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Why cybersecurity automation is critical for reducing costly control failures

Why cybersecurity automation is critical for reducing costly control failures

CybersecurityTop Stories

Panaseer is a start-up which aims to help organisations understand and manage their security posture. Security control failures are the leading cause of data breaches, according to 90% of security leaders. But the more companies invest in security tools, the harder it becomes to manage them and maintain the necessary visibility across their IT and security infrastructure. Jonathan Gill, CEO at Panaseer, explains where the technology industry, as a whole, needs to be heading in the future to ensure cyber success with limited budgets. 

In an era marked by economic uncertainty and evolving cyberthreats, the cybersecurity industry is undergoing transformative change. The increasing number of tools for combatting cyber adversaries is leading to unsustainable complexity for those organisations trying to protect themselves.

The more companies invest in security tools, the harder it becomes to manage them and maintain the necessary visibility across their IT and security infrastructure. As a result, the proliferation of tools leads to inadequate protection against malicious actors.

Amidst this backdrop, IT and security leaders are faced with the challenge of ensuring continuous business operations while mitigating risk, all while showcasing tangible returns on their security investments. The solution to this problem doesn’t lie in simply adopting more point solutions or hiring more people. Instead, we should focus on optimising existing tools to ensure they’re effectively deployed, which will help manage the complexity and free up valuable resources to address more strategic areas of security posture management.

The overlooked culprit

One of the core issues behind data breaches is security control failures. Many organisations have all the right tools to protect themselves, but due to the complexity of their environments, they struggle to manage and monitor these controls, leading to unknown and exploitable vulnerabilities.

These failures can vary and include; controls missing from devices and neglected software patches due to a lack of business priority or unknown ownership of the server or application. Security tools can report on assets and devices where they are deployed, but they simply don’t know where they have gaps in their visibility. Every tool is an unreliable witness as to how effective they are, so it’s easy to see how challenging it becomes to understand the status of all those tools and the resulting security posture.

These security control failures are like cracks in a shield, weakening its protection. Adversaries exploit these cracks, breaching defences to access sensitive data or cause operational disruption. These breaches, often stemming from gaps in visibility, expose organisations to various threats, including data theft and operational disruption.

We need to recognise that the existing way of managing cybersecurity needs to evolve. It’s impossible to get a true understanding of security posture using siloed tools with disparate data. There is a growing need to develop a culture of proactive monitoring, swift response and on-going improvement. By optimising their existing security tools, organisations can address security control failures at their root, build a stronger defence against cyberthreats and protect their data, reputation and long-term viability.

Striking a balance between people and technology

To achieve this transformation in cybersecurity strategy, we also think of different ways to overcome the cyberskills gap. It’s well known that teams are overworked and struggle to hire the right talent. In many cases, the proliferation of security tools exacerbates this problem.

In some scenarios, teams are fatigued by the volume of alerts being produced by all of these security controls, which leads to a vicious cycle and greater security risks. Last year, we found that large enterprises run, on average, 76 security tools, up from 64 in 2019. We also found that 59% of cybersecurity teams time was spent on manual reporting, up from 54% in 2019.

The number of tools is expected to increase in response to IT complexity, digitisation, threat actor sophistication and increasing regulation. However, budget limits and cyberskills shortages means that complexity simply cannot be managed by throwing more people at more tools.
Embracing automation

Automation is a critical way to both optimise controls and relieve the pressure on security teams, ensuring organisations can confidently manage and improve their security posture. The automation of important functions, such as asset management and security controls management, empowers CISOs and their teams with a comprehensive and trusted view of their environment.

This visibility is particularly crucial in an era dominated by remote work and the increasing demand for flexibility. Furthermore, automated controls monitoring gives security teams a true understanding of their security controls status and effectiveness, all quantified through standardised key metrics.

By getting a true measure of their security controls, with actionable insights on how to improve, organisations can reduce the likelihood of controls gaps and improve their cyberhygiene. This helps build confidence in their security posture across the business and enables security teams to focus their limited resources where they can have the greatest impact.

Looking ahead

As organisations look to the future, many are undergoing an evolution to effectively navigate the shifting threat landscape. With adversaries wielding increasingly advanced toolsets and innovating new business models, the spectre of cyberattacks remains a constant companion. Organisations will be challenged to manage a growing number of security tools and controls, ensuring their efficacy across diverse assets to pre-empt breaches.

As businesses wrestle with technical debt, complexity and isolated security cultures, the pursuit of optimisation emerges as an unwavering aspiration. Automation equips organisations to preserve resources, trim costs and collaborate to mitigate cyber-risk, thus paving the way for resounding success, even within the confines of restricted budgets.

The industry continues to strive for a cyber-resilient future. The emphasis on innovation by adopting automation ensures a healthy security posture amidst economic uncertainties. As technology progresses and cyberthreats continue to evolve, organisations that embrace these principles will be well-equipped to safeguard their assets, data and reputation.

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