Keith Worfolk
Keith Worfolk

In our last blog, we examined the importance of a security-led cloud strategy to cloud enterprise growth. But how can planners track CloudSecOps maturity and coordinate its development within the broader cloud journey?

A Cloud Security Maturity Model (CSMM) can help clarify the state of CloudSecOps and CloudOps development and provide general guidelines for CloudSecOps maturity.

Here we examine the 5 stages of the CSMM, where CloudSecOps should closely align with traditional CloudOps activities, and the operational elements needed to keep a security-first strategy ahead of rapidly developing Cloud solutions.


Cloud Adoption: Experimentation and Discovery

As enterprises begin shifting key workloads to the cloud, CloudOps teams engage in a process of experimentation to acclimatize to the new environment. Early adoption initiatives include high-priority projects, pilot programs, and proof-of-concepts (POCs).

CloudSecOps should work in parallel with information-gathering initiatives to capture learnings for future optimization:

Develop early cloud solutions to identify foundational security requirements, controls, and policies.

Create a performance baseline using development team and end-user feedback to prepare for the next wave of migrations and cloud-native solutions.

Establish standard procedures for security teams to manage CloudSecOps policies via Cloud Service Provider (CSP) consoles.

Introduce basic Identity and Access Management (IAM) protections for cloud solutions. Expect fragmented, ad hoc procedures during adoption as effectiveness takes priority over cohesion.

Note that security architectures and designs will still resemble on-premise solutions at this stage, with server-based configurations focused on static network perimeters, devices, and controls.


Cloud Impulse: Establishing Operational Foundations and Core Capabilities

Analysis of adoption stage learnings should reveal priority cloud solution areas, enabling development of focused CloudOps processes and tools.

CloudSecOps should prioritize solutions and solution domains, and align business priorities with requirements to secure the growing CloudOps footprint. Learning to execute security actions effectively within prioritized areas and solution types is a further objective and key precursor to operational efficiencies:

Build CloudSecOps observability of fundamental processes early using dashboards, reports, and data management.

Collaborate with stakeholders within key areas to identify and fill high-priority skills and tools gaps necessary for future optimizations. Key areas include:

Prioritized applications and solutions

Data domains

General security requirements

Foster security team knowledge-sharing to form reusable CloudSecOps policies and procedures within prioritized solutions and domains.

Initiate Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) within prioritized domains for provisioning and environmental consistency.

Evolve initial IAM with limited Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) mechanisms for disparate teams and applications.


Cloud @ Scale: Gaining Efficiencies for Large-Scale Adoption and Growth

CloudOps teams begin consolidating operational competencies. Priorities include developing consistent cloud standards and tools for enterprise-level adoption across multiple domains, proactively incorporating planned solution requirements.

CloudSecOps begins transforming solutions for enterprise-wide efficiencies by industrializing security designs, implementations, and CloudSecOps processes and tools:

Evolve initial IAM with limited Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) mechanisms for disparate teams and applications.

Align the overarching CloudSecOps roadmap with the broader business strategy to address current and planned needs for expanding solutions.

Retire older Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) security configurations in favor of dynamic Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) alternatives.

Phase out reactive approaches to security calibration by integrating security further upstream within DevOps planning, design, and development.


Cloud Optimized: Standardizing and Integrating Operations for Effectiveness

By now, both CloudOps and CloudSecOps are consistently releasing and reusing pre-optimized cloud designs and configurations, enabling broad automation opportunities across both areas. The two primary CloudSecOps priorities are:

Optimize security-first solutions for reusable security efficiencies within a multi-layered defensive strategy.

Standardize CloudSecOps implementations, processes, and tools to enable further automation opportunities.

Actions to take include:

Refine PaaS and SaaS configurations with cloud-native best practices to solutions development.

Roll out a standard, multi-layered CloudSecOps model across all solutions, continuously fine-tuning defenses to suit changing needs.

Promote cross-team, security-first practices by establishing automated security libraries with reusable design resources for application and data solutions.

Apply standard security controls, configurations, and MFA mechanisms across as many solutions as possible.

Prepare for further automation with a centralized cloud security management platform overseeing cloud processes via dashboards, alerts, basic automated actions, and key metric reporting.


Cloud Automated: Achieving Maximum Efficiencies

Once solutions development has been optimized and standardized, CloudOps focuses on automating migration and development tools, toolchains, and processes.

CloudSecOps should prioritize enterprise security controls, configurations, and security policy execution procedures expanding to secure new and changing solutions. Integrate security automation efforts with the following actions:

Automate progressive CloudSecOps processes across all solution domains, managing them from the central oversight platform.

Plan and implement all new and changing workloads, applications, and data solutions via a roadmap of strategic capabilities.

Automate optimized cloud security architectures and designs from a central security library, with open access for cloud migration and development teams.

Federate security implementations across all solution domains, toolchains, and existing IAM and MFA mechanisms.

Maturing CloudSecOps capabilities effectively is a demanding balance between synergizing security-led CloudOps growth and proactive CloudSecOps and leveraging dynamic environments to achieve evolving operational and business goals.

The architectural, operational, and design factors that shape the required CloudOps-CloudSecOps synergies vary from enterprise to enterprise. Expert advisory is recommended to strike a balance that suits unique business needs.

Consult a Wavestone expert for comprehensive advisory on synergizing CloudSecOps and CloudOps development for effective cloud expansion.


Keith Worfolk
Director - Digital & Cloud Strategy

Keith is a client-focused IT executive, innovation expert, and trusted industry advisor with a consistent record of delivering visionary enterprise and Cloud solutions, platforms (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS), and BI/analytics and AI/ML solutions via secure, scalable architectures for growing organizations.

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