Optimize Efficiency: How Automation Saves Your Assets

Sep 22, 2022
Kenna Security

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Cyber threats are skyrocketing, but are businesses ready? A record-breaking 20,175 new CVEs were published in 2021 and OT vulnerabilities nearly doubled, yet 54% of global organizations believe cyberattacks are now too sophisticated for their IT team to manage. It’s fair to see why. A recent ransomware attack infected the Los Angeles School District’s key network systems, jeopardizing the data of 540,000 students and 70,000 district employees, not to mention threatening district operations themselves. Though staff prevented the malware from propagating once detected, the impact could have been devastating, causing weeks of disruption and even larger financial losses. 

This era of increasing threats and unpredictability puts to question the effectiveness of traditional vulnerability management, where manual-intensive processes and disputable data slow down security’s ability to prioritize threats and IT to remediate them. With the sheer volume and vicious nature of today’s threat landscape, uncertainty and hesitant responses won’t cut it. Organizations simply can’t afford anything but rapid response powered by real-time threat intelligence. 

That’s why more business and security leaders are looking to automate their workflows and future-proof their operations.  

Automation is the ultimate power-up  

Too many teams are plagued by the shortcomings of a traditional vulnerability management approach; static never-ending spreadsheets, outdated intel, misaligned teams, and siloed data. However, a risk-based approach is fast becoming the industry standard. Risk-based vulnerability management (RBVM) helps teams focus their finite resources on just the risks that matter most, increasing efficiency and effectiveness in the fight to lower risk. Top tier solutions offer user-friendly vulnerability prioritization, serving up fix lists based on the latest threat intel, recent exploit data, asset importance, and organizational context.  

Automation is a key driving force behind data-driven risk-based prioritization and it’s growing rapidly. The AI-based cybersecurity market value is expected to grow by 27.8% from 2022, reaching $133.8 billion by 2030. More and more teams are leveraging automation to harness mission-critical capabilities and lay the groundwork for a secure and resilient future. 

We’ve outlined a handful of those capabilities and why automation is vital for businesses to safeguard defenses now and in the future.  

Know your greatest risks. 

  • Accurately assess risk. Automated analysis of real-time threat intelligence, vulnerability data, and asset information helps organizations understand how a vulnerability can impact their assets, network, and data. This intelligence is necessary to fully understand the company risk profile.  
  • Prioritize your greatest risks. Here’s a surprising fact: Only 2-5% of vulnerabilities are ever exploited. That’s good news for resource-strapped teams, but picking those true risks from the lot can be daunting. Leading risk-based solutions analyze curated data from multiple sources and can prioritize those that pose the most risk, helping your team remediate faster and more effectively. 
  • Predict with precision. Organizations don’t have to play a guessing game when it comes to vulnerability management. A potent combination of machine learning-driven analysis, in-depth visibility, and advanced threat intelligence from providers like Cisco Talos work to calculate the risk of vulnerability and likelihood of an exploit before an attack occurs. occurs. Some solutions can predict the weaponization of a vulnerability by as much as 94% 

Rally your people around risk. 

  • Streamline operations for critical tasks. Bridge the gap between IT and security using shared goals and agreed-upon marching orders. Data-backed vulnerability prioritization can help align your remediation teams and reduce manual operations with automatic responses and workflows targeted towards prioritized vulnerabilities. 
  • Unify language for risk prioritization. When teams don’t have a shared understanding of risk and how to talk about it, communicating across departments, with leadership, or to stakeholders can be futile. Automation simplifies security workflows and top solutions offer simplified language and concepts to users. For example, Kenna Security Risk Scores help quantify the risk a vulnerability poses so its severity can be easily understood by anyone, regardless of their background or expertise.  

Lower risk in as few moves as possible. 

  • Save your team valuable time. Traditional vulnerability management approaches use broad, blanket strategies that burden IT with too many vulns and not enough time to fix them all. Leading risk-based prioritization solutions with baked-in automation focus resources on just the vulnerabilities that matter most, freeing teams to focus on more strategic initiatives. Since going risk-based, Capital One’s InfoSec teams have reduced vulnerability investigation, remediation, and reporting time by more than half. 
  • Save your organization money. Inflated fix lists not only waste time and manpower, but it prevents workers from focusing on more impactful, growth-focused efforts. This culminates in a loss of money (and ultimately, stagnant risk profiles). Fully deployed security AI systems can deliver real savings, and can reduce the cost of data breaches by over 65%.  
  • Respond faster. Organizations that regularly test their business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities in multiple ways are 2.5 times more likely to maintain resilience. And automated environments perform better, too. Automated identification and response systems take an average of 74 days less than manual processes to contain a data breach.  

Clearing common hurdles to vulnerability management automation 

Automated security processes are definitely in our future, so why are some still hesitant to realize this vision? Well, it’s complicated.  

Organizations are understandably afraid to automate the wrong processes. For example, faulty automated workflows could accidentally result in an overflow of unnecessary tickets or business-critical systems taken down. Another common hurdle keeping automation at bay is the threat of bad data. Data gets messy when it flows into an environment in massive volumes from multiple sources and makes quality control a nightmare. If an organization isn’t confident in their data quality, automating processes carries significant risk.  

But the good news is that not everything needs to be automated at once. Starting small helps build momentum and ensures accuracy. Here are examples of achievable wins that help drive automation: 

Cisco leverages automation to realize security resilience 

It’s evident that an automated environment is necessary to navigate increasing threats and turbulent change with confidence. Cisco recognizes this need and is building an open, integrated solution that supports simplified, democratized, and automated security. Kenna Security, now part of Cisco, shares this vision, and together, we’re working to deliver more efficient and effective automated security operations to organizations around the world. After all, with your business-critical assets at risk, how long are you willing to wait?  

To see how Kenna Security can optimize and automate your environment, schedule some time to talk to one of our experts. They can unpack your vulnerability and risk management goals, walk you through a custom demo, and answer any questions you and your team have.  

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