Automation Helps Address Vulnerability Management Amid a Cybersecurity Skills Gap

Automation and the cybersecurity skills gap

Automation is an important element amid an ongoing cybersecurity skills gap. Anyone who works in the cybersecurity field knows that there has been a skills shortage going on for years. And unfortunately, there are no signs that the gap between demand and supply will close anytime soon.

This is a frightening scenario for security leaders and their organizations, because the attacks and attackers keep getting more sophisticated and the threat landscape more complex. In order to optimally defend themselves, enterprises need people who understand the latest risks and the tools that provide defense.

Some cybersecurity roles are especially understaffed. Research from ESG from late 2022 shows that 37% percent of organizations have a shortage of security architects. In an article in CSO, Jon Oltsik, a senior principal analyst with the firm and the founder of its cybersecurity service, says this shortage is acute in two areas. One is cloud security architects and the other is those focused on technology integration.

Just over one third of organizations have a shortage of security engineers, according to the ESG research. These are the people who install, configure and maintain security solutions, Oltsik notes, so a lack of security engineers equates to suboptimal use of security technology.

One of the most concerning findings is the shortage of people who are skilled in analyzing vulnerabilities. Thirty-three percent of organizations in the ESG research have a shortage of vulnerability management analysts. A shortage here leads to increased cyber risk, Oltsik writes, as IT assets remain undiscovered, misconfigured and vulnerable.

One effective way organizations can work around the skills gap and maintain a strong security posture is to deploy tools that leverage automation. Automation can help significantly with a cybersecurity skills gap. For example, a vulnerability management platform that automates the processes of discovering, prioritizing and remediating software vulnerabilities can greatly reduce the workload for security analysts. It can minimize the issues around a lack of skilled analysts.

Not having enough security experts on staff can create long delays in addressing security issues such as vulnerabilities, and automation can resolve that problem.

A report by Rezilion and Ponemon Institute in 2022 reveals that a lack of prioritization and automation resulted in organizations losing thousands of hours in time and productivity dealing with a huge backlog of vulnerabilities that they don’t have time or resources to tackle.

When considering vulnerability management platforms, organizations should look for systems that automate discovery, validation, prioritization and remediation. This will help them improve their security posture in a cost-effective way.

For instance, for validation a platform should be able to provide the analytics capabilities teams need to identify those vulnerabilities can be exploited, aggregate vulnerability scanning results and automatically filter the results to focus only on what is actually loaded and exploitable.

The platform should also be capable of fixing software bugs automatically without the need for human intervention, to speed the process of eliminating security risks. To ensure the most effective remediation, organizations should leverage smart remediation solutions that leverage automation wherever possible.

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