The AWS Cloud
and Automating
Your Security Tasks

Erik Rush | March 23, 2021


Security automation is the automatic (or machine-based) execution of security operations-related actions. This modality carries the ability to detect, investigate and mitigate cyberthreats by identifying those threats, analyzing alerts and prioritizing actions and responding to them without human intervention.

At this point, automation is ubiquitous in our society. From background applications running on your computer to news feeds to banking apps, nearly everyone interacts with automation in a wide range of areas. Many of the security tools in use today—SIEMs, intrusion detection systems and security monitoring software all employ some form of  automation to detect anomalies and analyze data.

In theory, automation is capable of handling everything from detection to response, relieving teams from many routine and manual tasks so they can focus on strategic, value-add areas like systems analysis and ongoing security measures.

The Need for Security Automation

The COVID-19 pandemic challenged security teams to the limit as business and workplace paradigms were significantly disrupted. As a result, many cybersecurity professionals became (and remain) overtaxed. And as well as cybersecurity personnel acquitted themselves in 2020, it’s simply a reality that security tasks are often prone to human error when executed manually.

People are great when it comes to problem-solving and critical thinking, but when it comes to processing large volumes of data on the fly and under pressure, they can be prone to making mistakes. This is doubly true when an organization has several different security systems that teams need to address in order to detect, analyze, and respond to incidents. Response time can be slowed, which can be a boon to attackers and a risk to the organization’s reputation and economic well-being.

Some of the more pressing issues that security automation helps to solve in the current environment include:

A lack of security talent. It’s no secret that there is a substantial security talent gap at present. Opportunistic workers are always looking for a better deal, and many companies have no problem poaching good talent from other companies.

Alert fatigue. This is a very real and growing problem for security operations these days, and of course it was significantly exacerbated by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Every day, there are more threats, more endpoints to think about and more tools to learn. This can lead to team burnout, which can result in missed intrusions and the attendant consequences.

Operational inefficiencies. Given existing threats and the number of security tools available today, security operations can become overwhelming if an organization doesn’t have procedures in place to manage these complexities in a systematic fashion. Today, a lot of this is still performed manually, but this is an unsustainable modality for the long term. This factor reinforces the concept that security automation has never been more important.

Slow time to resolution. Based on the available data, it takes companies an average of six months to discover a security breach. Suffice it to say that in that span of time, an attacker can do serious damage. As we know, minutes matter when it comes to security breaches, which can cost companies thousands of dollars per hour.

Amazon Web Services Automation Solutions

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the premier purveyor of cloud-based security infrastructure and services, offers more than one solution for organizations looking to automate their security. AWS actively encourages their clients to use automation to help quickly detect and respond to security events within their AWS environments. In addition to increasing the speed of detection and response, automation also helps organizations scale their security operations as they expand their workloads running on AWS.

AWS WAF Security Automations is a web application firewall that enables AWS customers to quickly create custom, application-specific rules that block common attack patterns that can affect application availability, compromise security, or consume excessive resources. AWS WAF can be completely administered via APIs that make security automation easy, enabling rapid rule propagation and fast incident response. The platform uses AWS CloudFormation to automatically deploy a set of AWS WAF rules designed to filter common web-based attacks. Users can select from preconfigured protective features that define the rules included in an AWS WAF web access control list (web ACL). After the solution deploys, AWS WAF begins inspecting web requests to the user’s existing Amazon CloudFront distributions or Application Load Balancers, and blocks them when applicable.

Evolve® by AWS is the world’s first Security Automation Cloud. The Evolve Marketplace offers over 350 specialist security automation workflows delivering on-demand automated specialist security capabilities. Evolve Security Automation is a modern approach to reduce security costs and maximize security resources through on-demand automated security capabilities with flexible pay-as-you-go pricing models.

Order of the Cipher is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) training company and a novel approach to training that combines theatrical presentation with proven teaching techniques. We’ve mastered Amazon Web Services, and we’ve perfected how to showcase the versatility and capability of AWS technology in a manner that provides real-world immersion experiences that prepare students to expertly navigate the AWS ecosystem.


Order of the Cipher: Ep 01 Cybersecurity, Tech, and AWS Podcast. Filmed at the Cipher Suite.

Order of the Cipher: Ep 02 AWS, Cybersecurity, and Tech Podcast. Hacking, Coding, and IT humor.

Cybersecurity, Tech, and AWS Podcast. Filmed at the Cipher Suite.