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In Security Last updated: July 10, 2023
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Security automation involves the latest technology, tools, and practices to automate repetitive, time-consuming security tasks like detecting and remediating threats, helping organizations to focus on more strategic tasks and enhancing business efficiency.

With cyber attackers frequently targeting applications and users, manual response to those threats seems inefficient.

Due to this slow process of detecting and responding to online threats, businesses and individuals face many security and privacy issues and suffer losses.

Therefore, organizations are constantly looking for ways to simplify and improve security operations.

Security automation is a great way to achieve that and prevent threats with automated, easy-to-execute processes.

In this article, I’ll discuss security automation along with its types, benefits, limitations, best practices, and more.

Let’s dive right in!

What Is Security Automation?


Security automation is a process where the automatic execution of several security tasks like incident detection and remediation happens by using a technology or tool without requiring human intervention.

These security tasks include identifying, analyzing, preventing, and dealing with cyber threats. It contributes to strengthening the entire enterprise’s security posture and essentially plays an active role in making future strategies. 

Before security automation, analysts and security professionals had to go through the tedious work of tracking alerts, prioritizing them, deciding whether to respond to the threat and dealing with it.

Security automation can handle routine tasks, such as checking security alerts, analyzing each of them, and differentiating genuine alerts, false positives, and potential threats. It can handle a similar set of steps or rules.

For example, security automation can take care of an incident that involves a phishing attempt and a flagged email to eliminate monotonous and tiresome tasks.

Security automation increases the cybersecurity teams’ ability to rapidly detect and respond to cybersecurity threats. It is used in cybersecurity in the following ways:

  • Log collection: The business network deals with multiple devices to complete many tasks every day. An event is logged for each action on the network. By monitoring the logs, your team can identify different activities on the network. The automated monitoring system collects numerous data, parses it, and normalizes it so that it can be readable. 
  • Intercept phishing attempts: Maximum cyberattacks start with an email, and organizations are targeted easily with phishing attempts. Human errors are a crucial factor in successful attacks on emails by phishers. An automated security system protects against phishing at the first stage of log monitoring with alerts related to URLs, attachments, IP addresses, and other fraud indicators.  
  • Recognize internal threats: Internal threats moving within your enterprise’s network are risky. It is difficult to detect internal threats as they can mimic normal behavior. An automated security system begins with collecting logs that include understanding normal behavior. 

Other ways are finding and addressing vulnerabilities, halting malware, reducing dwell time, and more. 

What Can Security Automation Do?

Security automation manages a vast range of security activities and tasks: 

  • Threat investigation: Security automation monitors your network for irregular behavior so that it can alert your team about suspicious or high-risk activity that needs to be taken care of. 
  • Endpoint protection: Endpoint protection automates the device monitoring functionality and investigates the threat from the root to eliminate it. 
  • Playbook creation: The security automation platform is related to a playbook or template. This is used as a guide that describes the workflows of the system so that the security team will follow various scenarios and make further evaluations. 
  • Incident response: Security automation is based on algorithms and rules that tell how a system should respond or react based on the event circumstances. The responses include the isolation of an application or device to prevent security breaches, deletion of suspicious files, and blocking of malicious URLs. 
  • Reporting and compliance: Security automation manages routine reporting and logging activities along with flagging instances. Here, organizations need to take extra steps to comply with essential regulations. 
  • Managing permissions: Security automation also manages permissions and performs de-provisioning and provisioning of accounts. It also can moderate requests for new permissions or modifications. 

How Does Security Automation Work?


Let’s understand the step-by-step process of how security automation works.

#1. Identifying Tasks to Automate

Businesses and their operations activities need to be protected from attackers. In order to make perfect strategies, you need to identify the activities that need to be automated. You can differentiate between the most essential activities and the ones that you can deal with next and then choose the one that needs automation.

Once you are done, you can automate those security activities automation using tools and technologies, enhancing productivity without compromising the security posture. 

#2. Using Standardized Processes


When all the security activities are handled in a documented and standardized way, implementing security automation will be easy. You can create playbooks that show how every security incident is handled manually.  Next, you can find opportunities for automation within the playbooks by looking at different tasks. 

#3. Combining With Human Input

The primary purpose of automation is to increase human efficiency instead of replacing them. Therefore, most of the automated tasks are combined with human input so that all security tasks can be handled properly.

It is also important to handle serious threats that are escalated and flagged to manual input by humans wherever necessary. 

#4. Adding Automation

Adding automation directly to handle security tasks is not feasible. It should be added slowly. Employees must get trained on individual tasks, and each task is then automated one by one. The efficiency and effectiveness of automation need to be evaluated regularly.

If you are adding automation without proper human understanding, many issues can be introduced. Thus, add automation slowly by giving proper training to your employees. 

#5. Providing Alternative Work

Now, security automation is a part of your business that optimizes your operations and different practices automatically with security, making security teams more reliable and efficient.

To get more out of it, you can assign other work to your employees. For example, you can assign tasks to security personnel to strengthen the overall security of your business instead of focusing on repetitive tasks. 

Benefits of Security Automation

Security automation has many advantages for security leaders, analysts, and other professionals related to this domain.


Improved ROI

Security automation tools can reduce labor costs and work hours, making a drastic change in your business efficiency and ROI. Automating the reporting process and dashboards make it even easier to measure statistics so that leaders can easily evaluate their investment efficiency. 

Better Results

Organizations implementing security automation can witness better business results and metrics by automating security operations. It helps reduce human interventions, which leads to less error and time in detecting threats. Thus, it accelerates the processes and helps you meet your goals faster.

Future-Proof Security

The cybersecurity world is evolving, and so are the attacks and technologies to encounter them. Certain automation platforms like low-code give you the power and flexibility to change security requirements as per your business needs.

Fight Alert Burnout and Fatigue

Security analysts use security automation to save time and use that extra time to filter, sort, and visualize data. This frees them from error-prone and manual tasks and allows them to focus on strategic initiatives.

Save Time on Mundane Tasks

Security tasks are too critical that even after spending a day doing it manually, security analysts need another. Automating repetitive and mundane tasks improves work-life balance and reduces the volume of alerts you receive. 

Faster Incident Detection

Analysts take time to detect threats and work on remediation. With security automation, you can detect security threats quickly and proactively respond to them. It can also enable security analysts to mitigate unwanted attacks before they occur or transform into successful breaches. 

Accelerated Response

With the help of dashboards, reporting, and dynamic case management, automation makes security analysts’ tasks easier on receiving alerts. In addition, you can close tickets on security alerts automatically in less time using enriched data from the records, resulting in rapid response. 

Types of Security Automation 

Types of Security Automation

Following are the types of security automation that help automate your business security processes:

#1. Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

SIEM is an advanced security solution that allows organizations to recognize and address potential security vulnerabilities and threats before they disrupt your business operations.

It helps security teams identify user behavior anomalies and automate many manual processes using artificial intelligence (AI) associated with incident response and threat detection. 

All SIEM security solutions perform data aggregation and consolidation along with sorting functions to detect threats and stick to data compliance requirements. SIEM performs the following functionalities to detect threats:

#2. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)


Robotic Process Automation is a technology that automates low-level processes where intelligent analysis is not required. It uses the “robot” concept that uses keyboard and mouse commands to perform different operations automatically on a virtualized system. 

Examples: Scanning for vulnerabilities, basic threat mitigation like adding firewall rules to block IPs, running various monitoring tools, and saving final results. 

The downside of this technology is that it only performs rudimentary tasks. You can’t integrate RPA with your security tools. Also, it is not possible to apply complex analysis or reasoning to follow its actions. 

#3. Security Orchestration Automation and Response (SOAR)

SOAR systems are a collection of different solutions that allows your business to collect data on security threats and quickly respond to incidents without human intervention. It helps define, standardize, prioritize, and automate security incident response functions. 

SOAR systems can orchestrate operations across several security tools. It supports automated policy execution, report automation, security workflows, and more. Hence, it’s commonly used for vulnerability management.

In addition, SOAR enables security analysts to monitor data from multiple sources, such as data from management systems, security information, threat intelligence platforms, etc. 

#4. eXtended Detection and Response (XDR)

XDR solutions are the next generation Network Detection and Response (NDR) and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR). It collects security information from several security environments, including networks, cloud systems, and endpoints, allowing you to identify suspicious attacks hidden between silos and security layers. 


XDR automatically compose an attack story from the telemetry data, giving security analysts what they need to investigate the incident and respond to it. You can integrate this technology with security tools to make it an amazing automation platform for security incident investigation and response. 

XDR automation has the following capabilities:

  • ML-based detection: It includes semi-supervised and supervised methods to detect non-traditional and zero-day threats based on their behavior. This method is also used to detect the threats that are already breached the perimeter. 
  • Correlation of related data and alerts: It groups related data and alerts, traces event chains, and builds attack timelines automatically to determine the root causes
  • Centralized user interface: It features a central interface for reviewing security-related alerts, managing automated actions, and investigating in-depth forensics to respond to serious threats. 
  • Response orchestration: It allows an analyst to respond manually using analyst UI. It also enables automated responses through API integration with numerous security tools. 
  • Improvements with time: XDR ML algorithms are more effective at identifying a wide range of attacks as they keep on improving with time. 

Limitations of Security Automation

Although security automation has become more and more useful among organizations to automate security tasks and provide efficiency and improved data protection, it has some limitations:

  • Automating wrong tasks: Security automation may sometimes automate tasks that you don’t want to automate. Suppose you are worried about the password security of your business and automate your security system to ensure all users change their password every month. However, frequent password changes may motivate users to choose less secure and simpler passwords that can lead to more security vulnerability. Here, it would be best to automate a 2-step verification system that asks users to change the security code after an initial login attempt. 
  • Lack of monitoring and unidentified weaknesses: Without a proper breach detection system, a business could face unwanted security compromises that infect their systems for months without even realizing it. 
  • Lack of update: Security automation requires less oversight since it is capable of doing things automatically. But, this confidence could lead to inefficiencies. Businesses build a fail-proof system and then forget to update it. So, if you ever face a new type of cybersecurity threat, your security system might get compromised easily. 

Security Automation Best Practices

To make the most out of security automation, you can consider the below best practices.

  • Set a strategy: Organizations need to set a security goal by outlining their objectives and challenges. Every business knows its level of risks, so it is easy to set a clear strategy to fight upcoming threats. 
  • Identify a security partner: Working with a security partner makes the security automation process more efficient and easier. 
  • Define automation use cases: It is crucial to prioritize your security tasks so you can address more critical issues and perform more important tasks first.  
  • Upskill staff: Automation technology is trained to perform different security-related tasks which humans used to do previously. Humans need training to learn how to get benefit from security automation tools. Without a proper education program, the ROI and functionality of the automation tool could be impacted negatively. 
  • Establish playbooks: The automation process is clearly based on rules. To automate any task, companies must develop playbooks to document all data, contingencies, and steps associated with the activities. This ensures effective enforcement of security policies. 


Security automation is used to enhance the security and productivity of your business by automating repetitive, daily security tasks. It can help you detect threats and respond to them immediately before anything goes wrong. And the best thing is you can do all that without human intervention, resulting in error-free operations.

Thus, integrating automation into your security and IT systems consistently can save you time, prevent risks, and deliver a better return on investment (ROI).

You may also read Information Security Management System.

  • Amrita Pathak
    Amrita is a freelance copywriter and content writer. She helps brands enhance their online presence by creating awesome content that connects and converts. She has completed her Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) in Aeronautical Engineering…. read more
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    Narendra Mohan Mittal is a versatile and experienced digital branding strategist and content editor with over 12 years of experience. He is a Gold Medalist in M-Tech and B-Tech in Computer Science & Engineering.

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