Yoni Leitersdorf

Calling something “autonomous” implies that it operates without human input. That’s a misguided notion.

Take, for example, security infrastructure automation, or SIA. This technology optimizes critical security devices by automatically collecting performance and configuration data to ensure they function according to best practices. In addition, SIA will investigate issues it finds completing low-risk tasks on behalf of the administrator.

Essentially, SIA is an infrastructure automation management tool that takes routine work off the plate of a security operations center, or SOC. This technology is only effective if it is guided by the lessons learned from engineering and operations professionals in the field.

The SOC identifies its critical security assets in the network (e.g., firewalls, web proxies, and load balancers) and ensures the SIA platform can access the data it needs. Then, the SIA platform digests information and determines — based on its preloaded experiences — what warrants action. The capabilities of SIA, combined with human expertise, results in a solution that truly capitalizes on the advantages of automation.

How Humans Can Control Automation With SIA

SIA illustrates why the human element is both a blessing and a curse. Having tech professionals involved is an upfront advantage. For our part, Indeni collects and codifies best practices from security experts, security vendors, and our customers from around the world before integrating those practices into our automation library. “Automation Elements” is a collection of underlying scripts, rules, remediation steps, and playbooks that are based on a vast dynamic repository of institutional knowledge. This leads to informed automation rather than a set of static rules.

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That ingrained intelligence empowers our automation to delay human involvement in the validation and remediation process until the time in which their input is most impactful. Relying on SOC staff to manually check systems multiple times a day is a mind-numbing chore that is ripe for human error. Considering that human error causes 60% of reported cyber breaches, it’s better to automate time- and labor-intensive workloads.

When humans with expertise in specific product areas and network dynamics program automation, they can step back and trust the technology to perform consistently. This proactive effort prevents them from being pulled from another IT project or causing them to redo a task they’ve already performed. Experiencing the benefits of IT automation doesn’t just require human input — it needs the right guidance at the right time.

How Automation Can Enable Employee Retention and Growth

The symbiotic relationship between automation and the human element manifests itself in unexpected ways. This is especially true when it comes to IT recruiting and retention during a time in which there is a dearth of qualified cybersecurity talent.

Tech professionals can find jobs almost at will, making it difficult for companies to retain the talent they have and recruit the talent they need. SIA can negate these personnel struggles in three ways:

1. It phases out rudimentary tasks. Because SIA handles the heavy lifting of infrastructure validation tasks, your security team can focus on more important and interesting projects instead of monotonous monitoring and checks. Those staff members are a lot more likely to stay when they can leverage their skills and indulge their interests rather than doing the same thing day in and day out.

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 Because SIA handles the heavy lifting of infrastructure validation tasks, your security team can focus on more important and interesting projects instead of monotonous monitoring and checks. Those staff members are a lot more likely to stay when they can leverage their skills and indulge their interests rather than doing the same thing day in and day out.

2. It exposes your team to new technology. IT infrastructure automation tools can also help talent retention and attraction by giving team members the chance to interact with new technologies and develop additional skills. Top talent wants to master the skills of automation, and the companies that offer those opportunities will pique workers’ interests and keep them engaged.

3. It sparks accountability. By creating a departmentwide information resource, SIA can quell any politics or misunderstandings within security teams. Departments communicate and coordinate better with infrastructure operation findings in a central place. It cuts down on finger-pointing and generally leads to the kind of supportive work environment where people want to build careers.

While automation often sparks visions of machines performing routine tasks, SIA depends on human direction. SIA can empower companies to provide growth opportunities to their employees while boosting retention. Above all else, it has become a necessary technology for organizations that care about cybersecurity.