SOAR stands for Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response. Gartner defines Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) as “technologies that enable organizations to collect inputs monitored by the security operations team SOAR tools allow an organization to define incident analysis and response procedures in a digital workflow format.” In other words, SOAR refers to a security technology that allows automated accumulation and flow of security threat data between disparate security technologies (such as SIEM, threat intelligence platform, firewall, incident response platform, etc.) deployed on different environments (cloud and on-premise) and facilitates automated responses to security threats. The objective of SOAR is to streamline security operations.
Initially, in 2015, Gartner, identified Threat and Vulnerability Management, Security Incident Response, and Security Operations Automation as three key capabilities of SOAR technology. In 2017, Gartner revised its definition of SOAR technology to include Security Orchestration and Automation, Security Incident Response Platforms, and Threat Intelligence Platforms as three constituent components.
Now, in 2020, Gartner has further updated its definition of SOAR technology and defines it as solutions that combine incident response, orchestration and automation, and threat intelligence (TI) management capabilities in a single platform.
What is the difference between Automation and Orchestration?
Often the terms security automation and orchestration are used interchangeably in the cybersecurity landscape. However, it’s imperative to understand that both terms have different meanings and objectives. When automation emerged, it became a significant asset for security teams that were tired of mundane, time-consuming, and low-level tasks. Following this, orchestration came into the picture, enhancing time and resource management for security teams, helping them respond faster to incidents, and prioritizing important tasks.
Security automation is the automatic handling of tasks in cybersecurity systems without the need for human intervention. On the contrary, orchestration refers to employing numerous automation tasks across different platforms. Automation tasks are part of the overall orchestration process, which includes more complex schemes and tasks. In a nutshell, orchestration is nothing but the automated coordination and management of different systems, services, and middleware. Security orchestration utilizes several automated as well as semi-automated actions to implement a complex process, which can comprise multiple automated tasks or systems. It focuses on streamlining and optimizing repetitive processes and ensures the accurate execution of tasks. Whenever a process becomes monotonous and can be automated, orchestration is used to optimize the process and eradicate redundancies.
Automation and orchestration can be best comprehended by distinguishing between a single function and a complete process. While automation just handles one task, orchestration uses a complex set of tasks as well as processes. Automation allows security teams to perform time-consuming tasks smoothly without any human intervention, enabling them to take a more proactive approach toward potential threats. The aim of orchestration is to optimize a process.
What is a SOAR Platform?
Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) security platforms bring together tools, systems, people, and processes in one place to enable security teams to automate security workflows.. In other words, SOAR platforms enable organizations to identify the issues, describe the solutions, and automate the response. Often, organizations adopt SOAR cyber security platforms to improve efficiency, building a security posture that’s more self-operating.
A complete SOAR solution will consist of three integrated functions: security orchestration and automation (SOA), security incident response platform (SIRP), and a threat intelligence platform (TIP). Many security workflows and use cases can benefit from elements of each of the three functions so it is crucial for a SOAR solution to have the capabilities to orchestrate across all of them.
Security Orchestration and Automation (SOA) – provides capabilities to automate and orchestrate workflows across multiple tools, systems, and applications
Security Incident Response Platform (SIRP) – provides capabilities for incident and case management including triage and response.
Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP) – provides capabilities to gain insights into attackers’ known indicators of compromise (IOC) and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) by ingesting, analyzing, and disseminating threat data and intelligence.
How Can SOAR Tools Improve Incident Response?
The numerous threats companies face on a daily basis are draining the resources of their security operations centers (SOCs) and slowing their response time to incidents. Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) cyber security platforms can help organizations relieve their SOC analysts from mitigation and low-priority tasks, enabling them to focus on boosting their SOC’s overall effectiveness in incident response.
Being flexible and adaptable, SOAR tools can seamlessly integrate into a broader network and fit into the security environment of any organization. They can support a wide range of products and capabilities, enhancing an organization’s efficiency and cybersecurity without disruption.
Benefits of SOAR
Since the conception of this technology, large enterprises, security vendors, and managed security service providers (MSSPs) have developed a wide range of SOAR security use cases, seeking their benefits as the market continues to thrive. Some of the benefits that a SOAR solution offers are:
Advanced Orchestration with Automation
Orchestration allows organizations to enhance security processes by allowing their existing resources to work together. SOAR security platforms empower security teams to be more proactive in preventing their organization from threats by executing robust defense strategies with comprehensive data collection and a workflow analysis.
Improved Threat Intelligence
Organizations can optimize their threat intelligence workflow by consolidating their existing security tools into one SOAR platform. A SOAR solution can identify and address issues in real-time, allowing security teams to respond faster to every kind of threat and prevent potential breaches.
Faster Response Time
Security orchestration enables the collection of multiple alerts from various systems into one incident. Saving time, security automation and orchestration allows a SOAR platform to respond to alerts without any human intervention. A SOAR platform provides context to textual information and automation to decision-making, facilitating a faster alert handling process.
Improved SOCs with Standardized Processes
By using a Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response platform, organizations can have improved SOCs, and security teams can better prioritize and optimize alert remediation. Security automation and orchestration reduces the burden of performing mundane and repetitive tasks on SOC analysts and includes those tasks in an overall process. A state-of-the-art SOAR platform consolidates these tasks in playbooks that draft the end-to-end incident response procedure.
Proactive Resolution of Security Alerts
When alarms and relevant data are examined at machine speed, security teams have the bandwidth to proactively collect evidence and suitable security event context, allowing improved investigation, quicker decision-making, and better breach prevention.
Automated Metrics and Reporting
By using a robust SOAR solution, security teams can generate standardized incident reports, saving them valuable time in gathering and sifting through manual metrics and reports. Additionally, they can maintain real-time reports and gain clear visibility into their organizations’ state of security with precise progress bars and other critical metrics.
Organizations can have significant cost savings on reporting, alert handling, analyst training, and playbook creation by integrating a SOAR platform into their business model.
Consistency and Compliance
As the automated responses are generated by sets of rules, events of a given type are handled identically thus, a SOAR solution offers the benefit of consistency. The automation features of a SOAR solution eliminates human error and lowers the number of judgment calls that security teams need to make. Moreover, consistency can be helpful from a compliance standpoint. A proper SOAR implementation allows security teams to automate many actions that are required to ensure regulatory compliance.
cmt-technologies’s SOAR Solution
cmt-technologies provides an advanced SOAR solution by combining three separate but integrated modules:
cmt-technologies Security Orchestration Layer (CSOL) – a SOA platform that enables vendor-neutral “any-to-any” tool orchestration across multiple deployment environments with automated playbooks, flexible APIs, and full customization features.
cmt-technologies Fusion and Threat Response (CFTR) – threat response automation platform (or next-gen SIRP) that blends cyber fusion, security case management, advanced orchestration, and automation to stay ahead of the emerging cyber threats affecting enterprises in real-time.
cmt-technologies Threat Intelligence eXchange (CTIX) – an advanced TIP that enables automation across the threat intel lifecycle to enable relevant, actionable intelligence for security teams.