In today’s business world, there is no doubt that the IT and Network Infrastructures of all sorts of businesses are starting to become complex, even if they have a Cloud-based platform, such as that of Microsoft Azure.  The need to centralize all monitoring of log events and the collection of mission-critical information and data is growing stronger day by day.

One such way to do this is to implement the SOAR Methodology.

What is SOAR All About?

It is an acronym that stands for Security Orchestration Automation and Response.  It is a term that was actually developed by Gartner back in 2017.  SOAR refers to the convergence of three types of Cybersecurity technological platforms:

  • Security and Automation;
  • Threat Intelligence Platforms;
  • Incident Response Tools.

What is unique about SOAR is that it is heavily reliant upon the principles of both Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).  Thus, the SOAR has been established to meet three primary objectives:

  • To automate the more routine and mundane processes of those tasks that are too time-consuming and laborious in nature by making use of various “Playbooks” (an example of this can be seen in Exhibit A);
  • To learn various pattern behaviors (such as that of threat vectors) that have occurred in the past, and try to model what future Cyber attacks could potentially look like;
  • To filter out for false positives so that the IT Security team is only presented with those alerts and warnings that are for real;
  • To create a unified view of all of the data and analytics that have been collected, as well as any pending Cyber case management issues that are currently being worked on.

The bottom line is that the SOAR methodology has been created to protect a business entity form Cyberattacks that originate from the external environment and that are trying to break into the lines of defense in order to reach the digital assets of a company which are internal.

A Deep Dive Into SOAR

Now that the acronym has been defined, it is important to break down each of its individual components in further detail, which are as follows:

  • Security Orchestration:

Whenever there is a threat vector that is looming or even if a security breach has actually occurred, the IT Security team is often tasked with the process of interacting with each and every security tool that has been deployed.  Very often, the information and data that has been gathered and collected needs to go through a manual review, which, of course, can take a lot of time to accomplish.  But by orchestrating all of the resources, the processes, and the people that are needed to do this into a cohesive unit, the time to respond is significantly reduced.

  • Measurement:

In this regard, the establishment of key metrics is a must so that those split-second decisions can be made at a moment’s notice. Also, the flow of communication from the CIO/CISO to the IT Security team (and vice versa) must also be established into a centralized environment.  This is where the role of a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) software package comes into play, such as that of Microsoft Sentinel.  This aspect of SOAR (the “measurement”) can be deployed into the SIEM, via the use of easy to see and understand dashboards that can be custom created.

  • Automation:

When the IT Security team is tasked to triage through the legitimate warnings and alerts that they receive, this also has to be done on a manual basis.  Although AI and ML are typically used to filter and weed out  the false positives (as previously mentioned), they can also be used to help automate and synchronize the triaging process on a 24 X 7 X 365 basis.  This will allow the Cyber analysts to quickly decide which ones are of the highest priority so that they can receive the quickest attention for resolution.  AI and ML can also be used to centralize all of the warnings and messages that are coming from each and every network security tool that has been deployed by the business.

The Strategic Benefits Of SOAR

Apart from unifying the various processes and task automation, SOAR brings other benefits as well, which are:

  • It greatly improves the level of a company’s Cyber Resiliency if they have been brought down by a security breach;
  • It can aid in the investigation process, especially when it comes to Forensics;
  • Except for perhaps the SIEM, typically, no other hardware or software is needed to deploy the SOAR methodology. It is cross-compatible with many of the other security tools that are currently available today;
  • It will keep your IT Security team sharp, and on their A-Game at all times by only giving them the information/data that is needed (separating the wheat from the chaff);
  • It is primarily available as a hosted offering. This means that it is very affordable to use, and thus is highly scalable as your security requirements and needs change in an ever-dynamic environment;
  • It can make use of your existing security tools and technologies so that in the end, you will realize a much greater Return On Investment (ROI) on them.

Conclusions

Overall, this article has examined what the SOAR methodology is all about and its key components.  Although it is rather simple to deploy, very careful thought has to be given to the mechanics of its deployment.  At KAMIND IT, we can help do this.  Contact us today for further information.