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Numerous roles facilitate software development in IT operations. Although these roles are separated technically, they all contribute massively to building a strong enterprise environment. Therefore, understanding these different roles and harmonizing their operations is necessary for building a more holistic and efficient enterprise architecture.

In the digital transformation era, numerous actors contribute their expertise to a successful IT operation. Oftentimes, these roles will be subsumed into DevOps, NetOps and NetSecOps. Unfortunately, due to the similarities across the roles, they have been misinterpreted in IT operations.

SEE: Tech companies win at digital transformation but struggle with leadership and governance (TechRepublic)

Understanding IT Operations in DevOps, NetOps and NetSecOps

Ideally, successful IT operations are designed to allow the development and operations team to work in harmony in creating, deploying, iterating and maintaining secure applications and services. The IT operations and development team comprises tech management, infrastructure management and quality assurance in finished products.

While DevOps has gained much traction and support in IT operations, the same cannot be said about NetOps and NetSecOps. This trend creates a weakness in IT operations and development, leading to sluggish, unresponsive and unscalable infrastructure.

Therefore, there is a need to put DevOps, NetOps and NetSecOps into practical perspective in IT operations.

What is DevOps?

DevOps is a combination of development and operations as one entity in IT operations. It’s a concept that puts into perspective the collaboration between developers and system administrators to continuously build, test, deliver and improve on applications and services to sustain quality.

For quality results in IT operations, principles such as collaboration, automation, continuous integration (CI), continuous testing and continuous delivery (CD) build a well-structured DevOps team. Furthermore, DevOps can also represent the adoption of an iterative software development model, infrastructure deployment and maintenance in a way that builds cohesion between developers and system admins and aligns projects to business needs.

What is NetOps?

In every tech infrastructure, network monitoring and troubleshooting cannot be downplayed if the project is to succeed. Therefore, NetOps typically represents network operations that revolve around using DevOps principles in network assessment and maintenance.

In IT operations, NetOps incorporates network automation, virtualization, orchestration and handling of infrastructure as code. In supporting the DevOps team, NetOps builds more programmable, flexible and scalable network infrastructure. In addition, modern IT operations requires that the NetOps team take care of dynamic multipath optimization, network security, remote access and load balancing.

What is NetSecOps?

NetSecOps refers to integrating automated network security testing into DevOps continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) pipelines. It is a NetOps subset that emphasizes network security in the development life cycle. Collaboration between teams working on application development, network security and IT operations is essential for NetSecOps.

NetSecOps can also be seen as a partnership between security operations and the networking operations team. This partnership between both teams is driven mainly by the wide adoption of cloud technologies and the quest by business organizations to reduce cyber risks.

Encouraging collaboration between NetOps, DevOps and NetSecOps in IT operation

With the level of complexity within IT operations in enterprises, many business organizations are moving further away from the traditional siloed model of IT operations toward a more cohesive and collaborative model.

Some factors that should encourage this collaboration include the need for efficiency in data infrastructure and multicloud adoption. Other factors include the need to improve cybersecurity vigilance and network automation, improved customer satisfaction, reduction in the cost of software development, continuous product improvement, and faster time to market.

SEE: CEOs need to shift from tools-first to teams-first thinking to improve collaboration (TechRepublic)

How enterprises can integrate DevOps, NetOps and NetSecOps

Although it can be difficult to combine two or more teams that have typically operated separately for a long time, it can be done. Some issues that may arise in creating synergy between the teams include managerial problems and conflicting priorities in their respective missions.

Nevertheless, there are various methods for integrating the three teams. To serve as a pointer to how enterprises can synergize these teams, we will refer to Gartner’s Four Levels of Alignment model. This model describes four strategies for improving IT team alignment.

For enterprises that want to create a reliable and practicable collaboration between DevOps, NetOps and NetSecOps in IT operations, the following steps can help:

  1. Each team must be made aware of one another’s actions, how they have developed in connection to overall business aims and how they will affect the organization as a whole.
  2. For this awareness to guide team operations, each team should be made to have a lead coordinator to oversee this collaboration between the teams.
  3. Where possible, teams should look to adopt tools that can be used across the board to avoid a proliferation of tools and to ensure each team is working from the same source of data.
  4. To improve security and collaboration, organizations should invest in collaboration software tools. This measure will also make it easier to conduct project event tracking across all teams.

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