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How Automation Can Raise the Level on Security

The growing popularity of cloud providers such as AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure over the last decade has brought considerable change to the way we build, use and operate web services. As a result, the enterprises’ production environments have become larger and more complex – and it’s getting more and more difficult for a typical security team to safeguard them manually. As security teams struggle to keep pace using old best practices, automation is a key enabler of performing the team’s work effectively at scale.

The problem is that security is often seen as the biggest obstacle to cloud adoption, but when automated it can be its greatest accelerator. Automating the cloud security process enables organizations to work on deeper analysis and higher-level tasks, to secure their cloud environments and to focus their efforts on innovation and growth. Automating the security processes that are conventionally created and deployed manually brings a new evolution to the cloud.

Before we go deeper into the security automation benefits, let’s first start with what security automation is, what it means in the current threat landscape and how to get the most out of automation.

What is security automation?

Security automation is the automatic execution of security tasks without human intervention. This includes any security action involved with detecting, analysing, preventing or remediating cyber threats that is automated (therefore, machine-based) and contributes to the overall organization’s security posture and plays an active role in future security strategies. It’s no wonder more and more often, enterprise businesses that have undergone digital transformation are looking to automated security as an asset for their organization.

Using security automation, risk analysts can focus on proactively identifying security problems instead of remediating existing tickets. This allows these professionals to use their skills in a way that adds more value to the organization.

How Businesses Benefit from Security Automation?

  • Reduction of routine tasks

The most valuable benefit to automation is that it handles the time-consuming repetitive tasks. This reduces fatigue and saves the company resources which can be directed toward projects that provide additional value to the organization. Moreover, it saves time and efforts for the employees and gives them the opportunity to be more productive.

  • Speeds up threat detection

Security automation allows faster threat detection, without depending on any external force. This means that threats like malware, phishing, and endpoint vulnerabilities will be detected right away by the security system. This allows for faster, more responsive threat protection that plays a critical role in security infrastructure.

  • Improves incident response and resolution time

In the same way security automation speeds up threat detection, it also improves incident response. When analysts are overwhelmed with security alerts, they can only mitigate the most critical on the list. By taking a share of the workload from the security analyst, incident response becomes standard practice.

By quickly identifying and differentiating between opportunistic scans and other sources of security alerts, security automation reduces the time needed to respond to an incident. It addresses cyber threats in real time, prioritizes them, determines whether to take any action, and if so, escalates them to a designated security analyst who takes the next steps toward ensuring the incident is contained and resolved. All of this makes the organization more resilient in the face of different types of cyber crime.

  • Ensures Secure Software Development

Automated security operations ensure high-end security during the development phase. It is able to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities, allowing developers to fix the issues on the go. Security automation helps security systems by using threat intelligence to analyze the attack surface and to triage security threats before the program is deployed.

  • Streamlines Business Processes

Security automation tools help to streamline security processes. That reduces complexity, avoids human errors, improves knowledge sharing, and supports faster decision-making.

  • Operational efficiencies and cost

All of the above-mentioned benefits come down to this one final, security automation benefit – improved ROI on automation. When you have tools that aren’t integrated well with one another, you don’t have resources for developers to build custom integrations and automate tasks, you have a staff shortage due to the cybersecurity skills gap. By adopting automation, organizations can allow their analysts more time to spend on deeper analysis and more strategic involvement into security procedures within the same time frame, yielding increased returns on automation investments.

Automation has become a central component to growing and successful businesses. This holds true in the cybersecurity sector as well, specifically with identity and access management, patching, and network change management. At PATECCO we have supported organizations on their path to automating security tasks for many years. We have the know-how and experience to help organizations make the most out of their investment into security automation.

How Do Managed Services Help to Reinforce IT Security?

Nowadays the technology is moving at a faster pace than ever. Whilst advances in technology present a number of opportunities, they also present businesses with challenges they must manage effectively in order to remain successful and profitable. Many businesses have users with multiple computer models and operating systems, so it can be difficult to manage costs and keep people connected and productive. This is where Managed services can help. They include any information technology service and support handled by an outside firm through cloud-based software. These information technology solutions provide remote monitoring of your systems, along with proactive support, and timely managing, updating and resolving issues in real time related to selected IT systems and functions on your behalf.

Managed Services against Cyber threats

As cyber threats evolve and become more complex, many businesses recognize the opportunity to work with managed services providers that can provide a cost-effective alternative to manage the monitoring, detecting, investigating, alerting and responding to cyber threats. Managed services are able to provide security operations, information security and event management, solution implementation and integration, actionable threat intelligence, and incident response. They also ensure organizations the visibility needed to better protect their sensitive data and critical infrastructure, and the incident response solutions provide rapid response and recovery to cyber threats. Getting to cyber confidence first requires a comprehensive suite of cybersecurity offerings that integrate strategy and governance with the core capabilities needed for helping organizations become more secure, vigilant, and resilient.

6 Ways Managed Services Improve Cyber Security

  • 24/7 Monitoring

A significant way that managed services improve cyber security involves system monitoring. A reputable MSP can provide monitoring not just during business hours, but 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When using machine learning your MSP can identify unusual activity and proactively address issues even before a breach occurs.

Monitoring can include both your network and your cloud infrastructure and in this way addresses the numerous data access points. Furthermore, many providers offer automated compliance monitoring. Thanks to the privacy and security regulations affecting industries across the board, compliance monitoring can save problem situations and protects your business reputation.

  • Threat intelligence and analytics

Through MSP’s global network of threat intelligence-sharing, it is possible to proactively monitor the clients’ environments and the external threat landscape to help prevent and detect targeted cyberattacks and insider threats. Managed services are able to turn intelligence updates into actionable mitigation strategies to help the clients respond to threats relevant to their business. The global network for sharing threat intelligence and the powerful analytics resources provide organizations with the visibility they need to better protect their sensitive data and critical infrastructure.

  • Risk Assessment

Risk assessment supports the business to get an idea about its risk posture for key assets and systems, procedures, policies and controls. It also helps to assess and mitigate risks when sharing information, especially with third-party vendors. Besides, it also addresses emerging threats so that you can integrate new technology to secure the risks.

  • Vulnerability Identification and Remediation

As mentioned above, The MSP typically conducts risk assessments to determine the state of your organization’s cyber security and make recommendations. In this process they conduct vulnerability scans and penetration testing. A vulnerability scan often uses automated tools to identify weaknesses in the perimeter, places where unauthorized persons could enter the system. Penetration testing goes further by simulating an actual cyber-attack, with a skilled tester acting like a hacker to try and exploit weaknesses. Some regulations require vulnerability scans and penetration testing on a regular basis. But whether required or not, they both form an essential part of a comprehensive cyber security strategy.

  • Endpoint Protection

Endpoint protection ensures that all access points on the business’ network are secure. Without this element, it is practically difficult to know whether a network has been somehow breached. Having in mind that today’s businesses are widely implementing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy to enable employees work from anywhere at any time, the Managed Services provide the assurance that the organization’s network is same irrespective of how its employees work.

  • Incident response

Sometimes, despite all attempts at prevention and detection, the inevitable could happen. Managed Services could help the clients to proactively respond to and recover from a sustained attack. The incident response capabilities support clients in the immediate, mid-term, and long-term aftermath of an incident, including crisis management, technical investigation, security remediation, cyber-risk program enhancement, and regulatory compliance.

With security breaches that are critically increasing day by day, businesses are looking for solutions that are more effective and cost-efficient. If you don’t know who to choose as your MSP, contact PATECCO today to understand more of what we have accomplished in terms of handling managed services benefits and risks. We are a reliable MSP and we commit to helping you achieve all the IT services mentioned above and even more.

PATECCO managed IT solutions allow a business of any size to focus on its core competencies while leaving its day-to-day IT needs to a team of professionals that are not only proactive in managing your IT services, but are also available 24/7 for your peace of mind. As your managed service provider, PATECCO offers a single point of contact, convenience and flexibility for all of your IT needs.

Which Key IAM Capabilities Successfully Support Remote Work

The coronavirus pandemic has overturned normal ways of working. Many office workers are based at home for certain period of time and apply new methods and practices to accomplish their daily tasks. Staying connected to colleagues and partners seems so easy and functional, but remote working brings a lot of challenges when it comes to cybersecurity.

With the increase of the online activities, traditional IT environments and Identity and access management (IAM) systems are being pushed to their limits. All that leads to latency, frustration, friction, and increased risk, making organizations to search solutions of how to support business at scale without compromising security and user experience.

Identity as a tool for preventing cyber threats

We assume that your company has already started to work remotely – with policies to support the practice and an analysis of expected traffic and risks. So, in this article we will cover some of the most popular IAM capabilities on which medium and large enterprises trust in today’s complex business world. The primary cybersecurity tool they can use to prevent data breaches is Identity and access management. It is also considered as the true digital perimeter, ensuring that only trusted parties can enter the corporate network. It is also a fact that Identity and access management is able to make the transition to a remote workforce easier by securely connecting employees to their work, all while IT maintains complete control.

Identity, more specifically identity authentication, now forms the digital perimeter once composed of antivirus solutions. This digital perimeter serves as the main mechanism by which threat actors are kept out. Even if they do penetrate the perimeter, identity can constrain their permissions, limiting the damage they inflict on your network. Moreover, identity also provides critical information for other cybersecurity solutions, including SIEM and Endpoint Security. Identity informs and strengthens user and entity behaviour analysis and recognizes, stores, and monitors device identities. Both can help prevent external threat actors from penetrating your network or recognizing insider threats before they unfold.

Which key IAM Capabilities help to maintain complete visibility and control over employee access?

No matter where the team is working, IAM has several key capabilities that can make the transition to a remote workforce easier by securely connecting employees to their work, all while IT maintains complete control.

Authentication

When your workforce is enabled to access corporate resources, the first step is to validate the user’s identity. Authentication has a number of risks related to the method of access, from simple passwords to a layered approach with two-factor, VPN and threat detection. Talking about remote workers, using remote devices and getting remote access, there are a few things to have in mind when enabling their authentication:

First – do you already have strong authentication in place today? Our advice here is to protect that investment and to expand its capability by getting more licenses, capacity and management. You should also identify critical applications and make sure passwords are secure. If you have apps that your business needs to function and will be accessed remotely, add layers of authentication to these first. In case the users use passwords to access applications, add Multi-Factor Authentication tools, as well.

Second – it is a good practice to force a password change more often, especially when users go remote. Update your company password policy to show users what they need to do, and increase the password requirements to make them stronger.

Third – do not forget to create network/location aware remote access policies that ensure stricter passwords or host information profiling to gain access.

And last – constantly monitor user access to critical systems and make sure you can make sure who is actually logging into the systems so that any threats could be prevented.

Authorization

After authentication, the authorisation is the most critical layer to IAM. Each company has a different way to authorize users based on its industry, business model and culture. But there are some basics that should be considered to make sure remote workers are enabled and secure:

  • Make sure you have an approved corporate policy in place that spells out what employees should have access to, including data classification and what data can and cannot be shared or stored on remote devices.
  • If you have an identity governance tool in place, use those tools to enforce roles and what applications users should have access to.
  • Centralize your identities into one directory infrastructure for better control and harden their operating systems of the critical applications.
  • Creating a Zero Trust architecture and program is also a good idea, because in this way not only users must be authenticated and authorized, but also applications, systems, networks, IoT devices and data.
  • Implement Privileged User Management (PAM) and Databases Access Management (DAM) to lock down those critical administrator accounts. Enable them with tools, but secure them with controls.

Administration

The daily administration of users is the first mismanaged area in IAM when a crisis comes.  The best solution in such situation is to automate administration as much as possible, so that enforcement and security risks are not underestimated.

What needs to be done is to force users who need access to a critical system to formally request that access through a help desk ticket. Then it is recommended to update your firewall policies with the service ticket number and to review by date.

The next step is to audit what users have access to before you allow them to work from home. Let the users justify what access they have and remove anything they don’t need. This process is connected to least privilege in IAM. Based on that, we can make a conclusion that access to critical applications and data needs to be properly managed and to ensure that threats are discovered and successfully handled.

Identity and Governance enhanced by AI and ML

As mentioned above, in recent times a lot of organizations support their entire workforce remotely.  Identity Governance and Administration helps you manage and provision user access, as well as reduce the risk that comes with employees having excessive or unnecessary access to applications, systems, and data. Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) take IGA to the next level by automating the most common activities. This process includes automatic approval of access requests, performing certifications, and predicting what access should be provisioned to users. The modern IAM platforms, which are enhanced by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, increase efficiency and provide more time for IT staff and access approvers to focus on access rights that have been identified as risky or anomalous. The result is increased security and decreased administrative burden.

Thanks to the modern IAM capabilities, each organisation can easily address the demands for remote work, study, and play at scale. Now more than crucial for the business is to be well prepared and able to meet the challenges of the digital transformation and the global crisis, as well .