The present of cybersecurity is already here, it’s just not regularly adopted yet. At least, that’s one conclusion from a survey of cybersecurity professionals across several key industries. Published by D3 Security, the report suggests that a majority of companies are using little or no automation in their cybersecurity process. Cybersecurity, as a field, is inherently a world of new tools to meet old problems, but a slow rate of adoption for modern tools would suggest one reason old problems remain so persistent.

The key statement from the “2019 Automation and Integration Survey,” blaring across press releases and write-ups alike, is this: “59% of survey respondents indicated that their organizations use low levels or no automation of key security and incident response tasks.”

That automation breaks down by category, with a 60% majority of respondents reporting that automation is allocated to security monitoring and detection, with that rate falling about 10% for data protection and monitoring. That falls to just barely above 40% for responding to incidents, which is an interesting window into how security professionals (or at least, the organizations they work for) prioritize the role of automated system. Finding problems? Definitely a thing automation can do. Handling the aftermath of those problems? That’s more of a hands-on affair.

The survey was conducted by the SANS institute at the behest of D3, and collected responses from 250 professionals spread across industries such as banking, government, telecommunications and others. Cybersecurity itself is an integral function of every industry at a large enough scale, and a field that shows tremendous security potential from automation.

To that end, it’s worth noting D3, which commissioned the study, also offers “Security Orchestration, Automation and Response” (SOAR) technology, which it bills as just the answer to insufficiently automated security response practices.

Still, the report is worth exploring for any organization looking to understand both how the field as a whole perceives automation as tool for their daily security challenges.

Kelsey Atherton blogs about military technology for C4ISRNET, Fifth Domain, Defense News, and Military Times. He previously wrote for Popular Science, and also created, solicited, and edited content for a group blog on political science fiction and international security.

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