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Automation and integration in cybersecurity

The last three decades have seen a significant increase in spending on cybersecurity, enhancing security defenses. Yet despite this, businesses are still being hit by cyber-attacks that end up costing thousands or millions of dollars, as cybercriminals utilize sophisticated technology and the threat landscape continues to grow. The growth in the number of sophisticated attacks in conjunction with constantly altering digital patterns has led to an increase in data breaches. Not only are cyber-attacks becoming increasingly frequent and sophisticated, but they are also becoming more effective, expensive, and dangerous to businesses of all sizes. 

The ability to scale security efforts is impeded by the lack of automation and integration in cybersecurity. Today, highly sophisticated cybersecurity threats against digital environments need equally sophisticated and innovative cybersecurity responses such as automated cybersecurity solutions to successfully defend organizations from these threats. 

What is cybersecurity automation?

The goal of security automation is to integrate security processes, applications, and infrastructure using technology, with or without human intervention to identify, triage, and prioritize security alerts, allowing a timely response to mitigate risk and damage. Automation reduces the reliance on human assistance, thereby limiting the potential for human error and allowing security processes to be streamlined. It also provides opportunities to build continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment workflows, and includes automation such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, IT automation, and robotic process automation.  

There are many cybersecurity tools available today that automate processes, such as anti-malware that automatically scans and detects BYODs on an organization’s system. These tools identify threats and remove identified flaws in line with preset security standards. 

Why automate security processes?

IT infrastructure and networks are continually growing in size and complexity, making it more difficult to manually manage cybersecurity. Manual and mundane repeatable security processes have the disadvantage of resulting in slow detection and remediation of issues, or errors in resource configuration. This leaves IT systems and networks vulnerable to cyber-attack and compliance issues, and leads to unexpected downtime and lowered operational functionality. By integrating security into IT infrastructure, processes, hybrid cloud structures, and applications from the start, automation can streamline daily operations. Security automation can also reduce the average cost of a breach by 95%.

Automation allows organizations to become more resilient to cyber-attacks as their security resources are more efficiently distributed. 

Other reasons for security automation and integration include

  • Explosion in security technology: there are virtually hundreds of security technologies and a shrinking pool of talent and skilled professionals that understand how to implement those digital tools
  • Inadequate standardization: Without standardization, security implementations are highly dependent on who is implementing them; this is why they fail to deliver results. 
  • Increased attack surface: the threat exposure has increased exponentially with the adoption of the cloud and reliance on third-party service providers, and former techniques can’t keep up.

What are the challenges MSPs face?

In a world of increasing systems, technologies, and networks in business workflows, cybersecurity is one of the most important aspects of an MSP service offering. The demand for better manageability of cybersecurity as a result of the growing amount of systems, software, and data exchange is increasing. In other words, securing systems, software, and data is critical since sensitive data can be compromised if it is not properly secured.

MSPs are contending with more sophisticated cybersecurity threats than ever before, which increases the need for more sophisticated techniques in managing cybersecurity for clients. The biggest challenge can be to accurately deal with the volume of alerts that are received from different systems daily. Manual processes can lead to costly errors that take longer than necessary to fix, and in the worst-case scenario lead to client data being breached. 

Fully automated security tools may reduce time-consuming tasks for security operations teams and also provide rapid threat detection and incident response. Instead of doing the same, repetitive tasks, security teams can now focus on more important, value-added work. 

Why do MSPs need cybersecurity automation?

Research shows that around 75% of security alerts are ignored by IT security teams, even if they have security solutions in place because of the sheer volume of events. With cyber-attacks occurring every 39 seconds, enterprises receiving tens of thousands or even millions of alerts every quarter, and an increased attack surface including mobile devices, cloud infrastructure, and IoT devices, cybersecurity defense is being pushed to the brink. 

The ability to remove mundane and repetitive tasks from the workload with automated security tools allows security teams more time to focus on strategic security planning, threat hunting, and improving the security posture. MSPs that implement automation tools such as vulnerability scanning as part of their security stack minimize risk for their clients, simplify security and cybersecurity management, and increase their value in the market. 

  • Reducing the burden of manual security tasks through automatic processes reduces the possibility of human error, which is one of the weakest points in cybersecurity management.
  • Faster detection and response time to cyber-threats, reducing the risk of a data breach for clients 
  • More cost-efficient and adaptable cybersecurity strategies are possible with MSPs able to focus on higher-value functions and decision making, building relationships to grow their business. 

One of the most crucial roles of a managed service security provider is comprehensive vulnerability management. This is the process of assessing, mitigating and reporting security weaknesses and cyber-threats that exist in a client’s IT infrastructure, that if exploited by cybercriminals have the potential to cause serious financial and reputation damage. Automated and continuous vulnerability scanners form the foundation of vulnerability management, enabling the detection and identification of potential threats in a client’s system. 

The automated vulnerability scanner does most of the work for security teams, so they’re no longer manually weeding through and addressing every alert as it comes in. 

Proactive security: threat actors will typically look for vulnerabilities in IT systems to exploit and gain initial access to the system. Automated vulnerability scanning identifies assets within the network, including servers, laptops, firewalls, printers, containers, firewalls, etc, and lets security teams detect and remediate any vulnerabilities before they can be compromised.

Risk assessment: continuous vulnerability scanning enables MSPs to assess how effective security controls are and make improvements. If the same weaknesses are spotted regularly, such as phishing attacks, the entire cybersecurity strategy may need to be reconsidered and new solutions implemented, for example ensuring cybersecurity awareness training for employees. 

Compliance: many industries, such as healthcare, finance, and defense are now subject to compliance regulations regarding the processing of data, including compliance standards General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Health Information Privacy And Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). 

Cost-effective: vulnerability scans seamlessly perform tasks that would take many hours if humans were to undertake them. Detecting potential breach threats before they can become problems that are costly to remediate and recover from means added value to the business. 

Adopt security automation for your MSP 

Security automation is no longer a “nice to have” solution to offer MSP clients but has become essential in today’s complex IT environment. With more cyber-attacks happening than ever before and a lack of high-end security talent, automating routine security tasks such as vulnerability scanning can make all the difference, maximizing the value and time available to manage client cybersecurity. 

Detecting and mitigating vulnerabilities early can drastically reduce the time it takes to react to an incident and stay ahead of threats. Incident handling that might take hours or even days can be reduced to a few seconds, reducing the threats posed to your clients and better protecting their business. 

The ThreatAdvice Breach Detection Platform combines world-class cybersecurity management tools and continuous vulnerability scanning to enable MSPs to manage their clients’ IT security effectively and efficiently. Find out how to simplify cybersecurity management with ThreatAdvice today

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