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Automation: Redefining Cyber Protection

Ryan Wolfe, Iron Bow Technologies

November 26, 2018  |  Cyber Security

According to Gartner’s Innovation Insight for Security Orchestration, Automation and Response report, organizations struggle to keep up with the vast number of new cyber security attacks because they’re too often utilizing manual processes to combat breaches.

In the United States alone, cyber security incidents skyrocketed over the last five years. In 2012, about 419 million data breaches were reported. By 2017, that number jumped to nearly 1.6 billion. Attackers are getting much more sophisticated and frequently employing automation to maximize their impact and reach.

The challenge at the intersection of cyber security and automation is two fold. Beyond the sheer scale and growing complexity of the threat landscape, real challenges exist in the cyber security workforce. Nationally, there were 301,873 cyber security job openings between April 2017 and March 2018, including 13,610 openings in the public sector. Simply put, there aren’t enough experts to keep our government secure from cyber attackers without the help of automation.

While cyber professionals have tools that provide them with alerts, those can come in at a rate of hundreds or thousands per day—too many for a human to review, process and act on. Cyber analysts manning workstations can accomplish much more when computers use programmed and automated processes to quickly sift through threats and act without human intervention, where appropriate.

Effective automation starts with programmability. By programming systems to identify and sort cyber threats, agencies immediately pull in data on suspected threats and predict potential spread more rapidly and accurately than a person.

Beyond basic programming, modern cyber security infrastructure can reflect elements of machine learning, teaching itself about a particular network’s behavior and responding in near real-time by pushing a change to a firewall or endpoint manager, effectively stopping the attack from spreading.

As these automated systems take in more information on attacks, they can adapt as new threats are introduced. For example, if the platform sees the same type of traffic for weeks on end, but suddenly detects an anomaly, it can alert an analyst to determine if that strange behavior is malicious. If it is deemed to not be a threat, the system can remember that for the future, improving the systems performance over time.

Agencies should be looking for cyber security automation tools that suit their specific needs. A department in the intelligence community might have different goals for their cyber security infrastructure than one in the Veterans Affairs Department. But the best solutions all have a few things in common. First, they should be able to integrate easily into an agency’s existing IT setup. Agencies shouldn’t have to significantly modify existing systems to fit their cyber security platform.

Second, cyber tools need to cover a wide variety of processes for any attack situation and orchestrate these processes to work in concert. Automation and programmability have limited function if different systems can’t interact—valuable solutions talk to each other. They communicate across platforms to offer a comprehensive, holistic approach to cyber security programmability, allowing agencies to unify their response to cyber attacks.

Third, organizations need to select a centralized management tool to enable efficient tracking and monitoring of cyber security incident cases. This dashboard is key to seeing all the moving parts, identifying where issues are taking place and defending the organization appropriately.

Cyber security tools should make the job easier, not harder. Our company has invested in building out our expertise in programmability offerings to assist our customers in automating processes and leveraging their existing assets to become more efficient.  The execution is in the orchestration and our team knows what solutions will work best for your organization’s unique needs. From network and endpoint defense to threat visibility and remediation, we design solutions to achieve resiliency by minimizing risk and maximizing technology investments.

For more information on how Iron Bow can help with your cyber security needs, visit our website.

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