What is Security Automation?

Table of Contents

Why Do Organizations Need Security Automation?

What is a Security Automation Platform?

Security Automation Use Cases

Benefits of SOAR Automation

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What is Security Automation?

  • Security Orchestration Automation and Response

Posted on: October 17, 2020

What is Security Automation?
Automating security operations has become a major aspect of every cybersecurity team's day-to-day activity. With regard to security, it is a driver for several tools and technologies today. According to Statista, 38.3% of surveyed organizations leveraged a medium level of security automation in 2020, more than the level of 33.9% in 2019. Also, the number of organizations embracing a higher level of security automation has increased. Clearly, organizations are automating security workflows to replace or speed up manual processes.
Security automation can be defined as the machine-based implementation of security-related actions that can programmatically detect, examine, and remediate threats without much human intervention. Security automation capability usually comes as a part of the larger Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) platforms. From threat detection and triage to alert handling and response, security automation can be used to manage and execute tasks in a timely fashion. It alleviates the pain points of security teams who are usually found neck-deep in making manual efforts and helps them focus on more critical tasks such as performing deeper analysis and strategic security decision making.

Why Do Organizations Need Security Automation?

When security tasks are manually performed, they can take a much longer time to complete and are also more prone to human error. This especially holds true if security teams have to deal with disparate tools to detect, investigate, and respond to incidents. Security teams need robust solutions that can help them address the complex threat environment by automating security operations across the board. Whether it’s a lack of security talent, alert fatigue, slower response times, or lower operational inefficiencies, security staff today is overwhelmed and cybersecurity automation helps to resolve these problems. Using security automation platforms, teams can drive next-gen SecOps by automating security processes and technologies across environments and executing security processes across their entire infrastructure within seconds. 

What is a Security Automation Platform?

A security automation platform (also known as a security orchestration and automation platform - SOA) is employed when a threat is detected and it responds automatically. Security automation platforms have features such as:

Customized Playbook Creation

SOAR security automation platforms allow security teams to either build and customize playbooks or pick from prebuilt ones, enabling them to filter data, make informed decisions, or remind a user for input/confirmation. Organizations are moving toward low-code security automation that allows security teams to customize playbooks for any security workflow.

Streamlined Response Processes

Playbooks drive SOAR automation platforms on how to respond to threats or incidents, ensuring standardized and streamlined security operations aimed at accelerating incident response and mitigating risk. The streamlined processes can include deleting or quarantining malware-infected files, conducting geolocation lookups on IP addresses, or blocking URLs on perimeter devices.

Integration with Other Security Tools

Security automation platforms seamlessly integrate with other security assets and tools, including endpoint products, firewalls, and SIEMs. Moreover, they provide a means to monitor the entire infrastructure of an organization within one interface.

Security Automation Use Cases

Threat Hunting

In today’s threat landscape, organizations need to proactively detect and hunt for new kinds of attacks. Often overwhelmed with repetitive and time-consuming tasks, security teams fail to perform threat hunting for potential threats. Automation security helps centralize and integrate an organization’s existing tools to provide its security team with a holistic view of all relevant threat data by automating security processes that drive increased threat visibility and insights through threat intelligence operationalization. These insights provide security teams with a clear picture of the threat domain without having to hunt for the information in disparate tools. 

Threat Detection

Quickly identifying threats is a major challenge that requires tremendous manual efforts using multiple tools. SOAR automation allows organizations to integrate their tools to identify threats in real-time, even if they are spread across solutions. 

Threat Intelligence

Manually collecting threat data across an entire IT infrastructure is time-consuming. Cybersecurity automation ensures that security teams leverage the most recent threat intelligence data and quickly respond to threats, minimizing risks.

Forensic Investigation

Manually aggregating forensic data after an incident is not only time-consuming but error-prone. SOAR security automation platforms can gather all the contextual information from disparate tools, enabling security operations teams to quickly conduct an investigation. This allows them to spend more time analyzing and making strategic decisions rather than undertaking administrative tasks.

Endpoint Protection

Endpoint alerts can overwhelm security teams, resulting in futile alert response and slow response times. Automation security platforms can triage endpoint alerts by enriching data from other security solutions. This addresses all the security alerts and can help organizations stop incidents from turning into major cyberattacks.

Phishing Attacks

It’s nearly impossible to examine every phishing attack. Security automation platforms automate the investigation process and isolate suspected emails, allowing the security operations team to focus on threats that require more severe investigation. Phishing response automation allows security teams to define the incident response processes and respond to threats at machine speed. 

Benefits of SOAR Automation

No Alert Fatigue

Security teams often ignore alerts because many of them are false positives. Alert fatigue makes it difficult for security teams to stay afloat in this evolving threat landscape. When security teams become overwhelmed with alerts and struggle to distinguish between false positives and actual threats, SOAR automation can help. Besides, tackling the issue of alert fatigue, automating security operations improves the productivity and efficiency of security teams. By leveraging automation, security teams can steer the process of identifying, analyzing, and escalating security alerts, allowing security teams to focus on real threat investigation and response.

Improved Incident Response and Reduce Resolution Time

A larger number of alerts and tools results in slow response and resolution time. By quickly detecting and distinguishing between opportunistic scans and mild sources of security alerts, SOAR automation security minimizes the mean time to respond (MTTR) to an incident. Thus, it addresses threats in real time, prioritizes them, decides whether to take any action and if so, escalates them to the responsible team who takes the following steps toward ensuring that the incident is contained and resolved. 

Reduced Human Error

Manual work involves the possibility of human error. By using automation and eliminating human intervention in security processes, security teams can reduce the chances of error. Furthermore, a cybersecurity automation solution improves the consistency and accuracy of alert investigations and threat data by automating the analysis, deduplication, and connecting the dots between vast amounts of threat intelligence.

Higher Operational Efficiency and ROIs

By adopting automation, security teams can spend more time on deeper analysis and strategic security procedures, improving operational efficiency and yielding an increased return on investments (ROIs).

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