Having a centrally managed framework that allows you to manage, monitor, review, and make constant improvements to your information security practices is vital for any organization. It ensures that data can only be accessed by authorized individuals, keeps data accurate, and only allows authorized users to access the information when it is needed.
This is what having a healthy information security management system (ISMS) is all about. Building and maintaining an ISMS that is in compliance with ISO 27001 takes a lot of human capital, time, and money. This is where automation is stepping in to make this monumental task more efficient, more easily scalable, and more cost-effective.
What is ISO 27001 compliance?
One of the main compliance standards for information security management systems is ISO 27001. ISO 27001 is an ISMS standard that structures how businesses should manage information security threats, how a company should develop policies and procedures, and guidelines for training staff.
ISO 27001 also covers risk assessment, organizational structure, access control mechanisms, information classification, safeguards, information security policies, monitoring and reporting guidelines, and various other components of an ISMS.
Although it is not required for an organization to be in compliance with ISO 27001 regulations, businesses that choose to obtain an ISO certification and maintain it, demonstrate that they have taken the proper steps to implement the necessary security controls and processes to protect their IT infrastructure and the confidential data they have.
So, can an ISMS be automated and still be compliant with ISO 27001 regulations? The short answer is yes. The future of ISMS actually demands automation. Automation can be used to build, manage, and monitor an ISMS to save a company incredible amounts of time and resources.
Building an ISMS without automation and from the ground up can take anywhere from 6 months to a year or longer for a small to medium-sized company, depending on the budget and the number of staff available. When it comes to managing the ISMS and monitoring and testing the system by making risk assessments, and internal and external scans, again, doing everything manually is extremely time-consuming and expensive.
Add in the time and resources it would take to manually become ISO 27001 certified, and it can be mind-boggling. Automated ISMS solutions and DevOps companies that can provide these services are well worth the investment.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of automation related to risk assessment and security management?
When it comes to automation, like everything, there are going to be a number of advantages. However, there may be some disadvantages as well. Let us take a look at some of the pros and cons of both security and risk assessment automation.
Pros and Cons of Security Automation
With the number of cyber-attacks on businesses continuing to increase year after year, it has become extremely difficult to keep up with potential threats and the different forms and variations they can come in. It seems like it is almost only a matter of time before your business is a victim of a cyber-attack. Once an attack has taken place, the objective becomes mitigating the attack as quickly as possible. Security automation can be incredibly helpful when it comes to this objective.
- Automated security makes IT security easier: Keeping up with all the different security threats, variations, and new methods of infiltrating an organization’s digital infrastructure is a monumental task that is best handled by machine learning and AI used in IT security software.
- Allows your organization to deal with an incredible number of threats: Essentially, there are not enough cybersecurity specialists in an organization to keep up with the sheer number of threats and cyber-attacks.
- Automation is preventative rather than reactive: Most often when cybersecurity is handled manually, your IT team most likely will be responding to attacks or potential threats, and if the system is infiltrating, they will be reactivating by minimizing the damage done and the data lost as quickly as possible. With automation, IT security tools can proactively identify potential weaknesses and patch them before a cybercriminal even knows the weakness is there.
- Loss of control: Some IT professionals feel like they have lost control of the system that they overlook when automation comes into the picture. The loss of control limits the ways that they can customize the network to shape it exactly the way the organization needs it and what is in the organization’s best interest.
- Over-blocking of authorized employees: Automation can automatically block legitimate network traffic from authorized users and employees that it should not be blocking.
- Perception of a shrinking job market: Many IT workers are concerned about automated cybersecurity because it leaves them thinking that eventually they will be replaced, and their service will no longer be of value to companies.
Although automation has its advantages and disadvantages, for now, it is here to stay. Automated cybersecurity should be used to correlate data, create protections faster than cyber-attacks can spread, and detect infections already in the network. The best IT teams will be a proper mix of humans and automation.
Related article: How Automation Became a Critical Tool in Cybersecurity Compliance.
Pros and Cons of Risk Assessment Automation
One of the best ways to use automated cybersecurity tools is when it comes to risk assessment. But again, it is important to recognize both the advantages and disadvantages of automated risk assessment.
- More accurate: Automated risk assessment tools can scan for vulnerabilities and changes extremely accurately and identify risks and rank them from the most critical to least critical in a fraction of the time it would take a human.
- Less human error: With risk assessments, there are vast amounts of data that needs to be managed and assessed. Combing through all that data, there is a great chance that a human may overlook something that automation would catch right away.
- Increased efficiency: Automation saves time and money. Automation can handle tasks like scanning for vulnerabilities, generating reports, and monitoring for changes while IT staff can focus on other important tasks.
- Too many false positives: Automation has a tendency to flag risks that are not actually threats or that do not even exist on the network.
- Can be expensive: If you are a new startup, risk assessment tools and the software and hardware needed to run them can be quite expensive.
How does automated software increases accuracy and efficiency for information security management systems?
Automated software for risk assessment and security is more accurate because it can eliminate human error that could easily occur when there is an overwhelming amount of data to go through. Automated software also is more efficient because it can be used to complete repetitive tasks like scanning for vulnerabilities and generating reports while human capital is better utilized.