Automation and orchestration have become pivotal elements in IT management and security strategies. Automation and orchestration greatly streamline the responsibilities of IT operations staff. By automating routine tasks, personnel are free to focus on strategic initiatives and critical problem-solving. Orchestration ties together disparate systems and processes into a unified, coherent workflow, thereby enhancing efficiency. This integration of tasks and systems reduces the likelihood of human error, optimizes resource allocation, and ultimately, strengthens the overall IT security infrastructure.
From a security perspective, automation and orchestration enable swift and efficient responses to security threats, reducing the time from identifying an attack vector or vulnerability to resolution with greater accuracy. Additionally, they significantly alleviate the workload on security personnel, allowing them to focus on other crucial tasks. Most importantly, in a world where endpoints continue to be a critical entry point for malicious hackers to gain access to an organization, automation and orchestration play a crucial role in continuously monitoring and securing a multitude of devices, ensuring optimal protection against potential breaches.
Automation Example: Patch Scanning and Deployment
A key example and promise of IT and security automation and orchestration are playbooks. Incident response playbooks are the most well-known — created to streamline and ensure continuity of operations after a cybersecurity incident. But playbooks as a whole have become critical for IT and security teams, because, when built into a technology solution, they help automate and streamline the steps needed for any process or workflow.
Syxsense Cortex, a forerunner in this arena, integrates both IT and security automation and orchestration, providing a powerfully unified platform for endpoint management and security. The software allows IT teams to automate routine functions and orchestrate complex workflows, enhancing agility and performance in threat management.
Through Syxsense Cortex, IT and security actions are automated, reducing the burden of manual processes on IT and security operations teams. Furthermore, the software’s orchestration capability comes into play, coordinating these automatic actions in a harmonious and streamlined workflow.
One of the things IT and security professionals are always battling against is the human element when it comes to their environment. Relying on human enforcement of patches, for example, will likely lead to mistakes or, at the very least, lost time due to continued monitoring. That’s where Syxsense Cortex comes into play. Here is an example of a simple workflow created via the Cortex drag-and-drop user interface:
In this example, the workflow starts by gathering inventory data about the endpoints so that you can properly identify the devices and their status. Because this is a Syxsense Cortex workflow and not just an individual task run, after the Inventory Scan is completed, the automation moves to the next step, which is to run a patch scan and deployment.
This patch scan is not just for operating system patches; it includes scanning for patches for more than 100 unique third-party applications and software. If the process fails, an email alert can be set up, and the workflow can also create a ticket so that other team members can be notified as needed.
If the patch scan and deployment process completes successfully, a Security Scan launches to check for misconfigurations based on our extensive library. Finally, Syxsense Cortex will perform a reboot with a custom UI prompt, allowing the end user to control when the reboot occurs based on IT-defined parameters.
Automate Even the Most Complex IT and Security Operations
Great, so automation can help with a pretty simple, if time-consuming, process of patch scanning, deployment, and rebooting. What about more complex operations or processes?
The right automation and orchestration tools can empower IT and security operations teams to execute highly intricate processes with precision, reducing the risk of human error and significantly enhancing efficiency. By eliminating manual actions and enabling simultaneous execution of tasks, these tools can save days or even weeks, leading to faster resolution of IT issues, enhanced security, and sizable cost savings.
Let’s look at a more intensive Syxsense Cortex workflow to demonstrate this.
This workflow kicks off by checking the operating system for each endpoint: is it a Windows, Mac, or Linux machine? Depending on the answer, different actions are run next.
For a Windows device, this Cortex playbook will detect patch statuses; if the device is not up to date on patches, it will run a check disk space task to see if there is enough space or if it needs to be cleaned up so there is enough space.
For Mac and Linux, the check disk space task is run first, and only after confirming that there is enough space, will macOS updates and Linux packages be deployed.
Overall, this Cortex workflow still automates patch deployment but goes a step further because of the complexity of the environment. By using checks and balances, if something should fail, Syxsense Cortex can kick off a self-healing task or send an alert to preempt a future failure. You can easily edit these workflows and create new playbooks from a central place, allowing for quick and simple changes to be made and pushed out as needed. For security operations teams, this same process can be used for vulnerability scanning and remediation. With Cortex, it’s easy to update device configurations to lock down your attack surface — all from a single console.
Start saving time now
With Syxsense, you’ll have access to a robust automation and orchestration engine at your fingertips, freeing you up from important but tedious tasks so you can focus on business-critical and strategic initiatives. For one Syxsense customer, their IT team went from spending 130 hours a week to 7 hours a week on patching with automation and orchestration.
Start streamlining your processes and reducing the time and effort needed to manage and secure all your devices. By centralizing and automating endpoint, patch, and vulnerability management, organizations can ensure that all systems are up to date, reducing the risk of security vulnerabilities. Layering in orchestration means you can coordinate these automated tasks across different devices and platforms, ensuring a unified process with broad visibility across your enterprise.
Find out more about Syxsense Cortex. Schedule a custom demo today.