Remote Workforce Security: How to Leverage Automation

Remote workforce security

Updated May 2021

Adopting end-to-end security automation is a top priority for most enterprises – but the rapid shift to remote work models has forced many organizations to accelerate their adoption of automation. Faced with new challenges of reestablishing baselines and a growing number of endpoints, how can security teams leverage automation to maintain visibility and remote workforce security?

In the fourth webinar in our series on securing remote workforces, ReliaQuest VP of Product Management, Jason Pfeiffer, moderates a panel of security experts who provide practical guidance on leveraging automation for faster response. The panel, consisting of Joe Partlow, ReliaQuest CTO, and Chris McFarland, VP, CISO at Abercrombie & Fitch Co., offers the following advice:

1. Update your remote workforce security with automation playbooks to reflect your new baselines.

As organizations switch to remote operations, baselines around insider threat and user behavior analytics must be reevaluated to reflect your new normal cloud-based conditions. Look at use cases around geo-tracking and login times, as users are now working from different locations and at times of day they likely didn’t work before.

As your security team establishes what the new normal looks like at your organization, update your security automation playbooks to reflect corresponding anomalies to decrease false alarms and allow faster response.

2. Take a risk-based approach, prioritizing automation that enables business continuity and consistency.

As the economy has also shifted to a largely online dependency over the past weeks, enterprises across varying industries must reevaluate their security priorities to align with new strategies to generate revenue.  Those in retail, for instance, have been forced to quickly switch over to an almost exclusively digital business model.   Security professionals must make critical decisions to balance network security and confidentiality while keeping their digital business available at all times.

To decide where to focus your security automation efforts, start by working with executive peers and stakeholders to detail how your business priorities have changed, as well as changes to where your sensitive data lives.  From there, you can determine the greatest risks to the evolved business. For many security professionals, this results in shifting focus to redoubling endpoint protection. Automation can then be used to push out patches and updates on your endpoints, saving time and energy from doing these processes manually and improving consistency.

3. Think of creative ways to leverage automation, including among your operational teams to streamline processes.

As IT and security operations teams get pulled into multiple directions, enterprises should look for ways to automate mundane tasks to free up time for these teams to focus on higher business priorities.  This means looking at automation creatively, beyond just running scripts.

For example, you can leverage automation when determining what insider events are malicious or merely a result of a remote worker adjusting to a new remote lifestyle.  One creative way to do this is to send automated surveys to users, in which you can request specific feedback on the user experience and how they’ve adjusted to working from home.  By automating these feedback loops, you can identify where your greatest user risks are, and address these by tuning alerts or providing user awareness training.

During this time, it is essential for businesses to take advantage of any opportunities for improving efficiencies. By establishing new baselines and leveraging automation in creative ways, enterprises can work towards faster and more consistent response, all while enabling business continuity and decreasing risk.

What steps are needed to set your team up for end-to-end security solutions?

Watch the 10-minute webinar to find out: Ready, Set, Automate!