SOAR Security: How It Works, Use Cases, and Key Features
What Is SOAR?
Security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) solutions help integrate and automate security operations, to reduce manual work and enable fast threat response. It employs automation to reduce complexity and increase the effectiveness of incident response.
SOAR tools automate threat detection, prioritization, and remediation to minimize manual work by security analysts and increase productivity. It involves monitoring threats, sending alerts, and initiating incident response actions.
What Does SOAR Stand For?
The security aspect of SOAR covers the machine-based security tasks across a complex enterprise infrastructure. Traditionally, organizations handled much of their security burden in-house, with security teams performing these tasks manually. Security tools are important for increasing the speed and quality of security processes to keep up with modern business demands and schedules.
The key to modern security is to combine security tasks with orchestration, automation, and response capabilities to ensure a cohesive, organization-wide security strategy. Security orchestration refers to coordinating security-related actions such as incident investigation and response. Security automation is the use of machines to execute these actions. Security response is a unified framework for security teams to plan and manage their response to threats.
Orchestration is the second component of SOAR. It helps organizations manage their growing inventory of security tools and technologies, which often present new risks, challenges, and opportunities for attack. Critical security data often remain siloed in separate tools, and this becomes a bigger problem when organizations accumulate more tools than they can track.
SOAR helps dedicated security teams find event information and correlate insights from multiple tools and systems. The orchestration capabilities are useful for de-siloizing the event data and centralizing it to facilitate analysis. Orchestrating data across all security tools helps speed up the threat detection process and support fast incident response.
The security operations center can use SOAR when scanning for indicators of compromise (IoCs) and cross-referencing them with threat intelligence sources. SOAR complements existing technologies to support a comprehensive cybersecurity approach, improving visibility and enabling the SOC to make sense of massive amounts of data from a single dashboard.
Automation is the third building block of SOAR and is important for using security tools efficiently. A major challenge for many SOCs is to perform the numerous repetitive, menial tasks involved in security processes. For example, a security team must filter the general alerts from SIEM tools to identify false positives and detect real threats.
Contextualizing the threat intelligence helps, but the security feeds will still generate tens or hundreds of false positives that require investigation. SOAR automates this process by checking alerts against specified rules that help distinguish between legitimate events and false positives. Automating these tedious, repetitive tasks helps unburden the security team and improves its overall performance.
Response is the final aspect of SOAR. In addition to helping other security tools identify threats, SOAR can respond to cybersecurity threats, removing them from the network. This function involves a collaborative process where the SOAR solution works with other tools to contain and eradicate malicious actors.
Along with the integration and orchestration capabilities of SOAR, response capabilities help the SOC identify the timeline of security events to find security gaps and address them.
Why Is SOAR Becoming an Integral Part of the Cybersecurity World?
SOAR solves several challenges that traditional solutions cannot address but cause increased workloads and negatively impact productivity and security. SOAR solutions enable teams to rapidly respond to alerts, addressing real threats effectively and appropriately.
Most security tools generate numerous alerts, requiring teams to analyze the data manually. However, many of these alerts are false positives, and teams waste time triaging instead of dealing with real threats.
SOAR technology does not only sift through piles of alerts, it also helps reduce the number of repetitive tasks related to other aspects. Threat monitoring, detection, and prevention is a tedious process involving repetitive tasks. SOAR employs artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to identify patterns and respond to recurring threats autonomously.
Many security solutions require constant manual adjustments to detect threats effectively. This amount of manual work consumes resources, effort, and time. SOAR is fully automated and customizable, performing operations without human intervention.
What Are Primary SOAR Security Use Cases?
Here are some of the common security use cases for SOAR systems:
Automated Incident Response Processes
A SOAR platform automatically detects and investigates the sources of the most damaging attacks. For example, it might identify suspicious emails and flag them as potential phishing, search for copies of these emails throughout the network to delete or quarantine them, and block the source IP address or URL to prevent more malicious emails from reaching an employee’s inbox.
A SOAR platform can identify and contain threats quickly, often in time to prevent the attackers from retrieving confidential information. Automated processes accelerate the overall response time from hours or more to mere minutes.
Your security team might spend much of their day handling the flood of alerts, leaving them little time to hunt for, investigate, and respond to threats. Automated threat response deals with many incidents without manual intervention, freeing the security team to work on long-term security strategies and high-profile threats.
Priority for Penetration Tests
A SOAR platform can automate actions like asset discovery, security scans, threat classification, and prioritization tasks. These capabilities help security teams identify areas requiring more attention and conduct penetration tests.
A SOAR solution enhances your overall vulnerability management capabilities, ensuring that your security team can triage and manage risks adequately based on newly-discovered vulnerabilities. SOAR allows you to adopt a proactive security approach, automatically investigating and collecting data on vulnerabilities and applying defenses to prevent attacks.
SOAR Security Features
Here are notable features of SOAR security solutions:
Prioritization and Automation
Security tools generate numerous alerts that require prioritization. SOAR solutions automatically triage and respond to alerts, preventing alert fatigue and increasing productivity. In addition to alerts, SOAR solutions automate other repetitive security tasks that require attention but cannot be covered due to a shortage in human resources.
SOAR solutions provide SecOps teams with a centralized location to monitor and respond to alerts and communicate and collaborate on a response. SOAR offers triaged security alerts to reduce mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to respond (MTTR). It facilitates rapid response to minimize the scope and damage of security breaches and consequential disruptions.
Visual Playbook Builder
SOAR solutions enable teams to work with smart, automated workflows that integrate easily with existing tools. Teams can convert their playbooks into digital playbooks and automate these tasks.
SOAR solutions automatically aggregate and validate data from various sources, including threat intelligence, security information and event management (SIEM), and user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) tools. It helps make security operations centers (SOCs) intelligence-driven, providing the context needed to make informed decisions and accelerate detection and response.
SOAR Security with BlueVoyant
Security orchestration and automation (“SOAR”) are key system components of the services we provide. BlueVoyant has multiple methods to bring SOAR platforms to security operations centers to accelerate event triage, reduce false positives, and improve mean time to resolution (MTTR).
- MDR Playbooks: BlueVoyant SOC and engineering teams have developed automation to support services and continue to deliver new automation as part of the service. These playbooks support service implementation, delivery, assessment, and operational data gathering.
- SOAR Playbooks: Additional response action automation that requires privileged access to execute or SOAR playbooks extensions of custom requirements are deployed within the client’s environment during service implementation. The MDR service will use customer-specific SOAR playbooks in escalation recommendations but ensures access to invoke this automation stays within the client’s jurisdiction. These are configurable and managed by BlueVoyant.
BlueVoyant Benefits include:
Dedicated team of content engineering specialists
Workbooks, playbooks, detections, etc. are always up to date
New playbooks and automations are continually added
New content is delivered to all customers at once; critical content is delivered in under four hours
BlueVoyant AI and ML leverage all available data sources including third party
RBA/ASIM detection content engineering
MITRE ATT&CK coverage analysis and technique mapping for Alert Rules
BlueVoyant automatically triages 100% of alerts and responds to more than 90% of threats using rules and automated SOAR playbooks
Our engineers build rules and playbooks everyday and can customize them to address specific security requirements