After attending the DevOps day I wrote about in my last post, I wanted to take a minute to explain exactly what Security Policy Orchestration actually is so we can begin to understand how the two concepts overlap.
Simply put, Security Policy Orchestration is intelligent network change automation. It goes beyond simple task automation by truly understanding the network through simulation and analytics. It also gives security people an extra level of governance and control, which is so critical to assure security and business continuity.
Security Policy Orchestration reflects the growing relevance that managed security policies are having on IT systems. In network security lingo, security policies are firewall policies, but can also apply to Access Control Lists (ACLs), router and load balancer configurations. Managing security policies is an arduous task that requires automation, and Security Policy Orchestration has emerged in response to numerous factors happening in tandem – mainly, that:
- Business agility is gaining importance as a key competitive factor. This is creating an increased demand for automation across IT and, specifically at the network layer.
- IT organizations are pressured to match the speed, convenience and self-service provisioning the cloud environment offers for internal application deployment.
- Enterprise networks are growing larger and more complex with numerous traffic routing and shaping technologies to service multiple data centers.
- The widespread use of stateful and next-gen firewalls for external and internal network segmentation has significantly increased the size of the enterprise firewall estate, forcing security policies to morph into complex rule sets that map how business is conducted over the network.
The collective impact of these developments on network and security operations tasks is having a profound impact on people, processes and technology, including DevOps groups, who like their Security Operations (SecOps) brethren, are under pressure to roll out services faster.
Security Policy Orchestration helps to alleviate that pressure, enabling SecOps teams to keep up with the demands of the business while ensuring security and preventing an outage or a breach. Being able to automatically generate, provision and synchronize Security Policy changes across a growing set of systems – with security, compliance and governance concerns accounted for – means that security will not become a bottleneck that slows down DevOps teams.
While Security Policy Orchestration evolved out of network security operations, its benefits transcend security. Even though it will remain a SecOps function, its impact on DevOps is only going to increase, especially as Network and Security Operations continue to converge. However, the fundamental enabler of Security Policy Orchestration is automation.
As a result, there is significant common ground between DevOps and SecOps when it comes to automating application connectivity. This may not have been an issue for you yet, but my introduction to DevOps came from my experiences helping Tufin customers automate application connectivity. It’s a subject that is extremely germane to DevOps teams, and a topic that I plan to explore in depth in this blog because those of us leading the Orchestration charge within SecOps are kindred spirits with DevOps evangelists.
Contrary to popular belief, Security Policy Orchestration wasn’t created to restrict a company but to free it and help DevOps teams to accomplish its vision at the lowest IT risk level possible. After all, there is no such thing as bulletproof security where the Internet is concerned.
Instead, security folks focus on reducing risk, which puts us in a much better position to add value to the business. Plus, since so many of today’s biggest threats (i.e. APTs, for example) are network-based, introducing the tenets of Security Policy Orchestration – which literally automates best security practices into change processes – is in the mutual best interest of both SecOps and DevOps teams.
In my next post, I plan to dig into more detail on the stakes Security, Dev and Ops all share to make IT work faster, better and safer, and propose a few ways in which SecOps and DevOps teams can collaborate to gain some quick wins.