Why Policy-Based Automation Is Necessary For Mitigating Risk

By   ISBuzz Team
Writer , Information Security Buzz | Sep 18, 2018 03:30 am PST

The global IT audience has seen far too many data breaches occur. This year alone, breaches affected companies as diverse as Orbitz to Partners Healthcare while businesses crossed their fingers and hoped that they would be one of the lucky ones whose company was spared. Although some security professionals know all too well the steps their companies should take to become more secure, knowing is only half the battle. The other half is being able to convince upper management why they need to invest more money, time and resources into bolstering security operations before it’s too late.

The good news is that many business executives are starting to realize that financial success cannot exist without a solid cybersecurity foundation. The loss of revenue, reputation and customer base that occurs as the result of a breach plays through headlines on a weekly basis.

As breaches become more disastrous, hackers become more skilled and companies become more global, networks are also becoming more complicated every day. And the truth is, humans are too error-prone to secure company-wide operations all by themselves. Policy-based automation is necessary for mitigating cyber-risk. Why is now the time to end the era of manual administration? Here are the answers you can use to convince your executive management:

  • As more organizations find themselves transitioning from legacy to virtual environments, the ability to properly manage and protect heterogeneous networks will be critical. Cloud computing is becoming less of an option and more of a necessity. As companies aim to scale their operations and become more of a global, competitive force, the cloud provides an agile and flexible platform to support growth. At this point, most organizations are managing the security policies of several private and public clouds, as well as on-premise systems. The transition from legacy systems to these virtual, heterogeneous environments is a complicated process – and the ability to do so without a breach is only possible by taking human errors out of the equation and automating network security policy changes.
  • Existing compliance regulations are increasing in complexity – and new ones such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will have major financial consequences. GDPR non-compliance fines can reach 20 million euros or four percent of worldwide annual revenue – whichever is highest. With financial consequences that big, you can’t leave security in the hands of a few individuals. There’s no denying that humans are flawed – in fact, a recent report by risk mitigation and investigative services company Kroll found that “…in the past year, of the incidents where the type of breach is specified, 2,124 reports could be attributed to human error, compared to just 292 that were deliberate cyber incidents.” Policy-based automation ensures that security policy changes are provisioned automatically and within minutes throughout the global organizational network, drastically reducing the attack surface and likelihood of a breach. Furthermore, these solutions can automatically build and prepare complicated, time-consuming regulatory compliance reports.
  • The cybersecurity skills shortage is not getting any better. Speaking of time – every security professional is aware of how little of it they possess. A recent survey by Booz Allen Hamilton indicates that more than 70 percent of companies are having difficulty finding the cybersecurity talent they need – and the latest Global Information Security Workforce Study from (ISC)2 says we’ll be facing a shortfall of security workers of 1.8 million by 2022. Today’s security professionals are filling multiple roles and they simply can’t waste the valuable time they do have completing manual tasks that could be automated. Policy-based automation will help free up security professionals’ time to work on more strategic projects and find innovative ways to protect their companies. 

According to Gartner, upwards of 95 percent of breaches can be prevented simply by managing existing technologies and making sure to cover the security basics, such as removing unused firewall rules, ensuring systems are patched and removing unnecessary admin rights. These simple, basic tasks are all drastically important to enterprise security and can be performed automatically with the help of policy-based automation. The increased transition to virtual environments, complicated compliance regulations and the looming cybersecurity skills gap are great reasons to convince upper management that it’s time to get serious about automation.

Let’s finally say goodbye to the era of manual administration – and everyday breaches.