A look at top security automation solutions & how they improve operational
efficiency and cyber security
Businesses of all sizes continually seek ways to increase
efficiency and profitability in all areas of their organization — everything
from general operations to cyber security. Regardless of how you feel about automation
on a personal level — whether you think automation is great or it’s the
harbinger of death for cyber security jobs — it doesn’t change the fact that
automation is poised to change the very nature of cyber security jobs in the
future. That’s because one of the best ways to accomplish many of the goals business
have is to integrate process automation and cyber security automation into
Business automation comes in many forms, though, and can
include a variety of process automation and security automation tools. So, what
are these tools, how do they work, and how can they be integrated into your
Let’s hash it out.
The Benefits of Cyber Security Automation and Ongoing Growth of the
When you hear the term “cyber security automation,” what
comes to mind? This form of automation is all about leveling the playing field
between cyber security experts and cybercriminals. The goal is to reduce the
number of threats by eliminating vulnerabilities through the prevention of
known cyber threats and identification of zero-day attacks.
Let’s drill down a bit more. Cyber security automation is
- Making data collection faster and more efficient;
- Bringing artificial
intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies and processes into
the fold to increase organizations’ analytic capabilities; and
- Eliminating tedious, time-consuming non-cognitive
tasks to free up IT security experts so they can focus on higher-priority
responsibilities and tasks.
All of these things are ideal for every organization.
After all, making a business more efficient and reallocating human resources to
where they’re most needed should be every company’s goal. But this level of
improvement often requires the solutions and platforms.
Many industry reports indicate that cyber security
spending is on the rise for enterprises and businesses around the world. Data from
IDC shows that global spending on cyber security solutions is anticipated to
top $103 billion this year alone. Moreover, the market for cyber
security automation — which includes the use of AI and ML — is anticipated to
grow for the foreseeable future. In fact, a Research
and Markets report indicates that the AI cyber security market is projected
to surpass $38 billion by 2026.
Investing in cyber security solutions and automation
platforms is essential for all businesses — particularly as cybercriminals
launch increasingly complex cyber attacks. But what kind of tools and solutions
are available? Check ‘em out:
Cyber Security Automation Tools and Platforms
Some examples of process automation solutions and
platforms for cyber security include:
- Robotic process automation (RPA)
- Security orchestration automation and response
(SOAR) and security incident and event management (SIEM)
- Public key infrastructure (PKI) certificate and
- Custom software development
We’ll cover many of the benefits of each of these
different cyber security automation solutions and how they contribute to
improving efficiency, increasing cyber security effectiveness, reducing costs,
and improving overall organizational processes.
1. Robotic Process Automation
In general, robotic process automation refers to the
process of using robots — whether physical or virtual such as software bots — to
automate repetitive tasks. With regard to cyber security and security
automation, this typically refers to allowing automated systems to handle
low-cognitive functions such as scanning, monitoring, and low-level incident
response. You know, extract and aggregating data, performing basic threat
search and detection processes, and other low-cognitive tasks.
Advantages of Integrating RPA Into Your Business
There are multiple benefits of using RPA from logistical,
risk, and compliance standpoints. For one, it makes cyber security more
efficient by removing the burden of manually performing repetitive tasks. It
also helps you to minimize the biggest cyber security vulnerability: human
interaction. Whether intentional or by human error, people pose the biggest
risk to the cyber wellbeing of organizations and businesses. By removing the
human aspect, it makes your data more secure.
Borrowing from Ernst & Young Global Limited’s (EY’s)
research and building upon it, there are several ways that software
robotics can aid in reducing cyber security vulnerabilities:
- RPA reduces threat detection and response time
though automated detection and alert notifications.
- RPA aids in application and device discovery and
inventory, helping to identify exposed attack surfaces to mitigate security
- RPA improves security with automated rollout of
updates and patching.
- RPA helps to fill the talent shortage gap of
cyber security teams.
- RPA doesn’t tire or mentally “clock out” on the
job, providing 24/7/365 security coverage.
- RPA limits the involvement of IT security pros
so they can focus on other high-cognitive tasks.
- RPA limits human involvement in the management
of sensitive personal information.
Additionally, RPA can help your business stay compliant
with some regulations such as the EU’s General
Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or Payment
Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). For example, automation
can be used for data collection, to roll out informed consent notifications,
data breach notifications, as well as to document all data that’s held by your
organization for audits. Why dedicate many employees to performing such tedious
tasks when automation technologies can do it for you?
RPA offers many advantages to enterprises and other
organizations. However, no organization should rely on RPA alone for more
in-depth security operations that require higher cognitive and analytical
capabilities. This part is still best left to a mix of cognitive-learning
technologies and the intervention of human analysts.
2. Security Orchestration Automation and Response and Security Incident and
orchestration automation and response — sometimes just referred to as security
orchestration and automation — is a term that was coined by Gartner back in
2017. It refers to a combination of solutions that optimize the capabilities
and efficiency of your security operations center without tying up your human
assets in low-level tasks.
It serves to optimize three main cyber security-related
tasks — security orchestration, security automation, and security response — by
improving threat and vulnerability management capabilities, security incident
response, and security operations automation.
This sounds an awful lot like security incident
and event management solutions, doesn’t it? In many ways, SOAR and SIEM are
similar —after all, they both collect and use relevant data from multiple
sources for analysis to identify any anomalous activity. While these two
solution stacks often work hand-in-hand for security operations centers (SOCs),
they’re still different in a few ways:
- SIEM is more manual in nature. This
system of stacked solutions requires manual responses to alerts and regular
upgrades and tweaks to the technologies, rule sets, and signatures for
optimization, efficiency, and detection effectiveness. However, it’s primarily
limited to identifying known threats and are less effective at identifying new
or unknown threats.
- SOAR is a bit more diverse in its use of
internal and external applications, and it takes those SIEM alerts and responds
to them automatically for triage and remediation when necessary. It relies on
cognitive technologies and tools that use artificial intelligence (AI) and
machine learning (ML) to learn from existing threats and to help identify new
Advantages of Using SOAR and SIEM Solutions
SOAR is all about using automation to improve your
security operations and incident response by eliminating repetitive tasks and
organizing (or “orchestrating”) the technology, people, and processes within
your organization to their full advantage. For example, in a security
operations center (SOC), SOAR complements SIEM capabilities by building upon
them and providing extra value.
Security orchestration even has benefits in terms of preventing
phishing attacks from being successful. The aforementioned EY research reports
a “50% to 70% reduction in time to detect and response to a phishing attack”
through the use of robotic automation in the data gathering, analysis, and
How do you know whether SOAR solutions would benefit your
organization? Is it ROI worth the investment? To determine this, ask yourself
the following questions:
- Do you continually find yourself inundated with
tedious, mind-numbing, and repetitious tasks that could be handled through
- Do you have ready access to actionable
intelligence to make informed cyber security-related decisions?
- Is your team experiencing alert fatigue? Think
of doctors and nurses who hear alarms going off all day long and don’t have the
time or resources to handle them all.
- Have you identified processes that could be
improved by cyber security automation?
- Have you weighed the costs of the salary and
benefits of IT security staff to the costs of security automation solutions?
If your answer to these questions is “yes,” then,
obviously, you have some solutions to consider and big decisions to make. After
all, some security-related tasks lend themselves to automation, and others…
well, not so much. Really take the time to carefully weigh the pros and cons of
integrating automated solutions for each process to determine its true value to
3. Certificate Management
The widespread use of SSL certificates and keys that
resulted from Google’s requirement of website encryption has led to the
creation of many dangerous blind spots. One of the biggest threats to website
security — and the success of your business — is a lack
of visibility within your network and your public key infrastructure. If
you ask yourself the following questions, can you answer them honestly without
even one iota of concern?
- How many certificates have been issued for your
organization, users, and domain(s)?
- What types of certificates have been issued?
- Were all of the certificates issued by the same
certificate authorities (CAs) or different ones?
- Who requested them?
- How many keys does your organization have?
- Where are those keys stored?
- Who has access to those certificates and keys?
Can’t honestly answer those questions definitively? Yeah, we
didn’t think so. That, unfortunately, isn’t uncommon. The existence of shadow
certificates is a major liability that can result not only in security breaches
but costly website downtime or service outages as well. Oh, yeah, and
this impacts your bottom line, too, in multiple ways — lost revenue,
noncompliance fines and penalties, and lost customer trust (just to name a
fact, research from the Ponemon
Institute and KeyFactor indicates that unanticipated downtime or
outages cost businesses nearly $3 million in immediate revenue loss, and the
average economic loss is estimated at $11.1 million.
That’s a lot of lost revenue for something you didn’t even know
So, how can you keep certificates you aren’t aware of from expiring?
This is where cyber security automation and encryption automation come
into play in the form of PKI certificate management.
Advantages of a Certificate Management Platform
Certificate management platforms with certificate
discovery tools help you with more than website certificate management. They
can help you to identify all of the X.509 digital certificates that
exist within your network regardless of brand, type, issuance date, or
expiration dates — this includes code signing certificates, client
certificates, device and IoT certificates, and SSL/TLS certificates. An example
of such a tool is Sectigo Certificate Manager (SCM), or what used to be known
as Comodo CA Certificate Manager (CCM).
management tools can automate many of the time-consuming tasks that are
involved with manually managing hundreds or even thousands of certificates and
keys. These tasks include:
- Automatic issuance, renewal, installation, and
revocation of certificates;
- Automatic 90-day, 60-day, and 30-day certificate
expiry notifications (depending on the policies and support of the CA or
reseller you purchase from);
- Automatic report generation; and
- Automatic creation of end-users through
We’re not telling you this just to sell you another cyber
security product, although we do so happen to sell a really great certificate
management platform. Rather, we’re trying to really drive home the point that certificate
management is a very real, very significant concern for every business
that uses digital certificates.
Still don’t believe us? Just look at some of the major
headlines over the past two years. Expired
certificates have brought down some of the biggest names in technology and
other industries, including Ericsson, Facebook, LinkedIn, and even U.S.
Don’t be like these guys — keep visibility of your
digital certificates at all times by taking advantage of the certificate
management automation solutions that are available nowadays. After all, a CM
platform is way cheaper than the noncompliance fines, lawsuit settlements, and
lawyers you’ll otherwise be paying when shit eventually hits the fan.
Manage Digital Certificates like a Boss
14 Certificate Management Best Practices to keep your organization running, secure and fully-compliant.
4. Custom Automation Solution Development
Another category we’d be remiss to not at least mention is
the concept of developing custom automation solutions. We understand that every
business is different and the needs of organizations across a variety of industries
also differs. And while some existing cyber security automation solutions can
be useful, your specific organization may find it beneficial to create custom
solutions that are tailored to meet the specific needs of your business. This
may be something that your internal development team can handle, but more than
likely you’ll want to hand that off to a third-party service provider.
Cyber security automation offers advantages in terms of
money saved and being to use your IT security professionals most effectively. Although
the technology isn’t perfect, AI ad ML in cyber security provide significant
advantages that outweigh many of the drawbacks of the technology. As such, it’s
easy to see why security automation is listed as one of our top five cyber
security trends for 2019 — although we expect this to continue well beyond
Have you invested yet in cyber security and encryption
automation for your organization? As always, share your thoughts and opinions
in the comments below.
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Hashed Out by The SSL Store™ authored by Casey Crane. Read the original post at: https://www.thesslstore.com/blog/4-ways-to-integrate-cyber-security-automation-within-your-enterprise/