Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) tools combine inputs and alerts from your whole security stack, into a single, manageable solution. These tools allow you to extend your network visibility, thereby making it easier to identify and remediate threats.
SOAR tools leverage human intelligence, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) to identify the most urgent threats and triage vast quantities of data into manageable and meaningful insights. SOC teams can use this intelligence to design playbooks that ensures a response is carried out in the most effective way. SOAR tools can be configured in a range of ways, to suit a range of use cases.
When looking for a SOAR solution, some of the key things to look for include:
- Alert triage and investigation
- Intelligence management
- Case management
- Pre-built and customizable playbooks
- Reporting dashboards and analytics
In this article, we’ll explore the key features and highlights of the best SOAR tools on the market. We’ll highlight the things that set each solution apart from other tools and suggest what type of organization they are best suited to.
What Is Security Orchestration, Automation, And Response?
Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) solutions take information from all the security tools in your cybersecurity stack to gain extensive visibility. From this vantage point, it is easier to identify threats and understand their potential impact, than from one security tool alone. This centralized management then allows remediation and response capabilities to be initiated.
SOAR can effectively analyse data from your endpoints through its comprehensive use of AI and ML capabilities. This allows it to work much faster than a human could, without increasing the risk of making a mistake. In practice, this allows it to carry out advanced threat hunting and even identify dormant malware that may be activated later. As it monitors your network, it can also identify network vulnerabilities and catalogue how previous attacks have been initiated.
What Should You Look For In A SOAR Solution?
There are three key features to look out for when selecting a SOAR solution.
- Alert triage and investigation. As these solutions will take in a great deal of information from across your entire network, the amount of data they can gather will be vast. It is simply unfeasible for a human analysis to shift through this data and identify anomalies. Your SOAR solution should analyse data automatically, and only alert admin users to the most critical events, or events that require human input.
- Playbooks. There are many thousands of events that your SOAR solution could run into. Rather than needing AI and ML capabilities to “decide” how best to respond in each case, you can use pre-built playbooks to respond. For instance, if a known attack type is encountered, you can follow the steps as prescribed in a playbook to ensure that you are responding efficiently an effectively. Your SOAR solution should have pre-built and customizable playbooks for you to use.
- Reporting dashboard. As these solutions assess large quantities of data, there should be an effective and streamlined dashboard that can highlight key findings and present information in an accessible way. There should be a record of remediation events that have happened without any need for human interaction. Overtime you can assess these trends and decide if any security protocols need changing.
How Do SOAR Security Tools Work?
SOAR security tools analyse data from across your network to carry out advanced and comprehensive analysis. This allows you to respond to attacks quickly, as well as gaining visibility of an entire attack lifecycle. This provides valuable information that can help to prevent future attacks and identify vulnerabilities. Let’s break each of these stages down into a little more detail.
- Data Gathering – Through deep integration with your endpoints and your network, SOAR solutions will gather as much data as possible. It is important that they have unrestricted access to ensure that the SOAR solution does not miss any threats. If there are areas that the solution cannot monitor, these blind spots could be exploited by attackers.
- Data Analysis – A SOAR solution will use machine learning (ML) to sift through the vast quantities of data that it has access to. The tool will then carry out analysis to determine if any processes are occurring abnormally – this would suggest that a system is under attack. Prioritized notifications can be sent to SOC teams to pick up anything that has been missed.
- Response – Once a threat has been identified, a SOAR solution can work to automatically enact remediation procedures and stop an attack before it causes too much damage. There will be several inbuilt playbooks that will dictate the correct response given a particular scenario.
Things To Keep In Mind When Using A SOAR Solution
SOAR is not a silver bullet. While SOAR solutions are technically advanced and use complex algorithms and analysis, they are not perfect. They allow you to reduce the risk facing your network but cannot eliminate it entirely.
When implementing a SOAR tool, you should ensure that you understand how it is configured. Rather than assuming that the SOAR solution is managing everything, understand its limitations, and put additional measure in place.
Cybersecurity threats are becoming more complex. Each day, countless new and evolved cyberattacks are created. At each stage, these will attempt to exploit a vulnerability and compromise your network. Your SOAR solution – and your SOC team – will have to be agile and adaptive to identify and understand new and unique threats.
Over-reliance on automation. SOAR is a very useful and efficient solution for automating analysis and remediation tasks. It is not, however, suited to automate all activities. For more complex or unique cases, it may be more effective for a human-led team to implement fixes. It is also worth following up the tasks completed by your SOAR solution to ensure that your network is secure.
What Is The Difference Between SOAR And SIEM Tools?
SIEM stands for Security Information and Event Management. These tools will collect and log cybersecurity event data from across your network, including your servers, applications, and databases. If anything suspicious or anomalous is detected, the SIEM solution will send an alert notification.
SOAR solutions work in a similar way – they start by monitoring and detecting networks events. The two solutions begin to differ in their response. Rather than sending a notification alone, SOAR tools are capable of responding and remediating the issue. Some issues are too complex for SOAR solutions to automatically remediate, in these instances, the tool will triage the threats, then notify admin teams.