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Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR)

What is Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response?

Security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) solutions help security teams integrate security tools, automate repetitive tasks, and optimize incident response processes, enabling security teams to integrate and coordinate separate tools into streamlined threat response workflows.1 In large organizations, cybersecurity professionals rely on numerous tools to track and respond to cyberthreats, but they are not always designed to work together. When they are incompatible cybersecurity professionals manually integrate them in response to each individual security incident. SOAR platforms give cybersecurity professionals a central console where they can integrate these tools into optimized threat response workflows and automate low-level, repetitive tasks in those workflows. This console also allows cybersecurity professionals to manage all the security alerts generated by these tools in one central place. The core features of SOAR solutions include:

Security orchestration. Security orchestration refers to how SOAR platforms connect and coordinate the hardware and software tools in an organization’s security system. Cybersecurity professionals use various solutions to monitor and respond to threats, such as firewalls, threat intelligence feeds, and endpoint protection tools. With SOAR platform, cybersecurity professionals can unify these tools in consistent, repeatable workflows. SOARs use application programming interfaces (APIs), prebuilt plugins, and custom integrations to connect security and non-security tools. Once these tools are integrated, cybersecurity professionals can coordinate their activities with playbooks, which are process maps that can be used to outline the steps of standard security processes like threat detection, investigation, and response. Playbooks can span multiple tools and apps and can be fully automated, fully manual, or a combination of automated and manual tasks.

Security automation. SOAR security solutions can automate low-level, time-consuming, repetitive tasks like opening and closing support tickets, event enrichment, and alert prioritization. SOARs can also trigger the automated actions of integrated security tools, allowing security analysts to use playbook workflows to chain together multiple tools and carry out more complex security operations automation. Some SOARs include AI and machine learning that analyze data from security tools and recommend ways to handle threats in the future.

Incident response. SOAR orchestration and automation capabilities allow it to serve as a central console for security incident response. Security analysts can use SOAR platforms to investigate and resolve incidents without moving between multiple tools. SOARs aggregate metrics and alerts from external feeds and integrate security tools in a central dashboard, allowing security analysts to correlate data from different sources, filter out false positives, prioritize alerts, and identify the specific threats they’re dealing with. Then, security analysts can respond by triggering the appropriate playbooks. Cybersecurity professionals can also use SOAR tools for post-incident audits and more proactive security processes.

Benefits of SOAR platforms include:

  • Processing more alerts in less time
  • More consistent incident response plans
  • Enhanced cybersecurity professional decision-making
  • Improved cybersecurity collaboration

1 IBM, 2023, “What is SOAR?”