Network and security teams must collaborate to successfully deliver digital transformation

Collaboration is a key component of any successful business strategy, but it’s not always a simple task. The conflicting goals of individual teams means that different operations can become siloed, with each team working with specific requirements and deliverables in mind.

NetSecOps collaboration

Network and security teams are a typical example of this. However, collaboration between the two teams has increased in the past year, largely in response to the rapid changes in digital transformation strategies brought on by the pandemic and the growing use of new technologies. Whether it’s public cloud adoption, edge computing, IoT or the hybrid workplace, the need for collaboration between network and security operations is now more important than ever.

Recent data has shown that despite the growing need for NetSecOps, only 39% of businesses report collaboration as being successful, as they are currently ill equipped to build unified network and security operations. Automation and trusted network data brought by DDI (DNS, DHCP and IP address management) solutions are vital to optimize the integration of the two teams, particularly given their opposing goals.

The value and difficulty in NetSecOps collaboration

There are many reasons why NetSecOps collaboration is essential. One core business objective is that the integration of these teams can help increase overall operational efficiency as well as increase financial savings, thereby reducing business risk. A successful partnership can also accelerate the resolution of security issues whilst increasing network resilience, helping both network and security teams to achieve their goals.

Despite the growing need and desire to increase NetSecOps collaboration, there’s a large gap between the implementation and success rates. This issue can be attributed to a variety of collaboration challenges which must be met. These include a lack of “source of truth” data, shortage of appropriate tools, cross-team skills gaps, siloed skill sets and budget issues.

One of the primary problems is the competing needs of the two teams. Whilst network operations prioritize producing highly available and high-performing networks, the security teams have the different task of lowering risk to the business and protecting the network. These goals aren’t always aligned. However, they do make use of the same data, particularly if it is IP related, and this is where NetSecOps implementation is key. Through team integration, the individual goals of each team can be better achieved.

Network data is essential for having a shared view of the digital infrastructure and services. This is where DDI comes in as a critical enabler of collaboration, providing an essential network automation tool, and an accurate up-to-date data lake, offering security and network teams an authoritative and centralized network source of truth.

How to implement a successful NetSecOps strategy using DDI

Network and security teams can be competing or collaborating, but both need the same data to use in different ways. Therefore, network and security operations can merge to successfully deliver digital transformation strategies.

The first step to implementing a successful collaboration strategy between the teams is to work out which areas of data are shared, and how different teams make use of these. This can go beyond network and security teams, integrating DevOps and more.

Through shared network and security access to DDI data, security teams can better understand network data, helping them to better investigate security issues and optimize security policies. Automating the sharing of this data across teams, rather than manual sharing which can be time-consuming and error prone, is the best way to ensure a secure and efficient network when integrated with security tools and a data repository.

Implementing an IPAM (IP address management) tool ensures a single network source of truth, allowing security and network teams to find data when they need it and have full control of the rights.

DNS security is also key for NetSecOps because DNS acts as the first line of defense. Almost every request on the network is initiated by a DNS query, the majority of which use a DNS name which the DNS server resolves to an IP address. Placing security here is crucial because it is the first thing to happen on the network. Cyber threats are often launched using DNS, and DNS traffic can also contain malware. By stopping security issues on the DNS server via behavioral analysis, this traffic malware is stopped from going further. Network teams must share actionable DNS traffic analytics data with security teams to help simplify and accelerate remediation.

Finally, DDI automation is vital to the collaborative work between the network and security teams. It can improve how the the two teams conduct event management together, helping them to work together on infrastructure provisioning and managing infrastructure lifecycles such as ensuring all network device operating systems are fully up to date and patched.

Looking to DDI tools is a great start to ensuring effective network and security collaboration. DDI tools can provide management controls and accurate data for security teams to use, and it’s vital that the network teams should ensure they are taking the opportunity to educate them on the uses of this data. Closing the gap between these two mutually beneficial teams can provide businesses with the tools needed to evolve with the changing demands of the modern workplace.

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