The Importance of Maturity in Security Incident Response Automation

With cyber-attacks on the rise and becoming more and more sophisticated, the need for quality security incident response automation products is also increasing. As with any other technology product, there are a wide variety of vendors offering this type of solution, with many new players emerging at a rapid pace. It’s important to note, however, that not all automation products are created equal. Let’s consider the importance of choosing a mature, established IT Process Automation (ITPA) product and the risks associated with electing a newer option.

The lure of newer products typically stems from budgetary needs. An emerging software provider may offer an ITPA solution at a discounted rate to attract more business. The problem with this is, as the old adage states, you get what you pay for. While not all newer products are necessarily bad, there is an inherent risk involved with choosing a product based on price and ending up with something that isn’t quite up to par. The result is often a solution that doesn’t quite meet the needs of the business or cannot perform at the level desired.

The fact is, security incident response is one of the most important tasks for businesses today. Regardless of size or industry, every company in the world is at risk of having their sensitive data compromised, and the implications can be nothing short of devastating. Whether it’s an incident that causes widespread outages or costly system down time or a serious security breech in which confidential information ends up in the wrong hands, businesses can end up on the brink of losing everything.

For something so critical, it’s equally important that the product chosen to prevent such a catastrophic event be of the highest quality. The most effective way to ensure this is by carefully selecting a security IT Process Automation provider that has years of experience in IT Process Automation and can back their product up with real numbers and proof of performance.

One area in which maturity becomes even more crucial is that of integration. Most companies already have security incident and event management (SIEM) tools in place to monitor incoming threats. To maximize security and create a more close-looped, end to end process, the right ITPA product can be easily integrated with the existing monitoring tools. Newer products often lack this ability, or they are not developed and honed enough to integrate seamlessly. This leaves the business at a greater risk, defeating the purpose of the investment in IT Process Automation.

Ayehu has nearly a decade of experience in IT Process Automation and we are continuously exploring ways to bring that knowledge and experience into the SOC world. We have made some excellent progress with clients who run their SIEM tools with our eyeShare solution for SIM-SOC to automate the alert response, incorporate data enrichment into the SIM tools, as well as managed automated containment and risk mitigation. The below image demonstrates the process more clearly.
The Importance of Maturity in Security Incident Response Automation

You care about the security of your business. Don’t settle for less than a robust product from an experienced, mature IT Process Automation partner.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response




10 Ways to Reduce Cyber Security Threats with Automation

How to Create an Effective Incident Response Plan to Avoid Cyber Security AttacksIn today’s day and age, especially given recent events, concern about cyber security is at an all-time high. Businesses, consumers and employees all want to be certain that their sensitive information remains safe and secure at all times. Just consider the recent security breech that occurred with major retailer Target, through which the sensitive financial information of millions of people was compromised by a hacker. So, how can you be sure that the confidential data your organization is responsible for will remain safe from a potential cyber threat? Simple: through Automation. Here’s how.

You probably already have some type of security information and event management (SIEM) system in place, which is designed to protect sensitive data from being accessed by unauthorized parties. The right IT process automation software can essentially integrate with that existing system to both enhance and extend its capabilities. The result is a closed-loop automated process that helps to identify security incidents the moment they occur so they can be addressed immediately. Furthermore, because this is no longer done manually, operational efficiency will improve as an added bonus.

The way it works is simple. Security threats are identified right away so they can be evaluated to determine their level of importance. With the right product, this part of the workflow can incorporate human decision making. The security analyst can review all detected threats, verify their severity and then determine the next step in addressing each one. IT Process Automation is then reinitiated and the workflow can continue instantaneously. The appropriate tasks can be executed over either physical, virtual or cloud environments. IT process automation can monitor security threats both on a case by case basis and via routine scheduled scans to proactively identify and prevent security vulnerabilities.

There are 10 distinct ways that IT Process Automation can help businesses reduce cyber security threats, as follows:
  1. Capture SIEM system security events and automatically execute specified procedures to extract additional information, manage incident resolution and communicate with relevant personnel as needed to solve more complex events.
  2. Capture antivirus system alerts and execute policies to prevent intrusions and the spread of viruses and other dangerous external threats.
  3. Monitor the availability and functioning of internal security systems.
  4. Remotely disconnect any unauthorized devices and/or computers from the network instantly via email or SMS.
  5. Remotely disable/lock access for hostile users immediately via email or SMS.
  6. Conduct remote, on-demand checks of users who are currently logged in to a certain workstation, using either email or SMS.
  7. Generate daily reports of Active Directory (AD) locked users.
  8. Generate daily reports of AD users that haven’t logged in to the domain during or within certain timeframes.
  9. Generate reports of AD users whose passwords are about to expire within the next few days, as well as send alerts via email/SMS.
  10. Enable/disable user logins within certain time frames to maintain better control over remote user connections.

These days, cyber threats are everywhere and businesses of every size and industry must be aware of the dangers, and take proactive measures to protect the sensitive data that they are in possession of.

By integrating IT automation with your SIEM solution, you can more effectively achieve this goal and provide an added level of protection to your sensitive information.





eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response




Is Removing Humans from IT Using Robotic Process Automation Really a Possibility?

robotIn previous articles, we’ve talked a lot about the fact that automation isn’t something that humans should fear, but rather something that they should embrace. That it is something that will not replace humans, but rather make their jobs easier and more efficient. But is there really a possibility that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will one day completely replace people in IT? And if so, is this an opportunity to embrace or something to fight against? Let’s consider it for a moment.

In one respect, allowing Robotic Process Automation to handle tasks that humans were previously in charge of is actually a huge opportunity for business, and for many reasons. First, it can drastically reduce the risk of costly errors. People inherently make mistakes – especially when their jobs involve repetitive manual tasks. One simple error can cause huge ripple effects across the entire organization and even result in lost revenue. Shifting to Robotic Process Automation for these tasks can eliminate this danger.

Replacing human work with automation can also help to improve efficiency. For example, IT Process Automation can take away the need for manual script writing and replace it with complex automated workflows that perform the required tasks faster than any human worker could. Additionally, self-service options eliminate the need for IT personnel to step in and perform routine tasks, such as password resets and system restarts.

So, does this mean that humans are slowly being eliminated from the workforce? Will automated machines – essentially robots – replace people as we move into the next generation of business? Well, yes and no. The fact is, Robotic Process Automation does present a huge opportunity for companies to save money, improve efficiency and output, reduce errors and much more.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re headed toward a nameless, faceless workplace that is filled with computers rather than people. Why? Because, in most cases the tasks that are being automated were meant to be automated. Back when corporations hired people to slave tirelessly, doing the same thing, day in and day out, where no thinking was necessary, there was no alternative. Now, with Robotic Process Automation, there is.

So yes, automation will replace many functions that were previously managed by humans – the functions for which computers and software are better suited. What this means for people is not that they will become a relic of the past, but rather that they will be freed up to focus on more important matters – matters for which human input is necessary.

While Robotic Process Automation will most certainly become a key component of ongoing success, the fact is, businesses will always need human collaboration, communication and innovation and these things cannot be replicated by computer programs and technology. For that reason, we foresee a future where IT Process Automation complements and supports human endeavors, but does not replace them. And from where we stand, that future looks bright for everyone.




IT Process Automation Survival Guide




Three Simple Steps for Successful IT Process Automation Implementation

Three Simple Steps for Successful IT Automation Implementation

For IT professionals, implementing a new software solution often means hours, days, weeks, or even months of work – developing, testing, training, monitoring and adjusting until everything is running smoothly. The good news is, when it comes to IT Process Automation, this doesn’t have to be the case.

In fact, provided you choose the right product, you can have your new IT Process Automation workflows set up and working in just three easy steps. Sound too good to be true? It’s not – we promise! Here’s how it’s done.

 

Step 1. Develop Your Idea

The first step in successfully implementing IT Process Automation is to determine the specific pain points that your organization is facing. What is it that is slowing your valuable personnel down and keeping them from being able to focus on more important business issues? Create a list of these things and describe each one in as much detail as possible. This is what you will use as your foundation or road map to begin to develop a customized solution.

Step 2. Analyze and Process

Next, you will need to determine exactly what the current procedures are, how the pain points or repetitive tasks you’ve identified are presently being handled, who handles what, what actions are being taken, and how long it takes to perform each step / task. This will help you to prioritize your list of needs to determine which areas should be tackled first.

Step 3. Test and Implement

The last step in the implementation process involves designing, implementing and testing quick automation steps. For best results, this process should involve:

  • Defining the specific desired outcome of each workflow you develop
  • Determining whether it will be scheduled or triggered by a certain event or occurrence
  • Deciding whether the entire process should be automated or whether you would like manual intervention at some points during the process (and if so, what those points are)

It is recommended that you use a flowchart to draw out the workflow process using the information from the analysis you’ve already conducted. Use the flow chart to list the main activities of the procedure, the expected results of each activity and the required resources if any. Add information about which workflow activities you intend to use in the listed section of the workflow.

Once your flowchart is complete, you can then use the information it contains and the process order it’s been placed in to create your actual workflow using your IT Process Automation software. As you are implementing your workflow, be sure to test it by using the various triggers or programmed schedule rules. You want to make sure that the desired results you’ve defined previously are being achieved and that these results are both accurate and consistent.

It is also recommended that you use a short pilot period for every new workflow. Test it on a small group of servers or involve only few users before executing it on a large scale. Once you’ve determined that the workflows you’ve created are functioning exactly as they should, you are now ready to officially roll them out and start automating all of those time-consuming and repetitive tasks, improving the productivity and efficiency of your organization.





IT Process Automation Survival Guide




Want to Improve IT Operations Performance and Service Quality?

 

Automate. Automate. AutomateThere’s no doubt about it. IT Process Automation is the biggest driver for increasing the overall performance of IT operations and service quality for businesses today. It allows IT management and personnel to streamline their workflows by automating the time consuming day to day tasks that bog them down, allowing technology to do the heavy lifting so they can focus on more important business-critical issues.

IT Process Automation can be applied to almost any pain point your organization may face, from frequent password resets to service restarts to disk space cleanups and much, much more. The key is to begin with a few small things so that the value can be easily identified and then work up to include more complex projects and workflows to utilize automation to its fullest potential.

Best Practices for Systems and IT Operations Managers:

As with anything else in business, there are certain “best practices” that have been established and should be implemented to achieve optimum results with IT process automation. Here is a brief list of guidelines for system and IT operations managers to follow:

  • Pick one or two pain points with value. What simple processes or small tasks are important to your organization but are bogging your team down? Pick points that you can quickly and easily measure the value of once you’re up and running.
  • Once you’ve got your list of pain points, it’s time to sell the value of your automation project to the key decision makers within the organization. Go over the benefits in detail and be prepared to counter any objections and show evidence of projected ROI (try our free ROI calculator). The more prepared you are ahead of time, the better your chances of winning over the “powers that be”.
  • Carefully evaluate available IT process automation tools to help you choose the right product and then learn as much as you can about the one you choose so that you can truly convey the benefits that it will have for your business operations.
  • Foster IT automation skills within your team. Make it clear to IT personnel that automation isn’t something to fear. That it’s not there to eliminate their jobs, but rather to make them more efficient and productive, and to provide the opportunity to enhance their skills, become more marketable and achieve more growth in their careers.
  • Encourage communication between IT teams and business people. Devops and automation go hand in hand, with the shared goal of bridging the gap between IT personnel and those on the operational end of the technology. For optimum results, a solid relationship built on trust and open communication should be developed and fostered.
  • Develop key performance indicators and measure results. Once you’re up and running with automation, it’s critical that progress is continuously monitored, measured, analyzed and modified accordingly. Develop a list of which performance indicators are most important to your organization and then measure regularly to ensure optimum results.

In summary, IT organizations that follow these practices will not only increase agility and reliability, but they will also have a more productive, happier staff. IT teams that know how to utilize these tools will have more opportunities for growth, both within the workplace and beyond, as demand for these skills continues to grow.

In the end, it’s a triple win: employees, your business and your customers all benefit in multiple ways through automation. So, the question then becomes not “should you automate”, but rather, “why haven’t you started yet?”





5 Ways to level up your service desk using it process automation




Yuval Molnar of Payoneer is Ayehu’s Most Recent IT Process Automation Super Hero Of The Month

Ayehu Software Names Most Recent Recipient of IT Process Automation Super Hero of the Month Award as Yuval Molnar of PayoneerAyehu Software Technologies Ltd., industry leading developer and marketer of enterprise-grade IT Process Automation solutions has just named the most recent recipient of its Super Hero of the Month Award.

This month, Ayehu has chosen Yuval Molnar and Production Team of Payoneer. Molner was specifically chosen for his use of IT Process Automation to streamline and improve efficiency for his team and his organization as a whole.

Molner serves as a Production Support Team Leader at Payoneer. In this role, he is tasked with managing a team of support professionals as they handle incoming requests and monitor/manage the process from initial contact through resolution. Up until recently, most, if not all of these tasks were being handled manually, a time-consuming process that was riddled with risk of user error and other compliance problems.

In late 2014, Payoneer’s new VP of IT Operations, Yaron Weiss, introduced the eyeShare product, which he already had experience using with his previous employer. The first process automated was system monitoring, the majority of which is now handled by the event-manager function.  They’ve also created workflows that allow certain non-R&D users to send inquires directly through the eyeShare system and receive immediate response with the requested data. This has vastly improved the department’s efficiency.

With eyeShare, Molner’s team can now keep track of their services by running multiple queries directly within the database, and can separate the results according to severity level. In addition, they now have the ability to grant users direct and controlled access to the database so they can extract any information needed without involving the production team in the process. The permission set-up allows Molner’s group to control exactly which user can request each report in order to obey compliance requirements.

“eyeShare has allowed us to reduce repetitive tasks by enabling internal users to access information on their own,” comments Molnar. “In addition to automating our monitoring process and enabling us to calibrate the actions taken for each event based on severity, the system also keeps us informed about crucial errors occurring in real-time with our services. Overall, eyeShare has dramatically improved the way we work.”

Ayehu’s coveted Super Hero of the Month award is designed to recognize professionals who are using IT Process Automation to improve the way their organizations run. Any individual or team who uses the eyeShare product in businesses of any size or industry may be eligible to receive this award.

About Payoneer

Payoneer connects businesses, professionals, countries and currencies with an innovative cross-border payments platform. Currently, Payoneer is enabling millions of businesses and professionals from more than 200 countries reach new audiences by facilitating seamless, cross-border payments. Additionally, thousands of leading corporations including Google, Airbnb, Elance-oDesk and Getty Images rely on Payoneer’s mass payout services. To learn more, please visit www.payoneer.com                                       

About Ayehu

Ayehu Software Technologies Ltd. develops and markets eyeShare, a lightweight, enterprise-grade product for unified incident management. Deployed at major enterprises and supporting thousands of business users, Ayehu eyeShare helps IT professionals identify and resolve critical incidents up to 90 percent faster, minimizing their impact to the business and saving time for IT operations teams. For more information, please visit www.ayehu.com





5 Ways to level up your service desk using it process automation




Why Providing Your End-Users with Self Service Automation is a Must?

Self service automationThe concept of self service automation portal isn’t new. In fact, more and more industries and businesses are adopting this as a means to improve efficiency, reduce costs and create an environment of empowerment. Many are even extending the concept from internal operations to external, providing customers with convenient self-service options. Yet, the one area where this concept remains to be widely embraced is in the IT. For a variety of reasons, many IT professionals continue to insist on maintaining all of their tasks in-house. What they fail to realize is that offering end-users self service automation solution can significantly benefit their department as well as the organization as a whole.

The Benefits:

  • Better service quality means happy end-users
  • Saved time through faster management and execution of requests
  • Process and resources traceability and transparency
  • Positive end user experience with IT service management

Think about it. Why would anyone want to continue doing time-consuming, manual IT tasks for other people when those recipients could just as easily do the task themselves? Wouldn’t it make more sense to delegate those things that can be handled on an end-user basis? Self service automation allows the end-user to independently resolve problems without IT helpdesk assistance, freeing up IT personnel to focus on more critical business issues.

If the concept of turning over control to the end-user seems frightening to you, consider the fact that there are varying levels of control that can be applied. Self service activities may be fully automated without any IT personnel involvement, or semi-automated, with IT managers remotely approving procedures via SMS, email or phone call.

Using a self-service portal, users can Independently perform a range of IT tasks such as creating new virtual machine, freeing up server disk space or restarting Windows services, Unlock user account,  Reset a password and many others IT may want to give to end-users.

Self-service automation can also be used proactively to transfer ownership from the IT department to the end-user by sending alerts and notifications by email or SMS, such as password reset or expiry notifications.

Whether for test, development or production tasks requests, effective IT Service Management starts with self-service and automation solutions. Users can “order” what they need from a list of standard options in an intuitive web portal. IT staff can enable on-demand provisioning of application and infrastructure requests within minutes, with no delays. And administrators can control and track each service, from initial request to decommissioning.

What do you need to get started? Self-service portal and orchestration engine capabilities to improve IT agility, flexibility, and speed.




5 Ways to level up your service desk using it process automation