As per the IBM Cyber Intelligence Report, misconfigured servers and cloud virtual machines accounted for a massive 86% of records being compromised in 2019. Cybersecurity spending has exceeded $170 billion in 2020. Still, these initiatives are often baseless in preventing an engineer from forgetting to patch security vulnerability on a new server or to misconfigure a firewall.
Pragmatic firms work towards minimizing the probability of human error – adopting security automation to reduce risks.
Automate infrastructure buildout first
CISOs know that the number of experts needed for security updates automation is much lesser than a full-blown security updating exercise, and far more accurate and preventive as well. Automating infrastructure buildout will significantly reduce the opportunity for security errors since it allows security groups, user access, DNS names, networks, firewalls, encrypted volumes, log shipping, etc. to be an automated process too, again minimizing leakage and errors. If a particular team has the skills to only automate one aspect of the system engineering team’s tasks, firms should choose infrastructure buildout.
Fully automate deployments and ensure Continual checks instances across the environment
As IT leaders are increasingly implementing DevOps best practices in their businesses, automating implementations is one of the first processes that need to be reformed. But, aside benefit of this process is that automated deployments can improve an enterprise’s security posture.
The right tools like AWS CodeDeploy or Azure DevOps will help maintain consistent security policies across environments, minimizing the associated risks and complexities.
However, many companies find themselves struggling to update configurations across thousands of servers and virtual instances, which could mean immense strain on skilled resources – in fact, one significant vulnerability would mean every system engineer to be working for 18 hours to manually patch servers. With automated scripts, the only necessary change remains, for instance, a single line in the manifests to ensure the newly released version was running instead.
It is prudent to mention here that historically, IT leadership has been skeptical about automation for security concerns. They argue that the wrong people having access to scripts could misuse it to have access to every part of the environment.
Include automated security monitors in deployments
Enterprise IT environments are becoming increasingly complex. Hybrid clouds are on the rise, and thousands of applications are spread across various settings at varying stages of cloud readiness. But the advantage it provides is that the entire infrastructure can be secured in a single interface. Unified monitoring provides the required support and intelligence to protect core assets and contain the attack. When automation is already a part of the existing configuration process, installing the monitoring tools is easy.
Prepare for the future of automation
IT leaders should not wait until the hybrid cloud environment becomes a mess of custom configurations. They need to immediately start automating security. Automation is the force-multiplier that today’s enterprises need.
Within five years, as data keeps multiplying and hybrid environments become more common, a manual security approach will become impossible to maintain. Firms need to start developing an in-house automation team or outsource it. Businesses need to start now as it might take months or even years for them to achieve end-to-end process automation across hybrid environments.