NetSecOps: The future for network and security workers?

Among the many industries impacted by the pandemic, cybersecurity has been hit hard. The industry is already experiencing a skills gap and the robust security measures needed throughout Covid-19 have put even more pressure on people developing and selling products in the industry.

Artur Kane, head of product marketing at network-intelligence firm Flowmon Networks, has had a front-row seat to the changes Covid has brought. Flowmon Networks was recently acquired by Kemp Technologies to boost its application experience (AX) capabilities.

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Kane brings his extensive experience in customer and technical positions to the partnership. He’s particularly passionate about raising awareness of network visibility and creating an “educated community of enthusiasts” in this field. While Covid has thrown some curveballs at his team, he’s eager to continue working on solutions like NetSecOps to achieve this.

He said: “Threat actors will often feed on a crisis and, in turn, the demand for cybersecurity will rise. Covid was unique by the sudden transition to home offices which, as a consequence, increased the need for AX enablers.

“Those IT-product marketing managers who are sales-driven (often those who are part of the marketing organisation) were quickly trying to seize this opportunity, which meant steering priorities away from strategic initiatives such as product strategy or market research, and focusing more on tactical activities supporting awareness and demand generation, customer retention and expediting new product launches that could assist customers during this time.”

A new age for NetSecOps products

Two areas of expertise will be fundamental to the cybersecurity product market in 2021, according to Kane. The first is growth hacking, which he described as the skill of “quickly adapting to changing customer buying behaviour, driving business, scaling digital initiatives and expanding inbound initiatives”.

The second is NetSecOps, a movement that seeks to integrate workflows for networking and security teams. This would give people working in these industries the resources to collaborate more efficiently across infrastructure design, monitoring, incident handling and response.

“The idea is to minimise spending on technologies with overlapping functionality, simplify technology adoption, reduce mean-time-to-resolution and automate routine activities to overcome staffing gaps,” said Kane.

“Years ago, NetOps and SecOps were one team. But as infrastructures grew in complexity, the need for more specialised and focused staff increased as well.

“Now, however, with the rise of cloud, fast technology adoption, loss of network visibility and control over IT, it is becoming apparent that those two teams are too siloed to work efficiently. Technologies are currently trying to bridge this gap.”

What network and security professionals can expect

What impact will these trends in product development, marketing and delivery have on people working in cybersecurity? Kane is confident that those working both in networks and in security will reap the benefits.

The positives, he said, will primarily arise from both teams having “one source of truth” or “the same dashboard with different perspectives of the same data”.

“[This] will enable both teams to establish truly integrated workflows and ways of working, instead of the existing ad-hoc formal collaboration,” he explained. “The biggest of NetSecOps’ strengths is that it embraces the teams’ differences and provides a middle ground for incident resolution.

“We envision NetSecOps will empower both teams to become even more specialised in their respective fields, while erasing the points of friction between them.”

Will 2021 herald a return to new tech adoption?

As for the people marketing these new products, Kane had some tips for them too. When the pandemic began earlier this year, he saw the adoption of new technology grind to a halt. What came after, he said, was an “atmosphere of apprehension” around embracing novel tech products.

“This meant that the ability to convince customers, speed up the evaluation process and demonstrate product value rapidly and flexibly – all through virtual communication – was ever more crucial,” he said.

“But we must not forget that our work ends with a successful sale. Product marketers must now invest in embracing the continuous process of ensuring client satisfaction by driving product value.”

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