Never in the history of business has technology evolved as rapidly as it is now. The speed of conducting business in the digital era has spurred enterprises to adopt hybrid cloud-based systems, micro-segmentation and virtual platforms as crucial elements of enterprise-level digital transformations. But transformations like these require significant resources – not just capital and manpower but also dedicated security staff who can secure valuable IP and customer data during and after the digital transformation. When these resources aren’t available or are misused, digital transformations inevitably fail.

Sometimes, that failure takes the form of human-introduced errors that weaken an enterprise’s security posture and leave it vulnerable to data breaches. These errors can be traced back to an ongoing staffing shortage within the technology industry. Network security and IT positions have proven particularly difficult to staff, resulting in a lack of dedicated security resources and an overburdening of already overworked teams. According to a Gartner study, 99 percent of all security breaches through 2023 will be caused by firewall misconfigurations due to mistakes made using outdated manual techniques to manage change processes.

A New Approach to Network Security Policy Management Automation

Modern enterprises need modern solutions that never force them to choose between innovation, speed and security. Automation can be that solution – if deployed with major business and security goals in mind. Network security process automation can save money by eliminating the error-prone manual processes that lead to data breaches and by reducing the need for overworked staff to manage late night change windows. Unburdening staff will also create additional business benefits, like increased efficiency and compliance, by streamlining operations and ensuring policies are consistently implemented.

Given the length and complexity of digital transformations, cost-saving measures like automation will be especially valuable for companies to redeploy security and IT staff from managing repetitive process to more strategic initiatives. A contextually aware network security policy management tool can supplement existing staff by automating rapid rule implementation and enabling auto-detection of infrastructure changes to recalibrate global policy changes. Enterprises with dedicated security and IT staff will further benefit from a contextually aware tool because it will provide greater real-time visibility and control over their entire network environment.

Keeping Digital Transformation in the Fast Lane

Automation doesn’t require taking hands off the wheel, it can actually improve a company’s grip over security operations. Too many automation tools take network security professionals out of the driver’s seat by withholding granular control over automated processes. For digital transformations to be successful, enterprises need fully tailored, customizable and adaptive solutions that allow leaders to make strategic business decisions about what to automate and when. A contextually aware network security policy management tool can help realize the full benefits of automation without sacrificing control during critical periods of transition.

It’s time to do away with the “set it and forget it” approach to automation and move beyond zero-touch implementation by using adaptive network security policy management tools. Such tools provide enterprises with a unique, flexible means of navigating the complexities of full-scale digital transformations and advancing their business operations. In this digital age, when a company’s fate can rest on a single data breach, it’s more important than ever to have the right resources in place to secure networks during times of growth and change.

Jeff Styles, FireMon, VP of Global Field Engineering