Security Automation is Real. Science Fiction is Not.

Figure 1. Maturity Model for Organizations’ Automation Journey
  • Careful thinking and planning
  • Thoroughly documented processes
  • An initial setup of the automation
  • A never-ending ongoing phase of continuous improvement and modifications to accommodate the expected environment and process changes
  • Tools, and bi-directional integrations between tools
  • What will we automate (the entire SOC, some alerts only, investigation timelines, etc.) — what is the scope of the automation
  • When will we invoke automated resolution — what are the trigger points for the automation
  • Who will decide that automated resolution needs to be performed — specifically, will the decisions be made by humans, or by the tools
  • How will processes be automated — specifically, will automation be done via static playbooks or other means
  • What are the feedback loops and continuous improvement processes — what is the lifecycle of the automation
  • What is the ownership and operating structure — what is the responsible, accountable, consulted, informed (RACI) matrix

To Automate Or To Not Automate

The Five Phases in the Automation Journey

Phase 0 — Absent

Phase 1 — Ad-hoc

Phase 2 — Assisted

Phase 3 — Augmented

Phase 4 — Automated

Phase 5 — Autonomic

Characteristics of the Automation Phases

Figure 2. Main characteristics of the 5 phases in organizations’ automation Journey

Conclusion

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Gorka Sadowski

Gorka Sadowski

Cybersecurity expert and Chief Strategy Officer at Exabeam. Former Gartner analyst driving SIEM and SOC research and builder of the Splunk security ecosystem.