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May 2, 2024

Security at Scale: Platform Engineering Enforces Security Best Practices

This blog looks at how bringing Platform Engineering to your security organization not only strengthens security posture, but also embeds security capabilities into IT and software delivery.

Implementing security best practices through Platform Engineering is key to protecting against modern cybersecurity threats. From implementing automated security checks to embedding continuous compliance monitoring, moving security toward a Platform Engineering model helps maintain high security standards while scaling, modernizing, and delivering value.

Transforming Enterprise Security with Platform Engineering

Enterprise security has often missed or lagged behind their organization’s DevOps transformations. This has created a gap between traditional security practices and modern software delivery methods. Platform Engineering ensures that security is not just an add-on but a fundamental, integrated component of all functions in an IT organization.

How is this different from existing approaches?

In a platform based approach to security, we are embedding security into each platform's architecture, ensuring that it scales alongside the organization's growth and adapts to evolving security threats. This “active stance” (there’s no such thing as proactive in security) means that security considerations are embedded from the beginning, rather than being retrofitted into existing systems. This reduces vulnerabilities and improves the organization’s ability to respond to new threats before they make it into production systems.

Building a Security Platform as a Product

A key component of this transformation is the development of self-service capabilities. In this model, security tools and practices are not just accessible but are an integral part of the daily workflows of development teams. This approach democratizes security, empowering developers to take ownership of security aspects in their work. It aligns with the principle of "shifting left," where security is considered early in the software development lifecycle, enabling faster identification and mitigation of risks.

By providing security capabilities as an internal self-service product, enterprises can accelerate their response to security challenges without compromising on delivery speeds. This is crucial for modern software development teams, where the speed of delivery and security need to go hand in hand.

What Does the Security Platform Look Like?

Automated security tools and systems, such as automated code scanning and vulnerability assessments, are an integral part of a security platform. These tools enable continuous monitoring and quick responses to potential threats, ensuring that security measures keep pace with rapid development cycles and evolving cybersecurity landscapes. Although these capabilities may be consumed via other platforms themselves, the security organization and its engineers provide APIs and support to ensure they are adopted and utilized as enterprise standards require.

By going a step further and streamlining compliance and governance with automation, enterprises can shorten implementation and response times to compliance gaps and changes. This can also help to create an opportunity of partnering with compliance and auditing teams in new ways.

Security Teams are Platform Teams

This transformation also involves reimagining the role of the security team within the organization. Security teams evolve from gatekeepers to enablers, working collaboratively with developers to create secure pathways for innovation. Security teams are platform teams. They provide security as a product through 1-many security platforms. This cultural shift is instrumental in building a security-conscious mindset throughout the organization, where every team member becomes a proactive participant in maintaining security standards.

Platform Engineering: Moving Security from the Org of "NO" to Accelerating the Business

Enterprise security teams are often more aligned with compliance and audit organizations than they are with delivery organizations. They have a common goal of reducing risk for the entire company. The shift in Platform Engineering changes the way delivery teams look at these organizations. Their incentive shifts from saying “NO”, to enabling the delivery of value for the entire company. It is no longer the job of security, compliance and audit orgs to solely reduce risk; they are now mutually accountable for the broader delivery goals of the organization.

Security organizations are now incentivized on what is delivered rather than what vulnerabilities are discovered or stopping production releases due to “security or audit findings”. They will work directly with their customers, product teams and other platform teams, to establish golden paths and “paved roads” that support full automation of modern workloads, removing the bottleneck of manual security gates and providing teams a functional and secure reference architecture for delivery.
Security threats are constantly evolving and the need to enable robust security capabilities within enterprise IT organizations is more crucial than ever. Bringing Platform Engineering to your security organization not only strengthens security posture but also embeds security capabilities into IT and software delivery, ensuring a scalable, manageable, enabling a “secure by default” approach.

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