SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation and Response) technology helps coordinate, execute and automate activities between people and tools, enabling companies to respond quickly to cyber security attacks. The aim is to improve their overall security position. SOAR tools use playbooks (strategies and procedures) to automate and coordinate workflows which may include security tools and manual tasks.
How does SOAR help in the security field?
1. Combining security orchestration, intelligent automation, incident management and interactive investigations in a single solution.
2. Facilitating team collaboration and enabling security analysts to take automated actions on tools across their security stack.
3. Providing teams with a single centralized console to manage and coordinate all aspects of their company’s security.
4. Optimizing case management, increasing efficiency by opening and closing tickets to investigate and resolve incidents.
Why do companies need a SOAR?
Modern companies regularly face many challenges and obstacles when it comes to fighting cyber threats.
A first challenge is represented by an ever increasing volume of complex security threats. Furthermore, the security tools involved very often struggle to talk to each other, which is in itself a nuisance.
Such a large amount of data and software can only mean a large number of security alerts. In fact, there is too much threat intelligence data to allow teams to manually classify, prioritize, investigate and target threats. Furthermore, the work of security officers involves very specific skills and with increasing demand it is increasingly difficult to find a sufficient number of security officers to carry out the work.
SOAR helps companies address and overcome these challenges by enabling them to:
– Unify existing security systems and centralize data collection to achieve full visibility.
– Automate repetitive manual activities and manage all aspects of the accident life cycle.
– Define incident analysis and response procedures, as well as leverage security playbooks to prioritize, standardize and scale response processes in a consistent, transparent and documented way.
– Quickly and accurately identify and assign the severity levels of incidents to safety alarms and support the reduction of alarms.
– Identify and better manage potential vulnerabilities in a proactive and reactive way.
– Direct each security incident to the analyst best suited to respond, while providing features that support easy collaboration and monitoring between teams and their members.
Below I wanted to list some practical examples of how a SOAR comes into action in certain situations.
Enrichment and Phishing Response: Activating a Playbook. Automation and execution of repeatable activities such as triage and involvement of interested users. Apply an extraction and control of indicators to identify false positives, then request activation of the SOC for a standardized response at scale.
Endpoint Malware Infection: Extracting threat feed data from endpoint tools and enriching that data. Cross-reference between recovered files and hashes with a SIEM solution, notify analysts, clean up endpoints, and update the tools database.
Failed User Login: After a predefined number of failed user login attempts, evaluating whether a failed login is genuine or malicious, a SOAR can activate in various ways. First of all by putting into practice a playbook, involving users and then analyzing their answers, then also the expiring passwords and finally closing the process.
Indicators of Compromise (IOC): Take and extract indicators from files, track indicators through intelligence tools and update databases.
Malware Analysis: Verify data from multiple sources, extract and delete malicious files. A report is then generated and checked for malice.
Cloud Incident Response: This is done through the use of data from cloud-focused threat detection and event logging tools. The data is then unified between the cloud and on-premises security infrastructures, correlated thanks to a SIEM. The indicators are then extracted and enriched, to then check for the presence of malice. A final step of human control to the analysts who review their information update the database and close the case.
The benefits of a SOAR
Basically, a SOAR implements working methods and protocols of action in the system for fighting against cyber threats of a company. This significantly improves operational efficiency and accelerates incident detection as well as response times, which are effectively standardized.
A SOAR increases analysts’ productivity and allows them to focus on improving security instead of performing manual tasks.
By exploiting and coordinating the existing security technology investments in a company, it is possible to make a real difference.
An increasing number of companies leverage SOAR to improve the effectiveness of their cybersecurity operations. In this article, we explain how harnessing the value of SOAR could be crucial to improving the security of your organization.
What is SOAR?
Coined by the research firm Gartner, Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) is a term used to describe the convergence of three distinct technology markets:
1. Security orchestration and automation.
2. Security Incident Response Platforms.
3. Threat Intelligence Platforms.
SOAR technologies allow organizations to collect and aggregate large amounts of data and security alerts from a wide range of sources. As a result, human and mechanical analysis has improved, as have standardization and automation of threat detection and recovery.
It is estimated that by the end of 2020, 15% of organizations with a security team will leverage SOAR technologies. In 2018 they were 1%.
How is SOAR helping companies overcome security challenges?
Rapid technological evolution is bringing complicated challenges to the IT industry. The threats are constantly evolving, the qualified staff is in constant shortage and the IT properties to be managed are constantly increasing. As a result, the SOAR concept is helping companies of all sizes improve their ability to detect and respond to attacks quickly. Let’s see how, in practice, SOAR can improve corporate security.
1. Provide better quality intelligence
Tackling the latest and most sophisticated cyber security threats requires a thorough understanding of attackers’ tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP), as well as the ability to identify indicators of compromise (CIO).
SOAR aggregates and validates data from a wide range of sources. Specifically, these are threat intelligence platforms, security technologies, intrusion detection systems, and SIEM and UEBA technologies. Thus, through the collected and validated data, SOAR helps SOCs to become more intelligence oriented.
The effect of this is that security personnel are able to contextualise incidents, make more informed decisions and accelerate incident detection as well as threat response.
2. Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operations
The need to manage so many disparate security technologies can put a strain on security personnel. Systems need constant monitoring to ensure efficient performance. Furthermore, the thousands of daily alarms they generate can also lead to dangerous fatigue. The constant transition from one system to another only makes the situation worse, costing teams time and effort, as well as increasing the risk of errors.
SOAR solutions help SOCs automate and semi-automate some of the daily tasks of security operations.
By presenting intelligence and controls through a single panel and using artificial intelligence and machine learning, SOAR tools significantly reduce the need for SOC teams to perform ‘context switching’.
In addition, they can help ensure that processes are managed more efficiently. This improves the productivity and the ability of organizations to deal with a greater number of incidents without the need to hire additional staff. A key goal of the SOAR approach is to help security personnel work smarter and not harder.
3. Improve incident response
To minimize the risk of breaches and limit the extensive damage they can cause, a quick response is vital. SOAR helps the organization reduce mean time to detection (MTTD) and mean time to response (MTTR). Security alarms can be qualified and remedied in minutes, rather than days, weeks or months.
SOAR, therefore, allows security teams to automate incident response procedures. Automated responses can include blocking an IP address on a firewall, suspending user accounts, or quarantining infected endpoints on a network.
4. Simplify reporting
In many cyber security operations centers, frontline workers spend a lot of time managing cases, writing and reporting, and documenting incident response procedures. Instead, by aggregating information from a wide range of sources and presenting it via visual and customized dashboards, SOAR can help organizations reduce collateral work while improving internal communication.
In addition, by automating the tasks of procedures, SOAR helps encode knowledge about threats.
Ultimately, doing tasks faster means more time for threat resolution and mitigation. The longer these are not addressed, the greater the chances of damage and malfunctions.
While both security information, event management (SIEM) and SOAR accumulate relevant data from multiple sources, SOAR services integrate with a wider range of internal and external applications.
At present, many companies are using SOAR services to potential internal SIEM software. In the future, it is expected that as SIEM suppliers begin to add SOAR functionality to their services, the market for these two product lines will merge.
SOD applies SIEM Next Generation and UEBA technology for the management of cyber threats and SOAR processes. This guarantees prevention and timeliness of an excellent level. If you want to know more, visit our SOCaaS service page and contact us for more information.
SIEM has existed for quite some time, but it is not yet well understood. Also, the fact that technology has evolved significantly in recent years doesn’t help shed some light. Today we see where we are, trying to understand the Next Generation SIEM and the managed systems offered as services that make use of the latest generation SIEM (SOCaaS, for example). Let’s see what all this means for companies.
Being a fundamental part of the SOCaaS offered by SOD, it seems appropriate to explain in detail what a Next Generation SIEM is and what its functions are.
A brief history of SIEM
Before examining what a Next Generation SIEM is, it is right to briefly review the history of this technology and its beginning.
The term Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) was coined in 2005 by Mark Nicolett and Amrit T. Williams of Gartner. The word is the merger of Security Event Management (SEM) and Security Information Management (SIM).
Its original definition given by the creators of the term is: a technology that supports the detection of threats and the response to security incidents, through the collection in real time and historical analysis of events from a wide variety of sources of contextual data.
SIEM was born out of the need to address the huge number of alarms issued by intrusion prevention systems (IPS) and intrusion detection systems (IDS) that were overwhelming IT departments. By helping organizations aggregate events and better analyze those within the network, SIEM has helped organizations improve threat detection. It has also led organizations to take a more proactive approach to security. Preventive security technologies are no longer sufficient on their own.
The difficulties of SIEMs in the early years
Eager to improve their cybersecurity situation, many enterprise-wide organizations have rapidly adopted SIEM technology. Over the years, however, inherited problems have emerged from the past:
1. The datasets were inflexible, so some SIEMs were unable to process the required data, which meant their effectiveness was limited
2. They were difficult to maintain and manage, which added complexity and drained staff resources
3. SIEMs produced a high number of false positives, creating even more work for the security teams
4. With the advancement of technology, SIEMs have struggled to keep up with the evolution of threats and therefore the IT risk for companies has grown
The Next Generation SIEM arrives
Many advanced threats are now polymorphic rather than static. That is, they are able to constantly modify their behavior to evade detection. As such, Next Generation SIEM systems must not only process more data, but also become much more capable of recognizing new patterns within them.
Given the difficulties and limitations of inherited SIEM systems, many thought they would disappear over time. But this did not happen, SIEM still remains a key technology used by companies. However, technology has had to evolve.
While SIEM once relied on only a handful of data sources, the “Next Generation” of SIEM systems was developed to process a greater volume and variety of data, as well as correlating it in a timely fashion.
Gartner reported that the SIEM market is continuously growing. One reason for this growth is that Next Gen SIEM systems are now used by midsize organizations, not just large enterprises.
What are the capabilities of Next Gen SIEM?
Next Gen SIEMs, sometimes referred to as analytical SIEMs or SIEM 3.0, have brought new capabilities to organizations and their security teams.
– Allow faster integration into a corporate infrastructure through an open architecture to cover cloud, on-premise and BYOD resources
– Include real-time visualization tools to understand the most important and high-risk activities
– Use scenario and behavior analysis to “photograph” well understood scenarios and highlight significant changes in behavior
– Integrate and use Threat Intelligence information from customized, open source and commercial sources
– Provide a flexible framework that allows for the implementation of a tailored workflow for key organizational use cases
– Measure status against regulatory frameworks (e.g. PCI DSS) for prioritization and risk management
Security Orchestration, Automation and Response
Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) is a growing security area that Next Gen SIEM vendors are exploiting to contribute and take advantage of the latest features. In its essence, SOAR has two fundamental aspects:
1. It allows to bring more data to a Next Gen SIEM for analysis
SOAR is helping SIEM technology to become smarter and big data oriented, thus enabling security teams to make faster and better informed decisions. Broader intelligence means more reliable threat identification and fewer false positives.
2. Help automate incident response
Another important way SOAR is influencing the evolution of SIEM Next Gen is to help standardize incident analysis and response procedures. The goal is to partially or completely automate response activities in order to reduce the potential harm and inconvenience that breaches can cause. Such response activities could include blocking compromised user accounts and blocking IP addresses on a firewall.
By automating routine actions, SOAR helps security teams become more efficient and frees them up time to focus on threat hunting and patch management.
User Behavior Analysis (UEBA)
Another important feature of Next Generation SIEMs is the use of User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA). UEBA does not track security events or monitor devices, but instead focuses on monitoring and analyzing the behavior of an organization’s users.
UEBA can be extremely useful in helping organizations identify compromised accounts, as well as insider threats. It works using advanced machine learning and behavioral profiling techniques to identify anomalous activity such as account compromise and abuse of privileges. By not using rules-based monitoring, the UEBA is more effective in detecting anomalies over time.
The challenges for a modern SIEM
Despite unquestionable advances in detecting complex cyber threats, SIEM Next Gens can still, if not used and maintained properly, generate a large number of alerts. For organizations without IT resources and dedicated security personnel, researching these alerts to distinguish true network security problems from false positives can be extremely complex and time-consuming.
Even when real threats are identified, knowing how to respond to them can be just as challenging.
Getting the most out of SIEM to help address growing security challenges will also depend on better trained personnel who can use the systems more effectively and validate alarms. For organizations that lack in-house knowledge or skills, it therefore makes sense to work with an external vendor who can cover or augment security capabilities.
A full SOCaaS service, including Next Generation SIEM and UEBA for threat hunting, is the ideal choice. Not only does it save time in terms of validating and checking alarms, but also in economic terms, not having to face installation costs and staff training.
If you are interested in learning more, do not hesitate to contact us, we will answer your questions.
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