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Safe Automation is the key to operational security success

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The success of a modern security operations centre (SOC) is only possible with the right balance of systems, people and culture. Security analysts need to work as a team, leveraging strengths and supporting weaknesses to deliver the best security outcomes. Furthermore, technology must be customised to the business’s environment, allowing automated processes to underpin analysts’ activities.

Nevertheless, there is one significant issue that needs addressing before starting to automate: analysts must be confident in the technology to allow them to trust nothing is being missed.

A SOC is a significant investment and requires careful planning, along with well-controlled integration with existing systems. The sophistication of threats makes detecting real attacks difficult, with most SOC technologies delivering more false positives than real threats.

The reality is that there is usually more work than a security team can cope with. So, the technology chosen for the SOC needs to be capable of automating as many routine tasks as possible. Furthermore, making sure the security workforce is suitably trained to react to these new, sophisticated threats and new hires are upskilled and effective in as short a time as possible, is vital.

There’s been a variety of skills-related initiatives launched over the past 12 months in an attempt to improve on the industry’s cyber skills shortage. The lack of suitably trained and experienced security professionals is one of the greatest threats to privacy in the modern age. This deficit will continue to be challenging for many years unless the problem starts to be tackled today, but doing more with less staff is certainly a reality for security managers.

I was heartened to learn of Cisco’s investment programme, known as the Global Cybersecurity Scholarship ( Hopefully this investment of $10 million will boost the available talent pool but for now, we’ll focus on automating as many analyst tasks as we can.

Smart Technology + Smart People = Success

So, for those organisations lucky enough to have the best people and technology in their SOC, there’s still something missing: the ability to respond to threats is impacted by increasingly large volumes of threat intelligence, resulting in analysts wasting time investigating false positives. The time-at-risk for organisations is unsatisfactorily long, with indicators of compromise getting lost in the noise, while operational risk increases through the vagaries of analyst subjectivity.

The answer lies in the approach to industrialising the organisation’s incident management process. This needs to be a robust, systematic, repeatable process model that provides intelligent feedback that allows a security management team to hone and improve the service.

The latest release of Huntsman Analyst Portal®, incorporating automated threat verification (ATV) can help automate the manually intensive tasks analysts undertake, verifying the nature of threats, while eliminating false positives.

Our ATV technology is truly game changing, with improved data visualisation and labour-saving tools that improve operational team efficiencies and, through automation, improve accuracy and streamline workflows. ATV offers an unsurpassed level of sophistication, automating event correlation across all log sources, thus ensuring analysts don’t get burned out chasing ghosts.

Huntsman Analyst Portal® delivers measurable improvements in operational efficiencies and summary screens allowing analysts to easily investigate and resolve threats. This helps establish the nature of the automated processes and satisfy analysts that the new way of operating can be trusted to demonstrate a repeatable outcome. This is an essential step in building trust before the automation process is fully operationalised.

Huntsman® provides analysts with the option to quarantine malicious or suspicious activities, resulting in risks being safely isolated from operations until the threat has passed. This is part of Huntsman®’s wider development roadmap, where safe automation is the underlying philosophy of everything we do.

By adopting a scientific approach to automation, Huntsman® has effectively redesigned the Incident Management process to address the modern threat landscape. This serves to free up analysts’ time for research and digging deeper into tackling real cyber threats to support their objective of reducing cyber security risk to their business.

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