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Shift the SOC left: Why your organization should integrate DevOps with Security Operations

Christopher R. Wilder
Blog Author

Christopher R. Wilder, TAG Cyber’s Director of Research. Read More...

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The collaboration between SOCs and software development teams is essential for ensuring your organization's software security. Here's why.

The risks to software supply chains continue to grow as they become more complex. As cloud adoption continues at unprecedented speeds, DevOps and Security Operations (SecOps) will need to communicate and collaborate closer than before to manage an ever-increasing number of workloads, applications, and infrastructure services.

This scenario significantly increases risk related to cloud-based threats and attack surfaces, unmanaged access controls, and poor vulnerability management.

Here's why you need to formalize the DevOps/SecOps integration process to ensure all environments are under Security Operations Center (SOC) management, monitoring, and mitigating cloud-based threats — and why doing so provides the necessary benefits expected of a modern SOC.

[ See Special Report: Software supply chain and the SOC: Why end-to-end security is key ]

A tale of two cities: Organizations must integrate DevOps with the SOC

As organizations increasingly rely on technology and cloud-based services to conduct their business, cybersecurity's importance is now more important than ever. One key element of an organization's DevSecOps cybersecurity strategy is the security operations center (SOC), a team or department responsible for monitoring and analyzing the organization's security posture.

At the same time, in software development or DevOps, teams must play a crucial role in creating secure software that keeps the business operational. In this post, we will explore how SOCs and software development teams can work together to ensure the security of an organization's software.

The role of a SOC is to monitor and analyze an organization's security posture, including identifying potential security threats, responding to security incidents, and implementing controls to protect the organization's assets. The SOC team comprises security analysts, engineers, and other cybersecurity professionals.

On the other hand, software development teams are responsible for designing, developing, and testing software applications. These teams typically consist of software engineers, developers, and testers who work together to create software products that meet the organization's needs.

While the roles of SOCs and software development teams may seem unrelated, they must work together to ensure the security of an organization's software, especially in the era of open source software. For example, the SOC team can provide the software development team with guidance on security best practices, such as coding standards and testing procedures. The software development team can then incorporate these security features into their software.

Change the game by implementing a “shift left” strategy

One of the biggest evolutions in DevOps and DevSecOps is known as "Shift Left." Shift left is a testing strategy that can be a game-changer for software development and cybersecurity teams. In traditional software development processes, testing occurs at the end of the development cycle, meaning any issues discovered during testing can be time-consuming and expensive to fix.

In the context of cybersecurity, shift left refers to allowing the security operations team to incorporate security testing and assessments into the earliest stages of the development process rather than waiting until later to address security concerns. By adopting this approach, cybersecurity teams can identify and fix vulnerabilities early on, reducing the risk of security breaches and improving the overall security of the final product. This approach is particularly important in today's digital landscape, where the consequences of a security breach can be severe.

This collaboration between SOCs and software development teams has several benefits. Organizations can prevent security breaches and protect their assets by incorporating security features into their software. Additionally, this collaboration can help to build trust with customers and stakeholders, who are increasingly concerned about the security of the products and services they use. 

In our experience, shift left is a valuable strategy for software development and cybersecurity teams. By moving testing to an earlier stage in the development process, teams can identify and fix issues more quickly and efficiently, resulting in better-quality software and improved security.

Organizations can build products faster without compromising security

Companies must quickly innovate and continuously improve their products, not just to thrive but to survive. With the reliance on third-party open source software, the software development process has become a significant area of risk exposure throughout the entire software supply chain. By shifting the SOC left into the development deployment process more efficiently, security operations establish risk-based policies to detect non-compliant software behaviors.

By incorporating cybersecurity with software development, development teams can analyze and secure every software package across the enterprise continuously. The SOC can then respond when high-risk software is detected before and after deployment; this is especially important in detecting zero-day vulnerabilities like Log4j and other malicious threats. 

The collaboration between SOCs and software development teams is essential for ensuring the security of an organization's software. By providing guidance on security best practices and incorporating security features into their software, these teams can prevent security breaches and protect the organization's assets. As organizations continue to rely on technology, the role of security in software development will only become more important.

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