This blog was written by an independent guest blogger.
Enterprises and small businesses alike are facing challenges that impact their ability to maintain adequate cybersecurity. Budget constraints and limited staff are just a couple of reasons why businesses have become more susceptible to cyberattacks. Hackers are becoming smarter, and the tools that teams deploy are growing in number, leading to fragmentation and increased vulnerabilities.
According to the IBM data breach report, the average cost of a data breach has reached $4.24 million per incident, an all-time high. There are many reasons for this increase, but one reason that businesses must confront recently is the drastic operational shifts during the pandemic that have led to higher recovery costs.
Cybersecurity automation trained with machine learning and powered by AI is helping to close vulnerability gaps and lower the cost of cybersecurity incidents. If your organization is new to automated security, then it's best to start small and increase the scope of your implementation over time. Use this guide to help navigate the needs of your organization and decide what next steps to take in order to implement an automated cybersecurity protocol.
The business case for automation
The upcoming holiday season presents a unique cybersecurity threat for businesses in addition to individual consumers. More online retailers are offering Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday deals to maximize profits and expect to see a 107% revenue boost over the holiday shopping weekend. This increased traffic presents an opportunity for hackers and fraudsters to slip under the radar and execute devastating cyberattacks.
The number one reason why more companies are turning to cybersecurity automation is due to the rise of advanced persistent threats. APTs most commonly describe an attack campaign where a team of attackers establishes a prolonged presence within a network that is difficult to discover without continuous monitoring tools. This kind of presence is easy to establish in an organization that has suffered attacks before or is otherwise focused on other business operations.
Because of this, organizations are pushing for more automation to secure their networks and assets. According to a recent report on cybersecurity adoption, 95% of businesses have already automated some of their cybersecurity processes and 98% are planning to automate even more of their processes in the upcoming year. Of those who have already started, 40% have automated at least half of their processes.
Business functions to automate for better security
Automating business functions helps increase security while also streamlining workflows and freeing up employees to focus on productivity and revenue-based activities. Without the help of AI, many companies are struggling to keep up with rising customer demands for speed as well as the rising need for privacy and security.
Here are just some of the functions that businesses can automate to increase overall cybersecurity:
Cybersecurity automation gives organizations the ability to perform threat detection and incident response at scale. AI-powered intelligent automation requires large amounts of data in order to be most effective, so machines that have been developed over time are becoming powerful enough to analyze vulnerabilities and respond to incidents in real time. By automating tedious and repetitive security tasks, response time is expedited while reducing alert fatigue and human error.
Many security professionals spend hours each day manually administering tools to protect enterprise data. For many organizations, spending so much time collecting data is not conducive to innovation and growth. Automating tasks such as data collection and log and asset management can make security operations more efficient by freeing up skilled employees to work on high-level tasks that require a human touch.
Another way for businesses to streamline workflows is to automate data privacy functions such as compliance. AI-powered tools have the ability to navigate your ecosystem and discover non-compliant processes and activities without the need for a full scale audit. Regulations are beginning to catch up with those in the EU, so staying on top of regulatory compliance is essential to prevent disruptions and down time as well as keep systems secure from prying eyes.
Another part of cybersecurity that is traditionally very time consuming is testing. Conducting simulated attacks and vulnerability tests is crucial for maintaining a secure cybersecurity ecosystem, but the time consuming process causes many organizations to put it off or test less frequently than they should.
But now, continuous attack simulations can be used to increase data center security. These automated simulations recreate adversarial behavior in order to discover processes and controls that are performing and which need to be patched up.
APIs and certificates
Enterprises have no choice but to manage upwards of thousands of security certificates. This volume of certificates is virtually impossible for teams to manage without the help of AI-powered tools. Because of this, it is not uncommon for businesses to experience outages caused by certificates expiring unexpectedly. That’s why most companies are now looking to automate their PKI certificate management processes.
Cybersecurity automation also allows companies to secure all of their applications easily. This includes checking for authentication, authorization, and even encryption protocols. Automated tools can also scan business applications for known security vulnerabilities.
A manual approach is no longer sustainable considering the amount of DevOps deployments continue to increase as more companies are utilizing low code and no code tools and APIs. Additionally, each manual step creates unnecessary risk through human error that can lead to a security breach.
Tips for implementing cybersecurity automation
- Implement zero trust protocols. A restrictive policy when it comes to network access protects business data from internal and external threats.
- Keep your certificates up to date. As web developer Nathan Finch from Best Web Hosting Australia makes note of, ensuring your web hosting provider comes with SSL is absolutely essential. “SSL or Secure Socket Layer protection creates an encrypted tunnel from your user’s computer to the web servers,” says Finch. This protects their information from hackers and other malicious forces. It has become a requirement for any financial transaction online as well as any payment processor worth using. These processors will flat out reject any websites that don’t have SSL.
- Utilize managed services. In the event that a threat is detected, managed security services can automate and orchestrate rules to accelerate incident response time. In addition, your organization will also have a team of security professionals that can help your IT security identify and mitigate threats in real time.
While technologies like cloud computing and 5G were created with security in mind, there are still a number of ways that businesses can fall victim to costly cyberattacks. By automating business processes such as incident response, data management, data privacy, attack simulations, APIs, certificates, and application security can all lead to a more efficient and secure business environment.