Automation of tools and tasks can benefit over-stretched teams

News by Dan Raywood

Automation can help under-staffed businesses solve security problems.

Automation can help under-staffed businesses solve security problems.


Speaking to SC Magazine, Firemon vice president of marketing Jerry Skurla and head of product marketing and management Matt Hines, said that organisations are often presented with a number of vulnerabilities from scans and the question is often on what to fix first as a priority. Skurla said that he had seen organisations with thousands of servers but not enough people to manage them, and junior people had been brought in to help solve problems.


“But the tools have become more complex and have more capabilities so you can delegate tasks to the junior staff,” Skurla said. “If a business has one guy but that person has an automation tool, then that can be a lifesaver.”


Hines said that often there is so much information to be processed by so few people, that automating tools is sometimes the only way to close the gap and cut through the data.


He said: “We offer a platform so it is a toolbox in my view, but it is a broad set of capabilities and the automation capability gives value to what you do.


“The skills shortage is the same issue for everyone and with all budgets, as everyone has got the same problem with too much work and too few people. If you automate your employees you can move forward.”


Hines likened it to Formula One cars, which are highly technical but still require a human to operate it. Skurla added that by automating, this should be data collection, analysis and change recommendations, and said that only humans should approve and make actual changes to network security systems as a failsafe.


In terms of how the skills shortage can be solved, Hines was asked if it required government, academia or industry to take the lead, he said that the first step should be awareness to get people looking at security as a career option. “You can see management begging for bodies and they are still asking for more, while there are people in the industry with no connection,” Hines said.


“There is a long way to address the gap and once it is done, for practitioners it is about changing the way way they think. We think that automation is the best way to address where we see the problems today.”


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