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What is SOAR?

Security Orchestration, Automation and Response explained

SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation and Response) enables organisations to streamline security operations in three key areas:

  1. Threat and vulnerability management;
  2. Incident response; and
  3. Security operations automation.

A collection of software solutions and tools allows organisations to automatically collect input—monitored by the security operations team (SOC)—and define standardised responses.

Security Orchestration, Automation and Response in detail

Let’s break it down to get a better understanding of what SOAR involves:

Security automation

This is the automatic execution of security operations-related tasks—such as scanning for vulnerabilities or searching for logs—without human intervention. Information is automatically retrieved from advanced detection systems and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM).

Security orchestration

This refers to the way all security tools are connected. Even disparate security systems are integrated. In this layer, SOAR streamlines all security processes.

Security response

This means automation helps to define, prioritise and execute default incident response activities based on predefined policy rules. For instance: isolate devices and restore endpoints to eliminate threats. These responses are a precise balance between human and machine power. The machine responds automatically to certain standardised incidents, yet it allows human interference or decision-making in critical situations.

Why do organisations need SOAR security?

Many organisations struggle to face security threats. Their SOCs are constantly bombarded with threat warnings from various sources. Everybody in the organisation realises the severe business risk of insufficient security, yet it is hard to find talented security experts.

In most companies, the architecture for cybersecurity has grown organically every time a new server, tool or software is added. As a result, dozens of security products of different suppliers and technologies are active and all have created their own security domain. In this situation, security officers often have to fight attacks manually because the tools are not integrated and therefore not automated.

These recurring and time-consuming processes are quite boring tasks for security professionals. When you’ve found good security experts, you do not want to run the risk of losing them because of these tedious procedures. With SOAR, you can challenge them to collect and analyse relevant data and define accurate automatic responses. Once you have installed SOAR, you can achieve more in less time.

Development of SOAR

Because of security threats, business risks and scarcity of good security experts, SOAR has graduated from early adoption to mainstream in the last years. According to Gartner's SOAR market guide, “by year-end 2022, 30% of organisations with a security team larger than five people will leverage SOAR tools in their security operations (compared to less than 5% in 2019).”

To keep up with today's evolving threat landscape in a market lacking sufficient security experts, SOAR security is the solution.

The difference between SOAR and SOAPA

When you are interested in SOAR, you have probably come across SOAPA as well. One cannot function without the other. As many organisations have accumulated dozens of security defences for the amalgam of software, tools and servers within their IT architecture, SOAR needs an architecture in which all of these disparate security point tools are connected. While SOAR is the process of orchestrating, automating and responding to security threats, SOAPA provides this architecture.

It is the orchestration layer that enables all of the technologies to collaborate on threat prevention, detection, and response, but it also accommodates for the collection of massive amounts of security data, which can be used for all types of analytics. This can range from real-time threat detection to long-term retrospective investigations. As you can imagine, this requires an environment that can easily cover months or even years of security data. After collection, SOAPA links the data to analytic engines, which will start analysing and finding patterns. When an issue is detected, SOAPA will hand it over to the security activity platform layer, which will set an automated task in motion.

Some experts say SOAR is the process; others define SOAR as a layer within the SOAPA architecture.

The advantages of Security Orchestration, Automation and Response

As cyber threats become increasingly sophisticated and for trained security professionals harder to find, organisations want to explore ways to not only improve but also simplify security. SOAR security offers adequate security on the right scale and for the right price.

SOAR:

  • Reduces activity disruption with an automated and lightning-fast response to security incidents;
  • Decreases overall costs of incidents;
  • Improves your security team’s efficiency; and
  • Saves time and money by automating security processes.

Where to start with SOAR?

If your organisation could use some help in setting up SOAR security, Infradata has the experts to help you set up and define your security automation. Feel free to give us a call and discuss possibilities for your organisation

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