As recent cyberattacks against companies and governments have demonstrated, no organization is safe from cybercrime. Moreover, security incidents and data breaches are becoming expensive, costing a staggering $3.86 million on average.  It is clear that prevention is, now more than ever, a necessary focus.

To prevent malicious attacks, enterprises need strong cybersecurity programs with constant vigilance, threat detection, and remediation. However, these objectives are difficult to achieve with a strictly human-based approach. This is due to the prevalent problem of alert fatigue, a combination of sheer volume (large amounts of data) and wasted time (mostly in the form of large amounts of false positives).  Security automation can help minimize this problem, strengthening an organization’s security posture while also aiding the security team’s day-to-day responsibilities. Here’s how.

What is Security Automation?

Most organizations rely on multiple defensive cybersecurity measures to detect and prevent threats. Although essential to cybersecurity, these systems often create an uninterrupted flood of alerts. To separate the real threats from the “false positives,” security teams must prioritize and investigate these alerts – a burdensome task that causes the aforementioned alert fatigue.

According to recent research, 70% of IT leaders say that security alert volume has more than doubled since 2015. Moreover, 83% believe that their security teams experience alert fatigue.  To address the issue, security personnel either increase the alert thresholds (therefore reducing volume), or simply ignore certain alert categories. With either approach, genuine alerts often get lost in the noise, which can be disastrous in today’s expanding threat landscape. While it would seem, therefore, prudent to expand the employee pool, hiring more human resources is not always feasible. Here’s where security automation can be very valuable.

Security automation replaces manual incident response processes, such as scanning, detection, investigation and remediation, allowing SecOps teams to respond more efficiently to threats.  A security automation tool minimizes the need for human intervention to identify incoming threats and prioritize alerts. It instantly engages with an incident, quickly responds to alerts, and contains and resolves issues. 

What are the Benefits of Security Automation?

Enhanced security capabilities

With security automation, the organization’s Security Operations Center (SOC) can reduce false-positive alerts, reduce MTTR, and increase MTBF. They can also conduct deeper analyses and implement more proactive security measures, strengthening the organization’s capability to withstand threats.

Optimized security budget and higher ROI

Security automation empowers security teams to move away from routine detection and response tasks, and focus on more value-added work (like advanced threat defense).

Fewer errors for stronger threat detection and incident response

Intelligent security automation “learns” from patterns, and standardizes threat detection and incident response. This allows for better protection, minimizes errors, and improves the accuracy of alert investigations.

In addition, security automation tools can also:

  • Determine legitimate alerts for deeper investigation
  • Triage and mitigate potential risks by following the organization’s decision-making workflow
  • Standardize incident response processes to reduce response times
  • Streamline communications between security and other teams
  • Increase visibility of security metrics for a stronger cybersecurity posture

The Evolution of Security Automation

Security automation is a direct result of two key developments: the increasing number of cyber attacks, and growing alert fatigue. As we know, security breaches can have severe consequences, so organizations need strong threat detection and remediation capabilities. But manually analyzing each threat is overwhelming, and as we’ve seen, a vast majority of alerts are often ignored. Security automation was a necessary solution to these challenges.

From automated penetration testing to streamlined security queues, security automation has evolved into a more holistic approach where human intervention is not required. Today, the focus is increasingly on Orchestration, Automation and Response.

What is Security Orchestration, Automation and Response?

Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) combines automated data gathering, case management, analytics, and security automation, so organizations can easily implement more sophisticated defense-in-depth capabilities to protect themselves.  While security automation is about replacing manual incident response tasks with automation, security orchestration is about integrating disparate security tools and platforms to enable automated, machine-speed decision-making. It centralizes security operations data from different sources into a single interface, so security teams can quickly understand the threat landscape and respond appropriately. 

What that means is the threat is placed within the overall context of the network and organization. It is difficult to make an informed decision without information, and Orchestration helps provide that information. 

security orchestration, automation and response

How to Get Started with Security Automation

To get the most value out of security automation, it’s important to first establish security needs and objectives, define relevant use cases, study other security automation examples, and research providers.

Establish security objectives

In addition to improving their threat detection and remediation capability, organizations may also have other specific security goals: reduce alert fatigue, minimize inefficiencies, make operations leaner, etc. It’s important to identify these goals before implementing a security automation system.

Define use cases and examples 

The enterprise lists the ways they will use security automation. It helps to review other security automation examples for inspiration and information.

Research providers

While researching providers, it’s useful to ask these questions:

  • Is their platform “no-code” for easy deployment and use?
  • Is it customizable and scalable?
  • Does it provide third-party integrations and plugins?
  • Can they provide security automation examples from previous deployments?
  • Is staff training required?
  • Is technical support available?

The best security automation systems offer:

  • Standardized incident response workflows
  • Pre-built and customizable playbooks based on internal rules 
  • Integration with other security systems, like SIEMs, firewalls, and endpoint solutions

Evolve: The World’s First Dedicated Security Automation Cloud

Evolve extends, integrates and streamlines security automation, orchestration and response capabilities across the organization’s internal networks, data center environments, and cloud environments. Scalable, cost-effective, and available on-demand, Evolve optimizes security resources, and enhances security capabilities across the infrastructure.

Getting started with Evolve is easy and fast it is:

Step 1: Register an Evolve Account
Step 2: Navigate to the Evolve Marketplace
Step 3: Import the Automated External Penetration Test workflow into your account
Step 4: Click to launch a workflow instance to start running a test
Step 5: Done! Evolve does all the work to secure your business!

Conclusion

In an increasingly worrying cybersecurity landscape, security automation provides a powerful way for organizations to strengthen their threat detection, analysis and remediation capabilities. And when combined with security automation, orchestration and response, the enterprise can strengthen their cybersecurity posture, and stay several steps ahead of bad actors who want to harm them.