On average, 800 attacks per hour pummel 76 U.K. councils, according to global insurance firm Gallagher. That volume of attacks is not out of the ordinary, nor is it new. Back in 2013, UC Berkeley’s data science blog reported that the U.S. Navy sees 110,000 cyberattacks per hour.
Imagine being a security operations center (SOC) analyst trying to manage this sheer number of alerts. That is where security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) comes in. Integrating SOAR into your SOC can increase efficiency and effectiveness by correlating alerts from disparate security devices, automating tasks, and providing playbooks for incident handling.
The ultimate goal of SOAR is to bring efficiency to SOC processes and improve incident response in the face of thousands of security alerts. People, processes and technologies all contribute to an efficient and effective incident response. However, SOAR ultimately relies on several components to provide step-by-step incident response plans. The three main pieces of SOAR are:
- Security orchestration is a process that puts alerts from disparate security and network tools into an actionable context with a procedure in place to handle the alert manually and/or automatically.
- Security automation reduces the need for humans to deal with repetitive tasks and alerts that can be resolved automatically.
- Incident response is a set of processes and technologies used to plan and implement the steps needed to address an incident.
Security orchestration and automation are used to offload low-priority and repetitive tasks, allowing your SOC analysts to do higher-value work that further improves incident response. With security automation and incident response playbooks, SOAR can build workflows that require minimal, if any, human intervention.
9 Benefits of Using SOAR in Your Security Operations
So, how does SOAR enable more effective and efficient incident response? Let’s take a look at some of the main benefits.
1) Faster Response Time
Security orchestration aggregates multiple related alerts from disparate systems into a single incident. Saving even more time, security automation enables the system to respond to alerts with no human intervention whenever possible. Bringing context to textual data and automation to the decision-making process enables a quicker alert handling process.
2) Optimized Threat Intelligence
Threat intelligence provides useful information but is too often the tree that falls with no one to hear it. SOC analysts are constantly dealing with information overload. Adding threat intelligence to the mix piles on more information to sort through. The best SOAR platforms can ingest threat intelligence and automatically correlate it with events in real time. This takes the burden off of SOC analysts and provides immediately actionable information for incident response teams.
3) Reduced Manual Operations & Standardized Processes
Security automation relieves SOC analysts of mundane, repetitive tasks and includes them in an overall process of how to handle any given incident. A good SOAR platform will incorporate these tasks into playbooks that lay out the end-to-end incident response steps.
4) Streamlined Operations
Each element of SOAR contributes to the streamlining of security operations. Security orchestration aggregates data incoming from a variety of sources. Security automation, meanwhile, can easily handle low-priority alerts and incidents through the use of automated playbooks. Incident response takes the heat-of-the-moment guesswork out of event handling, limiting cyberattack dwell time and overall impact on the business.
5) Reduced cyberattack impact
Mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to respond (MTTR) are critical metrics that affect the impact that a cyberattack has on an organization. The longer it takes to detect and respond to an attack, the more damage can be done, and the greater the impact to the organization.
SOAR minimizes both MTTD and MTTR. Security orchestration reduces MTTD by providing context-rich detail on each incident, empowering analysts to spend less time gathering information and more time on investigating the alert. Security automation reduces MTTR by responding to alerts and incidents automatically in real time.
6) Easy technology & tools integration
One of the benefits of security orchestration is the ability to correlate alerts from a wide variety of products and technologies. This goes well beyond just SIEM. A SOAR platform should be able to integrate with products across various security technologies:
- Cloud Security
- Data Enrichment
- Email Security
- Endpoint Security
- Forensics & Malware Analysis
- Identity and Access Management
- IT and Infrastructure
- Network Security
- SIEM & Log Management
- Threat Intelligence
- Vulnerability & Risk Management
The integration of these products into your SOAR platform should be easy. A self-service marketplace can quickly access the integration for a specific product. From there, integration is as easy as clicking a button and snapping components into a playbook.
7) Lowered costs
A typical enterprise will experience significant savings by integrating a SOAR platform into its business model.
- 90% on reporting
- 80% on playbook creation
- 70% on alert handling
- 60% on analyst training
- 30% on shift management
8) Automated reporting & metrics capabilities
Automated reporting not only makes life easier, it eliminates the need for manually-produced metrics. By allowing SOC staff to pull reports on demand — preferably with one click — or automatically on a schedule, businesses receive reliable and timely metrics for each reporting period. To further simplify this process, most SOAR tools provide reporting templates and the ability to generate custom reports.
9) Standardized communication during incident response
Incident handling and response often require reaching outside of the SOC, especially for major incidents. This means incident response teams can include stakeholders both inside and outside the SOC — making a reliable and repeatable flow of information challenging to establish.
To mitigate this issue, enterprises often form a mission control hub to handle top priority incidents. A good SOAR platform will have a virtual war room feature to ensure that critical communication is standardized to prevent any team member, from PR and HR to legal to the C-suite, from missing critical information during an incident response.
How SOAR Tools Can Transform Your Incident Response
Whether you call it alert fatigue or information overload, the numerous threats your business faces on a daily basis is draining your SOC resources and slowing your incident response time. SOAR platforms can help by relieving your SOC analysts of remedial and low-priority tasks, allowing them to focus on improving your SOC’s overall effectiveness in responding to incidents.
Siemplify combines SOAR with end-to-end security operations management to make analysts more productive, security engineers more effective and managers more informed about the SOC.