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Explore "operational excellence" in a four-part series that looks at trends across DevOps, SecOps, and FinOps. This third post features no-code automation and SecOps.
In “No-Code Automation and DevOps,” the second post in our four-part series on operational excellence, we evaluated DevOps as a critical business function and explored ways for automation to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Focusing on challenges within DevOps culture today, like widespread burnout and frequent context-switching, we discussed trending topics, like internal developer platforms (IDPs), to see how these kinds of solutions could provide a better path forward.
Ultimately, we revisited the three metrics from our first post; speed (performance), scalability, and reliability as key indicators of operational excellence, paying special attention to how DevOps can impact these related objectives.
Now, let’s take a different perspective on cloud operations.
Infrastructure teams are responsible for more than just operating tools and services across different environments. Getting all these cloud services to work together requires major configuration and maintenance effort. Cloud engineers must also work to secure their applications from vulnerabilities and external threats. Like DevOps, SecOps (short for “security operations”) can be a complex and tedious process for cloud engineering teams.
No-code automation gives security operations teams the tools they need to build their cloud workflows efficiently. Platforms like Blink come with purpose-built automations for cloud security tools and services, significantly reducing the effort required to build new workflows. In the Blink Automation Library, there are over 5000+ cloud automations available for teams to deploy today.
In this post, you will learn about the different types of security tools being used by cloud engineering and SecOps teams today. Then, we’ll discuss how no-code automation can unlock new degrees of operational efficiency for your developers and SecOps teams.
The cloud security ecosystem is massive. Cloud security today is filled with highly specialized tools and confusing acronyms. It can be hard to decipher what different terms mean, and which tools matter most. Let’s spend a few minutes demystifying some basic security lingo and tools, adding context around how those different tools use automation today.
At the end of the day, security automation involves the coordination of these and many other cloud security tools. We’ve seen a natural convergence, for example, with many SIEM vendors introducing SOAR capabilities into their products. But in practice, security operations remain an event-driven affair. Issues don’t get resolved just because an alert is received by a cloud security engineer. SOAR platforms enable playbook automation, but are limited at what they can do outside of security tools (like in AWS, Kubernetes, Slack, Google Docs, JIRA, etc.), which is usually where the resolving action needs to be taken. They are also super complex and difficult to maintain. Furthermore, SOAR platforms were not designed to support interactive “shift-left” workflows (like providing on-demand automations for developers).
The way cloud engineers and cybersecurity teams think about “SecOps automation” has shifted over the last few years. Today, SecOps automation means more than just integrating services into your SIEM and SOAR platform and getting alerts. Instead, SecOps receive alerts and must take action, often across multiple cloud services. This means logging in and out of different tools, manual enrichment tasks, creating Slack channels, and notifying affected stakeholders. Meanwhile, there are actions that must be taken across your cloud infrastructure that cannot be automated by SIEM or SOAR.
For example, how are you supposed to use SIEM or SOAR automation platforms to solve these kinds of problems?
At the end of the day, having a strong cloud security posture is making an investment in your business and customers. That’s why it’s important for enterprise leaders to embrace no-code automation, which empowers skilled practitioners to more efficiently and effectively resolve security issues and automate their everyday SecOps workflows. Adopting a no-code platform helps teams to better enforce security policies and compliance, with all integrations and scripts managed securely on a cloud-native platform, with all security updates and high availability already handled.
When it comes to cloud security, operational excellence means having clearly established SecOps processes and procedures, with visibility into the real-time security status of your cloud infrastructure. Processes should be coordinated across all relevant cloud platforms, so your SecOps teams can identify and respond to issues faster, using real-time information to make better decisions sooner.
Here’s how we evaluate operational excellence from a SecOps perspective at Blink Ops:
One of the most critical elements of an organization’s security posture is their ability to respond to security threats rapidly. But speed can mean different things in different cloud security contexts. Here are two examples describing different bottlenecks that can occur on SecOps teams, negatively affecting the speed of your cloud security operations.
When it comes to measuring speed in SecOps, your primary metric is likely to be MTTR, which stands for mean-time-to-response (“r” is also sometimes “repair”). This is an aggregate metric that measures your team’s total time to respond from incident origin until the situation has been remedied and service is restored. Improving efficiencies in your cloud security processes can decrease MTTR.
The Blink Automation Library comes with more than 200 different automations for incident response and remediation, to help cloud engineering teams resolve security issues faster. Cloud engineering and SecOps teams can leverage Blink automations to decrease MTTR for security incidents, and also to decrease the frequency of security incidents with tons of helpful automations that make it easier for cloud engineers and SecOps teams to manage their everyday security responsibilities.
While it may seem more natural to consider scalability from an infrastructure perspective compared with security, it’s still important to make sure your organization has the ability to scale to meet the challenge when faced with different security risks. Like we did in our prior post, it can be helpful to evaluate your ability to scale across three different axes.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself when considering scalability in your security posture:
Scalability of processes
Scalability of infrastructure
Scalability of communications
No-code automation can help your cloud security team prepare for and respond to security threats more quickly. In a world of microservices and countless cloud tools, it’s more important than ever for security engineers to leverage automation to abstract away ever increasing complexity. Adopting a no-code platform can help your cloud security team standardize response workflows, improve your team communication and documentation, and cut down MTTR.
Any CISO worth their salt will tell you that preventative measures are necessary to fortify your security posture. These proactive measures, like adopting EDR/XDR, SIEM, and SOAR tools, or monitoring mobile devices with an MDM platform, are all table stakes for securing your cloud-native infrastructure. Having these tools and processes in-place can ensure your team is better prepared when the inevitable occurs.
Reliability in cloud security is also functional and outcome-based. For example, there are responsibilities like customer SLAs and compliance policies that SecOps teams must continuously account for over time.
Individually, each of these responsibilities can be difficult to wrangle for SecOps teams. But combined with the regular planned work undertaken by cloud security engineers can be a recipe for project delays and overstressed SecOps teams. Traditional security tools and solutions are not enough for cloud security teams to keep up with the demands of securing modern cloud-native infrastructure.
Blink comes with over 1200 different automations to help improve security compliance and reliability across your cloud infrastructure.
Blink enables DevOps, SecOps, and FinOps to achieve operational excellence by making it easy to create automated workflows across the cloud platforms and services they use every day. The impact of adopting a no-code automation platform like Blink is happier, more productive development teams and more reliable, resilient cloud operations.
The best part? The no-code future for cloud operations is available today. Get started with Blink today.