Rapid growth in IT operations and cloud adoption have combined to create significant cybersecurity challenges for most organizations and rampant opportunities for attackers. An organization’s attack vectors encompass all its customer-facing and internal services and IT infrastructure including network, server, and storage systems.
While the large proportion of cybersecurity attacks are undertaken typically by criminal actors to leverage software vulnerabilities, the past decade has also witnessed the emergence of nation states executing hardware-based attacks to gain access to critical systems, for example, those used in national security assets. A good example would be China's hardware-based manipulation to create security vulnerabilities in SuperMicro server models, which has been under US federal scrutiny for much of the past decade.
While software attacks are simpler to implement, they're also easier to detect and remediate. The intricacy of hardware makes tampering much harder to detect. In modern servers, for example, chips can be added to motherboards, making the alternation practically opaque. As a result, organizations are commonly unable to fully and accurately identify their hardware attack vectors including the risks presented by the dynamic nature of the attack surface.
This is exactly where hyperautomation for cybersecurity built atop an impenetrable hardware foundation provides its value. It fully fortifies government, private enterprise and educational entities and transitions threat responses from human to machine speed.
The Promise and Challenges for Hyperautomation
The goal that underlies hyperautomation is to automate IT and business processes that would otherwise be done by people. Projected by Gartner to reach nearly $600 billion by 2022, the growth in hyperautomation across the range of IT applications is predicted to accelerate rapidly. Due to its ability to speed-up complex work while reducing costs and boosting compliance, the benefits of hyperautomation apply to a range of business process use cases including email processing, customer service, lead generation, accounts payable, human resources, data storage analytics and cybersecurity.
Commonly, enterprises use a siloed approach comprising several focused applications to automate business and IT processes, rather than utilizing a single application. However, enterprises are quickly becoming aware of the benefits of a hyperautomation layer atop their diverse set of IT applications which selects a specific application to execute a defined step in a business process while also providing critical data that helps automate the overall process.
Why Hyperautomation for Cybersecurity?
The importance of hyperautomation for cybersecurity is directly linked to the cybersecurity skills shortage, which remains a continual problem with no solution on the horizon. For example, per an ESG 2021 worldwide survey, 57% of respondents said that the cybersecurity skills crisis has impacted their companies, with 44% of survey respondents saying that things have gotten worse over the past few years, while 51% claim that the situation is about the same as a few years ago. As a result, CISOs/CSOs are strongly attracted to plans that use hyperautomation-based “intelligent” security platforms to supplement cybersecurity professionals.
At the core, hyperautomation for cybersecurity is leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to remove active human involvement from on-going tedious, yet critical security operations in the following scenarios:
- Hyperautomation can enable visibility into every device across an enterprise’s IT environment while incorporating any identified vulnerabilities into a new view for ongoing monitoring.
- Following vulnerability identification, hyperautomation can complete forensic work much more rapidly versus human involvement.
- When a vulnerability or attack is identified, hyperautomation can complete incident response quickly, such as removing malware, deactivating a service, or installing patches or upgrades to protect against new incidents.
- Hyperautomation can dramatically reduce time and money for critical security tasks such as the provisioning or deprovisioning of users or investigating host escalations.
- Hyperautomation can maximize business and application continuity impact in face of “brute force attacks” through using IP address blocking rules prevent damage,allowing the use of other IP addresses.
Secure Hardware Foundation for Cybersecurity Hyperautomation
A key aspect of hyperautomation platforms for cybersecurity is to integrate with existing security systems to afford greater threat visibility while minimizing threat identification and expediting time to remediation. Hyperautomation breaks down silos through enabling “connectedness” among enterprise security solutions such as network security monitoring systems, encryption tools, firewalls, web vulnerability scanning tools, and secure access service edge (SASE) systems.
However, hyperautomation for cybersecurity is a disruptive concept and does have the potential for vulnerabilities. Hyperautomation-enabled connected systems and data expand the threat surface and potentially allow more damaging breaches if the organization is attacked. For example, the possibility of a malicious user gaining access to network security systems and sensitive data via breaching the hyperautomation tool is possible. If an attacker were to employ the tool itself to gather sensitive data using automated actions, the effect could be very significant.
This is exactly why networking and server hardware at the foundation of hyperautomation systems must be inherently impenetrable and offer appropriate identity and data management capabilities for both humans and programs, along with constant monitoring for vulnerabilities. In addition, deployment of such an optimally secure hardware foundation for hyperautomation is also crucial to minimizing the enterprise’s organizational and technical debt.
Interface Masters Technologies’ Turnkey Hardware Platforms for “No-Compromise” Cybersecurity Hyperautomation.
The network hardware foundation of hyperautomation carries the risk of being the ideal attack target because of the mission-critical role hyperautomation plays in integrating existing discrete security systems and data. As a result, for cybersecurity professionals contemplating leveraging hyperautomation, it is critical to understand how and where such hardware is designed and manufactured to remove any risks of overseas supply chain-induced hardware vulnerabilities.
For over 25 years, Interface Masters Technologies has been providing off-the-shelf innovative networking and server hardware solutions with customization services to OEMs, Fortune 100, and startup companies. We are headquartered in San Jose, California in the heart of Silicon Valley where we proudly design and manufacture all our products.
Beyond removing any security risks due to unreliable, overseas supply chains, Interface Masters’ embedded server and networking appliances provide an impregnable hardware foundation for hyperautomation including full system-level and data protection, dependable tamper detection, and fast recovery of the entire system against numerous forms of attacks including firmware, unauthorized remote access, and unauthorized changes. These include FIPS 140-2 certification when used with self-encrypting drives and FIPS 140-2 certified HSM (Hardware Security Module) with signed firmware updates.
The Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 140-2 (FIPS 140-2) is a US Government Standard with a goal addressing security vulnerabilities and rendering proprietary data unusable should an unauthorized individual or entity get physical access to an organization’s computing hardware. Interface Masters embedded appliances support both FIPS 140-2 Level 2 and FIPS 140-2 Level 3 designs. Interface Masters’ HSM-enabled embedded appliances protect critical data utilizing tamper-evident capabilities and other physical security capabilities while meeting ever-more stringent encryption/decryption performance requirements, simplifying certificate management, and reducing compliance costs.
Because they are the most secure in the industry, Interface Masters’ embedded appliances provide extensive data-at-rest protection using data encryption and data loss prevention technologies along with self-encrypting drives for storage. For data in transit, embedded appliances can authenticate and encrypt data packets in flight. Data can also be securely erased when an appliance is decommissioned. The underlying security features of embedded appliances have been expanding over time, with each generation improving the construction as new protection methods are tested and proven.
The network hardware foundation of hyperautomation has the risk of being the ideal attack target because of the role hyperautomation plays in integrating existing security systems and data. As a result, for cybersecurity professionals contemplating leveraging hyperautomation, it is critical to understand how and where such hardware is designed and manufactured to remove any risks of overseas supply chain-induced hardware vulnerabilities.
We welcome the opportunity to work with you to design a customized solution that will fulfill your IT security requirements. Please contact us for a free consultation.