Automation in Cybersecurity
The ever-increasing sophistication of cyberattacks has proven that manual efforts to prevent cyberattacks are insufficient. Cloud or Security Automation can play a crucial role in elevating an organization’s cybersecurity posture. By early automated detections of threats and vulnerabilities, organizations can minimize errors, save huge labor and repercussion costs, and share valuable resources to devote to more strategic initiatives by automating operational tasks and critical processes.
One of the essential aspects of an organization’s well-being is its cybersecurity posture. In an increasingly interconnected digital world, businesses must be vigilant about and implement controls around the cyber security and privacy of data. They must protect their valuable information assets, business secrets, intellectual property (IP), and personal identifiable information (PII) of their customers and employees.
With the ever-increasing threat surface, it is nearly impossible to fully safeguard an organization by relying on manual efforts, processes, or resources; hence, leveraging security automation in cybersecurity is the best way forward.
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The need for Automation in the Cybersecurity Space
Organizations must be able to analyze and assess an enormous amount of data generated in the form of network systems, applications, and operating system logs. Tasks such as log analysis, incident analysis, etc., are time and resource-consuming tasks and have probabilities of errors if executed manually.
Achieving these objectives requires a focused and coordinated effort from all levels of the organization and security automation of these activities and processes. Besides, from the board and management level executives to the front line staff, everyone in the organization must be aware of the importance of cybersecurity and its role in protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of its information assets. Cybersecurity automation can also help protect confidential information assets from unauthorized access (confidentiality), data loss, deletion, or modification (integrity), and increase uptime (availability).
The following graph depicts the results of a survey concluding that organizations with a higher cybersecurity automation level seem to have a better cybersecurity posture.
(Image Source: securityintelligence.com)
The following are the fundamental reasons that necessitate the adoption of cybersecurity automation across the organization.
● Enormous Amount of Log Data
To safeguard their network periphery, organizations leverage multiple security, IoT, and other devices and install firewalls, IDS, and IPS (intrusion detection/prevention system). These systems generate an enormous amount of big data that can be overwhelming to manage manually. Big data, as it is catergorically named, often contains sensitive information that malicious actors could use to exploit vulnerabilities. Many organizations do not have sufficient resources to adequately analyze and protect their log data in the first place.
● Increased Sophistication of Cyberattacks
The sheer volume of attacks that organizations face daily makes defense nearly impossible without security automation. Moreover, the types of attacks are constantly changing for the worse, and it is difficult for humans to keep up with all the latest local or global cyber threats. Traditional security systems can allow many discrepancies, and sometimes manual processing may overlook them, leading to a situation where even the organization may not even know when it is under attack. Security Automation can help close such gaps in an organization’s cyber security defenses.
● Increased Attack Surface
As modern day businesses become increasingly reliant on cyber security technology, the number and types of cybersecurity threats and the attack surface area also expand. Unfortunately, as the number of devices and potential entry points into the systems increases, the number of ways attackers can barge into an organization’s network periphery also increases.
● Increasing Costs
Automation helps in saving manual efforts, reduces the cost occurring from human errors and omissions, and can significantly reduce risk or the number of false positives, which can help save time, resources, and money.
● Complexity in IT Infrastructure
In a multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud, or on-premise setup, organizations can reduce the complexity of their IT infrastructure by automating processes and tasks. Automation can help manage and monitor the system and keep track of changes. It can also troubleshoot and diagnose problems efficiently.
Cybersecurity Automation Tools at Your Disposal & Benefits They Offer
An automated cybersecurity system can identify a potential threat and neutralize it or alarm the SOC (Security Operations Center) teams to take action. Sophisticated modern tools and technologies are indispensable for organizations to implement cybersecurity automation at each level. Such as:
● Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
AI-ML-based advanced security solutions such as SIEM (Security Information and Event Management), SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation and Response), and EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) can help automate enterprise cybersecurity by providing real-time threat detection and response and proactively identifying and responding to threats. It helps prevent disasters by preventing an incident from becoming an attack.
● Data Analytics
Data analytics can help identify patterns and trends that indicate a security threat by analyzing data collected from various sources. Data analytics can help enterprises predict and prevent attacks efficiently by proactively identifying potential threat patterns.
Blockchain-based security solutions can help organizations secure their networks and data by decentralizing data and applying smart contracts. In addition, blockchain can help speed up threat detection and response times and improve communication between security teams.
● Identity & Access Management (IAM) / Privileged Access Management (PAM)
Robust IAM systems can help automate managing user identities, permissions, and access to critical data and systems. By automating these processes, PAM can better restrict unauthorized access to crucial databases by the more effective and accurate implementation of principles such as ‘need to know basis’ and ‘least privilege.’ It also helps reduce the risk of human error, improving the enterprise’s overall security.
Cybersecurity tied to Security Automation can be a much needed solution, if the organization doesn’t already have it. By automating sophisticated tasks and workflows in the backend, organizations can free up valuable resources in the front end. Organizations are recommended to take a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach to maintain a healthy cybersecurity posture, and automation can be a crucial part of achieving it. By leveraging automation, organizations can more effectively monitor their networks for threats, deploy security updates and patch management processes, and manage user access controls to avoid compromising data confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
In addition, automation can help organizations respond to incidents quickly and efficiently, thereby maintaining better business continuity and minimizing losses. When used correctly, automation can be a powerful tool to raise an organization’s cybersecurity posture to the highest and most healthy level.
The above article is a matter of opinion and perspective only. The article is not an offering of advice nor does it constitute a strong suggestion or recommendation that automation is required for your organization’s secured environment. Please consult with a Cybersecurity or Automation Specialist for advice or thoughts on my article. For a list of companies I have evaluated for Security Automation, please reach out to me. Please follow me on medium: https://medium.com/@jonathanwilcheck
1. Ahluwalia, L. (2021, November 10). Cybersecurity without automation and intelligence in today’s digital world is like “bringing A knife to A gunfight.” Retrieved April 29, 2022, from Forbes website: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2021/11/10/cybersecurity-without-automation-and-intelligence-in-todays-digital-world-is-like-bringing-a-knife-to-a-gunfight/
2. Ehrlicher, D. (2020, November 5). Automation in the cybersecurity world. Retrieved April 29, 2022, from Forbes website: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2020/11/05/automation-in-the-cybersecurity-world/
3. Epps, C. (2019, April 17). Automation in cyber resilient organizations: Key findings from 2019 Ponemon study. Retrieved April 29, 2022, from Security Intelligence website: https://securityintelligence.com/automation-in-cyber-resilient-organizations-key-findings-from-2019-ponemon-study/
4. Security automation: Tools, process and best practices. (2021, April 8). Retrieved April 29, 2022, from Cynet XDR | Autonomous Breach Protection website: https://www.cynet.com/incident-response/security-automation-tools-process-and-best-practices/
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