Consistent and efficient investigations, quick response times, and a proactive team… sound too good to be true? In reality, most security teams suffer through inefficiencies and alert fatigue that could be resolved through security automation. Many organizations are uncertain of where and how to begin on the journey to automation, often stemming from a lack of understanding and confidence in their investigation processes. However, by taking the time to standardize your analysis methodologies, automation can become more than a far-off pipe dream for your team.
If the following four challenges sound familiar to you and your security team, it could be time to standardize your analysis process and take the first steps towards automation.
1. Overstretched security teams, resulting in incomplete investigations
Many security teams are so inundated with alerts that oftentimes investigations are unintentionally left undone. Consequently, potential risks stay present in the environment for longer periods of time.
With a standard analysis methodology, it becomes easier to filter only relevant data, split up tasks, pick up investigations where one team member left off, and prevent duplication of efforts. A standard approach also helps create continuity in investigations between team members that may come from different backgrounds or different levels of experience.
2. Low brain, high repetition tasks consuming your team’s time
Security teams spend a large portion of their days doing the same, manual tasks over and over again. For instance, during a single investigation, an analyst may log into 5 different tools to gather artifacts. Over the course of a day, the time spent pivoting and logging into these different tools can really add up.
What repetitive tasks is your team is spending most of their time on? Look at ways to automate this tedious workload, so they can focus on higher-priority initiatives.
3. Over-engineered processes resulting in inefficiencies
Document management can be another time sink when it comes to efficiently completing investigations. Many organizations have 25 to 50 different runbooks for various alerts with step-by-step instructions – consequently, security teams spend too much time looking for the unique process or focusing on the process more than the outcome.
If you find your team sifting through a different runbook for every alert that fires and adjusting runbooks constantly, it could be time to look towards ways you can standardize and simplify your processes.
4. Too many tools, requiring too many unique workflows
It’s common for security teams to pivot between multiple tools – such as SIEM, EDR, OSINT, and/or AV solutions to name a few – just to complete one investigation. For many teams, this number continues to grow – almost three-quarters of enterprise security decision makers say they’ve invested in more than five new technologies in the last year alone, according to the ReliaQuest Security Technology Sprawl Survey.
Not only does this prolong investigations, resources are spread thin since not everyone is trained on every technology. And, as a new technology is acquired, the team is pulled away from the other critical work they were focused on as they implement this new technology into their processes and workflow.
So, automation sounds like a great solution, but where and how do you begin? At ReliaQuest, we’ve developed a tried and true way to make security automation an attainable reality.
Standardize Your Analysis Processes = Your First Step Towards Automating Investigations
Before you can begin to add automation to your investigations, you must first develop a standard cyber analysis methodology. Start by identifying the high-level steps that are common in all investigations. Then, you can start to add in more detail by categorizing your events and artifacts. This type of framework will drastically simplify your analysis processes, while maintaining the level of flexibility and visibility needed to address the varying types of alerts your team encounters.
Once you have documented a standard cyber analysis methodology, you’ll be able to prioritize what parts of your investigations should be automated first to free up your team’s time – this could be activities like threat intelligence lookups, historic analysis lookups, automated data pulls, or contextual list searches. This ultimately depends on your unique environment and team. With priorities and potential time savings identified, it will be easier to achieve executive buy-in. Your leadership will be impressed, and your team will thank you.