for some organizations that requires larger issues to be addressed before goals can be achieved. In this situation, objectives may include redefining job roles and priorities, outlining business risks associated with security incidents and agreeing on core business functions.
Implementing a SecOps approach is associated with the following benefits:
- Higher return on investment (ROI).
- Improved productivity.
- More efficient use of shared resources.
- Fewer application or service disruptions.
- More streamlined security audit
- Greater visibility of security vulnerabilities across the organization.
- Easier adoption of technologies that require advanced security measures, such as cloud services.
- Stronger incident management and response
- More effective patch
- Fewer compliance
A term related to SecOps is DevSecOps, a process that layers security practices between development and operations. Although the term DevSecOps is relatively new, the idea of addressing security at each stage of the software lifecycle has been around for years. DevSecOps often focuses on an Agile approach to development, which is aimed at speed and efficiency. Teams are working together increasingly to ensure that security stays on par with development and operations.