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  • Writer's pictureStephen Main

Automate, Automate, Automate, The need for more automation in Cyber Controls Assurance

Recent and well-publicised cyber-attacks have highlighted that a big part of winning at security is ‘getting the basics right’.”

We all fear a successful cyber-attack, the devastation it can potentially cause, from a massive inconvenience (closing the network, running backups restoring everything to the point it was, can take time, too much time) to the worst-case scenario of either a ransom demand or the loss of our business.

We are uncertain we are actually taking the right measures and that they are having the effect we need in relation to the controls we have in place and the risks they are addressing.

And… we doubt that the controls we have in place are being rigorously and consistently applied (mostly as the checks we have in place are occasional at best and or merely applied when it comes to the annual audit)

It is a case of assuring that the controls that should be in place are in place, and that they’re operating as intended

There is a need to automate routine, highly critical technology assurance checks to enforce a consistently stronger level of security

Ultimately, cyber hygiene is the risk-based implementation of controls that the business runs on (e.g. people, machines, applications, etc) – and the continual maintenance of those controls in line with changes in risk exposure.

Businesses also need to reduce the overhead required to monitor, achieve and maintain security assurance and security framework compliance through orchestration and automation of tasks, partly as there is a skills shortage and the manpower is just not available.

By automating technology checks businesses can highlight vulnerabilities in real-time, reduce errors and free up manual resources, this is turn will reduce overhead through orchestration and automation, and give an organisation better use of valuable resources. By imposing a high level of automation in controls assurance the business will thus reduce the risk of a breach by exposing areas of weakness and linking the now exposed vulnerabilities to common Cyber threats


As the head of cyber risk at a US bank has been heard to say: “All the marketing hype today is about detecting threats with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. But right now, there is no single place our CISO can go to see ‘What is the status today of the health of all our controls?’ They have to ask 20 people to get that, and wait about 2 weeks for an answer.”

Once automation occurs a business is then able to orchestrate the execution and tracking of workflows using manual attestation tasks across Business & IT Operations and automated checks across technology infrastructures to provide continuous security assurance monitoring, automated checks ensure Cybersecurity configurations are correct, removing the human weak link

“Continuous visibility, automation and orchestration are identified as key capabilities to operationalize security and risk management.” *Forescout

What is needed is a solution that tracks every protection measure across the entire organisation to give the business comprehensive cybersecurity visibility…..

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