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Cybersecurity Must SOAR to Address Today’s Threats

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SOAR’s biggest strength is its ability to apply automation to security operations, freeing up analysts’ time from menial tasks to focus on more strategic initiatives.

Modern business operations are becoming increasingly complex and harder to secure. Companies typically support a mix of on-premises solutions, multiple cloud services, and third-party apps and data. Most of these entities are monitored using a bevy of point security solutions, all of which generate vast amounts of data and endless security alerts. Those responsible for protecting the company from cyber threats must quickly assimilate all of that data, derive insights into looming threats in real time, and instantly take action. Increasingly, the way to accomplish that is by using SOAR (security orchestration, automation, and response).

According to Gartner, SOAR refers to technologies that enable organizations to collect inputs monitored by the security operations team. For example, alerts from a security information and event management (SIEM) system and other security technologies — where incident analysis and triage can be performed by leveraging a combination of human and machine power — help define, prioritize, and drive standardized incident response activities. SOAR tools allow an organization to define incident analysis and response procedures in a digital workflow format.

See also: Combating Savvy Cyber Attacks with a Data-Driven Response

Why the need for automation?

А cyberattack is expected to happen every 11 seconds in 2021. To prevent irreparable damage, alerts need to be sorted in minutes, not days and weeks. 

Therein lies the challenge. Many businesses use a variety of security solutions, including vulnerability scanners, endpoint protection products, firewalls, intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems, SIEM platforms, as well as external threat intelligence feeds.

The data and alerts from these systems offer a way to detect threats as they are emerging and then take action. The problem is that the volume of data and alerts makes it hard to integrate information and understand what’s happening.

How does SOAR help?

One of SOAR’s biggest strengths is its ability to apply automation to security operations (SecOps). By automating processes, SOAR frees up analysts’ time, which they could use for more strategic initiatives rather than spending it on repetitive, menial tasks. Specifically, tasks previously performed by SecOps staff, such as vulnerability scanning, log analysis, and ticket checking, can now be automatically executed by a SOAR platform. In addition, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can be applied to derive insights. SOAR solutions are often used to elevate threats if human intervention is needed, make action recommendations, and automate responses. They use continuous intelligence to derive real-time insights upon which a company can base its response to a threat.

Such automation is critical today. The pace at which threats are evolving is increasing the demand for qualified security professionals. The only problem is that many companies are finding it harder and harder to adequately staff a team of cybersecurity professionals.

There is great competition for qualified security experts. One way to address this problem is to get more productivity out of current staff, so fewer new positions need to be filled. The way that it’s done is that by applying automation and orchestration. SOAR has been found to significantly increase security operations staff productivity. This allows security professionals to have more time to focus on the most prominent threats.

Salvatore Salamone

About Salvatore Salamone

Salvatore Salamone is a physicist by training who has been writing about science and information technology for more than 30 years. During that time, he has been a senior or executive editor at many industry-leading publications including High Technology, Network World, Byte Magazine, Data Communications, LAN Times, InternetWeek, Bio-IT World, and Lightwave, The Journal of Fiber Optics. He also is the author of three business technology books.

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