Enterprises understand automation is crucial to addressing the cybersecurity skills shortage and achieving a stronger security posture, the majority are experiencing challenges with determining how, when and where to automate, according to a recent study by Juniper Networks and the Ponemon Institute.
The study titled, The Challenge of Building the Right Security Automation Architecture, highlighted that the growing threat landscape and security skills gap facing cybersecurity teams demand that organisations implement automation for a stronger security posture. Respondents recognise this growing importance and how automation can improve productivity, address the growing volume of threats and reduce the rate of false positives. It noted that the top two benefits of security automation, according to respondents, are: increased productivity of security personnel (64 percent) and automated correlation of threat behavior to address the volume of threats (60 percent). 54 percent of respondents say these automation technologies simplify the process of detecting and responding to cyber threats and vulnerabilities.
By 2021, fighting cybercrime will cost businesses globally more than $6 trillion annually and there will be 3.5 million unfilled security jobs, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. Echoing this issue, 57 percent of survey respondents say they are unable to recruit the skilled personnel needed to deploy their security automation tools. As cybercriminals continue to automate attacks without being subject to the same regulations and compliance constraints, organisations are struggling with understaffed security teams, manual processes, disparate systems and complex policies that leave them buried in low value tasks.
“The cybercrime landscape is incredibly vast, organised and automated – cybercriminals have deep pockets and no rules, so they set the bar,” said Amy James, Director of Security Portfolio Marketing at Juniper Networks. “Organisations need to level the playing field. You simply cannot have manual security solutions and expect to successfully battle cybercriminals, much less get ahead of their next moves. Automation is crucial.”
Vendor sprawl is creating chaos
Today, security environments are more complex and cybercriminals are more determined than ever, yet organisations are utilising security solutions built on stand-alone security tools, resulting in vendor sprawl and ineffective security strategies.
Organisations now recognise that the ability to integrate disparate security technologies is the main challenge to achieving an effective security automation architecture, according to 71 percent of respondents. 57 percent have interoperability issues among security technologies that diminish the effectiveness of automation technologies. The study also showed that 63 percent say it is difficult to integrate security automation technologies and tools with legacy systems. 59 percent believe their organisation needs to streamline its number of vendors.
Skills shortage is a barrier
As a result of this vendor sprawl, security practitioners are finding themselves bogged down for nearly two hours each day processing alerts, events and logs to find malicious activity, according to the study. This leaves them with limited manpower to implement critical automation technologies and results in diminishing security postures. On top of that, the market is dry when it comes to skilled security personnel. Only 35 percent say their organisations currently have the in-house expertise to be effective in using security automation to respond to malicious threats. 62 percent say the lack of in-house expertise diminishes their organisation’s security posture. 57 percent say they are unable to recruit knowledgeable or skilled personnel to deploy their security automation tools.