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5 Ways Automation Can Improve Cybersecurity

By: Ernest Sampera on December 30, 2021

The last few years have ushered in a new era of cyberattacks as opportunistic hackers have deployed sophisticated technology to bring down servers and gain access to valuable data assets. To combat this evolving threat, organizations are increasingly turning to automation tools as they look to strengthen their IT security protocols and reinforce their remote work environments.

What Is Cybersecurity and Why Is It Important?

Cybersecurity is an IT practice that utilizes a broad set of principles, processes, and tools to keep critical systems and sensitive data from unauthorized access or damage. As more organizations have come to rely upon network systems that are always connected to the internet, the threats facing those systems have increased accordingly. Cybercriminals frequently target organizations of all sizes in an effort to recover personally identifiable information (PII) such as names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and credit card information, that could be sold off for fraud purposes. Massive DDoS attacks (like the record-setting 2 Tbps attack that attempted to take down Cloudflare in November 2021) have the potential to inflict costly downtime on organizations, and ransomware attacks have demonstrated time and again that they can bring even resourceful companies to a complete standstill.

The financial impact of failing to secure information and critical applications from unauthorized access can be significant. A 2020 IBM study, for instance, found that the average cost of a data breach was $3.86 million globally, but was even higher in the United States, averaging $8.64 million. And that’s to say nothing of the resulting loss of reputation and trust in the eyes of customers. Having an effective cybersecurity strategy in place that’s capable of dealing with multiple security threats is critically important in a digital-first era where remote work is expanding the surface area of IT networks.

What Is Automation?

From the very beginning, one of the great promises of computers was their ability to minimize the need for human input and do away with toil-intensive and error-ridden manual processes. That potential is finally being realized by a new generation of automation tools that use complex algorithms to learn quickly from available data and adapt to changing situations without the need for human intervention.

Automated processes have been put in place across almost every organization to streamline workflows, manage content, and analyze unstructured data. Not only do they minimize errors and improve efficiency, but they also free up valuable resources that can be dedicated to higher value tasks.

How Can Cybersecurity Be Automated?

Modern cybersecurity practices are increasingly being automated to help enhance vulnerability management, threat detection, security operations, and incident response. Automated security protocols are capable of detecting, investigating, and removing threats programmatically, without any need for sending an alert notification to a human. Considering that the average IT team ignores or misses about 75 percent of such alerts, automating these systems can improve threat response simply by attending to every issue that needs to be addressed.

While cybersecurity automation tools can be implemented in many different ways, most of them share a similar approach to automating security protocols. They begin with implementing systems to gather larger datasets, which are then used to inform machine learning algorithms that identify and respond to threats. Next, they analyze that data to identify key trends and patterns in order to predict what shape future threats will take and spot the signs of a potential data breach before it happens. Finally, they implement scalable detection scans that can test and examine all network and computing assets in the aftermath of an incident to ensure that nothing else has been compromised. This labor intensive work often takes IT teams quite a lot of time, and they’re still likely to miss something from a purely statistical standpoint.

5 Benefits of Cybersecurity Automation

Once in place, an automated cybersecurity solution provides several benefits to any business.

1. Wider Application Security

Integration is an important element of today’s technology systems, with dozens or even hundreds of systems in a large enterprise interconnected through a web of networking tools and APIs. It can be a challenge to manage these disparate systems and track who has authorization to access them. Cybersecurity automation tools make it possible to monitor this tangled web without requiring manual oversight, which ensures that minor details don’t go overlooked and all activity can be tracked and assessed for potential threats or suspicious behavior.

2. Better Privacy Compliance

Data privacy laws are only going to become more strict in the years ahead. Whether through the GDPR or CCPA regulations, consumers continue to take back control over how their data is managed. Information security standards like SSAE 18 and ISO 27001 require an exacting detail to cybersecurity protocols, making automation tools an ideal fit for compliance-heavy industries thanks to their ability to minimize direct manual contact with private data.

3. Stricter Security Testing

Simulated cyberattacks remain one of the most important tools available to IT security experts, allowing them to quickly locate weak points in their security protocols and cybersecurity systems. Conducting these attacks manually, however, takes a lot of time, energy, and resources. More often than not, organizations neglect testing and deprive themselves of the opportunity to identify potential security risks. Automated security tests can be set up to run continuously, constantly churning through various simulations to generate real-world data on vulnerabilities that could be exploited and unique attack vectors that could bypass gaps in security protocols.

4. Enhanced Incident Response

Given the growing complexity of today’s IT infrastructure, it can be incredibly difficult for human technicians to identify every potential threat. Many of these threats strike so quickly that people quite literally can’t respond fast enough to stop them, while others take so long to develop that they can escape notice. Automated threat and incident response tools, however, have analyzed enough data to recognize the signs of an attack instantly and immediately take action to prevent or mitigate a data breach.

5. Improved Data Management

Security data is essential for improving cybersecurity practices. Teams need to know the nature of the latest threats if they’re going to combat them effectively. Unfortunately, gathering and analyzing data is tedious and prone to manual error. Automating data collection and management ensures that every last scrap of data will be examined and logged for future reference. While the automated system is gathering that information, human IT personnel can focus their attention on implementing other security precautions to keep their network systems even more secure.

Implementing Cybersecurity Automation Within a Colocation Data Center

Colocation data centers offer tremendous advantages in terms of physical security, but they also provide access to all the tools necessary to implement robust cybersecurity automation systems. Whether it’s connecting servers to cloud-based cybersecurity tools or provisioning multiple ISP connections to provide automated DDoS protection, organizations can significantly enhance their cybersecurity strategy with the right colocation partner.

vXchnge’s national data center locations are not only engineered for perfection, but they’re also managed with a zero-trust security philosophy that takes access control seriously to protect our customers’ valuable information assets. Our vX\defend service provides superior protection against DDoS attacks while our 100% SLA ensures you’ll always have access to your valuable data. To learn more about our enduring commitment to data center security protocols, talk to one of our colocation experts today.

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