As cybercriminals grow increasingly bold and sophisticated, security teams must adapt to keep their networks secure. As such, the need for more automation in cybersecurity grows with each year.
Increased automation reduces response time to attacks and allows you to better manage incidents that impact your business. Luckily, there are a multitude of technologies available to help automate your security stack.
The acronym SOAR (security, orchestration, automation, response) describes an integrated network of security tools that work in unison to automatically protect against security threats.
Before you implement SOAR in your operation, it is best to know the ins and outs of this threat security technology.
What is SOAR?
The term SOAR is used to describe integrated cybersecurity systems that automate tasks and reduce manual human input. From centralized coordination to incident response, SOAR platforms optimize your IT security management and strengthen your security posture.
SOAR systems utilize Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to integrate diverse cybersecurity tools that were previously siloed from one another. SOAR is an evolution of security information and event management (SIEM) technology that streamlines detection and response protocols with increased automation.
For a better understanding of SOAR, let's take a look at the essential functions of these systems:
Modern cybersecurity platforms use a variety of tools - such as firewalls, VPNs, and NDR solutions - to detect and protect against threats. However, when these tools don’t work in unison, it is up to cybersecurity teams to manually monitor and analyze important data coming from disparate sources.
Security orchestration unifies data from your hardware and software tools into a single interface or workflow. In turn, this data is intelligible and usable for automation in security playbooks.
SOAR is largely defined by automation. Importantly, SOAR solutions allow you to automate mundane tasks that were previously handled by IT teams. Depending on your operation, examples of time-consuming jobs handled by SOAR include opening support tickets, running system audits, data log analysis, and more.
Today, certain SOAR platforms utilize AI to automatically assess the severity of security threats. Another popular function of automation in SOAR networks is to trigger actions in predefined playbooks.
With the response phase in SOAR, your security network automatically responds to security threats without the need for human intervention. An example of a SOAR response would be a playbook notifying your IT team of a malware attack, while an API trigger simultaneously isolates the endpoint that is under siege.
If a security breach occurs, SOAR technology also plays a pivotal role in conducting post-incident responses efficiently.
SOAR and the threat security landscape
In cybersecurity, the field of threat detection and response is expansive. Generally speaking, new practices arise with novel technologies - such as SOAR. Another common scenario is for one threat detection platform to be an evolution of an older technology.
When comparing SOAR to similar platforms or security postures, the important thing to remember is that SOAR is all about maximizing automation and connectivity with APIs.
SOAR vs SIEM
Security information and event management (SIEM) is an earlier iteration of modern SOAR technology. While SOAR systems automatically take action in response to security threats via API integrations, most SIEM systems don’t go beyond the detection phase. While SIEM technology saves a great deal of time by aggregating and prioritizing threats, it's still up to human security teams to analyze threats and take action.
SOAR vs XDR
XDR (extended detection and response) systems are the next evolution of threat security technology. While both SOAR and XDR technologies are fully automated, they accomplish their jobs in different ways.
SOAR systems orchestrate data being fed through detection tools, while XDR is more focused on specific attack vectors. More specifically, XDR monitors endpoints like cellphones and laptops, as well as the cloud. XDR is predicated on detecting and responding to threats before they become incidents, while SOAR is more focused on orchestrating an entire network.
Another key difference is that SOAR platforms are unique and customized setups that unify singular IT environments with disparate components. Conversely, many XDR platforms are natively integrated from the same provider at the outset.
SOAR vs TIM
TIM (threat intelligence management) is another important concept from the threat security landscape. While SOAR platforms handle orchestration, automation, and response, they don’t have the capabilities to plan against future attacks.
TIM technology can be integrated with your SOAR system to help your organization get a clearer picture of the wider cyber threat landscape. While SOAR networks operate within your IT environment, TIM brings data from outside your network to help better strategize how to stop future cyberattacks.
Why adopt a SOAR solution?
SOAR technology is an excellent choice if you want to strengthen your cybersecurity, while also creating more time for your IT team. Since SOAR platforms orchestrate and automate traditional security tools within a singular system, they are extremely effective at preventing common cyberattacks like DDOS and ransomware.
Due to machine automation, SOAR platforms greatly accelerate the detection and classification of cybersecurity threats. Moreover, SOAR technology quickly and easily distinguishes false incidents from real threats - saving both time and money for your cybersecurity operations.
What are the advantages of a SOAR solution?
SOAR offers many advantages over other cybersecurity platforms that are less integrated and automated.
Strengthened security posture
SOAR technology enhances your security posture with automation that improves efficiency and reduces human error.
Reduced response times
SOAR systems reduce mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to respond (MTTR). Due to automation, the speed of incident management is a strong point of SOAR.
Increased time savings
Because of enhanced API integrations, SOAR gives you a holistic view of network data in a single location. As such, your security team saves abundant time monitoring your network.
Since they don’t have to manage repetitive tasks like opening and closing support tickets, your security team can dedicate more time to meaningful and progressive work.
Decreased labor costs
SOAR is an ideal solution for reducing your financial costs without compromising the security of your business. SOAR saves on many of the labor costs that come with maintaining a cybersecurity network.
Because SOAR platforms automatically collect and analyze data from your entire security stack, your IT team stays better informed on the happenings of your network - offering deeper insights into your overall security posture.
Since playbooks are an essential element of SOAR systems, you can more easily standardize security processes at your organization. In turn, standardization dramatically improves your ability to scale.
SOAR common industries & use cases
Due to the ease of scaling SOAR platforms and the heightened intelligence they provide, SOAR technology is particularly impactful in enterprise-size organizations in regulated industries.
Due to the sensitive nature of data in the healthcare industry, organizations are particularly prone to cyberattacks. SOAR platforms are an asset to large healthcare companies that have several networks dispersed across multiple locations.
Threat hunting is a great use case for SOAR technology in healthcare organizations. With SIEM systems, security analysts have to manually scrutinize data logs to search for threats. Conversely, SOAR systems automatically detect threats for healthcare organizations - while also triggering responses in playbooks.
Since almost all financial transactions are handled electronically, financial service providers are under a constant barrage of attacks by bad actors. As seen with healthcare, these issues grow more complex with large organizations spread across multiple locations.
Phishing emails are constant threats to financial institutions. Without the help of automation, security analysts are forced to constantly monitor inboxes for malicious emails. On the other hand, SOAR technology automatically catches malware attachments and other threat vectors.
Is SOAR right for your business?
While SOAR platforms are a great solution for many organizations, there are a few things to consider about this technology.
Implementing a SOAR network is no small undertaking. While this level of integration and automation is a major timesaver for enterprise-sized organizations, SOAR likely isn’t practical for small operations. Yet, as your business grows, implementing SOAR at the right time can be instrumental in scaling your cybersecurity stack.
Not ready for SOAR?
Since SOAR networks are customized for specific IT environments, installing one of these platforms can be complex and expensive. Moreover, since SOAR is predicated on unifying disparate security tools via APIs, maintaining a SOAR system takes a specialized skill set.
From healthcare organizations to financial institutions, identity is the digital front door to extremely sensitive customer data. As such, implementing an IAM solution is a great way to bolster your defense strategy.
Questions about your cybersecurity posture? Contact Ping Identity
While Ping focuses on IAM to ensure the correct users have access to IT resources, IAM is just one facet of a much larger cybersecurity ecosystem. In today’s complex world, organizations utilize a quiver of technologies such as IAM and SOAR to fortify security postures.
Whether it be SOAR or IAM, security solutions that offer robust orchestration and automation are essential for keeping enterprise-sized organizations secure.