Aligning security with your organization's greater business needs is becoming increasingly important, but how do you actually do it? What it comes down to is being able to map security to business objectives. Done right, security can be a business driver. Today, everyone from finance to DevOps to sales and engineering has security top of mind, at least if they know what's good for them.
In this post, we'll offer several ways to bridge the gap between security and the rest of the business, allowing you to successfully bring it into the organization in order to meet any number of business objectives.
Align Security With Profit
Almost any pyramid of business values is topped by profitability, and profitability is enabled by having a competitive advantage, which, in many cases, is a matter of being able to ship products to market fast (and securely).
As we've said before, it's not about being the most secure company, it's about being more secure than the rest. To stay ahead of the competition and close customers who value security, you need security embedded into the process - in a way that will accelerate things instead of slowing them down.
If you can automatically scan code before it goes to production, detect intrusions in real time, and receive alerts that are packed with context so you can act on them immediately, you will enable your entire team to build and operate faster. That means faster time-to-market, more revenue faster, and less customer churn due to fewer issues.
So how do you convince the rest of the organization that good security equals higher profits? The basic equation is as follows:
If you can achieve results faster - faster than before, or better yet, faster than the competition - you can be more profitable.
You should be prepared to explain how your plan to integrate security into every process will achieve speed, which translates into profitability. Get specific, such as how much time will be saved per team, how much faster you can ship products and features, and how much less downtime and cleanup you'll experience with automated security at the helm.
Know Your Risks
The security threats each of your departments face may be slightly different. While one department may be guilty of using weak passwords, thus opening them up to email and account breaches, another may be all too eager to publish files or code before scanning for potential vulnerabilities.
A useful and easy exercise you can do is to outline the top risks each of your teams face. No need to list every nitty-gritty detail, but focus on the top threats that could pose a larger risk to your organization. With this list in hand, you can begin to pinpoint which teams need which types of education and protection, so you can bring it in gradually and strategically.
It's also useful during this exercise to list any particular users (e.g., your CEO, CFO, or even external vendors) who may have a higher risk of being hacked or phished, so they get proper training ASAP. Along the same lines, know what assets (files, servers, etc.) hold the most valuable information so you can be sure they're securely locked down. Of course, running a configuration audit can help you baseline a lot of this - and quickly. This is all in an effort to support each and every team getting their job done without any security hiccups.
Support Business Growth at Scale
As we touched on earlier, security can also support the velocity of your entire operation. When you embed security at the host layer of your company's infrastructure (a best practice we highly recommend), you gain deep visibility into user, file, and server behavior. This is especially important as your company grows.
Oftentimes, we speak with leadership teams who feel that, after their companies reach a certain size, they lose control and visibility.
The moment you lose visibility is the moment security becomes uncertain.
Knowing what files were touched by whom and when can help safeguard sensitive documents. Knowing that no line of code is pushed to production without being automatically reviewed for security issues is reassuring. And knowing that everything is being monitored for malicious activity 24/365, no matter how many employers, servers, and files you have, allows you to focus on more proactive measures like responding to threats and developing a solid internal security training program.
Getting it done the right way the first time around will save you a lot of time and hassle, as well as revenue and your reputation. So, whether your team is growing fast, you have an increasing number of servers to manage, or the amount of data you store and process is multiplying, security can grow right alongside it so you never lose touch, and are always in-the-know.
Secure Doesn't Have to Mean Slow
Gone are the days when security was a roadblock to innovation and speed. Today, it's a matter of finding out the best ways to build sustainable security programs that balance protection with the needs of the business. Embedding security deep within the organization allows everyone to focus on their jobs without the need for manual checks and balances that can slow productivity to a crawl, or, just as bad, lead to "shadow IT."