How to Build a Cybersecurity Strategy Based on SOAR
Updated: Jan 4
Security operations, response and monitoring are still fragmented. Security teams struggle to get visibility into their organisation, identify risks, and automate security responses. Security operations processes remain manual, localised, and disconnected between the different tools used by the team.
Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) is the new era of security operations that aims to integrate all these fragmented pieces. Many enterprises are struggling with a lack of visibility into their systems, leaving them vulnerable to cyber-attacks that could have been detected earlier with a more proactive approach. In this blog post, learn everything you need to know about the SOAR principles and how you can implement them in your organisation.
What is Security Orchestration, Automation and Response?
Security Orchestration is the process of automating the manual steps in security operations. It includes the collection of data, the processing of that data and the triggering of automated actions based on that processed data. It can be represented as a flow diagram.
Automation is when a process is done with little or no human intervention. A security team may have its workflows automated, such as an investigation workflow. It can also include the automation of remediation actions, such as patching systems.
Response is the way a business reacts to an event that could pose a threat to the organisation. Reactive security operations will never be enough to keep organisations secure in the long run. They need a more proactive approach that is achieved through orchestrating, automating, and responding to security events.
The SOAR approach will maximise the efficiency of a security operations team by increasing visibility into the environment, detecting threats earlier, and automating manual tasks.
Why is having a SOAR strategy important?
Security operations should not be focused on the incident response process. It should be focused on preventing security incidents from happening in the first place. Implementing a SOAR strategy will help you achieve this.
With the SOAR approach, you’ll be able to prevent security incidents with a proactive approach. You’ll have the right visibility into your environment to understand your risk profile, and you’ll be able to automate your security processes to reduce manual efforts and errors. In order to achieve this, you’ll need to have the following key objectives:
Be proactive and prevent security incidents from happening in the first place: To do so, you need to collect data from all the sources and systems that could be relevant to your security.
Be more efficient in your day-to-day operations: The more efficient your team is, the more it can focus on the critical areas where you need to focus on preventing security incidents.
Reduce the costs of your incident response processes: An efficient team is also a more efficient team when it comes to incident response.
Where is SOAR currently in practice?
With more than 70% of organisations experiencing at least one security incident every week, it’s clear that we are not prepared to handle cyber-attacks. Most organisations are still running reactive security operations and lack a proactive approach. It’s likely that they are not fully aware of the true nature of their risk profile and have little visibility into their environment.
Most organisations have security operations that are manual and automated tools that are disconnected from each other. This means they are likely to be inefficient and reactive. Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response have been around for a few years. However, only a few organisations have fully embraced it.
What are the main obstacles to implementing a SOAR strategy?
In general, organisations buy SOAR technologies without fully understanding what they’re trying to automate, or whether the solution they pick actually fits the scope of the problem.
The main problem organisations have when implementing automation technologies is that they lack clearly defined use cases and underestimate skills and operating model requirements.
Many businesses focus too much on operational components of security rather than the broader strategy that supports effective security operations.
A common misconception is that SOAR platforms could ultimately replace security professionals. By adding efficiency and effectiveness to security teams, SOAR serves as a force multiplier, but it does not replace people.
How to build a successful SOAR strategy?
The SOAR methodology is a bottom-up approach that starts with the teams that are experiencing the biggest pain points, such as incident response teams. Identify your organisation’s needs, its commitment to SOAR, and your staff’s availability and capabilities before you begin the SOAR implementation process. For a successful strategy, you should implement the following key components.
Stakeholder definition and management can make a huge difference in effective security operations. It also adds to the time and cost. You may need to consult or work directly with other departments within your organisation, such as IT, HR, and Finance, during the implementation process. Engage your stakeholders, consult them, and define them before beginning the SOAR process.
When implementing SOAR, it is crucial to have the right combination of skills on your team. Your organisation’s size and complexity will affect the total number of employees. Team members with “DevSecOps” expertise will be needed, such as software engineers, computer engineers, security engineers, and developers.
Have at least one person or team dedicated to monitoring the SOAR platform, both from a security and operational perspective. Ensure that they understand how to capture, classify, and move conversations and response plans forward within the platform. SOAR’s adoption is based on the expression of business workflows, leading to SOC alignment and security use case value realisation. SOAR teammates should be involved, understand SOAR outcomes, and be able to contribute to security maturity through SOAR.
The SOAR approach is the new era of security operations. It’s an efficient and more proactive approach to security that maximises the efficiency of a security operations team and increases visibility into the environment. There is no doubt that the SOAR approach is a better way to manage security operations. It’s more efficient and less costly, reducing the likelihood of security incidents. Therefore, organisations must embrace this new concept.
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