Transforming the Relationship Between ITOps & SecOps

From separate reporting structures, misaligned objectives, and sometimes clashing responsibilities, collaboration across ITOps and SecOps has its challenges. Add to that the remote workforce onslaught and a lack of skilled workers, and you've got a recipe to increase the divide between these essential teams. The results of widening that gap can be increased risk and deepened complexity.

Forty-four percent of cybersecurity and IT professionals say the relationship between IT and security doesn't work well at times. (1)

How, then, can ITOps and SecOps jointly overcome these challenges and arrive at a more harmonious working relationship?

Creating a Collaborative Partnership Across ITOps and SecOps

At Automox, making the lives of ITOps and SecOps easier and less complicated is a big part of our wheelhouse.

Below you’ll find some suggestions we've found work well for getting your ITOps and SecOps teams to bridge their gaps and function like a well-oiled machine, keeping users productive and security risks at bay.

1. Establish responsibilities and cross-engage

Within your organization, as vulnerabilities emerge, do you know who holds responsibility from beginning to end? Are multiple team members held accountable?

By clearly specifying who owns what part of the ITOps and SecOps processes and establishing cross-team engagement protocols, teams can quickly remove much of the back-and-forth chatter and complexities that cause angst.

These efforts don’t always need to be formalized, but if you can keep them top of mind, you’ll find easier communication and smoother workflow. Here are some tips:

  • Include SecOps personnel in functional ITOps discussion groups. Likewise, include ITOps in SecOps discussions. For example, patch admins can include SecOps team members who are responsible for running vulnerability detection reports during their patching sync call. This way both sets of team members can directly tackle issues jointly.

  • Drive shared responsibility, across management and staff, to regularly maintain a keen eye on detecting role duplication or creep. Better yet, identify roles early during the planning phase of projects and avoid ownership problems before they arise.

  • Create a regularly scheduled forum for both teams to voice opinions about what is (and isn’t) working, upcoming projects, and issues. For example, retrospective discussions can include assessments of whether or not teams worked well together. Was there a responsibility overlap? Was the project a “hot potato” with no one wanting to own responsibility?

  • Identify an executive sponsor as projects and needs arise. Having an executive in your court always helps team buy-in and promotes better cross-team collaboration.

2. Invest in the cloud

According to Gartner, over 85% of organizations will embrace a cloud-first principle by 2025. (3) Cloud adoption has gained a ton of traction with enterprise organizations during with the shift to remote work. Clearly, the need for a flexible, agile, and cost-effective solution is growing to replace on-prem technologies that can no longer keep up.

Choosing a non-cloud native tool today can hinder your team tomorrow. How? You inherently introduce interoperability issues between cloud-enabled technologies and on-prem options.

By choosing to invest in cloud technologies, you gain harmony, the power to scale, and an ability to boost efficiency and productivity – all sorely needed for ITOps and SecOps teams.

Even if your company is not 100% cloud, by selecting cloud-native technologies now, you ensure better interoperability in the future and set your teams up for mutual success.

3. Automate

Mounting complexities across both ITOps and SecOps teams expose the need for automation. Manually prioritizing and deploying patches, for example, can be a colossal and tedious manual project. Not only are stretched-thin ITOps and SecOps teams seeing missed SLAs, but remediating vulnerabilities can sprawl from hours to weeks – extending your security risk.

Through automation, you not only save time and staff cycles, but you can scale tasks across your organization with no heavy-lift manual efforts for either team.

Weeding out the inconsistent processes between ITOps and SecOps is also a result of automation, with automated tools acting as guardrails that stay within defined steps and protocols.

The most obvious benefit of all is the ability of both teams to do more strategic work making many of the manual aspects of their roles a thing of the past.

4. Integrate

There’s no single tool to accomplish all of your objectives, but the tools in your tech stack should work well together. The more integrated the tools and technologies ITOps and SecOps share, the more successful they often are at addressing risk quickly while maintaining user productivity.

Sixty-one percent of global organizations’ IT teams now report a preference for integrated solutions that replace their complicated stacks of cybersecurity and data protection tools. (4)

Leveraging technologies that are “integration-friendly” not only optimizes your existing investments’ value and usage but can also open doors to new data insights, enhanced capabilities, and shared collaboration across your ITOps and SecOps teams.

Case in point: Full-cycle vulnerability remediation has been a challenge for ITOps and SecOps teams alike. Staying ahead of escalating cyberattacks requires quickly finding and fixing vulnerabilities before they are exploited. But often, these tasks are distributed across non-integrated tools requiring manual intervention from either ITOps and SecOps or both.

Automox brings two critical functions together – vulnerability detection and remediation – by integrating with industry-leading technologies such as CrowdStrike, Rapid7, Tenable, and Qualys, Automox ingests vulnerability detection reports and automates remediation of the reported vulnerabilities with a single click. This action frees both ITOps and SecOps from manual steps and clunky workflows. And you get to make the most of tools you already have in your stack.

5. Share the same comprehensive view

You can’t manage, control, or secure what you can’t see. Missing reporting details not only create data gaps, but often result in clunky manual processes, untrustworthy reporting, and negative business outcomes.

Having comprehensive and shared visibility with a single source of truth enables improved productivity and improves data sharing workflows across ITOps and SecOps. By consolidating and streamlining data sharing across your tech stack, you can reduce data-gathering complexity and save time digging for answers while quickly arriving at more informed strategic decisions. One of the major benefits here is the removal of any guesswork or finger-pointing with direct insight into the state of your infrastructure.

ITOps and SecOps: Elevating cross-team efforts

Wouldn't we all feel a little better without as much cross-team jostling between ITOps and SecOps?

Having proactive discussions, clearly defining roles, automating, integrating, and sharing reporting not only elevates the teamwork mentality but can stop issues before they have a chance to be disastrous.

By leveraging some of these insights and recommendations, you can work with confidence to address both risk reduction and user productivity. The result will be a deeper level of trust in your colleagues and better protection for your enterprise.

For more insights into transforming your IT operations, check out our breakdown of this year's biggest trends in the 2022 IT Trends Playbook here.


Automox for Easy IT Operations

Automox is the cloud-native IT operations platform for modern organizations. It makes it easy to keep every endpoint automatically configured, patched, and secured – anywhere in the world. With the push of a button, IT admins can fix critical vulnerabilities faster, slash cost and complexity, and win back hours in their day.

Demo Automox and join thousands of companies transforming IT operations into a strategic business driver.

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