Data breaches are climbing by the numbers faster, augmenting costs per incident. With increase in the number of BYOD endpoints, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and operational technology (OT) systems into the IT ecosystem, managing cyber security, compliance and hygiene is getting more and more challenging traditional IT security models are becoming ineffective. It is estimated that by 2020, connected devices are predicted to grow to about 29 billion and identifying and securing these systems is going to be a herculean task.
Businesses globally, are facing this increasingly challenging scenario which calls for newer cyber strategies to be formulated by CISOs, CIOs and security advisory teams. Increased cyber incidents have prompted several organizations to invest in advanced security tools and the increase in trained security resources to manage them.
The smarter way to stay ahead of these threats and cyber security incidents is to turn towards SOAR solutions.
What is SOAR?
SOAR according to Gartner is Security Orchestration, Automation and Response which is a reference to tools and solutions which combines security incident response, threat intelligence and security orchestration and automation platforms into a single tool or solution. Gartner forecasts that by year 2020, 15% of the organizations with security team of more than 5 will use SOAR tools and solutions from 1% used earlier in 2017.
Interest in security orchestration and automation is growing, which might seem somewhat surprising given that organizations already have already deployed many other cybersecurity tools and solutions. So then why is there a significant attention to SOAR solutions compared to other categories of products?
SOAR vs SIEM
A SIEM examines log data for patterns that could indicate a cyberattack, it then correlates event information between devices to identify potentially anomalous activity and finally, issues alerts. An SIEM solution needs regular tuning to continually understand and differentiate between anomalous and normal activity. This necessitates deployment of security analysts and engineers spending bulk of their time on making the tool work instead of triaging the constant influx of data.
SOAR like SIEM, is also designed to help SecOps teams to manage and respond to endless alarms at machine speeds. SOAR takes things a step further by combining comprehensive data gathering, standardization, case management, workflow and analytics to provide organizations the ability to implement sophisticated defense-in-depth capabilities. In other words, SOAR integrates all the tools, systems and applications within an organization’s security toolset and then enables the SecOps team to automate incident response workflows.
Benefits of SOAR Tools or Solutions
Organizations deploy SOAR solutions primarily in their security operations centers (SOCs) and many SOCs are experiencing staff shortages because they either can’t get good resource or unable to afford to hire the right security experts they need. At the same time, attackers are becoming more sophisticated and more successful. Businesses are experiencing more attacks, and those attacks are becoming more difficult to prevent, detect and mitigate.
A SOAR solution helps remedy the situation by transforming security operations in some of the following ways:
Quick response to security events: For today’s businesses, security incidents aren’t a matter of “if” but a matter of “when.” SecOps teams need to be able to react quickly to identify what is happening, stop the attack and mitigate the damage. SOAR tools speed up this process by integrating all the tools in the SOC’s arsenal.
Combines existing security tools and threat intelligence feeds: Majority SOCs have a wide variety of different security solutions from a wide variety of different vendors, and these tools don’t always work together. The real benefit of SOAR tools is to perform this integration, a ESG Research asked IT professionals why they wanted SOAR solutions, 35 percent said they wanted to use security automation and orchestration technology to integrate external threat intelligence with internal security data collection and analysis, and 28 percent wanted the tools to correlate and contextualize data using the output of two or more tools.
Minimizes attack vectors: As SOAR helps staff respond and investigate attacks more quickly, it also allows them to begin mitigation sooner. SOAR solution automation capabilities will enable to take some steps to minimize the attacks from happening without human intervention.
False positives reduced: False positives are a constant plague for SOC teams and would engage bulk of staff time that they can be spending much more effectively. Most staff get used to seeing alert notifications on their various dashboards that they sometimes ignore to respond to real incidents. SOAR solutions attempt to fix this situation by automating the handling of low-level alerts and focusing attention where it is truly needed.
Reduces manual processes: It isn’t just false alarms that consume SOC team’ time. Many spend a large portion of their time handling cumbersome manual tasks like updating firewall rules, adding new users to the company, etc. These repetitive tasks are ideal for automation, and some SOAR vendors claim that up to 80 percent of team’s daily work can be automated. In the ESG report, 29 percent of respondents said they wanted to use SOAR to automate basic remediation tasks.
Significant Cost Savings: While cost isn’t the primary driver for security automation and orchestration, it can be a very welcome side benefit. By helping staff become more efficient and productive, SOAR solutions can help reduce operational costs.
Security orchestration involves efficient use of automation, measurement, and expertise. Disparate security tools are brought together to give the operations team better control over incident responses while saving on time and resources. Overall ROI of a company is improved when the security team’s capability is enhanced by giving them an edge over the attackers. Security orchestration also helps companies reduce their risks and exposure to threats while maintaining a consistent security program where people, processes, and technology are interwoven to strengthen the safety stand of an organization.