Security Orchestration Can Help Business SOAR

Threats to organisations are coming thick and fast and often businesses do not have adequate or up-to-date solutions to mitigate them. Then, couple it with data being shared in multiple silos, often unprotected, as employees try to find easy ways to work with data.

Companies often have a ‘knee jerk’ reaction to controlling their networks, finding themselves with layered security systems, multiple data packages, all trying to synchronise with each other, with little holistic forethought.   
 
Because data and computing reside in so many different environments, manually monitoring all possible attack vectors is challenging, and getting more so every day. As a result, many organisations find it hard to keep their security posture up to date, are disorganised or lack processes to support a coordinated security operation. This results in inefficiencies, budget increases and the demand for cybersecurity professionals outpacing supply.

Conventional Approach

The security model used by many enterprises is to monitor IT environments as if they were separate systems, i.e. one cloud-based system will have a different monitoring process to another, as they are hosted on different vendor platforms with locally provided monitoring. This is inefficient and can damage incident response times for security events, which will damage the business.
  
A New Approach

Companies should adopt a unified cyber strategy across architecture, acquisition/merger and regulatory compliance, to reduce risks across the business. 

A united security solution, tailored to the organisation’s cyberspace environment, will reduce blind spots resulting in a comprehensive view across the enterprise. In addition, the deployment of cyber defences, that can prevent hybrid attack methods involving insider, supply chain and other technical attack vectors across the estate, are vital in defending against future sophisticated attacks involving malicious, target driven actors, using spear phishing techniques.
 
 Automation can help by increasing the speed, consistency, quality and reliability of tasks, helping to deal with evolving attackers and a company’s ever-changing technical environment as it grows. Companies can apply automation across many areas of their systems and use it for a variety of deployments and operational use cases, such as onboarding new staff, ensuring they are granted the correct credentials for their role, even assigning a laptop and desk. It is not just a security tool.
 
Using automation to accelerate detection and incident response for a malicious cyber activity will help organisations improve operational resilience and make the most of limited cybersecurity resources, while keeping up with the increasing volume, variety, and velocity of cyber-attacks.
 
Security orchestration (SOAR) is a method of connecting disparate security tools, teams and infrastructures for seamless, process-based security operations and incident response. 
 
A SOAR solution can help transition and transform an organisations security posture with a scalable, intelligent platform for extended security orchestration, automation, and response. By offering a single platform to manage cases and collaborate on investigations, a SOAR system optimises the efficiency of security operations. It uses machine learning to support functions such as incident classification and lists next steps according to the organisation's standard operating procedure (SOP). 

Playbooks empower the SOAR system to carry out a predefined action, including change management, blocking attacks or feeding into a ticketing system. The objective of a Playbook is to automate processes that do not need full supervision, hence taking over many routine tasks.  Many Playbooks are available, but they can be easily created using straightforward flow maps,  quickly adding company-specific process to the SOAR.   

Benefits of Automating Cybersecurity

Automating cybersecurity with a SOAR system creates a simplified operation, empowers the business and deters threats. This reduces the risk to the organisation through early detection of cyber activity, enhanced resilience, performance and greater scope of monitoring security-related information, using standardised best practices. This directly leads to a return on investment by reduced mean time to detect (MTTD) an incident, reduced mean time to respond (MTTR) and automated mitigations to ease the burden on support teams. 

Conclusion

All size and type of organisation can find significant value through automating frequently executed, simple-to-perform and error-prone tasks. It also provides a single pane of glass view of the enterprise, removing the need for operation teams to log into multiple platforms to try and gain an overall view. Consider the many systems needed to add a new user, providing them with all their equipment, access rights and other onboarding functions such as training.
 
Automation, specific to the security layer, focuses on four high-level use cases: deployment, configuration, response and assessment. By having one consolidated view of the IT landscape, any attack can be blocked before it takes hold, all parties made aware and risks dramatically cut. Probably its most powerful attribute, but not used regularly, is the ability to migrate to new systems, such as from one Firewall vendor to another. Such tasks can take weeks to accomplish, but with a SOAR it is hours.

Colin Tankard is  Managing Director of Digital Pathways

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