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Best SecOps tools in 2020

Best SecOps tools
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

You may be familiar with DevOps, which has been around for about 10 years, but SecOps is a more recent movement. 

Its aim is to foster greater collaboration between IT security and operations teams so the tools, processes, and technology that they use are integrated more tightly, thereby ensuring data security and reducing business risk.

In large organizations, the security and operations teams often operate in isolation from each other, which can lead to ineffective security measures. In fact, the rise of DevOps practices has actually contributed to somewhat worsening security issues instead of improving them. 

When security and IT teams join forces, their priorities merge, communication becomes integrated, security becomes proactive, and operations become streamlined as their tools come together. 

To help you reap the benefits of this close collaboration, in this article, we look at five of the best SecOps tools that your organization can use.

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Grafana can combine data from a variety of sources into a single dashboard. (Image credit: Grafana )

1. Grafana

Open-source SecOps tool

Attractive dashboards
Active community
Wide range of integrations
Requires technical knowledge to set up
Only community-based support

One of the keys to good collaboration is having all the necessary information at your fingertips. Grafana makes this possible by taking data from a variety of sources and integrating it into a single dashboard. 

The dashboard can have a variety of different panels for each of your data sources, regardless of where that data comes from. Extensive customization options mean you can set up your dashboards to only show the information you need.

Grafana is an open-source tool backed by an active community that has contributed a wide range of plugins and dashboards, all of which can be found in official libraries on the Grafana website. 

The functionalities that plugins provide include adding clocks, pie graphs, alert lists, and heat maps to panels and integrating other services, like Elasticsearch, Cloudflare, Google Sheets, and BigQuery.


StackStorm calls itself the IFTTT for Ops. (Image credit: StackStorm)

2. StackStorm

The IFTTT for SecOps

Automate anything
Large library of existing packs
Requires advanced knowledge
Documentation lacking in some areas

Another key aspect of SecOps is automation, and StackStorm is an open-source tool that calls itself the IFTTT (“if this then that”) for Ops. In other words, it can be used to enable different services to work together.

The way it works is that you create triggers for when certain events happen, which then check against a series of rules, run a set of instructions that execute commands, and finally, process the results for further analysis or to set off additional triggers

This event-driven automation process can help SecOps teams with responses to security issues, troubleshooting, and deployments. StackStorm currently has 160 packs to integrate with different services, covering more than 6,000 actions.

With StackStorm, you can automate almost anything, from controlling home appliances to clearing log files when servers start to run out of disk space.


GRR Rapid Response is an incident response framework. (Image credit: GRR)

3. GRR Rapid Response

Incident response framework for SecOps

Can check on multiple remote machines
Supported by Google
Requires advanced knowledge

Hunting isn’t something that immediately springs to mind when thinking about IT and software, but it’s the term used to describe the process of tracking down security anomalies and identifying areas that could benefit from automation. 

A tool that can help you do just that is GRR Rapid Response, which is an incident response framework with a particular focus on remote live forensics. It aims at allowing analysts to conduct forensic investigations in a fast, scalable manner, so they can quickly stem the damage caused by attacks and perform remote analysis.

GRR consists of a client and a server. The client is deployed on the systems that you want to investigate and periodically polls frontend servers for actions that you define, like downloading a file or listing a directory. The server is made up of several components and provides a web dashboard and an API endpoint that can be used to schedule actions on clients and collect data.


Chef InSpec is a framework to automate testing (Image credit: Chef Inspec)

4. Chef Inspec

SpecOps framework to automate testing.

Platform agnostic
Easy to extend
Ruby knowledge required
Version control can be problematic

Testing should be essential to any SecOps program. Chef InSpec is a testing framework with which you can automate testing of your organization’s compliance, security, and policy requirements.

Chef InSpec is platform-agnostic, supporting all major operating systems, and can be used with a local test agent or remotely via SSH or WinRM. It’s written in a free, open-source language that is also easy to extend if you need to cover new operating systems, devices, or applications.

The way it works is that you write Ruby-based tests to verify your system’s expected state against current state, execute the tests locally or remotely with a single command, and then review the results of which tests passed, skipped, or failed.


(Image credit: Alerta)

5. Alerta

Alert management system

Flexible format
De-duplication and correlation
Support by Gitter chat or Github issues

Alerts are essential to a SecOps system, and Alerta is an alert management system that can be deployed quickly and extended easily. Numerous integrations are available, including ones for Cloudwatch, Pingdom, Prometheus, and Riemann. If you need to integrate your own bespoke systems, there is an API or you can use the command-line tool.

The command-line tool can also be used for querying alerts, or alerts can be viewed in a web-based console. 

Standard deployments exist for Amazon Web Services EC2, Docker, Heroku, or Vagrant, so you can get it up and running quickly. For more complex deployments, Python packages are available.