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Cybersecurity automation: Software development, analysis performance, policy violations, identification (AI, ML)

According to a report by Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime costs organizations $6 trillion in global damages. In a connected world, cyber risks will only rise. Therefore, it is prudent for organisations to adopt a holistic and intelligent security automation approach as they navigate the emerging threat landscape.

Move towards a digital-first world post the disruption caused by the ongoing pandemic has created its own set of challenges. And cybersecurity risk sits at the top of the list. Today, organised cybercrimes in the form of malware, ransomware attacks are on the rise. Even the total number of daily security alerts that organisations are facing is constantly growing. According to CERT-In, over 6.07 lakh cyber security incidents were observed in the first six months of 2021.

A Cisco study said, 70 percent of Indian organizations saw an increase of over 25 percent in attacks during the pandemic.Therefore, businesses have to build security practices around what we know is coming in the future as the threat surface continues to expand. It is humanly impossible to secure all endpoints when all stakeholders- be it employees or customers or any party related to the supply chain- are completely distributed.

Hence, intelligent cybersecurity automation is a must for devising an effective security architecture that protects the enterprise from emergent threats. In fact, a Cisco study found that77 percent of organizations are planning to increase automation in their security ecosystems over the next few years.

The role of automation in staying on top of the evolving threat landscape

With today’s constant deluge of attacks and complex enterprise infrastructure, a successful security program requires the right mix of ingredients. It requires analytics, intelligence, and automation in order to empower security teams to take control of their environments and schedules through more proactive defenses.

Not only investigating all alerts is fairly cumbersome, but also remediation of the anomaly runs the risk of slowing down the system. In turn, chances of operational disruption are not ruled out. Intelligent cybersecurity automation can help detect unknown threats and policy violations and also reduce alert fatigue within security teams. Moreover, it can provide the optimal solution to organisations in a cost-effective manner.

Cybersecurity automation tools can be security automation and orchestration (SOAR) products, robotic process automation (RPA), and custom-developed software and code that automate processes and perform analysis. Whatever cybersecurity automation an enterprise adopts, it must be an integrated approach that filters data from each endpoint. Most importantly, the automation solution should be powered by artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), along data analytics to make it truly intelligent.
While AI provides better insights for decision-making, ML detects threats by constantly monitoring the behaviour of the network for anomalies. It also enables the identification of ‘bad neighbourhoods’ online, which prevents users from connecting to malicious websites. So, enterprises should adopt automation solutions that leverage analytics, intelligence, and automation under one roof, as we no longer have room for human error.

Automation in cybersecurity cannot be an afterthought – it needs to be a top priority

As malicious elements mount cyberattacks on organisations for financial gain or to create reputational risk, enterprises have to be proactive in the detection of threats. Cybersecurity Automation can go a long way in achieving this objective. Implementation of a Zero Trust Security framework with secured endpoints is only possible through intelligent automation.

Automation also has obvious advantages like cost and operational efficiencies. An automated incident management response allows for faster data collection, making it a more dynamic, uniform, and efficient process.

Further, any solution powered by AI, ML, big data, and other digital technologies provides better insights from data sets and finds patterns that are usually not obvious to the human eye. Therefore, automation leads to better analytical capabilities with regard to threat perception. Usually, bots incur fewer errors as compared to human beings. The decision-making process also gets structured, devoid of any human elements, and it also reveals deficiencies that can be corrected with actionable steps for enhanced security.

While embracing automation leads to process efficiency, implementation remains the key to leveraging all benefits. Therefore, the maturity level of the enterprise, robustness of its IT infrastructure, and complexities involved in integration should be gauged before embarking on an automation journey. Moreover, vigorous testing before full-scale implementation is a must for avoiding any disruption.

Actors change, but threats remain

According to a report by Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime costs organizations $6 trillion in global damages. As the pandemic accelerates the pace of digital transformation, more cloud-based applications will make inroads into our lives. In a connected world, cyber risks will only rise. Therefore, it is prudent for organisations to adopt a holistic and intelligent security automation approach as they navigate the emerging threat landscape.

The author is Director, Security Business, Cisco India & SAARC

Article: Cybersecurity Automation: The future of security in the new world

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