What is Security Automation and Do You Need It? (Yes!)

With an increasingly complex cyber threat landscape and an extreme shortage of skilled security professionals, many organizations are looking for ways to improve and simplify security operations. Despite the fact that staffing and cybersecurity budgets are rising, they aren’t keeping pace with increase in threats. So, organizations are struggling to find solutions that provide adequate security at the scale they need, and at a reasonable price.

The answer is security automation.

Security automation in the past

Over the last few years, the definition of security automation has changed. In the past a common definition would have simply been:

The automation of cybersecurity controls.

But this definition no longer represents the current scope of security automation. These two words have now evolved into a phrase that includes certain connotations of specific features and abilities. There is a better way to define security automation now.

What is security automation?

A better way to define security automation is:

The use of automatic systems to detect and prevent cyber threats, while contributing to the overall threat intelligence of an organization in order to plan and defend against future attacks.

Ok, but what does that really mean?

Definitions can be vague, so how does security automation truly impact and improve security operations? Let’s break it down beginning with a simple question.

Do you really need security automation?

Yes, especially if your SecOps team is already equipped with the basics like SIEM, endpoint security systems, and security logs.

Without security automation, your organization is probably facing a range of problems like:

Problem 1: The attack surface area is constantly increasing.

Over the last few years, the number of ways a cybercriminal can infiltrate an organization has dramatically increased. Before, cybercriminals needed to sneak into enterprises through emails containing malicious software or hack directly into a company’s system. Now, there are cloud operations, mobile devices, file sharing platforms, IoT devices and more. These evolving platforms provide criminals with more ways to permeate and therefore more systems for cybersecurity teams to monitor which results in…

Problem 2: Cybersecurity teams are overwhelmed with alerts.

Many organizations receive between 10,000 and 150,000 security alerts every day. And, these alerts don’t occur only during standard 9-5 business hours; they can occur at any time. Ideally, this means your SecOps teams need 24/7 coverage. This is nearly impossible to adequately staff because of our next problem…

Problem 3: There is an industry-wide cybersecurity staffing shortage.

Throughout the cybersecurity industry, organizations are struggling to hire and retain skilled employees. Turn-over is high as employees are simultaneously bored and overwhelmed trying to manage the thousands of alerts they receive. This results in…

Problem 4: Sub-optimal response processes and workflows.

Employees are being forced to use faulty triage methods in an increasingly futile effort to manually manage alerts. “Triage” systems often lead teams to miss significant threats because they are based on incomplete data.

Organizations now receive between 10,000 and 150,000 security alerts per day.

Inconsistent response processes and a failure to effectively integrate people, processes, and technology mean that your team is not protecting your organization to the best of its ability. This inconsistency can result in important alerts getting ignored or not investigated fast enough. Delayed investigations can lead to devastating data breaches, which may not be noticed until it is already too late.

Security Automation: The problem solving solution

Security automation helps your organization solve these problems. First, it can help you handle alerts from the vast range of potential attack vectors by quickly determining if threats are significant without employees having to check multiple systems and platforms. Second, automating some or all of the incident response process allows your team to focus on serious threats and ensure that your organization is protected.

80 to 90 percent of security response tasks can be automated.

Third, automating tedious and time-consuming tasks allows you to not only do more with your existing staff, it also allows your employees to actually use their training. Cybersecurity employees don’t want to spend their time mindlessly scrolling through alerts, they would rather spend time actually investigating threats. Fourth, security automation can lead to vastly improved response times. And last, automation allows you to regulate and improve your incident response processes and workflows. By using automation, your organization can finally address every alert and stay ahead of threats.

Respond to every alert when you utilize security automation.

Better Together: Security automation and orchestration with Swimlane

Security automation works best when used in conjunction with a centralized security orchestration platform that works with your entire security stack. Swimlane’s security automation and orchestration platform integrates with your existing security infrastructure to provide you with a way to automate incident response, prioritize alerts, and have a clear understanding of the state of security within your organization.

SecOps Management

How Swimlane can help

The Swimlane solution allows you to:

  • Track security tasks throughout the enterprise
  • Prioritize threats and ensure that every alert is investigated thoroughly
  • Radically decrease mean time to response (MTTR)
  • Centralize all security information into easy-to-read dashboards, reports, and metrics
  • Standardize all incident response processes
  • Leverage APIs and Software Defined Security (SDSec) to better orchestrate the incident response process and prevent attacks

Want to learn more about how using security automation and orchestration together can significantly improve your security operations? Download our FREE 20-page eBook, Automating Incident Response: How Security Orchestration will Improve your Life.

Or interested in learning more about the Swimlane solution? Contact us today to schedule a demo!


Improve your Security Operations