SOAR Trends in 2020: What Does the Future Look Like for SOAR?

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The buzz created around SOAR technology in the recent past has been one of the major topics in the world of cyber security. Many are still debating the pros and cons of SOAR, and while there are still those skeptical of its enormous potential, the reality is that SOAR is here, and it’s definitely not going away anytime soon.

With the ever-growing number of cyber attacks taking an unprecedented level of sophistication, SOAR sets to be the knight in shining armor for the cyber security industry, but what does the future hold for this contemporary piece of technology?

In this blog post, we will discuss the SOAR trends in 2020, the main challenges that arise with the implementation of SOAR, how SOAR is accepted by present-day security teams, and what the foreseeable future holds for this revolutionary technology.

Why should clients choose SOAR out of so many cyber security tools?

The fact of the matter is that there are a lot of cyber security tools out there, so why should users choose SOAR out of the lot? Cyber security as a domain is evolving, and with it, many new technologies emerge that can affect the equilibrium of the industry in an instant. That’s what happened with the introduction of SOAR not so long ago.

SOAR elevated the cyber security standards to a whole new level, allowing SOCs to detect and remediate cyber threats in mere minutes or hours, instead of days and weeks. In short, this is why SOAR is becoming an increasingly popular technology in the cyber security world:

  • Time-saving technology: SOAR allows mundane and repetitive tasks to be automated, which instantly resolves much of the woes analysts have to cope with and save up a tremendous amount of time. And given that time is of the essence in cyber security, the value of SOAR is that much bigger.
  • Addressing the skill shortage: The cyber security industry is facing a shortage of skilled analysts, and SOAR specifically addresses this issue by vastly improving the operational processes and allowing SOCs to retain their employees by allowing them to focus on more challenging tasks.
  • Prevent alert fatigue: Whenever an alert arrives, whether it’s a false positive or not, it still has to be addressed by analysts. And, since SOCs have to deal with thousands of alerts on a regular basis, the risk of alert fatigue is imminent. In this regard, given that SOAR can completely automate a large number of tasks, it plays a vital role in maintaining a balance in the workflow processes.
  • Prevent instead of recover: SOAR is built with the goal of preventing cyber security threats, instead of recovering the post-attack damage that has already been inflicted. That is because SOAR works so well with other cyber security tools, and acts as a force multiplier, improving the functionality of every other tool already in place, like SIEM, for instance.

These are some of the main reasons why SOAR is dubbed as a highly useful technology. Not to mention that SOAR greatly enhances the cyber security defense against sophisticated attacks.

Why automate when I can continue to run things manually?

There are those that are still skeptical about the reliability of automation. Many organizations are still not mature enough to embrace the age of automation, and the question of “why automate when you can manually run things” often pops up.

One of the biggest issues with those that are not ready to embrace automation is the fear of automating an action that could either cripple an infrastructure (something like blocking a necessary IP) or missing an indicator of compromise.

Still, the reasons why automation is and will continue to be, a widespread trend in the cyber security industry are obvious:

  • Drastically improve response time to cyber threats
  • Optimize the utilization of resources and staff
  • Automate mundane, repetitive tasks
  • Detect false positives

We mentioned alert fatigue as one of the main drivers of SOAR, and its relevance also applies to the necessity of automation. By adding enrichment tasks to lift some of the load of analysts, automation prevails as an imperative component in enhancing security operations. SOCs can’t effectively filter out thousands of alerts, and the application of automation, even in the processing of low-risk, repetitive tasks, still makes a big difference in improving the productivity of the entire organization.

The ROI of implementing SOAR

Automation and orchestration can be deemed as uncharted territories for many organizations.

And given that with the implementation of SOAR the entire platform of the SOC changes, many are interested in exact proof of value, or the specific ROI of incorporating SOAR. In this regard, the ROI can be emphasized in several key elements:

  • Time saved: A lot of tasks that have been done manually, prior SOAR, will be automated. This allows the staff to have more free time to focus on more critical assignments.
  • Improved cyber security posture: With its orchestration capabilities, SOAR connects people, technologies, and processes and optimizes the overall efficiency of SOCs.
  • Better employee retention: Skilled analysts are hard to find and even harder to retain. By automating most repetitive and mundane tasks, SOAR would allow analysts to have more time focusing on tasks that are more challenging.

Still, in order to best measure the ROI of investing in a SOAR, the organization should first assess the challenges it is facing within its cyber security domain. For some organizations, SOAR can play a monumental role as an orchestrator and force multiplier, and by acting as connective tissue, SOAR has the potential to improve the effectiveness of the entire SOC without disrupting the workflow processes.

Is SOAR going to become mandatory in the near future?

At the present moment, clients still have some reservations regarding the reliability of automation in cyber security, but it all comes down to the maturity of the organization. More serious organizations that are keeping up with the latest developments in cyber security know how to appreciate the value that SOAR brings to the table, especially in the sense of improving the existing cyber security tools and automating a big part of cyber security operations.

Inevitably, SOAR is bound to position itself as a mandatory technology in the battle against sophisticated cyber threats, and the good news is more and more clients are becoming aware of that. It is predicted that within the next 18 months SOAR will take an even bigger swing, not only among organizations within the cyber security field but also among other entities, such as financial institutions, for instance.

For example, one of the oldest banks in Europe utilizes IncMan SOAR’s machine learning automation and monitoring software to detect and intervene in possible fraudulent transactions. This just proves that SOAR’s application surpasses the scope of organizations that receive a large number of alerts and can also be useful in other aspects of improving the overall workflow efficacy of an organization.

Which components must be considered while onboarding a SOAR technology?

Every SOAR vendor adopts a unique philosophy, so it is vital to understand that apart from the common capabilities that every SOAR should include, like automation and orchestration, there are also unique components that you won’t find in every SOAR solution.

In this regard, the components that you should look for when onboarding a SOAR solution are:

  • Open integration
  • Machine learning engine
  • Automation and orchestration
  • Threat intelligence
  • Reporting and KPIs
  • Context enrichment
  • Solid customer support

Once again, not every vendor will excel at all of these components. Some will offer less, some will offer more, but in general, these are some of the most important components to consider when onboarding a SOAR technology.

For instance, our IncMan SOAR adopts an Open Integration Framework (OIF), which allows users to easily integrate third-party tools with little coding experience. And the fact that IncMan SOAR integrates so well with other popular tools without ever disrupting the conventional workflow processes of your organization makes the user experience all the better.

Zeroing in on the top challenges with implementing and running SOAR

As much as the benefits of SOAR are tempting, there are still some challenges that arise with the implementation of SOAR. Namely:

  • Not easy to embrace: Some organizations think that the sheer application of automation will instantly replace employees in the SOC, while in reality, SOAR is there to advance the existing workflow processes, not replace jobs.
  • Sticking to the “we’ve always done it this way,” pattern: SOAR offers a dramatically different perspective of running security operations. It relies on machine learning, it analyzes patterns of recurring incidents, automates various processes, and for organizations that have functioned in a completely different manner, all of this seems rather new and insecure.

Some clients expect the value of SOAR to be immediate, dramatic, and present across many areas of their cyber security domain. And while the value of SOAR is unquestionable, SOAR is still a technology that needs to be monitored, tweaked, and adjusted. And while it can add value to many domains with its machine learning and automation capabilities, it’s unrealistic to expect SOAR to run by itself.

What does the future look like for the next-gen SOAR?

SOAR addresses a number of vital aspects that cyber security teams often cope with. The skill shortage, poor response time, and inability to properly assess every alert as it arrives in real-time underlines the necessity of SOAR. But while the overall ROI of SOAR still is debatable for some, the future is bound to revolve around SOAR.

More and more organizations are expected to adopt SOAR’s automation capability by devising meticulous planning, the open integration factor is foreseen to become vital in the connection of different tools, and SOAR is expected to play a pivotal role not just as a cyber security facilitator and force multiplier, but also as a connective tissue that optimizes the efficiency of different sectors, mainly in the financial sector.

All in all, as more organizations become aware of the imminent threat posed by evolving cyber threats, SOAR continues to strengthen its position as a paramount technology that has the potential of drastically optimizing the entire efficiency of SOCs, and therefore, improving the cyber security posture as a whole.

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