Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Operations

7/30/2015
10:30 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail vvv
100%
0%

Closing The Gap Between Security & Networking Ops: 5 Best Practices

If your factions are warring, there's a lot you can do about it. Here's how -- and why you can't afford to wait.

IT networking operations and security operations centers are often misaligned. According to Gartner, “Security is seen more as a bolt-on appendage to IT rather than an integral component that should be baked into all architectures. This leads to end-user frustration and fosters kingdom-building versus deep integration between teams. The end results of both intrasecurity and IT organizational misalignments are unhappy users; reduced security; and architectures that are more complex, costly to operate and difficult to scale.”

From my experiences working with both teams, these five best practices will help close the divide. You’ll achieve a higher level of security and create aligned priorities that can be measured and demonstrated to your executive team.

Best Practice 1: Incentives. Aligning incentives to create shared goals may be common knowledge, but it’s hardly common practice. In many organizations there is an inherent conflict between the goals of the networking and security teams. The networking team may be concerned with maintaining network availability, which is obviously hindered as security and access restrictions pile up, while the security team resists any architectural changes if they can potentially introduce new risk. Consider defining both security and networking goals for both teams.

Best Practice 2: Reporting structures that foster collaboration. In some organizations, the CISO reports outside of the IT department (e.g. to the CFO). In the absence of a common boss, inter-team tension can quickly escalate. Simple things such as joint social events or locating the teams in close proximity can go a long way in fostering collaboration. Another common approach is to have “overlays,” where the networking team has a representative in the security team and vice versa.

Best Practice 3: A “single pane of glass.” All too often, the security team’s view of the network and risk are different to that of the networking team due to different tools that are used by each team. It is imperative that both teams use the same tools for provisioning and making changes to network security devices. You simply cannot have people in either department making changes without approval. Everyone needs to follow a process in order to make changes, even the network administrator. Without change control, your network becomes a free-for-all and poses a major security risk for outsiders and insiders.  

Best Practice 4: Holistic process analytics. Without good data and visibility, it’s not easy to understand where you may have made mistakes or introduced bottlenecks. Tracking each stage of the network change process (which team requested the change, how long did it take to analyze it, approve it for risk, provision the change, etc.) can help you identify and resolve inefficiencies.

Best Practice 5: Automation. First and foremost, automation can eliminate mistakes, which create tension. Automated tools are also better than human beings at “translating” requests that may be communicated in one language (e.g. the language of networking) into another language (that of security). Finally, whenever a person has to say no to a request, there is a potential for friction. However, if an automated solution does not allow something, it creates a sense of fairness: “the system won’t let me approve this” to “I don’t allow you to do this.”

At the speed of today’s business and with increased focus on automation, the lines are quickly blurring between operations and security teams. Aligning these teams is an imperative; if your factions are warring, don’t delay in doing something about it.

Originally a software engineer and then a product manager for security products, Nimrod (Nimmy) Reichenberg now heads global strategy for AlgoSec. Nimmy is a frequent speaker at information security events and a regular contributor to industry publications including Security ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
RyanSepe
50%
50%
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2015 | 10:17:13 AM
Best Practices
These are all very good principles. All to often Networking is managing is functionality and security hits the back burner. There needs to need a bridge between the two teams so both sides of the fence can be understood. As stated in the article, many times security and networking will have overlapping tools for analyzing the same technology. By simplifying the architecture and surveillance of it, you provide a more succinct way of managing security and run the business operations.
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 5/22/2020
How an Industry Consortium Can Reinvent Security Solution Testing
Henry Harrison, Co-founder & Chief Technology Officer, Garrison,  5/21/2020
Is Zero Trust the Best Answer to the COVID-19 Lockdown?
Dan Blum, Cybersecurity & Risk Management Strategist,  5/20/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-13458
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-25
An issue was discovered in the Image Resizer plugin before 2.0.9 for Craft CMS. There are CSRF issues with the log-clear controller action.
CVE-2020-13459
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-25
An issue was discovered in the Image Resizer plugin before 2.0.9 for Craft CMS. There is stored XSS in the Bulk Resize action.
CVE-2020-13442
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-25
A Remote code execution vulnerability exists in DEXT5Upload in DEXT5 through 2.7.1402870. An attacker can upload a PHP file via dext5handler.jsp handler because the uploaded file is stored under dext5uploadeddata/.
CVE-2020-5537
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-25
Cybozu Desktop for Windows 2.0.23 to 2.2.40 allows remote code execution via unspecified vectors.
CVE-2020-13438
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-24
ffjpeg through 2020-02-24 has an invalid read in jfif_encode in jfif.c.