As infrastructure and networks grow in size and complexity, it becomes increasingly difficult to manually manage security and compliance. Manual operations can result in slower detection and remediation of issues, errors in resource configuration, and inconsistent policy application, leaving your systems vulnerable to compliance issues and attack.
This can lead to unplanned and expensive downtime and overall reduced functionality. Automation can help you streamline daily operations as well as integrate security into IT infrastructure, processes, hybrid cloud structures, and applications (or apps) from the start. Fully deploying security automation can even reduce the average cost.
Fast threat detection can reduce the likelihood that your organization will experience a security breach as well as the associated costs if a breach occurs. Manual processes can delay threat identification in complex IT environments, leaving your business vulnerable. Applying automation to your security processes can help you identify, validate, and escalate threats faster without manual intervention.
Ansible is an open source IT automation engine that automates provisioning, configuration management, application deployment, orchestration, and many other IT processes. Use Ansible automation to install software, automate daily tasks, provision infrastructure, improve security and compliance, patch systems, and share automation across your organization.
An Ansible® Playbook is a blueprint of automation tasks—which are complex IT actions executed with limited or no human involvement. Ansible Playbooks are executed on a set, group, or classification of hosts, which together make up an Ansible inventory.
Ansible Playbooks are essentially frameworks, which are prewritten code developers can use ad-hoc or as starting template. Ansible Playbooks are regularly used to automate IT infrastructure (such as operating systems and Kubernetes platforms), networks, security systems, and developer personas (such as Git).
Ansible Playbooks help IT staff program applications, services, server nodes, or other devices without the manual overhead of creating everything from scratch. And Ansible Playbooks—as well as the conditions, variables, and tasks within them—can be saved, shared, or reused indefinitely.
Ansible allows you to simply define your systems for security. Ansible’s easily understood Playbook syntax allows you to define secure any part of your system, whether it’s setting firewall rules, locking down users and groups, or applying custom security policies. Ansible comes with a library of over 750 included automation modules, allowing you to quickly perform tasks without complicated scripting and Ansible’s easily reusable roles let you write your automation procedures once and use them across your entire infrastructure.
Plus, when the need arrives to perform a one-off task like quickly applying a security patch from a vendor, Ansible’s command support allows you to get things done across your infrastructure with one simple command.
Nessus is an open-source network vulnerability scanner that uses the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures architecture for easy cross-linking between compliant security tools. Nessus employs the Nessus Attack Scripting Language (NASL), a simple language that describes individual threats and potential attacks.
Nessus has a modular architecture consisting of centralized servers that conduct scanning, and remote clients that allow for administrator interaction. Administrators can include NASL descriptions of all suspected vulnerabilities to develop customized scans. Significant capabilities of Nessus include:
The vulnerability database that Nessus has is its main advantage. While the techniques to understanding which service is running and what version of the software is running the service are known to us, answering the question, “Does this service have a known
vulnerability” is the important one. Apart from a regularly updated vulnerability database, Nessus also has information on default credentials found in applications, default paths, and locations. All of this fine-tuned in an easy way to use CLI or web-based tool.
In order to evaluate the health of a network, vulnerability handlers utilize products such as Nessus that automate the process of scanning servers for known security vulnerabilities. While these products address the issue of having to manually test an entire network for vulnerabilities, maintaining the Nessus ecosystem requires constant monitoring of Nessus Scanners’ health, manual updates when newer versions are released, and evaluating scan results to determine the presence of critical vulnerabilities on the network.