The answer is yes and no. While cybersecurity automation is necessary in today’s vast threat landscape, its current functionality will not replace the role of cybersecurity professionals.
The use of cybersecurity automation is undoubtedly on the rise. A 2021 global Statista survey found that 35.9% of global survey respondents reported using a high level of automation in security operations and event/alert processing. However, security operations still require strong human intervention, which isn’t likely to change soon.
Read on to learn more about how cybersecurity automation works and its role in security teams.
What is Cybersecurity Automation?
The cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, and cybercriminals are undertaking more sophisticated cyber attacks daily. Cybersecurity teams must respond quickly to active threats to avoid more serious security incidents like data breaches.
Threat detection and investigation require manual, repetitive tasks that drain security teams’ time and resources. Cybersecurity automation tools can perform many of these time-consuming processes, allowing security professionals to focus on higher-level activities. Automation tools use artificial intelligence and machine learning to help security teams detect and respond to threats faster.
Cybersecurity Automation Examples
Below are well-known examples of how organizations use automation technology to enhance their cybersecurity capabilities.
Security Operations Center (SOC)
A security operations center (SOC) unifies an organization’s security monitoring across all IT infrastructure. SOCs operate using a hub-and-spoke model, where a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) system is the hub, and the spokes are many additional automated tools and functions.
The SIEM system correlates and aggregates event data generated by applications, security devices, data centers, cloud deployments, and other computer networks in an organization’s IT ecosystem. A SIEM uses automation techniques, such as data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, to deliver these insights.
Below are common tools/functions (‘spokes’) that feed the SIEM system data:
- Intrusion Detection System (IDS) / Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)
- Governance, Risk, Compliance (GRC) tool
- Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) tools
- Log Management System (LMS)
- Vulnerability Scanner
- Penetration Testing tools
- Malware Detection
- Application Security tools
- Asset Discovery tools
- Data Monitoring tools
- Cloud Security tools
- Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) tools
- User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA)
- Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP)
The use of automation allows SOC staff to mitigate cyber threats much faster than manual detection methods and provide more detailed reporting to CIOs/CISOs. Automated tools also speed up the incident response process by reducing false positives and providing greater connectivity between different endpoints.
Attack Surface Management
Attack surface management (ASM) is the continuous discovery, inventory, classification, prioritization, and security monitoring of external digital assets that contain, transmit, or process sensitive data. Implementing automated attack surface management tools enables organizations to continuously monitor for emerging threats and prioritize their remediation efforts accordingly.
Third-Party Risk Management
Third-party risk management (TPRM) involves the management and monitoring of risks brought on by third-party vendors and suppliers. Third-party risk is of growing concern to organizations. Supply chain attacks are increasing, with hackers exploiting vulnerabilities in third-party providers’ network security to compromise target systems. Organizations must ensure their information security programs cover their entire attack surfaces to avoid serious security breaches.
Automated TPRM solutions allow organizations to scale their TPRM programs as their vendor inventory grows. These tools streamline due diligence processes and remediation workflows by eliminating time-consuming manual risk assessments.
Cybersecurity Automation Benefits
Automating cybersecurity processes provides several benefits to an organization, including:
• Cost Efficiencies: By eliminating repetitive manual work, security teams can dedicate their time to more meaningful tasks. As automation speeds up data collection, threat detection, and remediation workflows, cybersecurity experts can eliminate more cyber threats in a fraction of the time. Fewer threats reduce the chances of a data breach or another costly incident, such as a ransomware attack.
• Greater Accuracy: Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms can identify false positives, allowing security teams to identify and respond to real threats much faster and more efficiently.
• Better Decision-Making: Organizations can use the insights delivered through their SIEM systems to reallocate time and resources to high-risk threats and prioritize their remediation efforts accordingly.