Network security has always been of great importance to businesses. Since it is through the network that threat actors strike and gain access to enterprise resources, there is constant pressure on organizations to be mindful of the various vulnerabilities and weak spots that hackers are looking to exploit. If enterprise networks are not secured, there is a high risk of data on business, customers, IP, competition, employees, etc. being exposed or leveraged against free will.
The Need for Automation in Network Security
With cybercrime expected to cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, organizations have started thinking about their network architectures and various means and ways they can use to strengthen their security. Most are looking to embrace modern technologies that enable them to take preventative measures to protect the underlying network infrastructure from unauthorized access, misuse, modification, destruction, or improper disclosure.
Although securing a network with a combination of routers, firewalls, and anti-malware software applications is a great first step, to ensure their networks are secure 24×7, organizations also need to move away from outdated and proprietary approaches and embrace those that leverage automation to improve network performance, protect investments in network hardware, enhance network security with new innovations, and deliver greater business agility.
Using its inherent capabilities, automation can programmatically detect, investigate, and remediate the occurrence of threats via machine-based execution of security actions – with or without human intervention. By identifying imminent threats and triaging and prioritizing alerts as they emerge, automation can respond and react to them in a matter of seconds and contain and resolve the issue quickly and efficiently.
How Automation Strengthens Network Security
Although organizations have long been applying automation in various facets of their business, not many realize its potential in the realm of network security. Here’s how automation comes at the rescue of network security i.e. strengthen network security :
- Rapid threat detection: Having humans monitor geographically dispersed enterprise networks for threats and vulnerabilities is a time-consuming and a rather futile exercise. Given the sheer volume of incidents that occur today across varied attack surfaces, it also doesn’t always help in identifying every loophole. Automation can pave the way for rapid and real-time threat detection, without requiring the time or expertise of network experts. Using automation, organizations can more easily and efficiently detect and resolve common issues while also eliminating the risks that are brought in due to work overload, inexperience, or plain negligence.
- Instant threat resolution: In addition to detecting threats rapidly, automation can also enable instant threat resolution. It can eliminate the need for analysts to resolve each and threat manually – which includes investigating every issue and comparing it against the organization’s threat intelligence to determine its risk level, deciding on a course of action, then manually resolving the issue. Automation enables smart algorithms to automatically detect the course of action, based on previous responses, and resolve threats on their own, so analysts can avoid spending valuable time on repetitive tasks and focus on bringing more value to the business.
- Improved response times: Did you know? Every minute, $2,900,000 is lost to cybercrime and top companies pay $25 per minute due to cybersecurity breaches. Every second that is spent in identifying and resolving a network security issue can cost businesses massively in terms of compromised data, system downtime, employee morale, customer trust, and business reputation. Given that security analysts can only investigate a fraction of the alerts that come in, responding in real-time is rarely possible. Automation enables organizations to resolve incidents faster, reducing the overall time spent per incident using standardized incident response processes. They also help reduce the number and frequency of false positives and efficiently handling the false negatives.
- Proactive threat inspection: With automation, organizations can also move away from a reactive approach to resolving threats as and when they occur and take a more holistic and proactive approach to threat inspection. Automated tools can carry out continuous threat hunting and search for network security threats that are lurking undetected. They can also dig deep to find malicious behavior in the network environment that has slipped past your firewall. They can also alert analysts to take timely action against actors who have stealthily seeped into the network – and moved laterally across your environment – stealing data or compromising credentials.
- Advanced monitoring capabilities: In addition to proactive detection and prevention of threats and possible intrusion, automation also delivers advanced monitoring capabilities to analyze network traffic in real-time by employing techniques such as signature detection, traffic pattern anomaly, and stateful protocol analysis. By integrating key capabilities across multiple levels of network protection, they can perform various security-related activities such as packet filtering, SSH/SSL inspection, malware detection, and more. Once an issue is detected, they can automatically log the incident and generate alarms if needed for analysts to investigate.
As enterprise networks get increasingly big and complex, with the number of Internet-connected devices expected to increase to 75 billion in 2025, traditional approaches and tools to network security are not sufficient to protect against sophisticated threats. In addition to traditional approaches to network security, organizations must also embrace automation to constantly monitor the large volume of network traffic, proactively detect anomalies, and resolve them using advanced monitoring capabilities.