In the first half of 2021, global cyber attacks jumped 29%, compared to the same period in 2020. (Checkpoint).
Cyber attacks and data breaches pop up on security radars with alarming frequency. If your organization does not have a powerful and timely process to respond to such security incidents, it remains vulnerable to all kinds of threats, including ransomware, phishing attempts, zero-day exploits, Man-in-the-Middle (MitM), Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, and SQL injections, to name just a few.
Even if you do have an incident response process, you may be struggling with issues like:
- Inability to effectively integrate people, processes and security infrastructure
- Staying ahead of clever attackers armed with sophisticated tools
- Fragmented, sub-optimal workflows that increase threat exposure
- False positives creating alarm fatigue among security teams
The most effective way to eliminate such challenges, improve threat response and boost cyber defence is through automated incident response.
What is Automated Incident Response?
When you see the term Incident Response, what that refers to is an organization’s ability to identify and investigate attacks and breaches, and reduce their impact. We call this process, Assess and Mitigate. This has often been done in the past with human elements monitoring traffic, investigating suspicious activity, drafting procedures when new threats arrive, etc. However, as the name suggests, automated incident response eliminates the human element from the process. It automates repetitive tasks, expedites threat detection and response, and provides ‘round-the-clock defence, allowing your SOC team the time and space to further develop and strengthen your security posture in other ways.
How to Automate Incident Response and Detection with the Right Tools
It’s critical to expedite the incident response process in order to minimize the potential damage of a cyber incident. Manual analyses of events are rarely feasible, and neither are manual reviews of every alert raised by security tools. Automated incident response addresses these limitations.
The right technology platform is essential to automate incident detection and response. Such tools provide integrated workflows, automated scripts and pre-built tasks, so the organization’s security infrastructure can automatically take actions for threat detection, response, containment, and closure.
When selecting an automated incident response tool, it’s important to consider which part of the process should be automated. It’s also useful to remember that there are different tools available for:
- Data gathering and analysis
- Response procedure automation
- Forensic investigations
- Complex incident response and management
The below considerations are also important when selecting an automated incident response platform:
- If the tool will run on analyst workstations or be deployed as a server
- If agents will be deployed on specific machines
- If it requires integration with security tools
A Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) tool provides one of the best ways to automate the incident response process. By leveraging SOAR (defined here by Gartner), security teams can effectively triage alerts, respond quickly to critical cybersecurity events, and deploy an efficient incident response program.
Benefits of Automated Incident Response
Automate Manual Security Processes
Instead of wasting time on manual incident response tasks, security teams are better off investigating and responding to genuine and serious security events. Automated incident response enables them to do exactly that. From alert notification and correlation, to initial investigation, triage, ticket generation and report generation – automating these tasks enables analysts to focus on areas where their skills and inputs are most required.
More Efficient Security Operations
Automation brings advanced proactivity, consistency, and speed to incident detection, response, and mitigation. Instead of manually copying and pasting evidence of a threat, analysts can focus on stopping attacks before they cause irreparable harm. Security operations also become more efficient as they improve mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR).
Generate Critical Insights in Real Time
An automated incident response platform can report on relevant metrics in a centralized dashboard, allowing security personnel to prioritize incident response activities and optimally manage security alerts at scale. Notifications can be automatically enriched from varied security intelligence sources to provide greater insight into the threat environment, and further improve incident response.
No More Alert Fatigue
For many organizations, security tools generate an overwhelming number of alerts. To determine whether these alerts refer to genuine threats or false positives, analysts have to manually review each alert. This is fine as long as alerts are low, but for most businesses and organizations, SOC teams can spend days tracking down one day’s worth of alerts. This leads to what we call alert fatigue. Alert fatigue often results in genuine issues being ignored, which makes the organization far more vulnerable. Automated incident response takes care of this problem by completely eliminating the human element from alert analysis and response. This benefit also enables security teams to analyze and remediate more threats, and thus strengthen enterprise security.
Automated Incident Response: 5 Key Use Cases
Automated incident response has a number of applications and use cases. Here are just five of them:
Automatic Firewall Updates
Security staff can automatically update the enterprise firewall to block malicious IPs as soon as they’re detected.
Limit Malware Damage
The automation of tasks, such as gathering forensics data, disconnecting infected systems from the network, and running vulnerability scans, can speed up malware investigation and removal.
Investigating a breach requires repetitive, manual actions like log reviews and data analysis. Automated solutions with log management capabilities eliminate this need, delivering all required investigation data in a compiled, easy-to-digest format.
Block Communications with Malicious Domains
Sometimes, organizations discover traffic to or from a known malicious domain. This traffic must be blocked as they investigate the potential intrusion. It’s faster and easier to take such actions – and then move from detection to response – with automated incident response.
Prevent Ransomware Infections
An automated incident response tool generates actionable threat intelligence, performs regular vulnerability scans, and raises alerts about at-risk systems – all of which enable the organization to build a proactive, protective shield against ransomware attacks.
Evolve Automated Incident Response
Traditional approaches to incident response are very slow and often fail to address legitimate issues, leaving your business exposed for days or even weeks. This is where Evolve steps in.
As soon as suspicious activity is identified, our Evolve Security Automation platform triggers Automated Incident Response procedures to ensure the incident is contained as quickly as possible, minimizing any negative impacts to your organization. With Evolve you’ll have:
- Automated Incident Detection
- Automated Incident Response Evidence Collection
- Automated Incident Response Evidence Analysis
A robust incident response process is critical to every organization’s cybersecurity infrastructure. Because manual processes cannot always provide the proactivity, fast response, or real-time mitigation required to deal with modern threats and threat actors, however, new tools have been developed to help counteract these increasingly complicated threats. Automated incident response provides the solution to these limitations. By investing in automated tools, organizations can strengthen their cybersecurity posture and set themselves up for success.