How SOAR tools can help protect your clients more efficiently
As front-line protectors of client data, your MSP support techs are constantly encountering complex cyber threats. And given the escalating complexity and different types of threats, traditional security management methods no longer suffice. A security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) platform, helps revolutionize these defense strategies.
A SOAR platform is an array of technologies used to collect security data from network-wide security sources to forge and implement a standardized incident response. It enhances existing security strategies and prepares for a wide range of threats by creating multi-layered defenses around your company's critical data.
What SOAR is and how it works
SOAR is a comprehensive approach that combines three crucial components to streamline and optimize security operations. These components not only help to weave a tight security net but also empower businesses to fully leverage their cybersecurity SOAR solutions, enhancing their defenses against evolving cyber threats.
- Security orchestration: This is the first piece of the puzzle, focusing on creating a cohesive security ecosystem. By coordinating and integrating various security tools, technologies, and processes, security orchestration centralizes security operations and provides a comprehensive view of the client's security landscape. This holistic approach enhances visibility, aiding in the identification and orchestration of responses to threats. This is a wide umbrella, but common examples of what an MSP would integrate in terms of security orchestration include endpoint detection and response (EDR), risk assessment, and security incident and event management (SIEM).
- Automation: Automation cuts down response times and reduces human errors by taking over manual tasks. From incident triage to data enrichment and assimilation of threat intelligence, automation streamlines processes and frees up resources for more pressing security issues. Modern automation suites are also incorporating AI in order to intelligently determine how to approach and prioritize tasks. AI is an integral part of cybersecurity operations, and every MSP should be thinking about this.
- Response: This comes into play once a security incident has been detected. SOAR playbooks and routines standardize the process of responding to incidents. These playbooks outline the steps to take in response to a security incident, allowing for quick and reliable risk mitigation.
- Incident response: As the culmination of the process, incident response activates the playbooks and routines. These guides help to isolate compromised systems, escalate issues to the appropriate personnel, and initiate remediation. This last stage ensures efficient handling of security incidents, reinforcing the efficacy of SOAR systems. Note that not all forms of incident response are created equal. Reactive incident response takes place after an incident occurs, and can be important to help avoid repeat issues in the future. With that said, proactive response is arguably more important, helping prevent these issues before they happen through threat analysis.
In our digital age, where cyber threats constantly evolve, SOAR offers a potent protective measure for businesses of all sizes. By eliminating loopholes and false positives, it also optimizes security, enabling teams to focus on critical threats.
Let's delve deeper into the bolstering capabilities of SOAR, its implementation steps, and its integration into existing cybersecurity frameworks.
Benefits of SOAR
Implementing a SOAR security orchestration system offers numerous benefits for organizations looking to enhance their cybersecurity program.
Let's explore the key advantages of adopting SOAR:
Strengthened cybersecurity program
By incorporating a SOAR system into their cybersecurity program, organizations can enjoy several significant benefits:
- Improved threat detection and response: SOAR systems provide real-time visibility into security incidents, enabling organizations to detect and respond to threats more effectively. By integrating various security tools, technologies, and data sources, SOAR enhances the accuracy and speed of threat detection, ensuring timely incident response and minimizing potential damage.
- Enhanced incident response automation: SOAR automates and streamlines incident response processes, allowing organizations to respond rapidly and consistently to security incidents. The system leverages predefined playbooks and workflows, guiding each incident's handling via standardized procedures, minimizing response times and the risk of human error. For more information on constructing incident response, check out our webinar, Why You Need an Incident Response Plan and How To Create One.
- Comprehensive incident investigation and analysis: SOAR systems consolidate and analyze vast amounts of security data from multiple sources, providing organizations with comprehensive investigation capabilities. By enriching incident data with threat intelligence, historical context, and other relevant information, SOAR enables more accurate incident analysis, helping organizations uncover the root causes of incidents and develop effective mitigation strategies.
- Streamlined compliance and reporting: SOAR facilitates compliance with regulatory requirements by automating the collection and organization of security-related data. While compliance is always going to vary based on industry, minimum requirements should include following common frameworks like NIST. This streamlines the reporting process, allowing organizations to generate comprehensive compliance reports quickly and accurately.
Improved MSP operations
Along with enhancing cybersecurity programs, implementing SOAR can have positive implications for MSP operations:
- Increased operational efficiency: SOAR automates repetitive and manual tasks, freeing valuable resources and enabling you to operate more efficiently. Your teams can focus on higher-value tasks, enhancing productivity and customer service by eliminating time-consuming activities such as manual data gathering, incident triage, and response coordination.
- Scalability and workload management: With the ability to handle a large volume of security incidents and automate incident response, SOAR enables MSPs to scale operations without significant workforce expansion. This can help efficiently manage multiple clients and their security needs, maintaining service levels while meeting customer demands.
- Improved collaboration and communication: SOAR systems facilitate collaboration among MSP teams and external stakeholders by providing a centralized platform for incident management. By enabling seamless communication, sharing of information, and task assignment, SOAR enhances teamwork and coordination, resulting in more effective incident response and resolution.
- Operational insights and continuous improvement: SOAR systems generate valuable analytics and metrics that provide insights into the efficiency and effectiveness of MSP operations. By analyzing these metrics, you can identify areas for improvement, refine processes, and continuously enhance security services.
Best practices to implement SOAR
Organizations must meticulously plan and execute its implementation to maximize the effectiveness of a SOAR system. Organizations can optimize their SOAR cybersecurity initiatives by adhering to industry best practices.
Here are some key strategies for successful implementation:
Define clear objectives and use cases
Before implementing SOAR, organizations should establish their goals and identify use cases where security automation and orchestration can add the most value. Examples include incident response automation, threat intelligence, and compliance reporting. Organizations can determine where SOAR can have the most significant impact by assessing their cybersecurity program's processes, issues, and gaps.
Establish cross-functional collaboration
The deployment of SOAR requires collaboration across IT, security operations, incident response, and compliance teams. In order to ensure a comprehensive and well-aligned implementation, it is important to create a cross-functional team that represents these stakeholders. This team should foster open communication and collaboration to leverage diverse perspectives and collective skills during implementation.
Align with existing security tools and processes
Organizations should assess their security infrastructure and identify tools and technologies compatible with SOAR. This could include integration with SIEM, endpoint protection, threat intelligence, and other security products. SOAR workflows and playbooks should align with existing security and incident response processes to maintain consistency and minimize disruption during the transition to a SOAR-driven approach.
Start with well-defined playbooks
Organizations should create detailed playbooks for common security incidents and response operations. These playbooks should incorporate automated actions, decision trees, and escalation paths. They should be developed using industry best practices, regulatory standards, and incident response frameworks (e.g., NIST, MITRE ATT&CK) and should be updated and improved based on new threats and past incidents.
Invest in training and skill development
Training is essential for security analysts, incident responders, and security operations center (SOC) staff on SOAR implementation. They should be well-versed in how to use the SOAR system. Continuous learning and professional development are crucial to staying current on SOAR trends, technologies, and best practices. Attending seminars, webinars, and training can maximize the use of the SOAR system.
SOAR and SIEM
Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems are essential to a robust cybersecurity strategy. To see more of ConnectWise’s offerings in SIEM, check out this live demo here.
While they share similarities in their objectives, they serve distinct purposes and can complement each other effectively.
SOAR: Streamlining incident response and automation
While we've previously covered the benefits of SOAR systems in enhancing cybersecurity efficiency, it's worth noting how SOAR complements and elevates your security toolkit:
- Automation accelerates routine tasks, streamlining data collection and incident triaging.
- Orchestration synchronizes actions across numerous security tools for a unified response.
- A playbook-driven approach standardizes responses, enhancing predictability.
- Integration with threat intelligence offers critical insights for proactive responses.
Now, having a clearer understanding of SOAR's role, we can better appreciate its interaction with SIEM systems and how these two powerful tools contribute uniquely yet synergistically to cybersecurity management. Let's explore this further in the following section, where we compare SIEM and SOAR.
SIEM: Centralized event log management and analysis
SIEM systems specialize in managing logs, correlating data, and monitoring security events in real time. They examine logs, network traffic, and security device data to identify and tackle security threats. Key features of SIEM systems include log aggregation and analysis, which centralizes and assesses security logs from various sources to detect potential threats.
Also, SIEM systems excel in continuous threat detection and monitoring, applying rules, signatures, and behavioral analytics for identifying security breaches. They also support compliance and reporting, providing reports and audit trails necessary for regulatory adherence. These attributes make SIEM systems a crucial component of modern cybersecurity frameworks.
How SOAR and SIEM work together
SOAR and SIEM systems synergistically improve an organization's cybersecurity strategy.
SOAR enhances incident response by using SIEM's real-time data, which allows for the automation of workflows and responses to SIEM alerts. SIEM also provides actionable intelligence, contributing valuable insights to SOAR for comprehensive incident analysis and response.
SOAR leverages these alerts to improve workflow efficiency, prioritizing and automating responses. Further, SIEM facilitates compliance and reporting for SOAR, with its compliance reports and audit trails simplifying incident response and reporting. Overall, their collaboration strengthens incident response, workflow efficiency, actionable intelligence, and compliance reporting.
Cybersecurity solutions to support SOAR
To harness the full potential of SOAR systems, robust cybersecurity measures are paramount. The effectiveness of SOAR's automation, integration, and orchestration hinges on the strength of these cybersecurity systems.
Key elements for building a secure SOAR infrastructure include:
- Network security measures: To fully leverage SOAR, organizations need next-generation firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and network traffic analysis solutions. These tools identify and alleviate common cybersecurity threats, supplying essential data to SOAR automation and response operations.
- Endpoint protection: Endpoint security measures, which include Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) and antivirus software, deliver crucial telemetry from devices and automate defensive actions on compromised endpoints.
- Cyber threat intelligence: Threat intelligence platforms, integrating cyber threat intelligence feeds, enrich the contextual understanding of security events, facilitating proactive incident response. By using these threat intelligence feeds and Indicators of Compromise (IoCs), SOAR systems can detect and react to known malicious activities.
- Vulnerability management: SOAR can interface with vulnerability management solutions to prioritize events based on vulnerability severity, accelerating remediation and reducing the overall attack risk.
- Integration with SIEM: The combination of SOAR with SIEM results in an enhanced incident response capability. SIEM provides real-time event data, log management, and analysis, which SOAR uses to automate response actions and strengthen defenses against common cybersecurity threats.
- Incident response automation: Successful implementation of SOAR requires incident response automation technologies. These tools aid in creating and maintaining playbooks that lay out the steps, decision trees, and escalation paths for security incident responses.
When assessing your security stack and technology needs, look for a solution that supports SIEM integration, automates incident response, and enables best-in-class security operations to help protect your clients from a wide array of cyber threats.
From SOAR to SIEM, ConnectWise offers a suite of cybersecurity management software and solutions designed to help MSPs build their cybersecurity practice while delivering best-in-class threat detection and prevention. Start your free on-demand demo of our cybersecurity suite to see it in action today.