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Pros and cons of cybersecurity automation

September 1, 2022  |  Devin Morrissey

pros and cons

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This blog was written by an independent guest blogger.

Cybersecurity threats are nothing new. Major corporations and small businesses alike are regularly faced with them. However, as technology continues to advance and change, so do those threats. Technological sophistication is important when it comes to providing us with the advancements we’ll eventually become used to. But that means cybercriminals are also becoming more sophisticated in their efforts.

The solution? Cybersecurity has to become more sophisticated, as well.

One of the best ways to accomplish that is with automation – to both identify and address threats. But that can feel like putting important information in the hands of a machine, and not everyone is eager to do that without knowing some of the potential risks.

Can automation make a difference when it comes to cybersecurity? Are there any drawbacks? Some businesses are still relying solely on manual protection when it comes to dealing with cybersecurity threats, but is that enough?

In today’s world of ever-advancing cybercriminals, it might not be.

Let’s cover some of the pros and cons of cybersecurity automation, and why it’s really necessary in today’s world of advanced cybercriminals.

Pro: It frees up manpower

One of the biggest draws of AI in any industry is that it frees up people to do other things, rather than focusing on small tasks that can be done by a machine. Keeping data systems safe is no small task, of course, but it’s the perfect job for an automated program specifically designed to test threats.

Many automated programs can be set up as part of a cybersecurity response plan. You can program your AI to implement parts of that plan when a threat is detected, including:

  • Determining when the event happened
  • Checking if sensitive data has been lost
  • Updating firewalls, and security
  • Engaging a legal team

Automating your cybersecurity response plan frees up workers to improve other areas of your business so they can focus on things that can only be done by humans – not machines. Additionally, each time a new threat is detected and taken care of with a cybersecurity response plan, your automated program will learn and continue to improve, knowing how to better handle the situation next time as it becomes more in tune with the threats being presented.

Not only can automated programs learn how to better respond to threats, but they can fine-tune threat intelligence, staying up to date with the latest in sophisticated cybercrimes so they know how to detect a wide variety of issues. That’s something humans may always struggle to keep up with when compared to machines that are learning and improving around the clock.

Con: It’s still a risk

AI has grown at a rapid pace over the last several years, but it’s by no means perfect. In fact, it may be spread a little too thin. When it comes to cybersecurity, the last thing you want to do is turn on a program and let it run 24/7 without any sort of monitoring or maintenance. Let’s say you owned a safe with a billion dollars inside, and the only thing keeping that money protected was an automated program that kept the door locked. Would you put all of your trust in that program and not give it another thought?

Probably not.

The same kind of thinking should be applied when using cybersecurity automation in business. Even highly integrated systems need to be monitored and maintained regularly to ensure they’re working properly. That requires prioritizing your IT systems.

There’s also only so much automation can do when a cybersecurity threat is detected. It might shut down communications (which can be a good thing), but if you’re in an industry where a major shutdown could damage other components of your business, that’s definitely not the response you want. In essence, you’ll still need some manpower to cover the daily maintenance and operations of cybersecurity automation. Even then, it’s important to understand that it’s not a flawless strategy.

Pro: It can boost employee morale

We’ve already talked about cybersecurity automation freeing up employees for other tasks. That can boost your business by giving people better jobs and more meaningful work. However, it can also help to prevent digital overload in the workplace. Digital overload stems from things like spending too much time on devices, consuming too much information, and multitasking with different forms of media.

When employees are tasked with implementing a cybersecurity response plan, it could cause a lot of excess stress and contribute to digital overload. That often leads to symptoms like

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Vision problems
  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure

You may not be able to remove all digital devices and work from your employees’ lives, but the more you’re able to automate for your business, the freer people will be to work on things that don’t require staring at a screen all day. Not only will that reduce digital overload and fatigue, but it can improve company morale and boost productivity by keeping employees healthier and more focused.

Additionally, automation will streamline your efforts and reduce your overall cost when it comes to cybersecurity services. You can use that money to improve elsewhere or put it back into data protection to ensure you always have state-of-the-art programming and equipment on your side.

There are obviously more pros than cons when it comes to cybersecurity automation. The cons simply refer to the fact that it’s not a perfect method – but, neither are human efforts.

If you’re willing to implement things like zero trust protocols and you regularly run attack simulations to ensure your automated program is running and responding appropriately, cybersecurity automation can add a strong layer of sophisticated protection to your systems.

As long as you maintain your strategy and utilize IT professionals or managed services to make sure you’re using up-to-date technology, cybersecurity automation can streamline your efforts, free up employees, and keep your data safe. While there will always be certain risks involved, automation makes identifying and responding to threats a “simpler” process, and one that can be done quickly. The same could not be said if each threat had to be taken care of manually.

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