Businesses today need to be more agile and adaptable than ever before to thrive in a rapidly evolving digital environment. New work models, the switch to cloud computing, and increased connectivity have all brought about a need for change in the way organizations build technology solutions and processes.
With business operations, non-technical functions, data storage, and sharing, team collaboration and a whole host of other activities moving online, the demand for new applications and connected services has spiked. Organizations need an app or a feature for every function that can be performed on a computing device, and there simply isn’t enough engineering expertise in the world to meet this demand. This shortage in software programming talent is felt more acutely now than before because of the speed of digital transformation in the past decade.
It isn’t only the talent shortage that is a challenge, however. There has also been a tremendous increase in the need for big data analytics and machine learning for creating process efficiencies and delivering improved business outcomes. The need to process more data at machine speed, together with the difficulty in finding engineering expertise to create new solutions, is what is driving the low-code revolution. It is believed that low-code development is set to grow exponentially in the next decade, with its transformative potential equaling that of the cloud.
What is a low-code automation platform?
Low-code automation platforms allow users with very little programming knowledge or technical experience to create or enhance software applications and build automated workflows on visual, drag-and-drop editors. Low-code platforms come with pre-built modules, functionalities, and rules for common use cases and repeatable actions that can be quickly combined to create complete services, workflows, and apps. These can be enhanced with customized, hand-coded features by more skilled developers at a later stage, if necessary.
Low-code automation vs No-code automation
In contrast to no code security automation, low-code development does not limit businesses by what the platform allows and what’s already in-built. A low-code automation platform allows custom coding in addition to visual editing and provides greater control to users to customize their apps based on their specific requirements. This helps increase the speed of development and overall efficiency without compromising on quality, visibility, and control. It also has a greater chance of adoption by more skilled developers who may hesitate to work on no code security automation solutions due to lack of control over raw code and the inability to debug effectively.
Why are more businesses adopting low-code automation?
Low-code automation has the potential to enable digital transformation at speed and scale, without the need to invest in complex software engineering projects. Early adopters of the technology have seen a significant return on investment (RoI), reduced their dependence on highly skilled software developers, and increased overall productivity and time-to-value. With low-code enabling users from diverse backgrounds and minimal technical know-how to develop programs that take care of a wide range of business use cases, enterprises are solving the talent shortage problem without breaking the bank, while also increasing productivity and remaining competitive.
Low-code automation in cybersecurity
One of the most important use cases for low-code development is the automation of processes and workflows, which becomes critical in cybersecurity where speed of response can be the difference between an organization’s continued existence and a debilitating data breach that leads to bankruptcy. Quick threat detection and response are critical to maintaining smooth services and operations, keeping data secure, and sometimes saving lives, critical infrastructure, and entire cities. It is no secret that there is a massive talent shortage in the security industry, which is exacerbated by the nature of the job and the need for constant vigilance, analyst burnout, and high turnover. For effective defense against increasingly sophisticated and well-organized threat actors, organizations need visibility into vast amounts of threat data and the ability to filter, analyze and operationalize this data at machine speed. Security analysts, even if they are highly skilled, cannot possibly process all the alerts generated in a modern security operations center every day without automation and technology support. While security tools and technologies can help with real-time visibility, detection, and response, they can drive positive security outcomes only if they talk to each other and interoperate for quick threat detection and handling. This means, for example, that a threat intelligence tool needs to talk to a monitoring and detection tool which in turn needs to be connected to a response tool for a threat to be neutralized quickly and effectively. This is enabled by security orchestration and automation. With low-code automation, security teams can either leverage the built-in integrations that the platform comes with, or easily build integrations between cybersecurity, IT, and DevOps tools to streamline workflows, eliminate console-switching, and enable faster threat investigation and response. Tighter integrations between tools also facilitate more effective real-time collaboration and incident management.
How easy process automation helps security analysts
Low code automation allows analysts with little or no programming experience to hit the ground running. With next-gen detection and response tools and orchestration platforms featuring visual dashboards and drag-and-drop editors for playbook creation, security teams no longer need to write complex scripts for automating repetitive tasks and processes. Playbooks are essentially a series of threat response tasks and actions, organized as workflows. These may include either manual or automated tasks, or a combination of both, and help with streamlining and speeding up threat investigations and response. Low-code playbook
s come with visual editors that enable security analysts at any level to create automated workflows for faster and more consistent response processes.
Low-code platforms also enable mid-size organizations with limited security resources and tight budgets to leverage automation and bolster their cyber defense and response capabilities without having to invest in specialized engineering expertise and large security teams. By using low-code automation solutions, smaller businesses can get greater visibility into their attack surface, analyze data and detect threats quickly, and investigate and respond to threats before they cause disruptions - all at an affordable price.
Low-code security automation in SOAR platforms
- Orchestrate - Allow all the tools in use in an organization’s security operations center to interoperate bidirectionally
- Automate - Automate repetitive tasks performed by an analyst via playbooks
- Respond - Enable more efficient case management and incident response collaboration, and the ability to trigger response actions automatically
- Integrate real-time threat intelligence - Integrate high-confidence threat intelligence into all security functions in real-time
In its 2022 Market Guide on SOAR platforms, Gartner recognizes the increasing use of low-code SOAR automation capabilities. Low-code playbook creation for bringing consistency to processes and workflows is one of the key value drivers for low-code SOAR. Low-code SOAR platforms can deliver on the promise of low-code automation by enabling easy drag-and-drop playbook creation and the automatic triggering of a whole range of response actions. The actual response actions once a playbook is triggered are made possible by a decoupled orchestration layer that connects the SOAR platform with all the monitoring, detection, and response tools already in use in an organization’s SOC.
Easy automation of workflows, processes, and response triggering
Low-code SOAR solutions allow the creation of playbooks to automate a whole range of repetitive tasks that may otherwise have to be performed manually by analysts. This minimizes the false positive alerts that analysts have to deal with, reduces alert fatigue and analyst burnout, and allows security teams to focus on deeper detection and analysis, strategy creation, and business-critical functions.
Low-code platforms allow even non-technical security practitioners to build complete automated workflows. In addition to enabling those with limited programming skills, low-code also provides value to analysts who may have a strong technical background but don’t have the time to write a script from scratch for every use case. The focus then shifts from hand-coding each new feature, to deeper analysis and strategizing for better security outcomes.
Vendor-agnostic orchestration and customization
In most security technologies designed for orchestration, improved workflows, and real-time response triggering, vendor-agnostic orchestration is what makes the platform really shine. Low-code security automation, in combination with easy integrations with other technologies in the IT and security toolstack, supercharges cyberdefense without the need for specialized engineering expertise. Low-code automation solutions are usually cloud-delivered, the deployment time is shorter than for on-premise deployments, and those managing the platform can spend time on finding the best solutions and designing optimal workflows instead of worrying about complex implementation and scripting. This vastly expands the platform’s capabilities and customization options and allows teams to build solutions that align with the business mission.
Use cases for low-code SOAR automation
Some of the common use cases of low-code SOAR automation include:
- Alert triaging
- Sandboxing suspected malicious files
- Updating allowlists and blocklists with indicators, based on the confidence score
- Phishing detection and investigation
- Vulnerability management and asset discovery (via integrations)
- Email alerting
- Blocking malicious indicators
- Automatic report creation and dissemination
- Easy tracking of security metrics based on the selected data category
- Structured and unstructured data ingestion and processing
Low-code adoption has democratized both programming and cybersecurity by allowing greater diversity in teams and expanding the talent pool providing more customized automation capability to security teams than no-code workflow automation tools. While engineering skills will remain important to build more complex solutions and add customized features to services and apps, low-code SOAR automation significantly lowers barriers to entry into the industry and increases the overall productivity and job satisfaction for both technical and non-technical roles.
Benefits of low-code security automation
Some of the major benefits of low-code security automation include:
- Expansion of the cybersecurity talent pool: The use of low-code automation in security operations allows greater diversity in teams and removes some of the barriers to entry for future security professionals. With low-code automation, analysts at any level can build and optimize workflows, conduct deep analysis and investigations, and deliver optimal security outcomes.
- Reduced alert fatigue and analyst burnout: Security analysts are overburdened with an unmanageable number of alerts to handle on a daily basis. Many of these are false positives, and analysts lose precious time working on threat data and alerts that ultimately turn out to be irrelevant. The automation of repetitive tasks, and machine-powered threat data analysis, correlation and context-addition, significantly reduce the burden on security analysts who can then work only on relevant alerts and threats, and focus on deeper investigation and more advanced security functions.
- Reduced cost of effective cyber defense: Low-code automation also reduces the overall cost of security operations by eliminating the need for advanced programming or a large team to build every process and functionality from scratch, or to investigate all alerts manually. Additionally, with the ability to build integrations with other tools in an organization’s technology stack, these platforms help increase RoI from tools that are already deployed in the enterprise. By automating a large part of the defense process and allowing even non-technical users to build these automation cases, low-code platforms help increase overall productivity and improve detection and response without the need for investment in additional resources.
- Streamlined processes and workflows: The ability to automate repetitive actions and build playbooks for streamlining processes makes security operations as a whole more efficient and consistent. With investigation and response processes laid out in structured playbooks, even inexperienced analysts can understand workflows easily and get up to speed quickly. Visual, drag-and-drop playbook editors simplify and speed up the playbook-building process and improve security teams’ time to value.
- Faster threat detection, investigation, and response: Perhaps most importantly for security teams, low-code automation has a clear and direct impact on the speed of threat detection, investigation and response. Automation enables data processing, analysis and investigations at machine speed, with the ability to trigger response actions automatically. Analysts at any skill level can build low-code automation, speeding up the implementation of automation use cases and new features and functionality. The overall impact is a significant reduction in mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to respond (MTTR), and faster results.
Cyware Orchestrate is a complete low-code automation solution with no code automation capabilities as well, which can be leveraged by security teams for building low code and no code automation workflows across their security and IT infrastructure. Unlike legacy SOAR platforms, which couple orchestration and automation with incident response, Cyware Orchestrate decouples orchestration from incident response, which is provided separately by Cyware’s Fusion and Threat Response platform (CFTR).
Cyware Orchestrate ships with 300+ app integrations and provides the functionality to build custom apps for more specialized features. It also includes a whole set of ready-made playbooks for common use cases, and features a Playbook Canvas for easy drag-and-drop custom playbook creation.
Our complete product suite has been designed to work as a cyber fusion center, which unifies all cybersecurity functions under one platform and provides a single pane of glass to analysts and incident responders for advanced investigations and easy collaboration, automated playbook triggering and faster threat response. Cyware’s Cyber Fusion Center was featured as a representative vendor in Gartner’s 2022 Market Guide for SOAR Solutions.