Fragmented IT teams have slowly come together to drive innovation through a series of efforts to collaborate throughout the development process. DevOps, the oldest and most widespread of the Ops, is about seamlessly collaborating with IT teams to develop, test, deploy, iterate, and maintain applications.
But what about the network?
Network professionals have been slow to collaborate with their DevOps and SecOps peers. A lack of modernization regarding network infrastructure is one of the main reasons they are often left out of Ops. But, with more teams turning to cloud and hybrid cloud strategies, there are more ways to integrate and improve through collaborations such as NetSecOps.
Let’s talk about what exactly NetOps, DevOps, NetSecOps, and DevSecOps are and how these combined IT approaches are changing how teams work and develop.
DevOps and NetOps explained
DevOps and NetOps are crucial areas of IT that represent a collaborative approach to operations. Practices and resources are carefully organized into streamlined workflows so that development and networking teams can make the most of their skills and the tools at their disposal.
A little confused about what NetOps and DevOps are and why these terms matter for enterprises moving forward with more robust security goals? Let’s start with the basics.
What is NetOps?
Classic NetOps (short for network operations) is focused on network activities such as maintenance, monitoring, and troubleshooting connectivity. With rapid advances in digital technologies that require new processes and workflows, NetOps can also reference the use of agile DevOps principles in networking.
Gartner recently reported that cloud services are expected to grow three times faster than all other IT services this year. That means that more organizations will be making the switch from on-premise to next-gen networking activities.
Modern NetOps activities include network automation, orchestration, and virtualization as Infrastructure-as-code (IaC) continues to proliferate. As a result, bulky network infrastructure has become more programmable, flexible, and scalable to keep up with the pace set by DevOps.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is an approach to software development that uses Agile methodology principles to optimize product design and delivery. The core principles of DevOps include collaboration, automation, continuous integration, continuous testing, and continuous delivery.
DevOps helps organizations keep pace with growing consumer demands for digital tools. Traditional workflows and methodologies separate development and operations teams, limiting the process and causing bottlenecks. Slow-to-market tools and updates simply won’t cut it in today’s business landscape. Developers and system administrators work together throughout the project to build, test, and deliver high-quality apps and services faster than ever with DevOps.
Differences between NetOps and DevOps
Both NetOps and DevOps place importance on collaborative workflows and processes to find solutions faster with less troubleshooting and rework that can be costly. Top organizations continue to lead the pack due to their ability to build, launch, and improve apps and other products quickly and effectively through NetOps and DevOps practices.
NetOps and DevOps represent similar development, delivery, and testing approaches that support CI/CD and continuous improvement. Although the general concepts behind these two IT approaches are vaguely similar (collaborate more, create better products faster), there are some key differences that set them apart.
DevOps is run by software developers and system administrators. These teams work together to facilitate fast and efficient app development. NetOps, on the other hand, is the responsibility of network administrators and IT. Their activities support the effective deployment of these apps.
NetSecOps and DevSecOps explained
Now that you have a good grasp of NetOps and DevOps, it’s time to throw security into the mix. Cybersecurity is a growing concern for organizations, so more IT teams are looking for ways to improve their practices outside of adopting new digital tools. A heightened focus on security birthed a new addition to IT culture: security first.
What is NetSecOps?
NetSecOps is a term that describes the practice of embedding network security testing throughout CI/CD pipelines. Essentially, it’s a more security-focused approach to modern network operations. By shifting network security to the left, NetSecOps requires more collaboration across development, security, and operations teams.
Artur Kane of Flowmon Networks recently told Silicon Republic that “with the rise of cloud, fast technology adoption, loss of network visibility and control over IT, it is becoming apparent that [DevOps and NetOps] are too siloed to work efficiently.”
NetSecOps partnerships across teams are increasing as demands for remote work and cloud adoption continue to drive business innovation. In fact, the 2021 Enterprise Management Associates report found that over 75% of organizations are integrating NetSecOps practices. This movement gives teams better resources for more efficient collaboration for infrastructure design, incident monitoring, handling, and response.
What is DevSecOps?
DevSecOps is about integrating application security from the beginning of a project and throughout each stage of development. Since DevSecOps is based on reducing waste through continuous collaboration and integrative design and delivery practices, security is built-in as the product or iteration is being developed. This cuts down time-to-market, reduces resource consumption, and improves quality assurance.
DevSecOps also highlights the need for development, security, and operations teams to agree on an integrated development environment (IDE) that includes robust security features that will enhance development rather than slow it down. But more than just tools and processes, DevSecOps represents a cultural shift in how development should occur.
Differences between NetSecOps and DevSecOps
Just like NetOps and DevOps, NetSecOps and DevSecOps represent complementary approaches that go hand in hand for IT teams and organizations committed to innovation. Security has become a hot button issue for networks, applications, and services with the steady rise of ransomware and other cyber attacks. And while their commitment to security is equally matched on both sides, there are some differences that set them apart.
The differences between NetOps and DevOps are mirrored in NetSecOps and DevSecOps, except that the focus is centered around built-in security and automation that enhances the development and delivery lifecycle.
NetSecOps teams focus on supporting development processes and enterprise infrastructure, while DevSecOps is focused on timely and efficient development. Each highlights the integration of security practices and points to a cultural shift toward more robust cybersecurity for many industries. NetSecOps addresses network security for DevOps environments, while DevSecOps addresses application security during development.
Before the dawn of agile teams like DevOps, SecOps, and NetSecOps, there was little collaboration across departments. App developers generally aren’t keeping the specifics of network security in mind, and security teams are only aware of their role in development. And then there are networking teams — always the last to learn about operational changes.
The digital transformation era demands a more unified approach to IT and development. That’s why more organizations are using tools and methods that help create a collaborative environment that reduces waste, improves productivity, and allows companies to put out high-quality products and services.
Good network security keeps data centers safe on-prem and in the cloud, while security built into development practices keeps apps and customers safe. Now, it’s time to imagine a fully collaborative IT department that builds everything with the network and security in mind.