Businesses are continually seeking out new ways to become more efficient, from lowering shipping costs and streamlining internal communications to automating processes and increasing cybersecurity.
Security automation, or cybersecurity automation, has been a buzz word in the information security sector for some time and is one of the tools organizations are looking towards to become more proficient. While it isn’t a new concept, security automation has become more significant as cyberattacks happen more frequently and grow more complex. Cybersecurity automation is a broad term that can easily be misused or mixed up, so let’s first define precisely what it means.
What is Security Automation?
Initially, the term security automation meant the automation of cybersecurity. The scope of the digital world has changed drastically, and so too has this definition. Today security automation is the use of automated systems in place of manual processes to identify and prevent cyber threats while also contributing to an organization’s cyber incident response intelligence to defend against future attacks.
Security automation is one component of SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response) and falls under the umbrella of orchestration. SOAR refers to a group of software programs that collect security threat data from numerous sources and respond to some lower-level security incidents without the need for humans.
In layman’s terms, the goal of cybersecurity automation is twofold: to better predict future potential threats and respond to them faster, and to reduce the need for human involvement in security operations. Instead of fighting against automated cybersecurity attacks with manual efforts, security automation provides businesses with a more level playing field.
With an effective automation system in place, tedious tasks typically handled by a security analyst have instead managed automatically, freeing that person to focus on higher-priority tasks. This is especially important because as the number of cyber threats continues to increase at an alarming speed, there aren’t enough security experts available in the field to keep up with them.
Best Practices to Integrate Cybersecurity Automation into Your Enterprise
Now that we’ve established the value of security automation to businesses let’s move on to the different types of tools and how best to integrate them into your organization.
Utilize Robotic Process Automation (RPA) & Machine Learning
In an organization’s security operations, vast amounts of data are collected. The more data you gathered, the more accurate the results from it. However, most enterprises today are dealing with so much information that a human can’t do it manually. Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, and Machine Learning (ML) can automate the process of data sequencing and make it significantly faster and more accurate.
RPA is when robots -- either physical or virtual, like software bots -- are used to automate tedious or low-level tasks. Similarly, but distinctly different, ML is an artificial intelligence application that allows the machine or system to learn from data without being expressly programmed to do so.
Either solution can efficiently automate every step of the data chain. They can collect and organize the data faster and with incredible capability, then analyze it, identifying groups of threats that behave similarly and using that intel to predict future attacks better.
Bringing these security automated processes into your organization can increase its analytic capabilities and effectiveness, and better prepare you for future cyber threats.
Adopt a SOAR or SIEM Solution
To counter the ever-growing threat of cyberattacks, most enterprises have implemented multiple security automation solutions, such as SOAR or SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) technologies.
SOAR technologies allow companies to collect their security data, threats, and alerts from various sources and aggregate them in one place, as well as improve the management of those alerts. Although SIEM systems at first glance appear to be almost identical, they are slightly more limited in scope than SOAR tools. While the SIEM monitors for potential security breaches and triggers alerts, SOAR takes it several steps further, responding to those incidents, logging data, and in some cases, taking restoration steps.
It is worth noting that many SIEM systems are beginning to implement broader SOAR capabilities, so eventually, these solutions may become the same.
Unsurprisingly, because of their similarities and overlap, SOAR and SIEM solutions are frequently deployed alongside one another. When integrated with your enterprise’s existing security solutions, SOAR and SIEM tools better defend the organization against a multitude of cybersecurity threats.
Manage Your Organization’s SSL Certificates
One of the essential elements of a company’s cyber well-being is having current, valid public SSL certificates. Without them, your enterprise’s website isn’t secure -- and frankly, neither if your business. The use of SSL certificates and UCC (Unified Communications Certificate) SSL certificates (useful for multi-domains’ security) is so extensive in today’s world that managing them is a handy task for many enterprises. The enterprise should have a list regarding exactly how many SSL certificates the company has, who issued them, how many public keys are affiliated with those certificates, and who has access to those keys.
Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is the system and process in which an enterprise communicates with encryption in Public Key technology. Keys, along with SSL certificates, are essential to an organization’s cybersecurity. Few companies have the resources to have someone dedicated to managing keys and SSL certificates, though every business has a high need for it. Enter PKI certificate management.
Certificate management platforms play a valuable role in security automation by automating the process of discovering SSL certificates. It helps an enterprise to identify all the certificate types, issuers, and expiration dates. Additionally, certificate management tools aid cybersecurity automation efforts further with automatic certificate expiration notifications and automatic renewal and installation.
As cyber-attacks and threats have become almost entirely automated, cybersecurity automation is the best way for enterprises to combat, reduce, and respond to them. While the automation tools are ever-changing and it can be hard to decide what’s best for your organization, the good news is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. A custom cocktail of one or two, or even all, of the solutions discussed here, maybe what best suits your business, so experiment with implementing them to see what yields the best results.