Security orchestration, automation and response system (SOAR for short) became an integral part of modern cybersecurity. It is getting recommended here and there, posing pretty much as a magic pill. But is it? And how does it work? And what SOAR is at all?
Let’s imagine a situation: you live in a mansion, and every night when it gets dark, you need to go and turn on the lights in the yard, near the gate, and in the garden. Most likely, you will hire people to do it for you. However, the person may be delayed, forgetful, or sick altogether. Suppose you bought a smart home system that, based on the time of day or the level of light outside, will turn the lights on or off by itself. That was a very rough example of how SOAR works in cybersecurity.
What is SOAR?
Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response – a technology platform that provides security teams with a centralized system for managing and responding to security alerts and incidents. Typically it can be integrated with various security technologies, including SIEM, UBA, and threat intelligence feeds. This allows to automate incident response workflows and enables faster and more effective incident response. As a result, SOAR platforms can help security teams reduce the time and resources required to investigate and respond to security incidents. They can also help to improve overall security posture by providing better visibility and control over security operations.
How Does SOAR Work?
SOAR uses a combination of orchestration, automation, and response capabilities to optimize security operations and improve incident response times. It allows for easing the burden on an organization’s security teams. Let’s look at each of them in more detail:
Orchestration: Coordinating different security tools, processes, and teams to create an organized and efficient incident response workflow. In addition, SOAR platforms can combine data from multiple sources and integrate it with various security tools and systems. This helps with creating a centralized hub for security operations.
Automation: Automates manual, repetitive tasks such as data enrichment, incident triage, and response activities. Thus, security teams can free up valuable time and resources by automating these processes. As a result, they can focus on more strategic tasks and activities.
Response: Provides security teams with the ability to take immediate and decisive action in response to security incidents. SOAR platforms can give the teams predefined playbooks that outline the steps they need to take to respond to specific incidents. By using playbooks and automating response activities, groups can respond faster and more effectively to security incidents.
Overall, SOAR solutions help organizations improve their security posture by enabling faster and more efficient incident response, reducing the risk of data breaches and other security incidents. So it frees up valuable resources to focus on more strategic security activities.
Why Is SOAR Important?
Digitalization is in full swing, and the trend is gaining momentum. As a result, hackers create new attack vectors that give them new opportunities to exploit as organizations move much of their activity online. SOAR is essential in cybersecurity because it helps organizations enhance their incident response capabilities. First, it automates time-consuming and repetitive security tasks, making security operations more efficient. It also enables organizations to handle more incidents and alerts, helping them scale their security operations.
Additionally, it ensures consistency in handling security incidents and helps maintain compliance with regulatory requirements. By integrating with existing security tools, SOAR can help organizations maximize their security investments and reduce security gaps. It also provides actionable intelligence to identify and mitigate emerging threats, improving the organization’s security posture.
What are the challenges of SOAR?
Despite the benefits that SOAR solutions provide, there are several challenges that organizations may face when implementing them. Here are some of the difficulties of SOAR:
- It can be complex to implement and manage, requiring specialized skills and expertise.
- Requires integration with various security systems, such as SIEM, firewalls, and endpoint protection, which can be challenging and time-consuming.
- Sometimes SOAR can generate false positives, leading to alert fatigue and making it challenging for security teams to prioritize and respond to real threats.
- It can be costly, especially for small to medium-sized businesses. SOAR may require significant investment in hardware, software, and personnel.
Organizations must carefully evaluate their security needs and capabilities to address these challenges before investing in a SOAR solution. They should also work closely with their vendors to ensure that the solution is customized and integrated correctly and that staff receives adequate training to use the system effectively.
SIEM and SOAR
SIEM and SOAR tools can be used together in a complementary manner to enhance cybersecurity operations. By integrating these tools and leveraging their capabilities, organizations can improve their ability to detect, respond to, and remediate potential security threats. First, SIEM can collect and analyze security event data from various sources, such as logs, network devices, and endpoints. Second, it can identify anomalies, patterns of behavior, and potential security incidents based on predefined rules and correlations.
When the SIEM detects an alert or incident, it can be automatically sent to the SOAR platform. For example, it can gather additional information, notify security analysts, and execute response actions. SOAR can also integrate with other security tools, such as threat intelligence platforms, vulnerability scanners, and endpoint security solutions, to gather additional information and take automated actions to mitigate the threat.
The integration between SIEM and SOAR enables security teams to streamline their incident response processes, reduce response times, and improve overall security posture. In addition, it allows for faster detection, investigation, and remediation of security incidents, ultimately helping organizations better protect their critical assets and data from cyber threats.