Cybersecurity Automation by IPKeys

Securing the Future: The Role of Automation in Cybersecurity

Art Clomera

Vice President, Operations

India, the US, Indonesia, and China alone account for almost half of the total reported cyberattacks in the government sector. Threats, ranging from espionage to malware designed to disrupt critical national infrastructure, are a defining feature of modern geopolitical relations. This barrage demands always-on, predictive, continuously improving advanced cybersecurity measures.   

Cybersecurity was born for this role. In the hands of capable security teams, machine intelligence augments their ability to respond to incidents with speed, precision and insight, unmatched by teams still tied to manual processes. But is automating cybersecurity really all it’s cracked up to be? And if so, what tools should federal agencies have on their shopping lists? Let’s start at the beginning… 


Cybersecurity automation: what it actually means 

At its core, cybersecurity automation uses machine intelligence to execute repetitive tasks previously handled by security professionals. Manual processes that once took days now take seconds, without the 18%-40% rate of human error for complex tasks. 

By automating processes from patching vulnerabilities and detecting anomalies to investigating security incidents and generating reports, federal agencies can unlock speed, cost savings, visibility, predictive machine intelligence… let’s look closer at that list. 


5 reasons why federal agencies are automating cybersecurity programs  

AI supercomputers are now in the hands of bad actors developing advanced cyberweapons, launching large-scale attacks, and creating sophisticated disinformation campaigns. To keep government infrastructure secure, federal organizations are under pressure to evolve at an unprecedented speed. 

1. Security teams can respond to incidents 50% faster 

The good news is cybersecurity automation tools allow security teams to apply the extraordinary speed and advanced algorithms of AI supercomputers to automate critical, time-consuming manual security processes. The Ponemon Institute reports that organizations that leverage automation can contain breaches 50% faster. 

2. Save teams from alert fatigue and burnout  

Modern IT environments generate a barrage of security alerts that result in alert fatigue. Intelligent automation prioritizes and filters alerts based on predefined criteria and eliminates false positives and low-risk events. Plus, cybersecurity automation tools allow security teams to apply the accuracy, speed, and advanced algorithms of high-performance computing (HPC) systems to critical yet time-consuming manual processes. Ultimately, this protects the bandwidth of security teams from getting fried.  

According to this ZDNet article, the average CISO tenure is just 26 months due to burnout. (However, this attrition rate precedes 2024’s expanded attack surface and threat actors with ML and AI at their fingertips).  

3. Automated threat monitoring never has a bad day 

Unlike human security analysts, automation tools monitor networks and systems for potential threats and never need a day off. Uninterrupted monitoring eliminates gaps in coverage, even during holidays and weekends. In fact, a study by IBM found organizations with high levels of automation are 6 times more likely to contain a data breach within 24 hours. 

4. Security processes run error-free, like clockwork  

Human error drops to zero when implementing best practices of the NIST Risk Management Framework (which includes its AI equivalent). Automated consistency not only enhances security but also simplifies compliance with industry regulations and standards such as NIST, FEDRAMP, and FISMA, relieves some of the pressure on security teams, and minimizes the risk of a breach. 

5. Automating cybersecurity gives security teams a crystal ball 

Marrying the predictive power of AI and ML to detection and threat intelligence strategies means giving security teams a crystal ball. By analyzing vast volumes of data from multiple sources, machine intelligence identifies patterns and anomalies that may indicate the presence of a threat—even if it has never been encountered. Bottom line? Reduced attack surface. 


Cybersecurity automation tools – breaking them down 

As cyber threats grow in scale and complexity, automation augments the ability of security teams to keep pace. Cybersecurity automation tools encompass various technologies, each addressing specific aspects of an organization’s security operations. Which is the right fit for your organization? Let’s zoom in. 

SIEM tools – they’re like lie detectors for security logs 

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) platforms collect, aggregate, and analyze security log data from various sources across your infrastructure. They provide real-time visibility into security events by automating the correlation of events from multiple sources, enabling teams to detect and investigate potential threats at speed. Are they effective? Gartner reports organizations using SIEM solutions experience 20% fewer security incidents. 

SOAR tools– take resolution times and reach new heights  

Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) tools integrate threat intelligence (TI), orchestration, and automation functionalities to improve incident response. SOAR tools automate repetitive tasks, such as gathering contextual information about a threat, quarantining infected devices, and blocking malicious IP addresses.  

By streamlining and automating incident response processes, SOAR tools help security teams contain and remediate threats more efficiently, reduce the mean time to resolution (MTTR), and minimize the potential impact of a breach. 

Network security automation tools – honey, I shrunk the attack surface 

Network security automation platforms focus on securing an organization’s network infrastructure by automating network discovery, configuration management, and policy enforcement tasks. These tools can automatically map an organization’s network topology, identify connected devices, and detect configuration changes that could introduce vulnerabilities.  

 Handier than a Swiss Army knife, they can also automate the deployment and management of network security controls, for instance, intrusion prevention systems (IPS), virtual private networks (VPNs), and firewalls. By configuring network security devices with robotic rigor, they close potential vulnerabilities and limit the attack surface.  

Endpoint security automation tools – handy for remote teams 

Endpoints, such as laptops, desktops, and mobile devices, are protected from cyber threats by the automated deployment and management of antivirus, anti-malware, and endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions. Endpoint security automation tools can also enforce device encryption and access controls and automatically quarantine or remediate compromised devices.  

 For organizations with remote teams, these tools automate the collection and analysis of endpoint data, allowing security teams to detect and investigate potential threats without getting lost in the weeds of time-consuming manual processes. 

Vulnerability management automation tools – reduce the window of exposure 

These tools automate scanning networks, servers, and endpoints for known vulnerabilities and prioritize vulnerabilities by assessing their severity and potential impact, then provide a list based on this evaluation. 

 They also automate the distribution of patches and updates to remediate identified vulnerabilities, reducing the window of exposure for attackers to exploit. Minimizing the window of exposure is crucial for maintaining a strong cybersecurity posture, as the longer a vulnerability remains unpatched, the greater the risk of a successful cyber attack.  


Automate NIST RMF with IPKeys 

IPKeys offers advanced automation solutions specifically designed for the unique environment of the US Government. Our RMF Automation simplifies and accelerates NIST RMF implementation by filtering through 1,000+ NIST controls for each system component to determine your optimal security configuration. Integration with your existing infrastructure is equally painless. We’re happy to give you a walkthrough. 

Common FAQs

  • Vulnerability scanning and patching 
  • Log analysis and threat detection 
  • Security configuration management 
  • Incident response 
  • Compliance monitoring and reporting

Start with careful planning and a phased approach. First, identify the most critical and repetitive tasks that can benefit from automation. Next, evaluate and select the appropriate tools and platforms to integrate with your systems and workflows. Gradually introduce automation tools. And remember to test, monitor, and make time for team training to avoid disruptions in your organization’s security posture. 

Yep. For example, healthcare organizations must ensure compliance with HIPAA regulations, which have strict requirements for protecting patient data. Government agencies may need to follow NIST or FedRAMP guidelines with specific security controls and reporting requirements. 

  • Over-reliance on automation by security teams 
  • Incorrectly configured automation tools can introduce unintended consequences 
  • Threat actors can exploit vulnerabilities in automation tools

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