Everything You Should Know About Cybersecurity Automation

Nov 2, 2021
6 min read

The past two years saw the rapid spread of coronavirus across the world. The governments of many countries had to declare complete lockdowns to prevent the spread of Covid-19. This forced companies to create remote workforces and operate off the cloud-based platforms to continue running their businesses.

All this is to say that the cybersecurity industry has never been more important. With the ongoing coronavirus mutations that are rapidly spreading among people in different countries, remote working is forecasted not to stop anytime soon. Moreover, as remote workers will continue to be a target for cybercriminals, cloud breaches will tend to increase. So, cybersecurity remains an issue for the worldwide businesses that are now involved in remote working.

Today all businesses irrespective of their sizes are seeking methods to improve their efficacy and profitability from IT activities by investing in cybersecurity. Irrespective of how people think about automation- whether they feel it has a positive impact on their businesses or kills cybersecurity jobs- this does not divert the truth that automation is set to cause changes in cybersecurity jobs. That’s due to the many ways for achieving the set goals of businesses today, which include cybersecurity automation in their business operations, which is regarded as a way to “make the playing ground level” for cyber attackers and cybersecurity pundits. The key objective is to minimize and possibly eliminate cyber threats. Cybersecurity automation is meant to:

Integrate artificial intelligence (AI) with machine learning (ML) techniques into the system to improve the analytic capabilities of the businesses
Make the collection of data faster, easier, and more effective
Eradicate tedious, time-consuming tasks to relieve the IT security pundits so they can prioritize high-level tasks.

Every business organization wants to have cybersecurity automation integrated into its information infrastructure. It allows them to relocate human resources to other departments where their efforts are needed more to improve the efficiency of the company.

Cybersecurity Automation: What is it?

Cybersecurity automation entails substituting the manual processes/operations with automated systems to enable cyber threat detection and prevention while enhancing the response intelligence of the organizations to protect themselves from cyber-attacks. In other words, the automation of cybersecurity helps to:

· Minimizes the human involvement in handling the sensitive security activities

· Predict any potential risks and cyber threats and retaliate to them effectively

Today, companies across the world have reported a rise in cybersecurity expenditure in their business operations. As per Gartner’s Forecast Analysis, the worldwide cybersecurity solutions will reach $170.4 billion in 2022. [1] Also, the cybersecurity automation industry that includes the application of AI and ML is expected to grow soon rapidly.

Cybersecurity automation is critical to all companies as cyber-attackers are increasingly launching sophisticated attacks on businesses.

So, what sort of cybersecurity automation tools are required to incorporate into the security systems/processes of a business? Let us now discuss the automation solutions and platforms attested by cybersecurity experts.

Cybersecurity Automation Solutions and Platforms

1. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

It involves using both physical and virtual or software robots in the industrial processes to handle repetitive duties. For cybersecurity automation, RPA uses automated systems/tools/platforms to manage or handle intellectual functions such as inspections, scanning, and low-level instance responses.

Further, it may include extraction and collection of data, basic threat detection, and various cognitive functions. Integrating RPA into businesses has many advantages from logical, threat, and compliance perspectives.

RPA increases cybersecurity efficiency by eliminating the burden of performing manual, repetitive, and tedious tasks. It assists in reducing the involvement of humans, which is considered the most significant cybersecurity vulnerability. That’s because knowingly or unknowingly, humans are the biggest threat to the cyber health of businesses. So, eliminating the human aspect when handling the organizational data makes it more secure. All in all, applying RPA in businesses helps to reduce cybersecurity vulnerabilities to a large extent.

1) RPA assists in performing device discovery and inventory and aids in identifying the exposed attack surfaces to counter the cyber attacks
2) It minimizes the detection of threats and time of response through the application of automated diagnosis and alert notifications
3) It enables automatic updates and patches rollout, hence increase the cybersecurity of businesses
4) This technology provides a never-ending security coverage
5) It refurbishes cybersecurity teams with inadequate talents
6) It reduces human involvement in handling sensitive data
7) It reduces the commitment of IT security pundits so that they can concentrate on other high-level tasks

Additionally, businesses that have adopted RPA stay compliant with various regulations including, PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) standards. For instance, RPA can be used for notifying any data breaches, and data documents, roll out informed consent alerts, and data aggregation.

Nonetheless, companies should not be overly dependent on RPA for all their cybersecurity solutions, especially those that require high cognitive and analytical abilities, which should be a mix of high-cognitive learning methods/techniques/technologies and human intervention.

2. SOAR and SIEM

SOAR (Security Orchestration and Response) is a combination of IT technologies enhancing cybersecurity with minimal human involvement in low-cognitive activities. It is meant to advance the major cybersecurity affiliated functions like orchestration and automation of security, and security response. This technology performs three tasks by enhancing the management capabilities of risks and vulnerability, responding to cybersecurity instances, and automating security activities.

SOAR and SIEM (Security Incidence and Event Management) are related in a couple of ways- these two technologies collect and apply data from different sources for analyzing and identifying any strange, irregular, or suspicious activities. Though these two solution technologies usually operate side-by-side to offer data security, they differ in several ways.

SIEM is a more manual operation compared to SOAR as it needs manual retaliations to perform different tasks such as the normal system upgrades and technology tweaks, rule setting, improvement in efficiency, increase detection effectiveness, and signature optimization. However, SIEM solutions are limited to detect known threats and are quite inaccurate to detect new and unknown threats.

Compared to SIEM, SOAR is more heterogeneous. It uses the SIEM alerts and automatically retaliates them. It uses cognitive techniques such as AI and ML tools for learning which enables them to detect both the known and the unknown threats. It helps to automate and enhance the security operations as well as retaliate to the cyber threats and potential risks by wiping out repetitive tasks and introducing the orchestration of operations within an organization.

The main function of SOAR security orchestration helps prevent phishing attacks. Robotic automation in data collection, analysis, and improving operations reduces the time of risk detection and response time to these phishing attacks.

Both these technologies are usually applied hand-in-hand due to their similarities. By integrating both the SOAR and SIEM cybersecurity technologies ensure that the tools protect the organizations against several cyber threats.

3. Certificate and Key Management

Application of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates and keys is a cybersecurity threat for an organization.[R4]  For instance, the existence of blind spots in the network, that is the poor visibility within the network where shadow certificates cause operation outages, security breaches, and network downtime.

Network outage affects businesses in a couple of ways such as noncompliance penalties, loss of revenues, loss of reputation, loss of customers, etc. A 14-hour outage cost Facebook an estimated $90 million in March 2019. [2] While the loss in revenue for small businesses due to downtime drops to the lower-but-still-significant tune of $137 to $427 per minute. [3]

Certificate and key management platforms enhance the business’ operations. These tools help the business owners to detect/identify/understand all digital certificates existing within their network irrespective of their type, date of issue, brand, or date of expiry. The certificates identified by these tools include SSL and TLS (Transport Layer Security) certificates, client certificates, IoT (Internet of Things) certificates.

Certificate management platforms enable cybersecurity automation where tedious and time-consuming operations involving manual management of thousands of keys and certificates are automated through the following:

Automating the three-month, two-month, and one-month expiry notifications of certificates
Automation of issuing, installing, renewing, and revoking certificates
Automating the creation of users
Automating the generation of reports

Having a valid and sturdy SSL certificate is a crucial element of an organization’s cyber health. Using SSL certificates in the modern world of technology has become so extensive that managing them is a handy task for companies. That’s because the businesses have lists of the number of SSL certificates owned by the enterprise, the issuer, the number of public keys associated with the certificates, and the people allowed to access the keys. Therefore, the certificate management tools play a critical role by automating the discovery process for the SSL certificates.

4. Custom Software Solution Development

Every business differs in terms of operations and needs from the other. Though the available cybersecurity automation technologies are significantly critical to businesses, now companies are finding it better to build their own solutions customized to meet the peculiar requirements of their business. For instance, it might be an activity that the company’s workforce could handle, but the management would want to delegate them to a third party.

Wrap Up

It is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to secure themselves from cyber threats and mitigate attacks due to their sophistication. Today, security teams all over the globe are facing the hurdle of effectively managing millions of notifications generated by the security systems/tools/platforms. To investigate these threats, cyber experts must execute manual, repetitive and, time-consuming tasks. Fortunately, cybersecurity automation solves these problems experienced in day-to-day business operations. Automation and integration of cybersecurity in business operations are becoming significant to save resources such as data, revenue, and reputation for many organizations worldwide.