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Automation and IT Security

A growing percentage of IT security professionals believe that automation will reduce the number of workers needed in IT security departments, according to a new study issued Tuesday by the Ponemon Institute.  

“The key takeaway in this year’s study is that the majority of respondents (51 percent) now believe that automation will decrease headcount in the IT security function, an increase from 30 percent in last year’s study,” the authors write.

Ponemon conducted the third annual study, Staffing the IT Security Function in the Age of Automation: A Study of Organizations in the United States and United Kingdom, to find out how organizations are addressing the challenge of attracting IT security practitioners and how the adoption of automation and artificial intelligence will impact IT security. More than 1,000 IT and IT security practitioners were surveyed in the study.

In the current study, 37 percent of respondents said they believe they will lose their jobs in an average of four years, an increase from 28 percent last year. “Possible reasons for these perceptions are that automation, according to the findings, can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the IT security staff so in the future fewer will need to be hired,” the authors write.

Other key takeaways from the study:

About 60 percent of respondents said automation is helping to reduce the stress of their organization’s IT security personnel. However, only 40 percent said they believe automation reduces human error.

Although automation will likely improve productivity, human ability is still important. According to the study, 74 percent of respondents said automation is not capable of performing certain tasks that the IT security staff can do. Moreover, 54 percent of respondents said automation will never replace human intuition and hands-on experience.

The top barriers to investing in automation continue to be the lack of in-house expertise (53 percent of respondents).