SecurityBrief New Zealand logo
New Zealand's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

The five key steps to security automation

FYI, this story is more than a year old

Last month, Volvo, the Swedish automaker, announced plans for a Level 4 self-driving car by 2021. In the progression of automation levels for cars, Level 4 cars are labelled “high automation.” This means that the vehicle can perform all driving functions under certain conditions, and the driver has the option to control the vehicle. Just think, in three years and in some environments, Volvo drivers could safely nap, eat, talk on the phone, read or even watch a movie. At lower automation levels, the driver must remain engaged to varying degrees. And at Level 5 – the holy grail – the driver becomes unnecessary.

Reading more about comments made by Volvo’s CEO, I found it interesting that Volvo skipped Level 3 entirely, deeming it unsafe. With lower levels of autonomy, confusion about responsibility and control can arise, putting reliability at risk. That struck a chord with me and I believe has been part of the concern when applying automation to other areas in our lives. When thinking about our world of security operations this holds very true. What level is the right level, and what’s required for us to comfortably apply automation? 

Let’s face it, we’ve talked about security automation for years. We’ve grappled with what, when and how to automate. We’ve debated the human vs machine topic. And at certain points, when we’ve been “burned” (automatically shutting down systems in error), we’ve wondered if there’s any place at all for automation. But in our heart of hearts, we know that automation is the future and the future is here. Plus, given the cybersecurity talent shortage, we simply must automate certain time-sensitive, manual tasks if we want to retain and make better use of the security professionals we have. 

So how do we move forward with automation and gain the value that comes when we apply it confidently at the right level? It is a simple five-step process and it all starts with context.

1. Context allows us to understand and prioritize. In security operations, context comes from aggregating and augmenting internal threat and event data with external threat feeds. By correlating events and associated indicators from inside your environment (for example from sources including your security information and event management (SIEM) system, log management repository and case management systems) with external data on indicators, adversaries and their methods, you gain the context to understand the who, what, where, when, why and how of an attack.

2. Prioritization gives focus. Now you can prioritize based on relevance to your environment. But what is relevant to one company may not be for another. It is important to be able to assess and change risk scores based on the parameters you set. Filtering out what’s noise for you allows you to understand what to work on first. You can focus on what really matters to your organization rather than wasting time and resources chasing ghosts.

3. Greater focus leads to better decisions. Without the distraction of noise and false positives, you can focus and spend more time analyzing and understanding what’s important. Whether you’re working in your SIEM and evaluating alerts, or in your incident response platform looking at a case, you have the context, focus and breathing room to make better decisions. 

4. Better decisions lead to more confidence. Now you can work more efficiently and effectively. You know what needs to get done and you start to understand how to do it better. Over time, with multiple successes under your belt, you gain confidence and realize you don’t have to continue to do processes manually that you’ve recognized to be repetitive and low-risk.  

5. Confidence leads to automation. Success breeds confidence and the comfort level you need to move forward with automation. You know these tasks inside and out and have little fear of breaking something or having a negative impact on the business. You may decide to automate an entire process or just select aspects, for example prioritizing alerts, scoring and re-scoring threat feeds, hardening your sensor grid, etc. 

The debate continues about Level 5 and the promise of completely autonomous cars. That’s not my area of expertise, but I’m curious to see how that plays out. What I do know is that the human element will always remain vital in security operations. Automation will allow us to move through processes faster for better decisions and accelerated action. But we can only make the transition successfully when context, and the humans behind it, drive automation

Article by ThreatQuotient APAC regional director Anthony Stitt

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Abnormal Security finds financial supply chain under threat
New research by Abnormal Security has found a rising trend in financial supply chain compromise as threat actors increasingly impersonate vendors.
Story image
Microsoft
SMX partnership with Microsoft leads to NTT recognition
SMX has captured the attention of NTT after receiving positive reviews from businesses across Australasia and beyond for its email security.
Story image
Cybersecurity
The link between cybersecurity, extremist threat and misinformation online in Aotearoa
Long story short, it's often the case that misinformation, threat and extremism link closely to cybersecurity issues and cyber harm.
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
Zscaler, AWS accelerate onramp to the cloud with zero trust
Zscaler has announced an extension to its relationship with Amazon Web Services, as well as innovations built on Zscaler's Zero Trust architecture.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
Ping Identity launches corporate venture capital fund
Ping Identity has launched a corporate venture capital fund to foster innovative offerings for the identity security market.
Story image
DDoS
Q1 DDoS and application attack activity reveals surprise result
The cybersecurity threat landscape in the first quarter of 2022 represented a mixed bag of old enemies and new foes. New actors dominated the DDoS threat landscape while application security faced tried-and-true attack vectors.
Story image
Apple
LastPass announces new capability for iPhones and iPads
LastPass has announced its new save and fill experience, allowing customers to fill in, create and save their credentials directly within the site's form field.
Story image
Data resilience
Digital resilience in 2022 - A10 Networks releases new study
Of the 250 corporate organisations surveyed, as many as 95% showed high levels of concern for all aspects of enterprise digital resilience.
Story image
SaaS
Commvault's SaaS division experiences notable growth
Commvault has revealed the global momentum that its SaaS division Metallic has experienced since its launch two years ago.
Story image
Cloud
SonicWall recognises partners and distributors at FY2022 partner awards
SonicWall has recognised its distributors and partners for their efforts in producing the company’s most successful year to date.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Why is NZ lagging behind the world in cybersecurity?
A recent report by TUANZ has revealed that we are ranked 56th in the world when it comes to cybersecurity - a look into why we're so behind and what needs to be done.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Threat actors ramp up their social engineering attacks
As people get better at identifying potential threats in their inbox, threat actors must evolve their methods. Their new M.O? Social engineering.
Story image
Ransomware
Rapid7 report examines use of double extortion ransomware attacks
New insight into how attackers think when carrying out cyber attacks, along with further analysis of the disclosure layer of double extortion ransomware attacks, has come to light.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Greater API usage raises concerns for protection - report
Radware has released its 2022 State of API Security report, which shows a rise in APIs, with 92% of the organisations surveyed significantly or somewhat increasing their usage.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Palo Alto Networks named Google Cloud technology partner of the year for security
Palo Alto Networks was recognised for helping organisations rapidly transform security operations for future success.
Story image
INTERPOL
Hundreds arrested, millions seized in global INTERPOL investigation
A two-month-long investigation by INTERPOL this year involved 76 countries and clamped down on organised crime groups behind telecommunications and social engineering scams.
Story image
Dark web
Cybercrime in Aotearoa: How does New Zealand law define it?
‘Cybercrime’ is a term we hear all the time, but what exactly is it, and how does New Zealand define it in legal terms?
Story image
Ransomware
More than 90% of cyber attacks made possible by human error
The data are clear, with cyberattacks on the rise in recent years and the cybersecurity situation increasingly complex. 
Story image
Privileged Access Management / PAM
Delinea unveils new Secret Server features and improvements
Delinea has announced new features and enhancements to expand the capabilities of its Secret Server, including design updates and new security controls.
Story image
Compliance
OCEG survey shows demand for connected GRC systems
The survey also revealed that many organisations lack visibility and connected processes to manage the increased velocity and volume of risks. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
Significant security concerns resulting from open source software ubiquity
"The risk is real, and the industry must work closely together in order to move away from poor open source or software supply chain security practices."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Ingram Micro launches vendor-backed security program
Ingram Micro has unveiled a new program intended to give resellers the effective offerings their customers need to stay safe in the evolving threat landscape.
Story image
10 Minute IT Jams
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Rimini Street
Today we welcome back Daniel Benad, who is the GVP & regional GM for Oceania at Rimini Street.
Story image
PagerDuty
Ready for anything with the PagerDuty Operations Cloud
In a world of digital everything, teams face increasing complexity. Ever-growing dependencies across systems and processes put customer and employee experience, not to mention revenue, at risk.
Story image
Collaboration
IT and security team collaboration crucial to data security
Many IT and security decision makers are not collaborating as effectively as possible to address growing cyber threats.
Story image
Network Security
Netskope announces zero trust network access updates
Customers can now apply zero trust principles across a range of hybrid work security needs, including SaaS, IaaS, private applications, and endpoint devices.
Story image
DDoS
Flashpoint unveils security offering for school boards
Flashpoint has released its K-12 risk management and security offering to provide school boards and education security practitioners with tools to recognise, prevent and manage cyber and physical threats.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Boomi, Limepay, Thales, VMware & Zoom
We round up all job appointments from June 6-16, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Cybersecurity
ConnectWise reveals cybersecurity updates and partnerships
ConnectWise has unveiled new updates to its services and highlighted the importance of cyber insurance at its IT Nation Secure conference.
Story image
Collaboration
Why the success of client collaboration projects depends on addressing these five warning signs
New tools, applications, and software have enabled project collaboration to continue remotely, both between employees within an organisation and with its clients.
Story image
Data Protection
Thales solution supports DevSecOps teams with data protection
Thales' CipherTrust Platform Community Edition enables DevSecOps teams to deploy data protection controls into multi-cloud applications faster.
Story image
Secure access service edge / SASE
Cloudflare adds new capabilities to zero trust SASE platform
New features for Cloudflare One include email security protection, data loss prevention tools, cloud access security broker, and private network discovery.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Malwarebytes expands Nebula platform with DNS module
Malwarebytes has expanded its Nebula platform with a new DNS Filtering module designed to provide a quick, flexible, and comprehensive Zero Trust offering for Nebula users.
Story image
Cloud
QuSecure partners with DataBridge Sites to showcase platform
QuSecure has partnered with DataBridge Sites to showcase its Quantum-as-a-Service (QaaS) orchestration platform, QuProtect.
Story image
Manufacturing
Sternum joins NXP, collaborates on IoT security and observability
Sternum has announced it has joined the software partner community of NXP Semiconductors, a manufacturer of and large marketplace for embedded controllers.
Story image
Cybersecurity
New survey uncovers critical OT security challenges
While industrial control environments continue to be a target for cyber criminals, there are widespread gaps in industrial security.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Trend Micro unveils dedicated security for electric vehicles
The cybersecurity company has announced VicOne - dedicated security for the electric vehicles and connected cars of today and tomorrow.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Cybersecurity priorities for digital leaders navigating digital transformation
In recent years, Asia-Pacific has especially been a hotspot for cyberattacks, and as we continue into 2022, it’s evident that the problem is becoming more significant.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Schneider Electric and Claroty launch building security solution
Schneider Electric has announced the launch of Cybersecurity Solutions for Buildings, a solution designed to help buildings customers secure BMS.
Story image
APAC
Aqua Security launches cloud native security SaaS in APAC
Aqua Security has announced the general availability of cloud native security SaaS in Singapore, serving the broader APAC region.
Story image
Yubico
New research shows global drive for passwordless authentication
A new study has shown there has been a significant shift towards wanting a passwordless future, but adoption is still in its infancy.
Story image
Cloud
Exabeam expands investment in Google Cloud in fight against cyber threats
The move opens up limitless data ingestion, speed, and scale opportunities for worldwide security teams in their ongoing fight against cybersecurity attacks.
Story image
API
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.
Story image
SaaS
Varonis strengthens security capabilities for AWS and S3
Varonis has strengthened and expanded its cloud and security capabilities, with a critical aim of improving safety and boosting data visibility in Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3).