How to Transform Your Security With the Help of AI, Automation and Analytics

AI can help every organization protect itself against costly non-compliance and increasingly sophisticated cybercrime. 
David Llorens, John MacDonald & Steve Kane
Expert Contributors
February 8, 2022
Updated: March 7, 2022
David Llorens, John MacDonald & Steve Kane
Expert Contributors
February 8, 2022
Updated: March 7, 2022

With cyberthreats growing in sophistication and frequency, a fully DIY approach to security operations rarely makes sense anymore.

Outsourcing, co-sourcing or engaging consultants to gain access to critical knowledge, services, skills and technologies can help you build a scalable cybersecurity strategy for this ever-evolving challenge.

In working with clients, we have found a key component of security transformation is AI-driven automation and analytics.

5 Ways AI Technologies Can Help Transform Your Security

  1. They drive structure, allowing teams to spend their time on evaluating and remediating threats versus identifying them.
  2. They enable people to work smarter and faster.
  3. They increase staff efficiency and cost effectiveness.
  4. They allow analysts to spend less time sorting through noise and more time focused on vetted high-priority alerts and events.
  5. They empower analysts to provide more valuable, data-driven insights to leadership.

Automation and analytics can be part of different services and solutions. For example, third-party providers could use them to assess current systems based on strategic priorities, which is a prerequisite to identifying other high-priority areas to apply transformative technologies. They could also be embedded in business applications. 

Either way, they help organizations save time and prioritize resources while controlling the cost of security operations.

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A Disciplined Approach to Security Transformation

While AI-driven automation and analytics can help transform your security operations, they aren’t a silver bullet. They require skilled people and operational planning.

Developing effective security operations requires an organized and iterative cycle of discovery, design, deployment and optimization. This approach helps the organization become more secure and agile by equipping staff with the tools and information they need to identify and address potential issues sooner. They gain more knowledge about enterprise risk and security operations in general, which empowers confident, fast decision-making when needed. 

Let’s walk through this cycle:

  1. Discover: Assess your organization’s current IT security posture and determine where using AI, security automation and analytics makes the most sense.

  2. Design: Starting with the highest-priority use cases, develop automated solutions that reduce the need for human intervention.

  3. Deploy: Implement the solutions with your people top-of-mind. Make them aware of the solutions’ benefits and train them to understand the capabilities and limitations.

  4. Optimize: Business needs and external factors constantly evolve. Even as you deploy more security automation solutions, continue to monitor performance and results, and optimize each solution to meet current needs.

 

Shifting Left With Cyber Transformation

One of automation’s primary benefits is that it allows cybersecurity and IT teams to transition from routine tasks and devote more time and resources to strategic initiatives that create competitive advantages.

This begins even before your team deploys a new asset, such as a server or a cloud-delivered service. With security-enhancing automation that provides compliance risk reduction, your team can address most issues prior to deployment in production and throughout the life cycle of the product or process.

The other advantage of a security-by-design and an automation-first approach is that system data starts accumulating immediately. This establishes a baseline in production environments for machine-learning components so that the AI functionality can react based on any anomalous change or behavior.

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Use Case: Credential and Key Management 

Identity management ought to be simple in small environments, but a hybrid cloud environment can add complexity that requires time-consuming manual checks of every system to ensure global compliance and security. 

Security automation offers a proactive approach to reducing users’ interactions with all systems across the enterprise — including legacy systems. An automation flow would normalize data reducing noise from all enterprise systems, analyze it and alert administrators of compliance problems or malicious actions.

Without automation, the time to discover failures would increase exponentially.

 

Simplifying Modern Security Operations

Most companies don’t have the resources for this holistic approach to building effective security operations in a cost-effective manner at scale. This is especially true for highly distributed organizations that have accumulated legacy systems over time. Managing security operations is simply too complex, and given the speed of business technology changes, it will only become more complex and mission critical over time.

However, enlisting the help of a third-party advisor or technology consultant can fill any experience or knowledge gaps and ultimately help you develop a right-sized security transformation approach that incorporates automation and analytics. We should note that these efforts are not a point-in-time exercise, and organizations should be prepared to continuously review and update their analytics engines and workflows to maximize the return on the data and applicability to the security teams.

Effective security transformation is not optional. AI can help every organization protect itself against costly non-compliance and increasingly sophisticated cybercrime.

Expert Contributors

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