What is SOAR?
Detect and stop attacks across your security enterprise with Microsoft Sentinel, a modern SecOps solution.
Security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) refers to a set of services and tools that automate cyberattack prevention and response. This automation is accomplished by unifying your integrations, defining how tasks should be run, and developing an incident response plan that suits your organization’s needs.
With the help of SOAR technology, security operation center (SOC) teams that were previously inundated with repetitive and time-consuming tasks are now able to resolve incidents more efficiently, in turn reducing costs, filling coverage gaps, and boosting productivity.
How does SOAR work?
SOAR is typically composed of three components that work together to find and stop attacks: orchestration, automation, and incident response.
Orchestration connects internal and external tools, including out-of-the-box and custom integrations, so that they can be accessed from one central place. This allows you to consolidate data and streamline processes, setting the scene for automation.
Automation programs tasks so that they are executed on their own. This is accomplished through playbooks, or collections of workflows that automatically run when triggered by a rule or incident. Playbooks allow you to automate tasks, manage alerts, and create responses to threats and incidents.
Orchestration and automation lay the foundation for AI-powered incident response, resulting in faster, more accurate responses and fewer security issues to remediate.
SOAR vs. SIEM
If you’re exploring security solutions, then you’ve likely come across a related security tool with a similar-sounding acronym: security information and event management (SIEM). What is SIEM, and how does it differ from SOAR? When should one solution be used over the other?
While SOAR tools are primarily used to orchestrate and automate threat response, SIEM offers greater visibility into activity through threat detection, log management, incident analysis, and regulatory and standards compliance. This visibility is achieved by logging and consolidating multiple streams of data from across your network, providing a bird’s-eye view of your organization’s overall security landscape.
The two systems work best in tandem. SIEM collects and analyzes data, SOAR runs based on that data—forming a complete solution for risk detection, visibility, and response.
Automation and orchestration
Let’s dive further into the two foundational components that make SOAR possible—security automation and orchestration—and how they differ from and complement one another.
Security automation gives you the ability to prescribe a course of action that acts on its own. For instance, you might use automation to program tasks, alerts, or responses to incidents. Automation also helps expedite security processes such as threat hunting and remediation so that potential threats in your environment are resolved in fewer steps. By streamlining tasks and processes, SOC teams spend less time sorting through never-ending alerts and can focus on the signals that matter.
Security orchestration gives you the ability to connect to a wide variety of tools and integrations so that information may be centralized and shared. Orchestration also enables these tools to respond to incidents as a group across the entire environment, even when data is spread throughout the network. Because of these capabilities, orchestration is crucial for coordinating large-scale automation.
Security automation simplifies tasks so that they run more smoothly, while security orchestration connects tools so that they run together. Both SOAR components work together to form a more cohesive system, maximizing efficiency from start to finish.
Why is SOAR Important?
Cyberattacks are more common than ever—and they’re only getting more sophisticated. That’s why many organizations are now prioritizing cybersecurity—and why companies and consumers alike continue to increase their spending on security solutions year over year.
Despite this, cybercriminals haven’t slowed down their efforts. Data breaches are on the rise, contributing to the overwhelming number of alerts that put strain on SOC teams daily. Manually responding to these alerts can be time-consuming, cumbersome, and inaccurate. And with the sheer volume of notifications coming in from different systems, getting a clear and cohesive picture of your security landscape through the noise has become increasingly difficult.
That’s where SOAR comes in. SOAR technology provides an end-to-end system that automatically identifies vulnerabilities and responds to them without human intervention. With SOAR tools, an organization can define and set how they react to an event, freeing up time and budget to focus on higher-priority projects.
Benefits of SOAR
SOAR tools are essential for streamlining your approach to SecOps. Discover the many long-term advantages of adding SOAR to your suite of security solutions.
SOAR tools reduce the amount of repetitive, time-consuming tasks and operations in progress. This empowers your team to work smarter, not harder.
A centralized view of activity
SOAR solutions integrate different tools from different vendors so that they’re all in one place. SOC teams can then conveniently access the information they need to investigate and remediate incidents.
Consolidating your security vendors may help you reduce operational costs by up to 60 percent, making room in your budget for higher-priority needs.
Easy collaboration and onboarding
Orchestration tools unify systems by putting the right tools in the hands of the right people—and by providing them with the data they need to start making more informed decisions.
By automating incident response for a variety of scenarios, SOAR tools greatly reduce the mean time to respond, resulting in faster and more accurate resolutions with up to 79 percent fewer false positives.
Prevent evolving attacks
With threat intelligence, SOAR tools provide greater insight into potential risks through data, enabling your team to conduct more meaningful investigations into complex incidents.
SOAR best practices
Ensure that your SOAR solution meets your organization’s needs. Find out what to look for with these suggested features and capabilities.
Automated incident response
An effective SOAR solution should be able to monitor security alerts and respond to them using tools that make automation easy.
Tools should link up with each other and act as a group. You’ll also want to make sure your preferred integrations are compatible with your existing environment.
Many SOAR platforms use threat intelligence to gather contextual data on potentially malicious activity. This helps security teams decide the best course of action for staying protected.
Robust incident management
Incidents should be documented, managed, and investigated from one centralized place. This helps identify and manage threats that are both potential and unknown.
When evaluating SOAR solutions, you’ll want to be able to create a variety of playbooks and have access to both pre-built and custom workflows.
Scalable, flexible infrastructure
With technology in a constant state of flux, scalability and availability are essential in a SOAR solution. Find a solution that can scale up or down to meet your needs.
Every organization is different, which is why it can be tricky to find the right SOAR solution for you. For optimal collaboration, your SOAR solution should be compatible with your preferred tools and processes, as well as your existing environment. It should offer out-of-the-box automations that are both robust and customizable, flexible in terms of deployment, and it should scale to meet your needs.
For a complete, end-to-end enterprise solution that covers attack detection, threat visibility, and response, you’ll want to explore services with both SOAR and SIEM capabilities. Microsoft Sentinel is a scalable, cloud-native SecOps solution that comes with built-in orchestration and automation, as well as the ability to provide visibility across your entire enterprise. With Microsoft Sentinel, a single platform handles all your security needs.
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Frequently asked questions
Organizations use SOAR tools to automate their security operations and respond to incidents more efficiently. This streamlined approach to security enables greater cost savings, fewer coverage gaps, and a more productive security operations team.
SOAR is typically implemented through orchestration, automation, and response. Orchestration tools bring different integrations and systems into one centralized place, while automation—which is usually enabled through playbooks—sets and defines when an action should be run. Both components work in tandem to form an automated incident response system that acts with efficiency and speed.
SOC teams receive an enormous volume of security alerts daily. SOAR tools help alleviate some of this pressure by automating time-consuming tasks and processes, laying the foundation for an incident response system that reacts to and resolves alerts on its own. This frees up time for SOC teams to focus on higher-priority tasks.
A newer technology that shares many similarities to SIEM and SOAR, extended detection and response (XDR) integrates data across an environment for the purpose of detecting and responding to threats. Both XDR and SOAR are capable of automating workflows and responses, though SOAR is the only solution that supports orchestration.
Security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) technology refers to a set of tools or services that help integrate and automate security-related tasks and processes.
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