Security Automation and the Coming Singularity

Some Dude Says
Sep 7 · 5 min read
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Automation has encroached on almost every sector of the economy indiscriminately rearranging jobs and careers in its wake. It has been strangely absent from the news in the field of cybersecurity and technology. The irony is that cybersecurity and other technical fields have probably had the most time and effort spent on automation out of any sector, just that the developments have not seemed as disruptive as they could. Look at a computer from 10 years ago to see how fast the whole industry is moving. Automation is coming whether you or I like it, and it’s going to mess everything in the industry up, but hopefully for the better.

The tech industry’s proximity to the majority of automation efforts have shielded it from the immediate changes, while also raising the bar for future developments. It’s the homecoming game for the automation industry, and they want to bring their best. It’s the calm before the storm and the eye after it hits. It’s going to be a double sucker punch if we’re not ready.

We’re Not In Kansas Anymore

The whirlwind of automation and commoditized machine learning platforms and algorithms has been leaving a path of destruction, and change, across the face of industry after industry. Amazon and Microsoft offer their own machine learning platforms ready for easy development. It can take a day or less to implement a machine learning backed solution anymore. This isn’t where I started in tech, and it definitely won’t be where I end either.

The landscape is changing rapidly, especially in security and IT administration. MSP’s are being targeted left and right; services and programs are having their API’s targeted over and over; malware is evolving over and over. Cybersecurity and even IT administration are making the first moves, but make no mistake they’re about to rock the whole pond.

Modern Problems Require Modern Solutions

Security suites are following suit and moving to AI and machine learning based offerings in droves. With even the malware getting smarter, they really don’t have a choice at this point. Malicious actors are constantly looking for the weakest link in the security chain, and the chain just keeps getting longer by the second. Zero day exploits live on a dark web marketplace before they see the light of day, which usually isn’t until after a massive attack which leveraged them. They don’t exist to the vendor, but they exist to someone, and that someone isn’t very nice.

We live in a post security world at this point. Pandora’s box has opened and even hope has flown off at this point of turning back the clock. We have an arm’s race going on for security for both intelligence and tools. If you act after you know about an issue, you’ve pretty much already acted too late. Humans can’t keep up with the machines. Even the machines can’t keep up with the machines.

Traditional antivirus has been dead since DIY compromise kits first dropped. If an antivirus offering hasn’t announced machine learning augmentation in some form at this point, they may as well have given up. Network security analysis which doesn’t involve automation and heavy data analytics has become an anachronism. Everything under the sun which even pretends to care about security which touches any security product or automation product has started adding 2FA. The scaffolding is going up, but is the whole industry ready for the wave?

Riding the Wave

The big one is coming. Get up and get ready. Either you catch it or you’re going to wipe out. It’s not just going to be one wave either. You might power through one or two on inertia and strength, but unless you get going, there’s a bad storm creeping closer and closer. Pride comes before the fall. Adapt, adjust, advance.

I’m not saying automation is coming for our jobs, but automation is definitely coming for our jobs. The industry is growing on one end and at the same time dying on the other. Stay ahead of the chaos and there’s just opportunity ahead, fall behind, and well… it was nice knowing you.

Cybersecurity won’t shrink overall anytime soon, but it’s definitely changing and will continue to do so. As the onslaught of breaches, breaks, and blowouts continues, smarter tools and smarter operators are required. More layers are growing around the core components. The cost to secure a client is going up in time and tools and the market is fragmented.

Help Me Automation, You’re My Only Hope!

Knowing how to automate simple tasks is paramount to saving your job. If a nasty zero-day is weaponized and a patch drops, do you wait on the system or do you push it? There are plenty of trivial tasks which can improve security by leaps and bounds, but the knowledge of how to automate them in a scalable fashion eludes most technicians.

Automation, and, most importantly, knowing how and when to use, is the skill to master in our brave new world to save your job from itself. Automating that which shouldn’t be automated is just as bad as not automating something trivial.

Alongside automation, there must be a focus on security. I have seen clients use automation solutions in such a hamfisted and lackadaisical way they ended up giving hackers the keys to the kingdom with virtually no resistance. Give yourself the advantage, but don’t just give it to your enemies.

The Only Way Back Is Forward

The cat’s out of the bag. Security may be where it starts, but make no mistake, every segment of the tech industry is going to be hit. It’s a rocket and the bar is attached to a chain at the bottom. Pretty sure I just heard the countdown for ignition.

As the changes filter out, the rest of the tech industry is going to be hit more and more by the wake of automation. As mentioned before, even AWS, Microsoft, etc. have created commoditized AI and machine learning platforms to help build out automation without having to deal with the mundane. Make no mistake, the singularity is coming. We are not excluded. We are not immune. We are next.

Learn to support the new generation of tools and you’ll not only find life easier now, but you’ll also find that you’re still standing after the bomb hits. Automation is coming whether we like it or not. Either we learn to rule it, or find ourselves left in the dust.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +516K people. Follow to join our community.

Some Dude Says

Written by

I write about technology, linguistics (mainly Chinese), and anything else that interests me. Check out https://somedudesays.com for more from me!

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +516K people. Follow to join our community.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade