Gartner estimates that as Gen Z digital natives enter the workforce, there is an increasing need to automate digital security. However, what is security automation you may ask? Put simply, security automation is a program that scans for vulnerabilities, detects and prevents cyber threats, and handles other security operations-related tasks, using as little human intervention as possible.
Not only does security automation assist in planning and preventing future attacks, but it also contributes toward significant cost and time saving benefits and can foster smarter ways of working.
However, just because automation makes sense for one thing, doesn’t mean it will for another – you definitely shouldn’t automate everything. Certain tasks should be left to humans with the necessary skill to employ discretion and empathy. To help you along your automation journey, we have developed a list of what you should and should not automate, especially when it comes to your digital security.
So, what should you automate?
It makes most sense to automate tasks that are repetitive and require significant human management, like automating time-sensitive tasks so that if you’re unwell or off on holidays, for example, they still get done. Here are a few examples of what tasks to automate in general, and what specific certificate management tasks can be automated. In general, you should automate tasks like the following:
- repetitive, manual tasks
- things with high volume
- processes prone to human error
- tasks that require several people
- time-sensitive tasks
- audit-sensitive processes
When it comes to your digital certificates specifically, here are the certificate management tasks you can automate to boost cost efficiencies and save time in your day to day.
Request or renewal
Renewing or requesting new certificates can be a tedious process, but with auto-renew you can save time and stress. For example, as a DigiCert customer, you can set up auto-renew in the CertCentral console and then sit back while renewals take care of themselves.
Validation and approval
Digital certificate validation is the process of verifying a domain, organisation and/or individual. To streamline this process, your organisation can submit information for pre-validation. Then, once you submit your information and it is approved, all future certificate issuance and renewals can be done almost immediately.
You can automate alerts for certain events, to keep you posted on the important aspects of certificate management. To make it even easier, platforms like DigiCert CertCentral® allow you to customise your alerts so you only get notified when you choose to.
Visibility and reports
While it should be easy to find any potential risks or vulnerabilities in your network as you go along, organisations should automate renewal and installation as issues are discovered to resolve them quickly and efficiently.
Integration with other platforms
Integrating your certificate management into one system can simplify your workflow and make it easier to find the information you need through ACME URLs and APIs. For example, using APIs via the REST protocol, you can easily integrate certificate automation into your existing systems. For our customers, they can simply add any of the features from CertCentral directly into the system of their choosing.
Automated code signing helps ensure that your development processes move quickly, even with a smaller staff. Using a code signing manager, you can automate code signing with built-in API integration and pre-plan and approve signature windows for secure releases and updates.
Then, the question remains… what shouldn’t I automate?
In the age of digital transformation, it can be tempting to automate everything. However, there are certain tasks you should not automate, I repeat, do not automate everything! There are certain tasks that still require human intervention, like if a task requires key decision making, and will vary depending on different factors, it’s best not to automate.
A key example of what not to automate is customer support. Your customers can tell the difference between automated phone calls and automated responses and genuine customer support. At DigiCert, customer support is extremely important to us. Our award-winning support staff is available 24/7, 365 days a year to answer questions. No matter how much we emphasize automation, we will continue to offer five-star customer support with real humans.
Low ROI tasks
Although tempting, do not automate tasks that have a low Return on Investment (ROI) because it’s just not worth it. Generally, if tasks have a high volume at scale, are repeatable and valuable they should be automated. However, if tasks are low-volume, one-time projects then they are not likely to have as much value if automated.
Highly complex processes
Certain processes are too complex to automate and would be too complicated to automate. Anything that needs to pass through multiple approval levels and decision-making would not be more efficient to automate.
While the thought of automating everything is tempting, organisations should automate with discretion. However, automating the right tasks – whether they be repetitive, manual tasks, or high-volume tasks – can positively impact business efficiencies, saving time and money across the board.