The field of cybersecurity is undergoing rapid changes in the wake of advancements in automation technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT). This is in part due to the ever-changing threat landscape and increasing numbers of cyber-attacks happening around the world and in the US. Cyber-crime is growing exponentially, with the cost predicted to hit $8 trillion in 2023 and grow to $10.5 trillion by 2025. Automated cybersecurity tools can make a huge difference to an organization’s ability to improve its security posture.
In this article, we'll explore the potential benefits and drawbacks of automation in relation to cybersecurity.
What is automation in cybersecurity?
Automation is a process that involves using software or hardware to perform a task without the need for human involvement. It is a valuable tool that can be utilized in all cybersecurity operations, starting from identifying and analyzing potential threats to restoring systems after a security breach has been identified.
Automated security operations can be beneficial in integrating various security technologies and serving as a centralized security control center. These operations link different systems and processes, enabling a comprehensive view of an organization's security landscape, including the status of security controls. This integration also promotes better teamwork and collaboration between teams.
Cybersecurity automation tools might look like:
- Security orchestration automation and response (SOAR) tools
- Robotic process automation (RPA)
- Vulnerability management such as continuous vulnerability scanning
The pros of cybersecurity automation
Organizations can enhance their ability to protect against security threats, reduce their overall cost, and improve their incident response time by implementing security automation tools.
Cost and time-efficient
Automation has a significant impact on security processes as it can accelerate them and facilitate faster incident response times. Manual security processes are time-consuming and repetitive, and what would take security teams days or even weeks can be completed in minutes if not seconds with automation. Consequently, this can lead to quicker detection and response times, reducing the risk of security incidents and the associated costs of data breaches.
Prevents simple errors in processes
Organizations can minimize the risk of human error by implementing automation. Manual security operations can be prone to errors, and crucial steps can be overlooked, leading to potential security breaches. Automation ensures that these processes are carried out consistently, leaving little room for error and improving threat detection.
All organizations have a legal obligation to comply with government regulations and rules pertaining to data privacy. Failure to do so may result in severe consequences such as shutdowns, hefty fines, and license revocations. The use of automated cybersecurity tools can go a long way to improve adherence to compliance standards through visibility of the attack surface, detection, remediation and so on.
The cons of cybersecurity automation
Downtime at times
Automating security processes is not a guaranteed solution and may result in system failure or downtime. Despite being a common risk with any technology or software, it is important to acknowledge that security automation is not completely infallible. It is crucial to test automated security systems before implementation to avoid potential complications.
Another potential downside to cybersecurity automation is the risk of overreliance on technology. While automated systems can certainly help to detect and prevent cyber threats, they should never be seen as a replacement for human expertise and intervention. There is the risk that cybersecurity automation can lead to a false sense of security. Organizations may become complacent in their cybersecurity efforts, believing that their automated systems are sufficient to protect them from all potential threats. In reality, however, cybercriminals are constantly evolving their tactics and strategies, making it important for organizations to remain vigilant and adaptable at all times.
Still requires oversight
When it comes to cybersecurity, identifying what constitutes normal and abnormal behavior can be a major obstacle. In response, a lot of cybersecurity tools utilize algorithms that can detect anomalies in order to identify potential threats. If you rely too heavily on automation without proper staff supervision, you may encounter false positives. For instance, your automated system might detect a specific type of network traffic and send an alert. However, if the traffic is typical for your business, the alert may be ignored if it ends up in the wrong hands. This could result in losing critical information and weakening your network's security.
Additionally, it is possible that automation may not possess the capability to manage scenarios that encompass intricate data sets or abrupt alterations in the surroundings. Automated systems can be corrupted with infected datasets, which can result in the distortion of machine learning algorithms or incorrect identification of innocent traffic. The targeted organization has no way of knowing if the system has been tampered with. Attackers can cause network shutdowns by overloading the system which can lock all users out.
Is cybersecurity automation right for your business?
Security automation plays a vital role in any security plan. Even though it's not entirely foolproof, it offers several advantages to your organization. Rather than avoiding automation, the best approach is to incorporate it with your current security strategy and tools to enhance the general security and effectiveness of your procedures. Talk to the managed security experts at ThreatAdvice for the most effective cybersecurity automation solutions to safeguard your network and data.