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Explaining security automation and its evolving definitions

By Eran Barak, CEO and Co-Founder, Hexadite | Sept. 20, 2016
The four newest and most advanced elements you should consider

Behavioral analytics and machine learning are among the most advanced forms of automation for alert monitoring and prioritization because they don’t rely on rules and thresholds or “known threats.” Instead, this type of technology can learn what normal network behavior looks like, easily and immediately pinpoint any abnormal behavior, and then statistically score the priority of each potential threat that should be investigated.

3. Incident response planning. Incident response planning is also being referred to as security automation. One way to think about this technology is as a smart ticketing system that helps companies track the evolution of a security incident and coordinate the actions required to respond. Vendors in this space help companies develop playbooks for different types of threats so they can automate portions of their response when every second counts. They automate workflow so companies can make sure they’re communicating with the appropriate internal and external contacts, adhering to regulations for topics like privacy notifications, and establishing a clear audit trail.

4. Investigation, action and remediation.  Automating the investigation, action and remediation of a cyber threat is about utilizing technology to perform tasks just as a qualified cyber analyst would. In a way, the other elements of security automation – from policies, to prioritization, to planning – are all working towards this end goal of quickly finding threats and shutting them down before they impact operations.

There are different aspects of what a vendor might automate when it comes to investigation, action and remediation. For example, some might only address one of those three components, while others focus on a specific task, such as automating the containment of compromised devices. There are also companies that use automation and artificial intelligence to conduct the entire process from end-to-end, just as a cyber analyst would.

All of these security automation technologies free up overtaxed security resources, allowing security teams to be less focused on mundane – but essential – tasks, and more focused on strategic initiatives that will make their organization more secure.

According to data from the Breach Level Index, 1.9 million online records were compromised every day in 2015. That’s 80,766 records every hour, or 1,346 records every minute. The near constant occurrence of data breaches shows no signs of slowing down, so companies can’t afford to have any lingering questions about the concept and capabilities of security automation.

Prioritize the automation of your IT security infrastructure and recognize that multiple elements can be automated to help keep your business safe. Automating policy execution, alert monitoring and prioritization, and incident response planning can drastically increase company productivity and reduce costs. And by fully automating the investigation, action and remediation of threats, companies can simulate the experience and logic of experienced cyber analysts at scale, thereby guaranteeing stronger security and compliance overall.


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