Automation provides an answer to many of the ills in today’s SOC operating model. With automation, security teams have the opportunity to drastically reduce the number of alerts that cross their desks, leaving them fresh and prepared to detect and respond to significant and emerging threats.
What is SOC Automation?
The purpose of SOC (Security Operations Center) automation is to increase the efficiency and accuracy of security operations by automating repetitive and manual tasks, reducing response times, and improving overall incident management.
By leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), SOC automation can help organizations streamline their security operations by automating repetitive or low-level tasks such as data collection, pattern analysis, incident response playbook execution, alerts prioritization, etc.
Some examples of SOC automation include:
- Threat intelligence: Automating the process of gathering and analyzing threat intelligence from internal and external sources to identify emerging threats.
- Incident detection: Using ML algorithms to scan data logs and identify patterns of suspicious activity that could indicate a security incident.
- Ticket triage: Automatically prioritizing tickets based on their severity level or other criteria, ensuring that high-priority issues are addressed first.
- Response playbooks: Developing pre-defined automated incident response playbooks that can guide security analysts through a step-by-step process for investigating and mitigating incidents.
An automated SOC is an essential line of defense in any organization, and a high-performing one requires streamlined security operations. Unfortunately, SOC analysts are often stuck in reactive mode due to the sheer volume of alerts they have to sift through using manual processes. And the amounts of data are only going to go up.
Current SOC Automation Challenges for Security Teams
According to a recent study from Enterprise Strategy Group, security operations are more difficult today than they were just two years ago. Respondents cited the reasons for this difficulty as:
- The changing and growing threat landscape (41%)
- Evolving attack surface (39%)
- Lack of visibility due to the increased volume and complexity of security alerts (37%)
The attack surface has expanded with mobile workers, on-premises assets, and cloud services as enterprises continue their digital transformations. And adversaries are skilled at exploiting holes and dwell time, while the telemetry to monitor and avoid those holes has grown in volume and complexity. Monitoring and responding to thousands of alerts requires people, but security operations is feeling the impact of the global skills shortage: 81% of respondents agree that their security organization is understaffed. Pair the increased workload with a short-staffed team, and that’s a recipe for burnout, attrition, and low job satisfaction.
Then there’s the perennial problem of data proliferation. The same study reports that 80% of organizations use more than 10 data sources in their security operations efforts. Plus, collecting data from disparate sources, especially if they run across a gamut of vendors, necessitates parsing telemetry for each data source into something your security tools can understand and correlate.
All these factors combined create the perfect storm for security analysts.
SOC Automation and SOAR Tools
SOAR Tools are commonly used to achieve automation through a proprietary technology stack (SIEM, EDR, Email Security, etc.) purpose-built to allow integration of data and streamlined operations between the tools, but only between a SOAR provider’s tools.
SOAR systems fall short here when it comes to integrating the technologies you are already using, your current EDR, SIEM or other tools like detection software and firewall. They still lead to incomplete coverage and inefficient security posturing.
When standing up a SOAR platform in your security environment, there is a large adjustment phase and potential for errors for your organization. Besides the monetary cost of implementation, a SOAR tool must be configured and tuned to your specific environment requiring intimate knowledge to avoid negative impacts and inappropriate decisions while handling security incidents. You will most certainly see an increase in false positives after automating analysis and new correlated events to alerts.
Lastly, you should consider your data quality. Just as your tools are only as good as the team using them, your security operations are only as good as your data. The data provided to the SOAR system to automate and orchestrate security measures has to be reliable or else the accuracy of the system will be negatively impacted.
Keep in mind that automation is a process rather than a destination, and you should carefully consider which areas and processes in your SOC might benefit from automation before you begin.
With the right platform, you can level-up your detection and response and free your team from the drudgery of high-time, low-brain security tasks with automation.
Introducing automation is the only way you can hope to solve other security challenges like unifying disparate data streams, boosting your visibility, and reducing false positives and increasing high fidelity alerts enriched with threat intelligence. Bringing in a SOC platform with these capabilities can help present to your analysts with only what matters, freeing them up to move to a proactive security approach and into a next-gen SOC.
Why Security Operations Platforms Are Ideal for Adopting SOC Automation
Security operations platforms have already been considered the best places to apply automation that yield maximum impact in streamlining security operations. They have hundreds of customers facing the same automation challenges and are constantly figuring out ways to automate operations. The best security operations platform should use automation and machine learning to speed detection, investigation, and response and allow your security organization to be more proactive, as well as deliver metrics so you can measure progress in improving operations.
SOC Automation through ReliaQuest GreyMatter
The ReliaQuest security operations platform, GreyMatter, pairs data collection and analysis technology with powerful automation, driving super-fast time to insight. Capabilities like GreyMatter Intelligent Analysis automate manual aspects of an investigation lifecycle to supercharge incident response. No more sifting through false positives and draining your analysts’ time. No more taking time to investigate threats within siloed technologies, or manually aggregating telemetry from disparate solutions that don’t mix.
GreyMatter uses data stitching and bi-directional integration to collect and translate data from your existing endpoint, network, and cloud security stack, no matter where those tools live. The platform allows you to detect, investigate and take action to respond, providing your security operations center soc with the complete picture without tool hopping.