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4 Signs You Need Cybersecurity Automation (+ How It Benefits Your Business)

By: Ernest Sampera on November 29, 2021

The rise in hybrid workplaces over the last two years has coincided with a huge spike in cyberattacks as opportunistic hackers seek to take advantage of poor network security. According to the US Department of the Treasury, ransomware payments in 2020 were four times higher than in 2019, and a separate 2021 report found that the number of DDoS attacks had increased by 11 percent compared to the previous year. The shifting threat environment has encouraged many organizations to transition away from manual security measures and embrace some measure of cybersecurity automation, with 98 percent of companies planning to automate more of their cybersecurity in 2022.

What is Cybersecurity Automation? 

Security automation uses machine learning tools to programmatically detect, investigate, and remediate cybersecurity threats without the need for human intervention. Rather than triggering a simple warning to alert a human technician or security expert to an incoming threat, cybersecurity automation identifies and triages potential threats immediately based on carefully constructed decision-making workflows that perform an analysis to determine the best course of action.

Automating threat detection can significantly enhance security because it ensures commonly encountered issues are dealt with quickly and efficiently. A research study in 2016 found that the average IT team ignores or overlooks nearly 75 percent of security alerts due to the volume of notifications received. Cybersecurity automation not only ensures that every event receives attention, but also provides a consistent response that eliminates the risk of human error due to inexperience, negligence, and fatigue.

How is Cybersecurity Automated?

Today’s most sophisticated cybersecurity solutions incorporate both automation and orchestration features. Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) tools and solutions make it possible for organizations to streamline their cybersecurity measures to improve threat and vulnerability management, incident response, and security operations. Cybersecurity automation can be set up in a number of ways based on the systems involved, but there are a few common elements found across most solutions.

Gather and Correlate Data

All cybersecurity solutions need good data to create an accurate picture of threats to infrastructure. Larger datasets make it easier to identify what kind of activities are normal and what should be flagged as an anomaly. Machine learning tools accelerate this analysis process, allowing the automated system to quickly identify potential threats before they have a chance to threaten the system itself.

Predictive Protections

Another benefit of analyzing data from previous attacks is that the security system can actually anticipate how a cyberattack will progress and spread. Rather than simply taking actions against the attack where it was first detected, security automation tools can take preventative actions to prevent it from moving to other locations within the network infrastructure. This is especially important given that many cyberattacks also use automation strategies that are difficult for humans to manually counter in real-time.

Scalable Detection

Once a threat is identified, there is always a strong possibility that there will be a lingering infection left behind in the targeted system. Both during and after threat remediation, then, the entire environment needs to be thoroughly scanned to detect any potential threats that could result in a breach. Conducting this analysis manually is incredibly time-consuming and key details can be easily overlooked. Cybersecurity automation tools can be configured to continuously analyze the system to detect any compromised elements.

Security Automation vs. Security Orchestration

Although often deployed in tandem, security automation and security orchestration are two separate aspects of a comprehensive cybersecurity solution. Security automation refers to a broad array of security operations tasks, like vulnerability scans and log searches, that are executed without human intervention. It could encompass a variety of systems, tools, and software integrations. Security orchestration is the way in which those disparate systems are connected so that detection and remediation processes can be coordinated through a streamlined control layer.

While security automation handles low-level threats and routine tasks, orchestration tools allow security analysts to quickly access all the tools and processes they need to make decisions and take actions to contain or remediate threats through a single, consolidated interface. Many cybersecurity solutions providers offer cloud-based SOAR tools that make it easy to access both security automation and security orchestration features.

5 Benefits to Cybersecurity Automation

Automating cybersecurity can deliver a number of important business and operational benefits to organizations.

1. Improved Incident Response

Cybersecurity automation streamlines threat detection and incident response, which makes it much easier to identify potential attacks and keep vital data and systems secure. This is critically important for growing organizations with increasingly complex infrastructure because automation processes are much easier to scale than manual ones.

2. Better Data Management

Security teams routinely gather and analyze data to identify potential risks over time. This work is both time-consuming and tedious, making it highly prone to human error. By automating data collection and log management for security operations, organizations can improve efficiency while also freeing up security personnel to focus on more high-value tasks that are not well-suited for automation.

3. Enhanced Privacy Compliance

With data privacy regulations becoming more comprehensive each year, organizations need to think about the compliance status of their network security procedures. Cybersecurity automation solutions can be set up to detect non-compliant processes and behavior while also minimizing direct manual management of data, which could create additional compliance risks.

4. Stronger Security Testing

Simulated attacks and vulnerability tests are incredibly important for identifying weak points in cybersecurity defenses, but they are very time-intensive for security teams. In many cases, organizations with limited IT resources end up putting off these tests or conduct them less frequently than they should. Automating cybersecurity testing allows these simulations to be run continuously to provide valuable data on potential attack vectors and existing vulnerabilities.

5. Broader Application Security

Today’s organizations use multiple applications that integrate with various networks through an assortment of tools and APIs. Ideally, they should all be protected with various forms of authentication, authorization, and encryption to prevent security breaches. Managing all of these deployments and access credentials manually is often an overwhelming task. Thanks to cybersecurity automation and orchestration, all of these applications can be monitored and managed to eliminate the risks of human error and oversights that could lead to a security breach.

4 Signs You Need Security Automation

There are a few key indications that it's time for an organization to invest in security automation.

1. You’ve Suffered a Breach

This is the worst case indicator because damage has already been done. A data breach can be tremendously costly in terms of legal fines, lost business, and tarnished brand reputation. When an organization has suffered a breach, it should immediately invest in cybersecurity automation solutions to prevent it from happening again.

2. Your Response Times Are Slow

An IT team that is slow to respond to threats is a security breach waiting to happen. Modern cyberattacks are so complex and fast moving that it’s often too late to stop them by the time human response teams spring into action. Automating security systems to detect threats before they have a chance to develop will help to improve response times and provide IT teams with the tools to address threats more effectively.

3. Too Many False Positive Threats

Human security teams can only focus on so many tasks at a time. If they’re investigating every potential threat manually, they’re going to waste a lot of time looking into activity that might appear suspicious, but doesn’t constitute an actual threat. Security automation tools can quickly eliminate false positives so response teams can focus on preventing and remediating real cybersecurity risks.

4. Lack of Visibility

Good cybersecurity solutions should be able to provide a comprehensive view of system integrity at any given time. Reporting tools can give a breakdown of activity over time and give security teams a detailed picture of potential threats to the network. An environment that lacks transparency or makes it difficult to gather and analyze data is yet another security risk that could contribute to a costly breach.

Enhancing Cybersecurity Automation in a Colocation Environment

With many of the best cybersecurity automation providers offering cloud-based solutions, organizations need to put a lot of thought into how they’re connecting to these services. Placing assets within a colocation environment that offers a direct on-ramp to the cloud combines the outstanding network performance needed to leverage today’s best automation tools with the superior physical security measures of a modern data center.

vXchnge data centers are engineered for perfection and peace of mind, featuring a robust connectivity marketplace, 100% uptime SLAs, and expert remote hands support. Every one of our facilities follows a zero-trust security philosophy that ensures only authorized personnel will have access to your hardware assets. Thanks to the in\site intelligent monitoring platform, you’ll also get unmatched visibility into the data center environment. To learn more about how vXchnge can provide the very best foundation for your cybersecurity automation needs, talk to one of our colocation experts today.

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