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Authored by Jonny Milliken, PhD, Senior Cyber Security Manager at Ekco

SecOps (Security Operations) is a critical function within any organisation, responsible for safeguarding digital assets, detecting and responding to security incidents, and ensuring compliance with industry standards. When done well it’s a powerful combination of people, processes and internal operations.

Let’s explore seven essential steps to establish an effective SecOps framework:

1. Train Your Analysts

Invest in continuous training for your security analysts. Regular workshops, certifications, and hands-on exercises help them stay up-to-date with the latest threats, tools, and techniques. Well-trained analysts are better equipped to identify and mitigate security risks.


2. Write Your Policies

Clear and comprehensive security policies are the foundation of a strong SecOps program. Document policies related to access control, incident response, data protection, and more. Regularly review and update these policies to reflect changes in technology and threat landscape.

3. Create Runbooks

Runbooks provide step-by-step instructions for handling common security incidents. Develop runbooks for various scenarios, such as malware outbreaks, data breaches, or denial-of-service attacks. Ensure that your analysts can quickly reference these guides during high-pressure situations.

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4. Conduct Audits

Regular security audits are essential to assess the effectiveness of your SecOps processes. Evaluate access controls, vulnerability management, and incident response procedures. Address any gaps or weaknesses identified during the audit.

5. Build Roadmaps

Develop a strategic roadmap for your SecOps team. Consider long-term goals, technology investments, and skill development. Roadmaps help align your security efforts with overall business objectives.

6. Define the SecOps Role

The SecOps team typically sits between upper management (such as the director) and the analysts. While they don’t function as full-time employees (FTEs), they contribute by building tools, optimising processes, and providing expertise. Their engagement may be project-based or tied to specific scopes of work.

7. Optimise and Augment

Optimisation involves fine-tuning existing processes, tools, and workflows. Augmentation, on the other hand, refers to bringing in external expertise for a defined period (e.g., 6 or 12 months). Consider augmentation if your organisation has invested in a Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) solution but isn’t realising its full value.


While implementing all of the above steps may seem like additional workload for your existing team, it’s important to note that this adds value in the long run but also requires specific expertise and experience to get the best results.

Remember that effective SecOps requires collaboration between people, processes, and internal operations. A good SecOps function will sit between your director and your analysts and be the grease that makes the whole operation work more smoothly.

By following these steps, you’ll build a resilient and proactive security posture for your organisation.

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About the Author:

Jonny Milliken is a seasoned cyber leader who has built and led security teams in security operations, threat intelligence and SOC within MSSPs and large enterprises. He is currently the leader of the SecOps professional services team in Ekco – Ireland’s leading security service provider.

He completed his PhD in Cyber Security in Queens University at ECIT and has presented at various local cyber events such as Big Data Belfast and Belfast B-sides.


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