July 1

5 ways AI is being used to improve security: Automated and augmented incident response

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Incident response began as a reactive and splintered domain and became more structured and formalized as threats proliferated. Perhaps the largest step forward was the collective response to the Year 2000 (Y2K) bug. This was a significant global event that brought attention to incident response and risk management. Y2K led to the development of best practices, cross-industry collaboration, and the establishment of formal IR teams. This event also revealed the importance of proactive measures and early detection, prevention, and mitigation of potential threats. This proactive approach is the foundation for modern IR.

Timeline of incident response and AI enhancements

The most basic explanation of AI is that it refers to computer systems capable of performing tasks that normally require human intelligence. Decision-making is a key outcome, but strong AI also requires other cognitive-like capabilities. Visual perception, speech recognition, and language translation are examples of what may be required by certain AI-enhanced applications.

Several key factors influence the speed of innovation around artificial intelligence. Computational power, data availability, development platforms, and closed- or open-source collaboration are examples of this. Advancements in these areas enable the advancements in AI. Here’s a basic timeline of innovation enablers and AI enhancements to incident response:

AI and incident response

Barracuda’s recently published e-book identifies three IR functions that are significantly enhanced by AI:

Automate incident identification: Al can identify, categorize, and prioritize security incidents based on their severity and potential impact on the organization. Incident identification aims to detect these threats as early as possible to mitigate their impact and protect organizational assets. Automated incident triage accelerates the early stages of incident response and lets security teams focus on the most critical incidents first. This function relies on machine learning algorithms, anomaly detection, and predictive analytics.

Orchestration and playbook automation: An incident response playbook, or runbook, is a detailed, pre-defined set of procedures and instructions that guide an organization’s response to specific cybersecurity incidents. The terms playbook and runbook are often used interchangeably, though runbooks are more detailed and often include the exact actions for specific procedures.  The orchestration piece is the automated coordination and management of the security tools and systems to streamline and optimize incident response processes. In this domain of incident response, AI will automate routine tasks like blocking malicious IP addresses and isolating compromised systems. Manual labor and response times are reduced.

Increase the effectiveness of security operation center (SOC) teams: SOCs can significantly enhance cybersecurity capabilities by integrating AI. A SOC is a centralized facility with a security team that continuously monitors a company’s security posture. The SOC team’s primary goal is to detect, analyze, and respond to cybersecurity incidents using a combination of technology solutions and robust processes. The playbooks are critical tools for SOCs. AI integration improves threat detection by analyzing patterns and anomalies that indicate Al-assisted attacks, ensuring that defenses evolve alongside emerging threats. This enables SOCs to create flexible defense mechanisms that constantly adapt their security strategies in time to combat these advanced threats.

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This is part four of five in a series based on a new e-book titled Securing tomorrow: A CISO’s guide to the role of AI in cybersecurity. This e-book explores security risks and exposes the vulnerabilities that cybercriminals exploit with AI to scale up their attacks and improve their success rates. Get your free copy of the e-book right now, and check out these related posts:

Did you know…

Barracuda’s multi-tiered global SOC is structured to provide 24x7x365 coverage regardless of your location. Our team of security analysts works with well-documented runbooks and processes, as well as key toolsets, such as Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP) and Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR), to ensure quicker time to detection and remediation. Visit our website for more information.


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