Eliminate The Human Factor In Application Security

by Dave Blakey on Security • September 16, 2021

When it comes to online security, businesses make a lot of effort to ensure they have the right tools, firewalls, and settings in place to protect their applications from the dangerous threat of hackers, viruses, and DDoS attacks. However, the biggest security risk that is often not explored enough is the human factor.

 

The Human Problem

In addition to being squishy and smellier than the average machine, humans have two key limitations: we make mistakes, and we work slowly (relatively speaking). To be more precise, we regularly make mistakes in routine data entry, configuration, and monitoring tasks (this is separate from mistakes in decision-making); and we are slow to absorb large data sets (if we can do it at all) and to take action in multiple locations.

Most of the time this doesn’t hold us back too much, but in high-risk, high-consequence situations, these limitations can literally be the death of us. We’ve found ways to compensate for our weaknesses: for example, in cars, we have developed seat belts, airbags, crumple zones, automatic braking systems, rear-view cameras and sensors, and now semi-autonomous driving to keep us alive when we might fail. In other words, we’ve accepted that machines are better than us in certain situations where human mistakes and slowness can cause severe problems.

It is no different in security. Whether you’re responsible for securing applications, information, or infrastructure, the squishy human part might be your biggest problem. The situation is high-risk, and human mistakes and slowness can cost you big time. With fines, legal action, and reputation on the line, “high-consequence” is no understatement.

 

The Complexity Problem

With many security systems requiring complex configuration, it becomes easy for ops engineers to make configuration mistakes or for code deployments to include security flaws, leaving systems vulnerable to outside attack.

As for the threat of potential DDoS attacks, with teams manning these complex security systems and responsible for responding to many of these threats manually, they are simply not able to identify the risks fast enough, let alone respond to them in time to protect their network. This leaves businesses having to restore services after they have failed, rather than being able to protect them from failure in the first place.

All this is made even more complicated when you consider that businesses now need to cope with managing more systems than ever. In the average medium-to-large-sized enterprise, a combination of on-premises services and multiple cloud providers host hundreds of different nodes. That makes maintaining security a huge challenge.

 

Download white paper: The Practical Application of Machine Learning and AI to Application Delivery Controllers

 

The Artificial Alternative

If the human factor is the problem, compounded by the complexity of modern systems, then the solution is to find an alternative to human operation of routine security tasks. This is where automation and latterly machine learning and artificial intelligence can be transformative.

We designed Snapt Nova with these principles and technologies at its core, with a vision for application, web, and API security that is automated, self-learning, and pre-emptive; faster and more accurate than human operators can be; and ultimately a big stress-relief for security teams.

The key to realizing this vision was to centralize the security logic in the control plane and use this to drive security orchestration in every node in your deployment. Nova installs a lightweight “worker” ADC service on every node and keeps it connected to the central controller in real-time. This provides the power to ensure every layer of your infrastructure is protected, with centralized command-and-control, and validation from every node. Nova enforces intelligent security scans, security protocols, and smart load balancing capabilities automatically – removing the human error that so often plagues sprawling and fragmented systems.

To make this work in practice, we needed to enable Nova with interconnected telemetry and intelligence far beyond what’s been done before in the application delivery control space. Nova’s centralized Cloud Controller ingests telemetry from every node in real-time; analyzes and profiles the traffic, messages, performance, packet contents, and load; and makes autonomous decisions to scale, block security threats, and adjust the performance proactively, without security operators needing to manually specify rulesets, blocklists, etc.

Even as security threats evolve and attackers try clever new ways to take advantage of vulnerabilities, Nova’s AI keeps learning. Nova continually builds a better understanding of the global threat landscape as well as your own system’s normal behavior, enabling it to identify anomalies like rogue elements, while automatically updating to the latest security standards, protocols, and scans. Nova future-proofs your organization against current and as-yet-unknown security threats.

The result is that your systems remain safe, fast, and highly available at all times without the need for human intervention – while keeping you informed so you can take control if and when you need to. Your security evolves as threats evolve. And having subtracted human mistakes and slowness, you can have more confidence than ever that you are protected.

 

Snapt CTA: AI security automation for web, apps, and APIs.

 

Conclusion

Security is not something that any business can afford to take for granted. And human perfection is not something that any business can expect.

IT and security teams can rest easy knowing that Nova has their back and is able to respond to security threats in ways that humans will never be capable of: armed with vast quantities of real-time data from multiple sources, able to take split-second action to block (everywhere) a few dangerous clients in a sea of legitimate traffic, and continually self-learning.

The greatest investment any growing tech business can make is in securing its systems and applications, so give Nova a try to see how it can help provide your business with the advanced security it needs. And maybe give your stressed-out compliance teams a break.