Increase Automation to Overcome Cyber Resilience Challenges

February 17, 2020
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3 min read

Security operations teams face an exponentially growing volume of security event data while resources mostly remain static. One great way to help solve issues in this space is automation. Despite the recognized benefits of security automation, however, few organizations leverage automation’s capabilities to their full potential, and those who do often only deploy them partially.

Organizations Are Still Relying on Manual Operations

The reality is that organizations still rely heavily on manual processes, which makes preventing, detecting, containing and responding to cyberattacks more difficult. The challenges organizations without automation face extend beyond technical capabilities, cascading to negatively impact risk management and maintaining employee morale. Effective and sustainable cyber resilience hinges on leveraging greater levels of automation.

The Ponemon Institute’s 2019 study, “The Cyber Resilient Organization,” revealed that only 23 percent of organizations leverage automation to a high degree. Over three-quarters of organizations are still suffering the pain of operating in a world where nearly everything is performed manually.

Manual processes make it more difficult for organizations to manage security events and respond to incidents. The lion’s share of the burden continues to fall on already understaffed cybersecurity teams and exacerbates existing problems related to the cybersecurity skills gap and workforce shortage. This directly impacts the ability to effectively manage risk and respond to potential security incidents.

Do You Keep Spinning Your Wheels?

According to “The Life and Times of Cybersecurity Professionals 2018,” research by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) and the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), three of the top cybersecurity challenges organizations face today are understaffing, dependency on too many manual or informal processes, and managing too many disconnected security tools. These issues, coupled with the cybersecurity skills gap, cause teams to struggle to keep up with evolving threats, understand technology changes and handle the sheer volume of data being processed.

Security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) capabilities can provide relief by enabling security operations teams to handle events or tasks automatically or with minimal manual intervention. Automation allows teams to more efficiently spend their time on actions that provide more value rather than getting bogged down with time-consuming manual tasks.

Freeing the mind from endless repetition facilitates greater creativity, allowing for more time to perform investigations, gather threat intelligence or optimize processes. It also provides a more engaging and satisfying experience for employees who can increase their skills, solve complex problems and find more value in their work.

Automation Can Increase Your Cyber Resilience

Greater levels of automation can increase resilience through consistent response times and actions. SOAR solutions, specifically, are designed to enable disparate tools to work together more effectively and drive efficiencies across security operations teams. In addition, playbooks help teams establish response steps based on predefined conditions and accelerate effectiveness by enabling teams to scale their efforts to meet the demands of an increasing number of events.

Furthermore, as automation capabilities mature, a feedback loop enables continuous process improvement through root cause analysis, playbook updates and analyst education.

Orchestration and automation capabilities are a core pillar of a comprehensive approach to cyber resilience, and these concepts are even more critical when it comes to working in the cloud and managing the security of multicloud deployments. Organizations should take the next step in their security programs by learning more about and increasing automation capabilities.

Jason Yakencheck
Associate Partner, IBM Cybersecurity and Biometrics Global Business Services

Jason Yakencheck is an Associate Partner in IBM Services’ Cybersecurity and Biometrics Practice. Jason has extensive experience managing complex solution i...
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