Businesses now use automation wherever they can to improve process efficiency and accuracy and minimize human error. So nobody should be surprised that automation is now creeping into cybersecurity to eliminate manual and time-consuming security operations and improve data protection.

The automated technology needed to reduce such burdens on overworked security teams is already good, and getting better every day. This makes it a boon for prompt detection and response to cyber threats before they cause serious damage.

Read on as we explore how cybersecurity automation can enhance your data protection efforts and also prepare you to handle the ever-more sophisticated cyber attacks.

What Is Cybersecurity Automation?

Cybersecurity automation is the use of advanced systems powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies to protect an organization’s digital systems, programs, data, and networks, as well as all devices within the systems.

The goal is to automate the detection, investigation, and remediation of external and internal cybersecurity threats, with little to no human intervention. This lets the CISO better manage and control cyber attacks before they cause major disruption.

How Does Cybersecurity Automation Improve Data Protection?

Automating your cybersecurity efforts generates several benefits for data protection. Among them:

Enhanced Network Security

Cybersecurity automation provides IT leaders with a comprehensive view of network activity, helping them to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities. Automated security solutions also offer 24/7 network traffic monitoring, making them more adept at evaluating suspicious activities and blocking threats.

Proactive Threat Detection

Automated technology can detect and identify security threats and vulnerabilities in real time, enabling organizations to respond quickly and prevent common security breaches.

For example, you can use automated incident response systems to monitor for malware, ransomware, and phishing attempts, and to send immediate alerts to security professionals to take necessary action.

Prompt Incident Response

In the event of a data security breach, automated incident response tools can quickly analyze and contain the threat (usually within minutes of detection). This helps prevent unauthorized access to your organization’s data assets.

Improved Compliance Management

Regulatory compliance management is crucial to data protection, especially for organizations collecting and storing sensitive data. By automating compliance monitoring and reporting, businesses can stay compliant and avoid repercussions such as hefty penalties and legal action.

What’s more, automated compliance tools are designed to monitor systems, analyze logs, and generate reports to assure that all your systems are up-to-date and meet compliance obligations.

Improved Customizability and Flexibility

Data security automation also allows security teams to choose pre-built playbooks or build their own customized playbooks with enterprise-specific rules. Each playbook works as a “blueprint” for the automation tool to follow when executing specific tasks and addressing security issues. The other advantage of automation is increased transparency and control, which makes it harder for malicious hackers to manipulate or steal sensitive data.

See also

Best Practice Guide: Using Automation to Transform Risk Management

Which Cybersecurity Processes Can be Automated?

Certainly some security processes require a human touch, but even they are likely to benefit from cybersecurity automation. Consider these five security processes that will benefit most from security automation:

  1. Monitoring and Threat Hunting

    You need visibility into all areas of your security posture, but human involvement isn’t necessarily important. Indeed, if you’re part of a growing organization with a growing tech stack, having multiple people involved at every step of the way can make threat monitoring and detection tedious and time-consuming.

    Implementing security monitoring tools with 24/7 monitoring capability is a much better solution. Follow this up with security orchestration and automation, and you can tie all your tools into a single command center for effective monitoring.

  2. Data Enrichment

    Once your monitoring or detection system alerts you of a potential threat, your IT team will then investigate to determine whether the threat is real or a false positive. These investigations can quickly become dreary and time-consuming, plus you won’t get access to valuable insights that could improve your cybersecurity posture.

    Unless deeper forensics are needed, however, you don’t need to involve your staff. Instead, automate the bulk of the work and reserve human intervention for critical activities.

    Thanks to security orchestration and automation, you can leverage advanced tools to conduct full-fledged investigations on your team’s behalf – and relatively quickly. Your security team can use the time saved to focus on conducting deeper forensics or responding to threats and developing better products to boost your organization’s network and security systems.

  3. Incident Response

    If an incident is verified, the next task is to determine the appropriate response – and time is of the essence here. Whether you need to contain or remove malware, install security patches or upgrades, or deactivate a network under attack, fast action is paramount.

    By automating your response to common threats, you can be assured the system will take the required (accurate) measures to minimize and control any potential damage.

  4. User Permissions

    User permissions are critical for any organization that stores sensitive data. But with dozens of system logins for each user, it can be cumbersome to add, modify, or remove users manually. The entire organization can be at grave risk even with the tiniest mistake.

    Automating user permissions and investigating host expectations, among other related tasks, is a much better approach to assure that only authorized people have access to sensitive data while saving time and effort.

  5. Business Continuity

    Business continuity planning is important to ensure that your systems and data remain functional during and after an attack. Cybersecurity automation can help by minimizing the disruption of services for your customers.

    In this case, automation can replicate instances of your organization’s critical servers the moment a threat is detected. This way, even if a threat actor manages to gain unauthorized access to your server, your data will still be available to your customers and team members.

What Are the 5 Types of Cybersecurity?

Let’s review the five types of cybersecurity you can consider automating.

  1. Critical Infrastructure Security

    Critical infrastructure security plays a vital role in safeguarding cyber-physical systems, networks, and assets – all of which are a crucial part of today’s modern society. In other words, the security (and resilience) of this infrastructure is necessary to ensure society’s well being and safety.

    To secure critical infrastructure, your IT team needs to identify and understand vulnerabilities associated with the system and develop a plan to prevent potential damage.

    Even businesses that indirectly depend on critical infrastructure for operations should prepare for contingencies by evaluating how an attack on the infrastructure they rely on could disrupt their operations. Then, create a contingency plan accordingly.

  2. Application Security

    Application security leverages a combination of soft and hardware methods to eliminate external threats that may arise at different stages of application development, from design through to deployment.

    Application security is so important because so many apps today deliver their functionality over networks, which can be avenues of attack. So developers need to implement security standards, procedures, systems, and tools early on in the development cycle to keep their applications safe.

    These steps can include implementing authentication, authorization, antivirus programs, encryption programs, firewalls, anti-spy software, and application security testing, to protect against unauthorized access and maintain the integrity of sensitive data assets.

  3. Network Security

    Network security focuses on protecting internal network infrastructure against unauthorized intrusion by those with malicious intent.

    To enhance network security, network admins use machine learning to detect abnormal traffic patterns and detect potential threats in real-time. They also implement policies and procedures to prevent unauthorized access, modification, and exploitation of the network.

    Extra logins, application security, new passwords, antivirus programs, firewalls, encryption, and monitoring internet access are common examples of network security measures that help maintain your organization’s network security, protecting it against potential threats.

  4. Cloud Security

    Cloud security is a software-based security tool designed to protect and monitor data stored in cloud resources.

    Many people consider cloud computing to be less secure than traditional approaches. That’s not necessarily true; accessibility matters more than your data’s physical location. Case in point: Alert’s Logic Cloud Security Report found that on-premise environment users experience more security incidents than those in cloud environments.

    Generally speaking, cloud computing security is similar to traditional on-premise data center security. The only difference is the former also gives you the added benefit of avoiding the time and cost of maintaining large data facilities.

    As long as you practice adequate cloud security, you can effectively minimize the risk of security breaches for your organization.

  5. Internet of Things (IoT) Security

    IoT security focuses on safeguarding internet-connected devices and networks (sensors, appliances, printers, Wi-Fi routers, closed-circuit security cameras, and so forth) from cyber threats and attacks. It helps protect, identify, and monitor potential risks while simultaneously addressing vulnerabilities in devices that may pose organizational security risks.

Take Control of Your Data with ZenGRC

The ZenGRC is an integrated risk management solution that streamlines and automates your organization’s risk management. A real-time view of risk and compliance helps uncover strategic insights, so you can clearly communicate with stakeholders and make informed decisions regarding system and information security.

Want to see ZenGRC in action? Schedule a demo to eliminate security gaps and blindspots and get expert guidance to better understand your company’s risk posture.

Automating GRC: The Next Frontier
in Risk Management