Will automation boost or break your security program?

Security compliance TrustOps

If you're building a security or TrustOps program, you've probably encountered a lot of software companies waving the word automation around and promising effortless compliance. And, of course, that sounds great. After all, who wouldn't want to set the autopilot on what many see as a burdensome task and then walk away?

The problem is, AI and automation are great at some things, and terrible at others. Use them wisely and they can skyrocket your productivity, but use them unwisely, and they can undercut your whole security program.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at what automation and AI do best, what’s best to leave to the humans, and how you can design a security program that’s future-proofed.

What automation can’t (or shouldn’t) do

Automations and integrations alone can’t take you across the certification finish line, they can’t fully design a robust trust-centric security program, and they can’t build a culture of trust in your company. The reason is that as sophisticated as AI has become, it still can’t think as strategically as humans do. And, it can’t build relationships with and among your team members.  

You can't automate security compliance strategy

Due to the complex and multifaceted nature of strategic decision-making, it’s nearly impossible to automate security compliance strategy. Just think about it this way: many strategic decisions involve intricate and nuanced factors that are difficult to quantify or define precisely. Security guidelines and regulations are constantly changing, and adapting to these dynamic conditions requires continuous monitoring and adaptation. And, strategic decisions often involve dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity, as well as creative thinking and innovation — things that humans do better than AI.

Ultimately, while automation can optimize certain processes, developing, implementing, and adapting successful strategies for how your organization will deal with things like changing security requirements still depends on human judgment, ethics, and social-emotional intelligence,.

You can't automate a culture of trust

Given that a company’s culture is fundamentally tied to the people within the organization, this too simply can not be automated. After all, your company culture incorporates people’s values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors, which are heavily influenced by team members’ diverse backgrounds, experiences, and personalities.

At the end of the day, an effective security or TrustOps program is based on a shared understanding that building trust (through strong infosec compliance) is central to your business. Reaching this company-wide understanding requires careful communication, ongoing discussion, and shared ownership of goals and consequences — and these are things AI and automation just can’t do.

You can't automate security collaboration

Effective collaboration involves complex human interactions, communication, and teamwork as team members share ideas and build relationships. As we noted above, human dynamics such as trust, empathy, emotional intelligence, and creativity are simply impossible for AI or automation to replicate. And security (or TrustOps) programs require lots of collaboration to be successful!

What technology can do is support collaboration through smart communication tools, project management platforms, and collaborative software, for example. In other words, your people can use automated tools to make their collaboration even more successful, effective, and efficient — like automated evidence collection for an upcoming security audit or certification. More on that below! 

You can’t automate trust

Which all brings us to our most important point: You can't automate trust — which is what security certifications are all about.

Trust is a complex and multifaceted human emotion that is built on a combination of factors and deeply rooted in human psychology, social interactions, and experiences. AI not only lacks the ability to understand and interpret the nuances of human subjectivity but also doesn’t have the capacity to discern contextual understanding, non-verbal cues, or ethics.

While you can’t automate trust, what you can do is automate tools to facilitate trust building. For example, while you’ll always need your people to understand the reasons for and significance of a TrustOps/security program — that your company values data security and privacy and has taken the appropriate measures to ensure the safety of the data it handles — you can use automated tools to make the design, operation, and management of such a program easier.

How AI and automation can break a security program

Using AI and automation for the tasks will ultimately undercut your security program — even if you think it will save you time in the short run. Let’s take a closer look at why this is.


The availability of automation and AI can trick security and TrustOps leaders into thinking they don’t need to plan strategically. There are lots of reasons that this can feel tempting: 

  • A lack of understanding: Business leaders may find it intimidating to try to understand the intricacies of security regulations and frameworks. 
  • Overconfidence in technology: Leaders — particularly those in the IT world — may come to rely too strongly on automated tools.
  • A focus on short-term gains: In pursuit of quick results, business leaders may prioritize immediate security concerns without considering their longer-term security needs and goals.

Without a strong road map toward a mature, holistic TrustOps or security program, companies become lost in a maze of inefficient and disconnected security tasks. You’ll end up missing audit dates, delaying certifications, getting non-conformity letters, or worse — not having enough resources available to protect against a data breach or security incident if and when one occurs.

Relinquishing control

Relying too heavily on automation can lead companies to simply “turn on” their controls and assume the tool will take care of the rest. Control owners lose the context of what their security controls actually are, how they operate, and if they're successfully protecting them against risk. When it comes time for an audit, they’re unable to articulate the basic functionality of their security program. 

Data vulnerability

The main point of a security program is — you guessed it — to make your data more secure. But poorly-designed integrations can actually make your data less secure.

  • More entry points — Excess integrations can create additional entry points for attackers to exploit.
  • Systems mismatch — If integrations aren’t fully compatible with your existing systems, they can open security gaps.
  • Misconfiguration — If integrations aren’t implemented properly, they can grant excessive permissions, expose sensitive data, or disable critical security features, leading to data leakage or unauthorized access to sensitive information.
  • Failure to update — If integrations aren’t regularly updated (and they usually aren’t, unless there’s a strong human team in play), they can become susceptible to new security threats.
  • Blind spots — Since integrations don’t live on your home system, they can be blind spots that prevent you from planning for emerging security threats and/or detecting security breaches.

Security as an afterthought

Last but not least, over-automation signals both internally and externally that your organization's security program is an afterthought. Internally, this may lead to the neglect of human-centric security measures — such as security training, awareness, and employee engagement — and therefore a lack of knowledge and accountability regarding security practices among employees.

Externally, over-automation may cause a lack of transparency when it comes to security practices, which can erode trust and confidence in the organization's ability to protect sensitive information. Limited security measures, weak authentication methods, inadequate data protection practices, and/or an increased susceptibility to breaches resulting from data vulnerability can also signal to customers, partners, and stakeholders alike that security simply isn’t a priority for your organization — and that their information isn’t safe with your business.

How AI and automation can boost a security program 

We just gave you a pretty good rundown of all the ways automation can go wrong, but we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, either. Used strategically, automation and AI are powerful tools that save you time and money as you design, operate, and measure your security or TrustOps program.

Let’s look at what that means on a practical level.

Strategic security design supported by a tech-enabled tools

Smart, all-in-one solutions like Strike Graph’s compliance platform provide your organization with the tools it needs in order to design a robust, future-proofed TrustOps program — even if you know absolutely nothing about security compliance. We’ll make your journey from scratch to certified fool-proof by providing you with tech-enabled tools like predictive audits, risk assessments, AI-supported security questionnaires, pre-loaded controls, and multi-framework mapping.

Simple, secure integrations

When it comes to using integrations, you want to make sure that you have an appropriate level of control over them. The ability to narrowly scope permissions, specify which files or data are being transferred, and have complete control over the authentication methods is essential. 

Strike Graph’s low-code integrations make this easy — and they're less vulnerable to security threats too. Additionally, unlike other types of integrations, these low-code integrations work within your existing systems, meaning you don’t have to worry about any kind of incompatibility.

They also provide your organization with the flexibility to gather any type of data and evidence from your existing systems so you can automate collection fast, easily, and efficiently. This means you can remove the sole burden of evidence collection from your technical resources and/or IT team and instead empower everyone on your team to participate in the data collection process. Which brings us to our next point.

Tech-enabled audits mean fast certification

Using an all-in-one compliance software platform like Strike Graph puts your organization in a position to benefit from one of the biggest gifts emerging technology has to offer a security team: tech-enabled audits.

Tech-enabled are fast. And, they offer you full visibility and control: you can see exactly which tests were performed and what your exact results were. This data lets you quickly see exactly where adjustments and/or improvements need to be made. Then, you can then easily distribute tasks across your team so the changes are made quickly and thoroughly so you can claim that certification and start closing deals.

Ready to put AI and automation to work in all the right ways? Our security experts are waiting to show you the cutting-edge tools available within the Strike Graph platform. Schedule a demo now.

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