How to Alleviate SOC Stress with SOAR

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If you work in the cybersecurity profession, particularly within security operations and incident response, you are most likely to be aware that it can be a stressful environment to operate it. The term alert fatigue is not new and is especially prevalent today, with security analysts being inundated with an ever-increasing number of security alerts from potential cyber threats attempting to penetrate their organization’s networks.

With Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools now generating such a deluge of security alerts, it is impossible for Security Operation Center (SOC) analysts to manually keep up. Each alert needs to be individually triaged in order to identify if it is a legitimate threat or a false positive, which can take several human hours to complete using a number of different tools and technologies, such as threat intelligence feeds and historical trending data from an organization's SIEM product. If a SOC only has a handful of staff and it is receiving hundreds if not thousands of alerts per day, you can do the math. It would be impossible for analysts to work all of these inbound alerts, especially in an efficient and effective manner, thus increasing the chances of a legitimate threat seeping through the net undiscovered.

A recent report conducted by the Ponemon Institute highlighted that stress levels within a SOC were at an all time high, with a staggering two-thirds of employees wanting to leave for a change of career. Increasing workloads is reportedly causing burnout, and a lack of network visibility, budgets, staff and the pressures from management to successfully be able to protect the organization’s infrastructure and assets are just adding to the ever-growing stress levels.

Despite being aware of this problem, many organizations have yet to adopt a suitable solution to try to help resolve some of the underlying issues. While some focus on trying to recruit more staff, which is especially difficult with the general lack of skilled security professionals available in the market, others throw new tools and technologies into the mix without understanding their full impact and consequences, which just adds more manual work to the ever growing list of tasks, as well as an increasing number of disparate security tools that are not being used effectively.

There are a number of proactive steps that can be taken in order to try to maintain a successful and proficient SOC team to help reduce stress, including but not limited to; rotating responsibilities on a regular basis, providing access to the resources they need to do their jobs successfully, examining the alerts that constitute the highest levels of false alarms, as well as to implement effective orchestration and automation capabilities.

Transforming your SOC to not only reduce the alert fatigue, but to also provide analysts with the tools they need to successfully be able to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively to weed through the plethora of incoming alerts, is the key to success. This can be achieved by utilizing a Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) solution.

A SOAR platform, such as IncMan SOAR from DFLabs, acts as a force multiplier, enabling security operations and incident response teams to do more with less. It automates manual and repetitive low level tasks identifying and removing false positives, which frees up valuable analyst time, empowering them to focus on the more critical, higher priority issues, as well as to proactively hunt for threats. It seamlessly orchestrates your entire security toolstack to ensure all tools and technologies are working collectively together, while utilizing them effectively through a single pane of glass. It also enables operational performance and key SOC metrics to be accurately measured, monitored and tracked to determine further improvements required.

By integrating tools, fusing intelligence, sharing knowledge and implementing automated and/or semi-automated workflows to meet your specific requirements and SOC maturity level, SOAR enables every security alert to be responded to and remediated in the fastest possible time frame, before turning into a more serious security incident.

To read more about how SOAR technology can help to alleviate the pressures within a SOC, read our white paper “Automation as a Force Multiplier in Cyber Incident Response” which covers the topic in more detail.

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