Article

Why syncing IT operations and security is a win for business

by Stephen Danos

While you’ve heard vocal leaders beating the DevSecOps drum for years, it’s never been truer that security is everybody’s job at an organization — for all managers and individual contributors.

IT experts and analysts are calling for IT departments to have their various teams work hand-in-hand — and maintain a seat at the table with business leaders. Integrating IT operations and security helps these teams work more efficiently and have a greater impact on the business as a whole.

 

When it comes to cybersecurity meeting business demands, Daniel Newman, a regular contributor to Forbes specializing in digital transformation, reported that “68% of cybersecurity professionals are demanded to cut back on security measures to meet a business deadline.” That’s a staggering percentage of IT pros who are willing to cut corners to keep up. 

This mentality leads to organizations skipping important security measures to move the business forward. Pair this with the reality that operations teams don’t always follow proper security protocols, and that’s when you get newsworthy breaches. 

So, why should your IT operations and security teams collaborate? It enables teams to respond faster to security threats, reduce risk and improve resilience, and foster a dynamic, collaborative environment, which is the lifeblood of innovation.

Illustration of a checkmark and security shield blended with a clock.

Faster response to security threats 

A lack of strong communication poses a real threat to IT operations and security teams. Constant collaboration equips these interlinked teams to understand the full scope of your company’s technology assets and their associated risk profiles. When there’s harmony, IT pros can create comprehensive strategies that meet all of your organization’s security needs. 

Often, it takes a serious forcing factor, like an app outage or data breach, for security and DevOps to get together. This is exactly why IT team leads need to talk regularly, at weekly or even daily stand-up meetings. Leaders can then plan for outcomes and shift the culture of IT, from a back-of-house department that puts out fires to a team of technical experts with business acumen that contributes to strategy, looped into all major platform-based initiatives that could impact security and uptime.

IT managers will find themselves at a loss if they don’t cooperate, as the disconnect is a waste of time, money, and effort put into a mindset that over-indexes on fixing technology when it breaks. If you’re an IT leader, the odds are that you want to drive value for your entire organization, but it’s challenging to move at the speed that your executive team needs. 

When you get a seat at that table with business leaders, set realistic security goals and expectations for both long-term projects, such as cloud migrations, and quick wins, such as approving a new video conference software. This allows you to ensure IT managers and individual contributors are aligned at all times, so they can consistently respond to the speed of business while making security a prime concern.

Prioritize security every step of the way

The best IT managers are obsessed with reducing risk to their customers and improving the resilience of their systems. To achieve this goal on a regular basis, security must be applied to every step of the deployment process. If you’re a proactive IT leader, you’ll ask yourself: “How are we securing the systems we design, build, code, and deploy?”

When technology teams research and assess SaaS platforms or apps for functionality and business needs, it’s optimal if they also check for enterprise-grade security. Does the software tick all the boxes for compliance, deployment, and end-to-end data encryption, while also enduring diligent vulnerability tests?

A collaborative work management platform can help streamline IT project management processes — deployment, SaaS assessments, networking upgrades, cloud migrations, corporate computer management, and more — through data-capture forms, automation triggers that alert business owners, and secure information sharing.

So, when a business stakeholder submits a procurement form as part of a new software request, this should start a thorough vetting process. One that sets up your procurement department to negotiate price, then alerts IT so they can initiate tests and a tiering process for the vendor. Does the requested software integrate with other apps, software, and business tools? What are the inherent risks to data integrity that manifest by connecting platforms? 

If IT operations and security leaders communicate throughout this process, they can perform a security analysis, do background research on the company providing the service, and delve into terms and conditions. When teams are kept in the loop, either through routine meetings or an informational dashboard, there’s ample opportunity to enforce your strict security process. 

Illustration of a puzzle and a plant sprout.

Collaboration helps foster innovation in DevSecOps

If people aren’t sharing their learnings and talents, it’s going to hurt your organization’s creativity. It might seem obvious, but those departmental silos often kill your team’s ability to innovate — whether that’s iterating on processes, standing up a shiny new program, or investing in AI-enhanced security tools to unburden your IT team. 

Sachin Shridhar, VP of Customer Success APJ and Americas Services a Pivotal, believes that in order to improve innovation, DevSecOps methodologies absolutely require a culture that encourages collaboration across teams. Shridhar explains how they can achieve this outcome:

“As with other new processes, organisations will need to set outcomes and metrics – driven by security – to ensure all teams are aligned on cyber-security goals. Metrics can include security flow, resilience, and risk reduction.” 

After IT leaders pick the right metrics to measure, they can find a platform that helps them improve visibility and transparency. When leaders engage with peers and with individual contributors, they can source innovative ideas (that come from anywhere within the department) and better engage with process improvements. 

If you use a modern collaborative management platform, you can store work data in one place and cut through the red tape that often keeps teams from creating meaningful, innovative change to their organization.

Subscribe to the Smartsheet IT Newsletter for tips, strategies, and ideas focused on helping IT professionals increase their impact on their business.