Does Your Security Team Need Coding Resources?
September 10, 2018

Jennifer Andre
Rapid7

When thinking about security automation, a common concern from security teams is that they don't have the coding capabilities needed to create, implement, and maintain it. Pulling development resources from the IT team or engineering department can take time. Backlogs are long, and revenue-generating projects enough take priority. There is always the option to hire an IT consultant, however this can be a costly endeavor and is not a sustainable long-term option.

As a result, security teams often try and find the sought-after "unicorn." This is a security professional who is not only an expert on all things information security, incident response, or threat intelligence, but also someone who can also write integrations and build automation between systems and products.

As I'm sure you can imagine, finding this rare type of person is a tall order – if not impossible. It can take up to a year to hire a security professional, and that doesn't include finding someone who also has a software development skill set.

So, what are teams to do when internal resources are tight and there isn't budget to hire an outside consultant or "unicorn?"

Start Implementing Your Security Automation Options

To start, begin leveraging a security orchestration and automation solution to handle many, if not all, of your routine tasks for you. This will accomplish three different things:

1. Ensure all your security tasks are taken care of in a timely and proactive way

2. Eliminate the need for coding skills on your team

3. Refocus your team's focus to more strategic, ROI-driven tasks

From there, when you need really customized integrations or complex workflows built, you can bring in coding expertise strategically. This can help optimize both your development and security resources.

Once the need for coding is solved, you can stop chasing the ephemeral unicorn hire. In addition, you will also be able to enhance what your current team is working on. For example, instead of having them spend most of their time on mundane tasks like reviewing alerts, investigating phishing attempts, and scoring IP addresses, they can put their talent to better use. This includes analyzing and responding to threats and developing a more strategic security posture.

When teams have less busy work on their plates, they can spend more time learning new skills. If you want your team to be able to do build custom integrations or automation on top of the security automation and orchestration solution you use, teams can learn and practice coding.

With your team able to re-shift their focus to tasks that are most relevant to their skill set and interests, you may also reduce attrition – an added bonus considering today's security talent crunch.

Find Your Balance

At the end of the day, my main piece of advice to all companies is to code strategically. This is not to say you can't or absolutely should not bring coding resources onto your security team. Instead, look to strike a balance between bringing in scarce resources when you really need them and relying on out-of-the-box solutions whenever possible to alleviate the talent (and time) crunch.

Ideally, the security orchestration and automation solution you choose will allow you to add custom integrations alongside pre-built workflows. These solutions are the ones that can do much of the heavy lifting for you and save your development resources for the truly custom work. In addition, identifying a solution that offers the best of both worlds will keep your team happy and productive, and accelerate the time to value for security automation.

At the end of the day, let your talent focus on what they do best, and let orchestration and automation take care of the rest.

Jennifer Andre is Senior Director, Orchestration and Automation, at Rapid7
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