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What is Network Security Policy Automation?



  • Security policy automation is the process of automating certain cybersecurity tasks like threat detection (ransomware, malware, security rules, network changes), investigation, and remediation.
  • Automating such practices reflects in the policy that governs them. Thus, security policy automation is the process of automating network security controls using a programmatic solution.
  • In present-day security operation centers (SOCs), NSPM solutions can facilitate automation. These work by identifying vulnerabilities, threats, and attack surfaces in the security posture, assessing them, prioritizing them, responding to them in order through pre-defined actions, and streamlining the process for the security executives.
  • So, automation doesn’t mean everything from end to end is automated. Some human intervention may be necessary, at least at the higher decision-making level.

Benefits of network security policy automation

Automation in security policy has several benefits for an organization. Thus, it’s not hard to see why companies are pumping money into network security automation solutions. Some of the proven benefits are:

Automate manual tasks in cybersecurity

  • The primary benefit of any automation practice is to reduce manual labor.
  • Connectivity security automation frees up resources from many redundant manual tasks, which you can then deploy elsewhere.
  • This automation yields several other benefits that make automation irresistible for companies.

Bring down false positive alerts

  • False positive alerts or alarms are those instances where the cloud security system gets triggered because of a false threat, like firewall rules.
  • In other words, the management platform perceives certain actions to be threatening, which actually are harmless.
  • This consumes unnecessary resources. IT teams can prevent such real-time false alerts by making use of regulatory automation.
  • Automation tools can detect and verify such alarms and take pre-defined actions should the alerts be false. Consider it a second check before raising the issue at a higher level.

Reduce downtime

  • Downtime is one of the pressing issues in IT departments.
  • A study by Gartner penned the average cost of downtime at $5,600 per minute for certain businesses.
  • When the system detects a threat, it typically shuts down certain network segments (like web services, routers, and so on). This can result in downtime.
  • Some downtimes might be unavoidable, but those arising from false positive alerts certainly are. Thus, network security policy automation helps in that regard too.

Reduce headcount

  • There’s a shortage of talent in the cybersecurity And often, competent men and women demand sky-high salaries.
  • So, from an economic standpoint, using automation to counter the lack of talent makes sense.
  • With automation, you can divert human resources to other productive tasks.

Make compliance easier

  • Compliance is critical for businesses, especially in critical insurance, medical, and legal sectors.
  • Up-to-date infrastructure comprising of Cisco, AWS, Tufin, and other reputed companies with the latest cybersecurity measures is one of the prerequisites laid out by most regulators.
  • Network security policy automation can help update the infrastructure to the latest standards. This, in turn, helps the business stay compliant.

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Why is automation still a challenge in network security?

  • Despite all its promises and proven benefits, many companies are reluctant to invest in security automation And the reason is it’s challenging to do so.
  • Automation is hard because management itself is hard. You can’t automate something you can’t fully manage properly. Employees, teams, and projects change, as do the access control Because of such a dynamic environment, automation is still challenging.
  • Another reason is teams tend to work in silos. Multiple stakeholders are involved, including the customers, who must understand and accept the changes. Automation in such instances, known as Deploy and Configure, remains a challenge.
  • But despite the challenges, there are ways to automate multi-vendor on-premises network security
  • Even if you successfully automate some aspects of the policy, it’d be a huge time and resource saver.

How to automate network security policy management?

Cloud-based security policy automation has been around for quite some time. It has received upgrades over time and has gotten better. Let’s look at present-day automation practices, change processes, and troubleshooting tips.

Review the current policy

  • You can’t start from scratch, especially if you have an existing network security policy.
  • The best approach is to start automation from where you are. This way, your security teams do not need to make drastic changes, which may put your network in a more vulnerable state.
  • So as a first step, review your existing cloud environments policy and establish needs.
  • Post that, formulate a plan on which things you can automate and which require manual intervention.
  • Start with things that can be automated.
  • If starting from starch, you must create a security policy first. So, hire cybersecurity experts from AlgoSec to formulate and optimize a policy for your organization’s hybrid network. You can also use Prevasio CNAPP to manage the multi-cloud security
  • You might also want to conduct a webinar if important stakeholders work remotely. The idea is to bring everyone on the same page.

Select the type of security automation tools

  • There are three types of hybrid environment security automation tools to choose from.
  • These are no-code, low-code, and full-code automation. The type of automation you select will impact your security policy changes. Pricing of each tool will also play an important role.
  • No-code security automation is the newest type.
  • As the name suggests, such tools do not require coding to automate network security.
  • There are several use cases and pre-made workflows that you can use right off the bat.
  • These are much easier to manage but don’t grant you complete control over the policy.
  • You can have several automation tools within low-code tools like some-code or more-code.
  • Most businesses prefer these security tools since they offer a balance of user-friendliness and robust coding capabilities.
  • You can change and apply the pre-defined use cases to your company’s security policy.
  • Finally, you have full-code automation AlgoBot, for instance, is an intelligent chatbot for handling network security policy management tasks.
  • These are legacy security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) platforms.
  • A high level of coding work is necessary to work with these full-code firewall management tools, which poses a high barrier to entry. But the upside is you get full control over the policy.

Adopt zero-touch change management

  • Truth be told, you can’t automate 100% of the security policy.
  • Skilled personnel will still be needed to look over everything. However, for those manual tasks, you need speed while still upholding the security principles. How do you balance both? With zero-touch change management.
  • Zero-touch orchestration is an alternative to semi-automated security processes.
  • Vulnerability management accelerates change requests, reducing the time it takes to implement requests to minutes.
  • Despite the speed advantage, zero-touch orchestration has flaws.
  • For example, it accepts the requests as-is and doesn’t check their validities. This can result in misconfiguration. For security risk mitigation, you can embed conditional logic into the orchestration and leverage security and speed.
  • This form of automation will ensure none of the process steps are missed in the lifecycle.
  • FireFlow provides automated security policy management, helping you confidently automate security policy change process.

Establish priorities

  • Deploying automation tools is one part done.
  • The next part is adopting the best practices and organizing your team.
  • One of the best practices of policy automation is to establish priorities.
  • Finding the DevOps issues that are more critical to your security needs is imperative.
  • Then place them higher for the team to address them.
  • This requires you to look at your overall network posture (which you have done in the first step).
  • Once you’ve established clear priorities, you should define the use cases and implement workflow automation.

Train team members

  • Last, to ensure continuous compliance, you must upskill your team members to grasp the implemented changes.
  • The transition from manual to automated will be challenging for employees too.
  • Make them understand why it’s being done and what they’re supposed to do. This is done through a combination of courses and practical knowledge.
  • Besides the knowledge, they should also clarify where the machine’s capabilities end and human responsibility begins.
  • Once automated, it will take some time for the team to get familiarized with it.
  • For the best results, automate the workflow in batches and not the entire network at once.
  • Develop the playbook along the way and get everyone on the same page. Once you get a tempo, invest in third-party tools and vendors to speed up the automation

What’s next?

Network security policy automation makes compliance easier, reduces downtime, and automates manual tasks in cybersecurity. However, automation still means having the right tools and professionals within reach. If you are looking forward to automating network security policy automation and getting the right guidance, we are here. Contact us today to learn more.

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