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The Role of Automation in Cybersecurity and the Data Industry

April 29, 2024 • April Miller


There’s no denying that companies across the globe and in various industries make cybersecurity a top priority. Because of advancements in technology, the world is becoming increasingly digital and organizations are working with all data types. As that happens, automation in cybersecurity becomes more important.

As more companies digitize their operations, the role of cybersecurity has become all the more important. Unfortunately, a comprehensive cybersecurity program isn’t always enough, as cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in their hacking techniques.

Cyberattacks will continue to become more refined, expensive and threatening in an ever-changing digital landscape. How will organizations fend off cyberattacks? The answer may be automation.

Below is more information about automation, its growing role in cybersecurity and how the data industry could benefit from it.

What is Cybersecurity Automation?

Generally speaking, automation is an all-encompassing term used to describe technologies that reduce or eliminate the need for human participation in certain activities or business processes. 

Many sectors of the economy are turning to automation to achieve higher productivity and improved operational efficiency. Consider the manufacturing industry — robotic process automation (RPA) was adopted early on to automate machines, which resulted in robots working on production lines to reduce human error and labor and achieve maximum efficiency. 

The main goal of cybersecurity is to protect networks, systems, data, programs and all associated devices from internal or external threats. 

However, cyberattacks still occur, meaning that cybersecurity programs, even the best of the best, have their vulnerabilities. Hackers will use any means necessary to exploit those vulnerabilities and access data, demand ransom or cause other disruptions in a company’s network infrastructure.

Cybersecurity automation is the concept of using existing and emerging technologies, especially artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), to automate many security tasks. It aims to create intuitive and intelligent systems that can automatically detect and stop cybersecurity threats in their tracks. 

How Does Cybersecurity Automation Work?

Cybersecurity automation is advanced and relies on AI /ML technologies to give cybersecurity systems the ability to recognize threats and find ways to defuse them before they negatively impact a business and its operations. 

High-tech automation systems will neutralize threats and incorporate security orchestration. In simple terms, security orchestration combines various technologies and interconnected security tools that are security-specific and non-security-specific to make for effective security operations. 

A first step in using cybersecurity automation is gathering and correlating data. AI and ML systems can study this data, making systems and security automation possible. 

Another part of security automation is analyzing systems in an organization to see if any cyberattacks have had lasting effects or if the network infrastructure is still vulnerable. 

The Benefits of Implementing Automation in the Cybersecurity Industry

Cybersecurity automation offers many benefits to businesses. Here are three reasons why enterprises feel more inclined to leverage cybersecurity automation, according to an article from Forbes:

  • Lack of skilled workers in the cybersecurity industry: Because security technologies are growing in size and scale, there’s a small talent pool that understands how to implement and use them properly.
  • Lack of standardization: Security implementations often fail because they depend on who’s implementing them, which is why there’s a growing need for standardization in the industry.
  • Expanded attack surface: Businesses across all sectors use a wide range of new digital technologies, increasing the threat exposure and making old cybersecurity techniques obsolete.

These three prevalent issues force businesses to consider cybersecurity automation, as it may act as a viable solution. Here are some other benefits of cybersecurity automation offers:

  • Advanced threat intelligence helps companies swiftly react to cyberattacks
  • It allows employees to focus on other meaningful tasks and achieve high productivity
  • Promotes cost savings
  • Reduces human involvement in redundant or trivial tasks
  • Streamlines breach incident reports
  • Facilitates informed decision making
  • Allows for more visibility and firmer control over all security-related events
  • It helps control false cyberattack alerts
  • Fewer incidents of human error
  • Provides businesses with vital security metrics in real-time

As you can see, there are many benefits cybersecurity automation offers, which is why its role is growing in the cybersecurity industry, among other sectors. Cybersecurity automation can help businesses facing staff shortages and tight budgets close these gaps and protect themselves from cyberattacks.

How the Data Industry Benefits From Cybersecurity Automation

In general, cybersecurity threats and cyberattacks are becoming more robust, sophisticated and harder to detect. Recovering from a data breach, ransomware or malware incident or phishing attacks can cost companies millions. 

Many online resources provide startling cybersecurity statistics that show the scale of the problem. Due to this growing issue, cybersecurity automation may be a feasible solution for all types of businesses. 

Five different sectors can benefit from cybersecurity automation. Here are those five sectors and how they directly benefit from cybersecurity automation, based on a post from Data Center Knowledge.

1. Incident Response

Cybersecurity automation aims to deliver a safe operating environment for companies facing cybersecurity threats. Splunk, SIRP and Refactr offer some popular no-code or low-code automation solutions. 

These automation tools can eliminate manual labor for cybersecurity professionals by automating tedious and repetitive tasks, making incident response more efficient and effective. 

2. Attack Simulation

Conducting a simulated cyberattack is often time-consuming and costly for organizations. However, they play an important role in cybersecurity protection. It bolsters and strengthens how a data center handles an incident. Compared to manual testing, automated cybersecurity solutions can save companies time and money without disrupting daily operations.

3. Data Management

A survey conducted for ReliaQuest, a cybersecurity vendor, found that 52% of companies report that their IT teams spend too much time on manual data collection. By automating data collection processes, IT departments can spend more time improving their security operations. 

Cybersecurity automation is becoming more of a necessity than a luxury. Modern security operations need a dependable system that uses automation to navigate high volumes of data flowing in and out of an organization. This means analysts can better manage their time and focus on threat hunting and incident response. 

4. Application Security

Automation can routinely check for authorization, authentication, encryption and other potential security issues, meaning that companies can secure their applications more easily. 

It’s no secret that third-party applications and software can pose cybersecurity risks for organizations, so leveraging automation on this front can be greatly beneficial. Consider the notable SolarWinds attack that dominated headlines — this incident spotlighted the idea that taking extra security measures when using third-party applications is necessary. 

5. API and Certificate Management

It’s reported that the typical enterprise manages over 50,000 security certificates. It’s common for organizations to experience downtime caused by certificates expiring. 

Automating public key infrastructure (PKI) management can help companies avoid experiencing these outages and keep costs down. However, automation PKI comes with challenges, such as internal compliance issues, cost, lack of expertise in PKI management and overall staff resistance to automation.

Cybersecurity automation will certainly carve its place out in the data industry, but other sectors as well. As you can see above, the data industry has common issues that must be overcome. Cybersecurity automation may be a saving grace for these companies.

It will take time for cybersecurity automation to become a staple across various industries. However, it offers multiple benefits that can be game-changers for organizations.

Expect More Businesses to Automate Cybersecurity in the Future

After three decades of cybersecurity evolving and improving, it’s surprising to learn that cyberattacks are still frequent and costing organizations thousands, if not millions of dollars. 

It’ll be crucial for businesses to understand the importance of a strong cybersecurity program. As the world becomes more digital, automation’s role will grow in importance. Expect more companies to adopt cybersecurity automation in the future.