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What is security automation?

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Security automation is the use of technology that performs tasks with reduced human assistance in order to integrate security processes, applications, and infrastructure.

IT security

IT security protects the integrity of information technologies—like computer systems, networks, and data—from attack, damage, or unauthorized access. It's an umbrella term that includes network, internet, endpoint, application programming interfaces (APIs), cloud, application, container security, and more. IT security is about establishing a set of security strategies that work together to help protect data.


Automation is the use of technology to perform tasks with reduced human assistance, which can reduce human error and the need for human intervention. Automation helps you streamline processes and scale environments, as well as build continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment (CI/CD) workflows. There are many kinds of automation, including IT automation, infrastructure automation, business automation, robotic process automation, industrial automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning

Automation solutions for IT systems can allow your IT teams more time to focus on complex projects instead of routine, repetitive tasks such as provisioning and scripting. For example, Red Hat® Ansible® Automation Platform, a subscription product that includes all the tools needed to implement enterprise-wide automation, has hundreds of playbooks—which are blueprints of automation tasks. Playbooks contain 2 or more plays; plays contain 1 or more tasks; and every task is executed by a module (which is a type of script). This automated alternative eliminates the need to execute security tasks one command at a time and there are modules that support many different security providers. Another example is cloud service provisioning, which is the self-service component of cloud computing. With automation, users can obtain cloud services through a customizable self-service portal without requiring the help of IT staff. 

As infrastructure and networks grow in size and complexity, it becomes increasingly difficult to manually manage security and compliance. Manual operations can result in slower detection and remediation of issues, errors in resource configuration, and inconsistent policy application, leaving your systems vulnerable to compliance issues and attack. This can lead to unplanned and expensive downtime and overall reduced functionality. Automation can help you streamline daily operations as well as integrate security into IT infrastructure, processes, hybrid cloud structures, and applications (or apps) from the start. Fully deploying security automation can even reduce the average cost of a breach by 95%.

Threat hunting

Fast threat detection can reduce the likelihood that your organization will experience a security breach as well as the associated costs if a breach occurs. Manual processes can delay threat identification in complex IT environments, leaving your business vulnerable. Applying automation to your security processes can help you identify, validate, and escalate threats faster without manual intervention.

Security incident response

Detecting and containing security breaches within 200 days or less reduce the average cost of a breach by US$1.22 million. However, remediation across your ecosystem of platforms, applications, and tools—throughout their entire life cycles—can be complicated, time-consuming, and error-prone when performed manually. Security teams can use automation to rapidly apply remediation to affected systems, creating security tools that work across your environment concurrently and respond to incidents faster.

IDC interviewed multiple decision makers about their experiences with automation and found that each organization realized significant productivity, agility, and operational benefits through automation—making IT security teams 25% more efficient.

Because while open source technology inherently responds faster to threats than proprietary technology thanks to thousands of open-source community contributors, enterprise open source products tend to have even higher security standards. Red Hat and our security partner ecosystem bring a comprehensive DevSecOps approach to help organizations continue to innovate without sacrificing security.

Enterprise open source software uses a development model that enhances testing and performance tuning—usually with a security team that stands behind it, processes for responding to new security vulnerabilities, and protocols to notify users about security issues with remediation steps. It's an enhanced version of the open source web of trust that makes sure you're never alone when it comes to IT security.

Learn about Red Hat’s approach to security and compliance

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