Many of us, across many different industries, have to make decisions amidst a multitude of different input and alerts. Wherever possible, automating certain responsibilities can aid tremendously in reducing the manual workload, helping us cut down on human error and make better decisions.

Take the aviation industry, where autopilot technology helped alleviate some of the elongated, mentally taxing tasks (such as fighting turbulence while flying the plane by hand for hours on end). In this case, the pilot can now focus more on the big picture and making strategic decisions. A security orchestration and automation tool can help your security teams work smarter the same way automation has helped pilots.

SOARing Above Alert Fatigue

A FireEye study confirms that 52 percent of security alerts are, in fact, false positives, and 64 percent of notifications are redundant information.This illustrates a tremendous opportunity for a security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) solution to assist security analysts through enriching alerts to alleviate alert fatigue, hardening your organization’s defense against attackers. Automating the response to some of those low-level or redundant alerts makes it easier to combat errors that may come into play with fatigue.

[Looking to reduce alert fatigue on your security team? We’ve got a few suggestions to help in our blog post, How to Effectively Combat Alert Fatigue]

Reducing Noise with Security Automation

Practitioners can reap tremendous benefits from effectively implemented automation in their workspaces and across their time-intensive processes. Security automation refers to the automatic handling of security operations-related tasks and executing such tasks—such as scanning for vulnerabilities or searching for logs—without human intervention.

How does this help analysts? Implementing security automation can:

  • Reduce mundane, repeatable tasks that bog down the team’s focus
  • Limit the driving factors that lead to acute mental fatigue
  • Allow for stronger management of complex tasks, ultimately reducing time to response and accelerating time to remediation

Efficient and effective automation results in better visibility and management of true threats. It can even help remedy team burnout by enriching alerts to filter out false positives. Automating simple security tasks, like sorting through potential phishing emails or investigating potential privilege escalation events, opens up time for analysts to investigate business-critical tasks or alerts, and decrease opportunities for missed alerts.

And with a security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) solution, you gain the ability to measure and improve team performance around key metrics. Measuring statistics like average time from an alert surfacing to its eventual resolution allows for continuous improvement in team performance. Alerts can be resurfaced and plugged into common tools like Slack, email, and ticketing services to make it easier for analysts to respond.

(P.S. You can see the most repetitive tasks security analysts perform today, which are great candidates for automation).

Optimizing Systems for Automation and People

Not all security automation systems are created equal. Research suggests that completely eliminating human decision-making can slow response times and aggravate symptoms of fatigue in other ways. It’s important to understand which tasks should be automated and which may require human input.

When incorporating automation into your threat management strategy, be smart! Strengthen your organization's security posture by providing tools and processes that save time and enhance the skills of your analysts.

Explore which tasks are best reserved for human input and where machines can complement and enhance your security team in our blog post, Balancing Human and Machine Input in Information Security, learn more about Rapid7 security orchestration and automation, or request a demo.