Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Careers & People

6/28/2018
02:50 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

There's No Automating Your Way Out of Security Hiring Woes

Call it the paradox of cybersecurity automation: It makes your staff more productive but takes more quality experts to make it work.

Enterprises increasingly depend on security automation and orchestration to help them keep up with the growing volume of cyberthreats. But at the same time, backlash is growing against the vendor marketing trope that security automation is the answer to bridging the cybersecurity skills gap.

According to a Dark Reading survey conducted earlier this year, just 45% of organizations report that their security teams are fully staffed, and only 33% say they're armed with the right mix of skills they need to meet the threats coming in the next year. More startlingly, 14% of those surveyed say there are plenty of skilled cybersecurity workers available to fill the ranks. Meantime, the latest Global Information Security Workforce Study from (ISC)2 says we'll be facing a shortfall of security workers of 1.8 million by 2022.

And those are just a sampling of the skills shortage metrics. There are plenty more where these came from.

The reflexive answer from many in the industry is, "Well, let's just automate our way out of this problem!" But security leaders on the front line of enterprise defense are stepping forward with more frequency to poke holes in that simplistic solution. The latest evidence of this comes by way of a study out this week from Ponemon Institute and Juniper Networks. 

The study shows that, yes, 64% of organizations believe security automation can increase the productivity of their security personnel. And 60% believe automated correlation of threat behavior is essential to addressing the volume of threats today.  

But at the same time, respondents' answers indicate that automation isn't going to solve the team-building problem. In fact, those hiring issues are making it difficult for many organizations to effectively leverage security automation. The study shows only 35% of organizations say their organizations have the in-house skills to effectively use security automation for responding to threats.  

"Automation will do anything but close the cybersecurity staffing gap," says Druva CISO Drew Nelson. "Apply automation to security, and you are in a catch-22. Any tasks that are automated are likely to be simple, with defined start and end points. Any 'remaining items' are going to be left over for the security staff to carry out. Arguably, these are going to be the more painful and arduous tasks that are repetitive in nature but require deep technical and domain knowledge."

Not only are the incident response and risk mitigation tasks left behind by automation more likely to require a more skilled responder to deal with, but getting automation properly set up also is an issue. More than half of organizations say they're unable to recruit knowledgeable or skilled personnel to deploy their security automation tools. It also often requires a lot of in-the-field experience to identify and codify the processes to be automated within any given organization. And then there is the issue of integration. The study shows that 63% of organizations report difficulties integrating their security automation technology and tools with existing systems.

"While the desire to automate is understandable, the process of setting up the automation can be incredibly complex and resource-draining," says Tim Helming, director of product management at DomainTools, which recently sponsored a different Ponemon Institute survey out last month that offered up similar results as this most recent study. That research concluded that automation is actually exacerbating rather than helping the skills shortage problem.

Related Content:

Why Cybercriminals Attack: A DARK READING VIRTUAL EVENT Wednesday, June 27. Industry experts will offer a range of information and insight on who the bad guys are – and why they might be targeting your enterprise. Go here for more information on this free event.

Ericka Chickowski specializes in coverage of information technology and business innovation. She has focused on information security for the better part of a decade and regularly writes about the security industry as a contributor to Dark Reading.  View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Mobile Banking Malware Up 50% in First Half of 2019
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/17/2020
Exploits Released for As-Yet Unpatched Critical Citrix Flaw
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  1/13/2020
Microsoft to Officially End Support for Windows 7, Server 2008
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/13/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
[Just Released] How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
[Just Released] How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Organizations have invested in a sweeping array of security technologies to address challenges associated with the growing number of cybersecurity attacks. However, the complexity involved in managing these technologies is emerging as a major problem. Read this report to find out what your peers biggest security challenges are and the technologies they are using to address them.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-7227
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
Westermo MRD-315 1.7.3 and 1.7.4 devices have an information disclosure vulnerability that allows an authenticated remote attacker to retrieve the source code of different functions of the web application via requests that lack certain mandatory parameters. This affects ifaces-diag.asp, system.asp, ...
CVE-2019-15625
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
A memory usage vulnerability exists in Trend Micro Password Manager 3.8 that could allow an attacker with access and permissions to the victim's memory processes to extract sensitive information.
CVE-2019-19696
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
A RootCA vulnerability found in Trend Micro Password Manager for Windows and macOS exists where the localhost.key of RootCA.crt might be improperly accessed by an unauthorized party and could be used to create malicious self-signed SSL certificates, allowing an attacker to misdirect a user to phishi...
CVE-2019-19697
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
An arbitrary code execution vulnerability exists in the Trend Micro Security 2019 (v15) consumer family of products which could allow an attacker to gain elevated privileges and tamper with protected services by disabling or otherwise preventing them to start. An attacker must already have administr...
CVE-2019-20357
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
A Persistent Arbitrary Code Execution vulnerability exists in the Trend Micro Security 2020 (v160 and 2019 (v15) consumer familiy of products which could potentially allow an attacker the ability to create a malicious program to escalate privileges and attain persistence on a vulnerable system.