SecOps: an overview

DevOps is a popular approach today. But have you heard of SecOps?

DevOps is all about streamlining development for more frequent, high-quality updates and fixes. But all too often, it leaves security behind as an afterthought. After all, the drive to thoroughly test code for vulnerabilities doesn’t lend itself to speedy deployment.

This is where SecOps comes in, pushing security back into the core of your business. Here, we explain the emerging field of SecOps.

What it is

SecOps, short for ‘Security Operations’, is a new security management approach. It promotes connecting your security team with your operations teams.

The aim of SecOps is to improve the security of your organisation and your software, right from the beginning. That is, to weave good security practices into the fabric of your development, deployment and other operations.

Essentially, it’s about making security a team goal that’s core to your business. (And not something handled retroactively or within a silo.)

Why it’s useful

When you take a SecOps approach in your business, you’re putting security at the forefront of all you do. For example, you’re actively making sure security isn’t compromised in favour of longer uptime or higher performance. So, you don’t needlessly expose yourself to security risks or vulnerabilities. In an age of increased cybercrime, this is an imperative measure to take.

This approach also provides greater visibility of what changes need to happen, and their impact on other parts of the business. So, you can plan for extended downtime, extra expenditure, etcetera, when you need it.

Plus, the integration of more teams makes for a more collaborative and understanding atmosphere. Everyone knows what others do, and how it helps the business.

Beyond the internal advantages, having security at your core gives you a competitive edge. Consumers and businesses alike are only growing more aware of their privacy and safety when it comes to technology, after all.  

How to implement SecOps

There are five core steps to implementing SecOps in your business.

1.     Have a plan

The road to hell is paved with good intentions — and good intentions alone won’t ensure a successful SecOps implementation. So, you need to take the time to create a strategy to help you integrate security with your other teams.

As a starting point, it’s helpful to get an idea of your current situation. How well do your team currently communicate? What are the current roles and attitudes towards security? From there, you can outline a goal — how you want this to have changed post-implementation.

Next, think about what you need to do to achieve that goal. Assess the budget and resources you’re willing and able to put into the change, consider any risks, and prioritise the biggest tasks.

2.     Decide who to involve

SecOps is all about integrating security with the rest of your business. That means you’ll need at least one representative from every team to get involved. They’ll be the ones communicating and ensuring that security isn’t put on the backburner.

Every level should have people involved and actively promoting security. So, C level members should take an active role, as well as your development, security and operation teams. This way, security becomes a part of your overarching culture, rather than an afterthought.

3.     Train your teams

Development, security and operations are all traditionally siloed teams. They’re used to getting on with their roles, but might be less clear on what the others do.

For SecOps (and DevSecOps) to work, your teams need a chance to learn how best to communicate with each other. It’s also helpful for them to understand what a day is like for the other, and how different processes and operations can impact different teams.

4.     Put new processes in place

This is the core ‘implementation’ part of SecOps implementation. It’s the part where you create and deploy the new processes and procedures that get teams out of their siloes and integrated together.

So, for example, you might have new processes that outline how and when teams communicate with each other. Or, processes that outline what should happen if something goes wrong.

You may also find that you’re automating new processes and setting up auto alerts, to help teams get used to the new procedures.

5.     Measure your progress

Finally, you should know what your success metrics are. This means that you’ll be able to recognise where SecOps is working for you, and the areas that still need tweaking.

SecOps: an overview

SecOps, or DevSecOps, is all about collaboration. It promotes a balance between efficiency and security. It gives security a voice — and in an age of increased awareness of cybersecurity and privacy, that puts you at an advantage.

Crucially, SecOps keeps your teams working together, making for a more robust product and an integrated culture.

Useful links

The security risks of outdated software

Privilege creep: do you really need access? A message from your IT team.

Is shadow IT as shady as it sounds?