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How to Leverage Automation to Enhance Cybersecurity

Recently, 88% of companies worldwide have experienced phishing attempts. The majority of these companies are small businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

Data breach and information theft are the major results of these cyberattacks, which often have extreme cost implications for these companies.

Interestingly, human error accounts for up to 95% of cyber-attacks and data breaches. This indicates most of these attacks are preventable - as long as there are no human errors.

We can't condemn people for making mistakes. Mistakes are part of what makes us human. However, we can prevent such mistakes from happening thanks to automation.

A quick look at automation and cybersecurity

Robotic process automation (RPA) involves programming machines or software packages to perform certain tasks without human interference. It can involve the use of machines, bots, or computer software to automatically carry out these processes.

One of the benefits of automation for organizations is the prevention of cyberattacks. Automation helps to reduce the risk of human error and improves organizational cybersecurity capabilities.

RPA reduces and can even eliminate the responsibility of manually performing repetitive tasks with high chances of error. This is how it helps to improve cybersecurity and protect against data breaches.

Cybersecurity involves securing computer and online cloud storage systems against malicious attacks. It encompasses protecting the system from data breaches, theft, and damage. Essentially, it's anything you do to prevent hackers from gaining access to valuable data about your business or clients. In this digital age, this is of utmost importance.

 

How automation can help to enhance cybersecurity

Away from reducing or eliminating human errors, automation has a lot of benefits for cybersecurity. These are seemingly obvious advantages that we experience in everyday business but somehow fail to notice.

The following are some of the ways automation can protect your business from cyber-attacks.

1. Protection against malware attacks

Certain automation software can serve as a line of defense against malicious programs. Data breaches can happen because the human in charge unknowingly provided access to malware.

However, RPA can prevent this by classifying the malware as a dangerous program. When the RPA marks a program as malware, the human in charge will know not to access such programs.

RPA can identify malware through rapid analysis of the program to identify potential threats. Typically, RPA uses bots to analyze data from programs and determine if they're threats.

It then classifies the program accordingly to warn users of the risks of accessing such programs. Advanced RPAs can take action against malware by blocking or deleting them.

Certain automation software doubles as anti-malware software. This means it does a better job of identifying and stopping the action of malware. This type of software can identify viruses, worms, and ransomware that hackers use to access systems. It can also take action or suggest relevant security actions against malware attacks.

2. Preventing unauthorized access

You don't want just anybody to have access to your company's private information. Automation is perfect for preventing unauthorized access to private data. You can program RPA bots so they only allow certain users with clearance access to important information.

Through the use of access certification, RPA can determine and prevent unauthorized access. In other words, it'll deny access to people without the proper credentials or clearances. It replaces the use of a manual certification process which is prone to errors and manipulation.

You can also use RPA to add an extra layer of encryption to your cybersecurity system. This offers more secure data handling and management. It also ensures secure access and safeguards company information from cyber attacks.


3. Enables cybersecurity employees to focus on more important tasks

Automation removes the need to manually perform certain repetitive tasks. Experts can simply assign these tasks to the RPA. By incorporating RPA and OCR into the workflow, your employees can focus on more important aspects of their jobs. This enables them to work faster and be more effective.

Workers can assign routine tasks such as log keeping, data analysis, and activity reports to RPA. Trello is a popular automation software that can handle such tasks. There are also affordable alternatives to Trello with the capability to take care of this. You just have to find the software that works for you.

Ways to leverage automation for cybersecurity

88% of cybersecurity experts believe RPA will make it easier for them to do their jobs. This speaks volumes about the effectiveness of automation in cybersecurity processes.

To put this in perspective, let's look at some of the instances where you can apply automation to cybersecurity.

Automation for pen testing

Penetration testing is important to guarantee the integrity of your security system. It involves an extensive assessment of your organization's cybersecurity measures. In doing so, you can flag weak points and identify potential attacks or places attackers can exploit to gain access. 

However, the process involves carrying out repetitive tasks that increase analysis time. These can become cumbersome and boring for a human. Consequently, the chance of losing concentration and making mistakes while performing such tasks is high. As such, you cannot trust humans to perform these tasks effectively.

Using RPAs for the pen testing process automates repetitive tasks. It speeds up the time for testing and increases its accuracy. By delegating tasks to pen testing platforms, developers can focus on tackling more important tasks


We recommend doing pen testing if your cybersecurity measures were developed manually. Humans are prone to mistakes and pen testing helps to identify those mistakes. Automated pen testing tools will pinpoint gaps in your cybersecurity systems faster. You can also count on their accuracy.

Automation for threat identification

The level of cybersecurity threat is at an all-time high. Over the past few years, the number of hackers has skyrocketed. These individuals continue to develop new variants of malware to breach a business' security system. Companies, management, and cybersecurity teams need to be on their toes at all times to counter these threats.

The possibility of using RPA to identify threats provides a lot of opportunities for its use in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity experts can use it as proactive protection for company data systems. Identification of known and unknown threats is also easier with RPA implementation.

Automation works for threat detection and identification through three main steps. These are:

Collection

During this first step, the RPA gathers all available information and data on known threats. It gathers this from different sources, such as the internet, corporate networks, and individual devices.

To improve accuracy, it also gathers data from third-party sources. It then stores this in a central repository database.

Consolidation

At this stage, the RPA uses machine learning to filter the data gathered in the central repository database. Here, it removes irrelevant data and sets apart the relevant information it needs. This is positive information that may include security solutions and other user-defined data.

Correlation

This is the last step in the threat identification process. The RPA pulls data from multiple security platforms. It then performs analysis and comparison of the data. Finally, it runs appropriate queries to get accurate intelligence on potential threats to the system.


Automation for patch management

If your company runs software that regularly and automatically updates, there's a high chance of security vulnerability. Hackers can exploit this vulnerability to get past your security systems. To solve this problem, developers use patches i.e. codes to provide additional protection. However, these patches may not be efficient enough to cover the vulnerability.

A way out is through the use of automated patch management systems. These locate, test, and alter the codes/patches to ensure the security of the system. The good thing is that these systems work independently, regardless of whether you have the original patch or not.

This patch management process needs proper definition. So, it requires human intervention at intervals to ensure the right codes are running. With the level of ease they offer, automated patch management systems help to simplify the work of developers.

Automation for traffic log analysis

Before automation, developers had to study traffic logs collated over an extended period. They had to do this to identify potential malware activities. Typically, this study involved processing and arranging the logs at different levels for better malware detection.

The process was too complex, lengthy, and required extreme concentration as well as accuracy. To be fair, that's asking too much of the developers laboring on the job. This is where automation comes in. Automation uses bots to perform these intricate processes with higher efficiency.

You can think of the bots as a digital workforce that never tires and doesn't ask for payment. Through machine learning, bots can identify, categorize, and arrange data from the traffic logs.

Automation equals a more secure system

Most of the best enterprise network security products are automated. Automation reduces the risk of human errors, speeds up processes, and increases accuracy. Automation in cybersecurity can help to predict potential threats and even combat them. It all depends on how you employ robotic process automation.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Tammy Wood - Director of Global Technical SEO 

Tammy-Wood 

Tammy Wood has been involved with SEO for two decades. Her current role is Director of Technical SEO, for Automation Anywhere, an automation company focusing on digital workforce technology and RPA. While not chasing keywords Tammy enjoys reading, buying shoes and writing articles about both RPA and SEO. Here is her LinkedIn.

Published Thursday, April 29, 2021 9:53 AM by David Marshall
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