Alessandra Peters

20/08/2022

Security Automation Benefits: Defeating Tomorrow’s Threats Today

The robots are coming. At least for now, though, they are our friends. Through security automation, AI is transforming how cybersecurity happens. But with AI-powered cyber threats on the horizon, automating your security operations might soon become a requirement.

The prospect of threat actors investing in AI and machine learning may be “one of the biggest challenges we’re likely to face.” That’s according to the global security expert Mikko Hyppönen, who predicts that, within the next year or two, some of the most lucrative ransomware gangs will turn to AI to make their attacks even more efficient. 

For organisations already struggling to stop security breaches, AI-powered cybercrime could spell disaster. However, the ongoing cybersecurity skills shortage coupled with a cyber attack surge plus alert fatigue means that many security teams are having trouble prioritising and responding to security incidents as it is.

Fortunately, AI doesn’t just solve tomorrow’s problems. It’s already helping with today’s cybersecurity challenges. Here’s why threat detection, investigation, and response security solutions that use AI and ML technologies, like SenseOn, are something that today’s defenders need. 

A Modern Solution to a Modern Threat Landscape

Strong risk of threats within a dense fog. If the weather forecast was the same as today’s threat landscape, almost no one would leave home. Remote work, bring your own device (BYOD) policies, hybrid cloud environments, and the internet of things (IoT) have all made doing business easier. But at the same time, they’ve expanded the typical attack surface and made it more difficult to figure out where an attack might come from. Three-quarters of respondents to a recent PwC study think that the current organisational complexity exposes them to “concerning” cyber and privacy risks. 

Meanwhile, the technology defenders use to keep threats at bay is failing. More than ever, security teams are being bombarded with meaningless security alerts that exhaust and desensitise them without actually making their organisations any safer. According to more than a quarter of security professionals, false positives have increased in frequency over the last 12 months, and many do not think it’s possible to stop every single threat their business faces. Unsurprisingly, a growing number of stressed-out security professionals are looking for an exit, and almost 1 in 2 is now thinking of leaving the industry. 

But there’s one thing that might convince them to stay—AI. Many security professionals are of the opinion that AI and ML-enhanced security tools can help level the cyber security playing field. By using security automation to improve the signal-to-noise ratio, AI-based security solutions eliminate the need for defenders to sift through high volumes of low-risk alerts. With AI doing the grunt work, security pros get back the time and resources they need to focus on critical issues and resolve cyber threats faster. Essentially AI makes security a better job. It also makes companies safer. Research shows that organisations that use automation and/or AI identify breaches 55 days quicker on average than those that don’t. They also contain breaches 22 days faster.

As many as 53% of security professionals say “they need greater automation through AI/ML to improve security operations.” But what about accuracy, you might think. Can AI really replace some of what a human analyst does? The answer is yes, at least according to security professionals themselves. More than 8 in 10 C-suite and senior cybersecurity professionals say they would rely on AI over their fellow humans when it comes to finding potential threats. With AI-powered workflows supercharging threat hunting, human error becomes less of an issue.

Immediate Benefits

Security automation solves many of the problems plaguing the cybersecurity industry today. But it also gives companies the space they need to get ahead of future threats. 

When time-consuming and repetitive tasks are automated, security teams, especially those at smaller organisations, have more time to be proactive. With security automation, to-do lists get shorter. This means that oft-neglected but essential security tasks, like device hardening and training other employees on how to spot phishing attacks, can become a priority again. Considering that the first AI-powered ransomware (and other malware) will likely exploit common misconfigurations and security flaws, giving security teams back time will already put businesses that use security automation at an advantage. 

Security automation platforms that link tools across endpoints, networks, and servers also give defenders a new level of visibility. An all-in-one automation platform makes it easier to spot critical vulnerabilities before threat actors can leverage them. Right now, organisations fix only around 10% of their environment’s vulnerabilities every month. 

Even against cybercriminals who might automate some of the aspects of how ransomware attacks happen, like changing malware code and registering new domain names. Companies with security automation embedded into their security processes will have the upper hand. Security automation gives teams the advantage of context-rich data, continuous 24/7 monitoring, blended methods of detection, and security incident prioritisation and remediation to fight a new breed of threats. AI-powered security systems can flag malware that doesn’t look like previous malware samples in real time and provide valuable threat intelligence and next steps for incident response teams. 

Taking Advantage of Security Automation Benefits

As the benefits of security automation get harder to ignore, security automation uptake is rising. However, the marketplace can still be complicated for IT pros to understand. A 2021 survey by Palo Alto Networks shows that 50% of IT and security professionals are unsure where to start when implementing security automation. 

The good news is that automating your threat detection, response, and remediation capabilities isn’t difficult—as long as you choose the right cybersecurity partner. Built to help organisations address the sophisticated threats of today and tomorrow, SenseOn’s autonomous cybersecurity platform is easy to deploy and operate. 

Using software known as “Universal Sensor” that can be installed on organisations’ devices, networks, cloud infrastructures and investigator microservices, SenseOn provides a centralised view into a company’s entire IT environment. Meanwhile, our threat triangulation technology replicates how human security analysts think and act to separate real security events from false alarms. 

Because each malicious activity is linked to other related security observations within the SenseOn platform, security professionals can see exactly how an attack has progressed and the assets that have been affected. Furthermore, security observations are mapped to the MITRE ATT&CK framework, so defenders don’t need to waste valuable time determining what they should do next. In cases of ransomware, SenseOn can isolate infected devices without human intervention so that attacks have no way of spreading.

Threat actors may be looking to AI to elevate future attacks, but organisations can already use automation platforms to respond to and neutralise both common and next-generation security threats. 

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