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Pros and Cons of Cybersecurity Automationby@zacamos
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Pros and Cons of Cybersecurity Automation

by Zac AmosNovember 17th, 2022
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Cyber attacks are becoming more and more frequent, and simply hiring more staff may not be enough. Companies are turning to cybersecurity automation for anything from strengthening prevention infrastructure to identifying active threats — but should they? On the one hand, cybersecurity automation provides extra eyes, budget reductions, and scalability; but it also seems to undervalue humans, has a high upfront cost, and carries inaccurate expectations.

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Analysts need assistance to keep up with cybersecurity needs. This encapsulates more than companies hiring more staff, despite perpetually increasing demand. Cybersecurity automation could revolutionize the industry, providing more protection and risk management supervision.


However, automation creates concerns — how effectively can it detect and respond to cyberthreats? Can it adapt to emerging technologies and trends better and faster than human intervention? There are pros and cons to having automated sidekicks in cybersecurity, so it’s vital to understand the functionalities to make informed decisions as a company or individual.

What Does Cybersecurity Automation Look Like?

Cybersecurity automation implements technologies to perform various tasks. It isn’t just about performing regular updates for antiviral software — it includes everything from increasing the strength of prevention infrastructure to identifying the source of an active threat.


Technological advancements have increased the capabilities of cybersecurity automation to provide a more holistic complement to security programs. They could help with managing threat alerts to remediation around the clock.


The job market for cybersecurity is highly competitive, with insufficient talent to meet demand. With an increase in cybercrime worldwide, everyone seeks ways to strengthen the security of their digital assets.


Everyone must consider automation a viable option to bridge the gap between human employees and industry needs. It can help monitor security with chatbots and protect data in customer relationship management (CRM) programs. However, is it enough to act on its own, or will it merely supplement an existing cybersecurity infrastructure?

Cybersecurity Automation — The Pros

Cybersecurity automation has many pluses all teams should consider.

Extra Eyes

Though a staffed-up cybersecurity team fosters a sense of calm, cybersecurity automation could provide even more oversight when combined with machine learning. A constant stream of novel data lets cybersecurity automation perform more accurate vulnerability scans and penetration tests. These programs could encourage passivity in analysts from keeping up with industry trends and emerging threats, but big data could educate them more.


Since humans monitor and operate automation, it’s just as easy for operators to glean information from that data as it is for automation to put it into practice. Analysts will have access to extensive historical data, allowing them to be more in tune with industry priorities. Extra eyes equal a greater spread of potentially inaccessible information before intelligent integrations.

Price

Teams that delegate specific responsibilities to automation open up time and financial resources, especially if the tasks are time-consuming, repetitive and a waste of potential staff talent. This includes test automation and validation to regularly scheduled updates. Automation is cheaper than investing in an employee, allowing companies greater flexibility and freedom within budgets.


Ultimately, the price paid to invest in automation will continue to hold value over time, tangibly and emotionally. The workforce will feel less burned out since their focus can be on more impactful and fulfilling initiatives. Companies that employ automation could save $3.05 million in the event of a breach. With that return on investment (ROI) being so fruitful, a company can refocus additional funds on everything from investing more in their current staff to further improving cybersecurity infrastructure.

Scalability

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning could work with automation to provide the most streamlined and knowledgeable experience in the sector. This malleability to work with other emerging tech and Internet of Things (IoT) devices is a direct testament to the scalability of cybersecurity automation. More data equals more insight and better compliance, allowing any outfit to scale to outlined needs.


Smarter technologies could even adapt as trends or human usage habits shift. Companies that want to change identity access management (IAM) for a workflow shift can do so with automation. If it detects an influx of spam emails — or notices employees opening them — it could implement preventive measures to adapt to that immediate threat.

Cybersecurity Automation — The Cons

Despite all the good points, there are also some cons to consider.

Perceived Loss of Influence

Automation has the potential to make analysts feel undervalued. It could provide relief and empowerment to some in the industry but could also be the source of more anxious discourse. Analysts know technology is flawed — it’s why they’re in the sector — so leaving important business to programs might dishearten some. Though automation is not in a position now to usurp the abilities of human hands, there are constraints to the speed and accuracy of analysts that automation could assist.


The con of automation isn’t that it would replace human analysts — it’s that it would make people feel obsolete. These emotions coincide with a feeling they aren’t as adequate at performing their job when automation can carry out significant facets of it. However, employers can mitigate this fear by reinforcing their stability so performance doesn’t decrease because of worry.

Price

Though the price of automation was a pro, it could also be a con, depending on the circumstances. Cyberintelligence teams may need training for the systems a company wants to implement. Therefore, resources need to be invested in creating a literate team. In the meantime, adapting to a new workflow can cause distractions and decreased productivity.


It could also lead to excess downtime since oversight is minimal. However, this is easily remedied with prior planning and knowing how to allocate resources once implementation is complete.


Investing in automation can yield increased ROI in the long run, but it is a hefty upfront cost, especially for smaller businesses. Making that leap may be demanding, especially if automation is an unfamiliar landscape.

Inaccurate Expectations

People and technology should work synergistically. However, cybersecurity automation is still a budding industry. Therefore reliance on it to be a total solution would present flawed logic — especially since programmers design them. Though human error causes many security threats, automation is just as capable of making mistakes — it just might have a different appearance.


Obtaining a perfect balance of trust in human staff alongside automation would be challenging for anyone looking to incorporate it. However, increased awareness of capabilities and oversights is crucial for developing accurate expectations of the risks.

Does the Future Need More Cybersecurity Automation?

Regardless of the benefits or potential drawbacks, cybersecurity automation is inevitable. Technological advancements mean workloads will not become lighter for analysts, who are consistently in a cycle of triaging. Taking advantage of the opportunity of automation will create a safer technological and digital landscape for all, as the talents of human analysts can constantly improve alongside more innovative automation.