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Top 8 Security Orchestration Automation and Response (SOAR) Tools

CRITICALSTARTPalo Alto Networks Cortex XSOARSplunk PhantomExabeam Fusion SIEMMcAfee ePolicy OrchestratorIBM ResilientServiceNow Security OperationsFortinet FortiSOAR
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    Their Zero Trust Analytics Platform (ZTAP) engine, which is kind of their correlation engine, is by far and away one of the best in the business. We can filter and utilize different lists to build out different alerts, such as, what to alert on and when not to alert. This engine helps reduce our number of alerts and false positives.
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    It has an extensive list of integrations that are available out of the box which makes it easy to start.The solution is very reliable.
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    I'm just a beginner on the solution and it's pretty easy for me to use. I like the integration capabilities of Phantom. It has a lot of integrations with other products. Its searching methodologies are also good. It is also easy to understand and easy to create playbooks.
  5. It's a very user-friendly product and it's a very comprehensive technology.Exabeam's easy to use.
  6. The general endpoint protection is valuable, and it is easy to manage.Technical support is very helpful.
  7. The UBA, User Behavior Analytics, is very good.The solution is very easy to use.
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  9. My favorite feature is the application vulnerability scanner.The solution is available over the cloud and is easy to manage.
  10. The initial setup is straightforward. It has a quick detection and response time.

How does a SOAR playbook work?

Here is an example of a playbook for the event of a malware threat:

  1. Data is gathered from security tools, SIEM, threat intelligence feed, etc.
  2. The suspected malware file is found and extracted.
  3. The file is sent to malware analysis to be detonated and reported.
  4. The detonation report is displayed.
  5. If the file is not determined to be a threat, the playbook is closed.
  6. If the file is determined to be malicious, the database is updated to include it and then the playbook is closed.

This process is standardized, so analysts know what to do at every step of the incident response.



Why is SOAR important?

One of the biggest challenges for companies today is the tech sprawl of security tools. As the number of threats keeps rising, companies add more security tools to their stack to keep all potential threats covered.

The problem is that in most cases, these security tools don’t talk to each other. A report of NASDAQ Information Services found the typical SOC (security operations center) uses on average 15 different security products. Because most of these products don’t offer automation, an increasing number of security teams become overwhelmed by manual tasks and having to deal with managing a sprawled tech stack. To add to this challenge, security teams usually have limited to no visibility across the entire tool stack, data, and environments.

Another challenge is the massive volume of threat intelligence (TI) data and alerts produced by security tools. This requires security teams to manually prioritize, investigate, and respond to each one. In addition, the talent shortage in the cybersecurity industry makes it difficult for companies to find enough security staff to deal with the increasing number of manual jobs.

Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response solutions (SOAR) help companies overcome these challenges. SOAR helps improve security operations by:

  • Using security automation to automate repetitive manual tasks and streamline the security incident lifecycle.
  • Coordinating their existing security tools. It centralizes data collection and analysis and provides visibility across the environment.
  • Standardizing incident analysis and response procedures by using security playbooks. This provides a consistent and documented way to respond to threats.
  • Identifying, prioritizing, and managing potential vulnerabilities, proactively and reactively.

What is SOAR vs SIEM?

Organizations use these tools to handle the overflow of security-related information and events generated by the typical organization today. Security Operations Center (SOC) staff often manually manage the identification and response to cyber threats. However, as data streams and threat alerts continue to grow, it becomes nearly impossible to manually handle all this data. Here is where Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) come in.

What is SIEM?

SIEM solutions collect and aggregate log and event data from applications, security devices, and systems into a centralized platform, then analyze this data to identify indicators of compromise (IoC) that may point to a cyber attack. These solutions use machine learning to improve their detection capabilities.

A SIEM platform collects, processes, correlates, aggregates, and monitors for anomalies across data logs, then notifies users through alerts when it detects suspicious behavior.

How is SOAR different from SIEM?

SIEM focuses on finding suspicious behavior and triggering alerts, leaving the actual response and remediation to humans. Thus, while it improves threat detection, it actually creates more work for SOC teams. In addition, it can contribute to alert fatigue if there is a large number of false positives. That being said, SIEM excels at ingesting and parsing large datasets of internal logs, thus complementing SOAR’s capabilities.

SOAR solutions go several steps further than SIEM by increasing the pre-processing of detected threats before the system alerts a cybersecurity officer. SOAR can ingest data from external sources, like threat intelligence sources. In addition, as the main function of SOAR technologies is the ability to coordinate and leverage different security products, the system gives organizations the possibility of streamlining existing tools, using them in new ways.

So, which should you choose? You should use both. SIEM tools are better for processing large volumes of data, while SOAR can leverage SIEM’s capabilities, orchestrating SIEM together with other security tools.

Benefits of SOAR

Security operations teams need to coordinate the results and filter the noise of alerts resulting from disparate systems. This increasing volume of manual processes leads to errors and missing alerts. Security Orchestration and Automation Response (SOAR) solutions improve the security posture and minimize the incident response time. Here are some benefits of implementing a SOAR platform:

1. Reduces response time

    By using automation capabilities, security orchestration aggregates related alerts from different systems into a single incident. The system then can respond to low-level alerts without human intervention, elevating complex or high-severity alerts to the SOC (security operations center). This enables a faster response time.

    2. Standardizes communication for incident response

      SOC teams usually need to reach outside the SOC when responding to incidents, including external stakeholders like legal teams, law enforcement, human resources, and public relations. Having a standard communications process through the SOAR playbook ensures no stakeholder misses critical information during an incident response.

      3. Leverages threat intelligence

        In many cases, SOC teams fail to pay enough attention to threat intelligence data due to information overload. SOAR platforms ingest, process, and leverage threat intelligence information, correlating it with events in real-time. This reduces the manual workload of SOC teams while providing actionable information.

        4. Minimizes manual operations

          The “automation” part of SOAR saves SOC analysts from conducting repetitive tasks manually, instead integrating them into the general incident response. Automation can handle low-level alerts and incidents through automated playbooks, thus freeing SOC teams from manual event handling.

          5. Easy integration

            A key benefit of SOAR platforms is the ability to aggregate and correlate alerts from disparate tools and sources. A SOAR platform integrates with products across the spectrum of security tools, including:

            • Email security
            • Endpoint security
            • Malware analysis
            • Identity and Access Management
            • SIEM
            • Vulnerability management
            • Network security
            • Data security
            • Cloud security

            Features of SOAR

            There are various SOAR solutions available with an array of features. The four basic functions of a SOAR platform include:

            1. Flexible integrations

              The system should support common methods of data ingestion, such as Syslog, APIs, online forms, and database connections. A SOAR platform should support creating unidirectional integrations - such as ingesting data from a security product to the platform - and bidirectional integrations with new security products. The integration should be easy to implement and use.

              2. Easy to create and use process workflows

                One of the basic features of SOAR platforms is the drag-and-drop capability to create playbooks. Additionally, the solutions should support different methods for creating and controlling workflows, allowing for the analyst to make the decision before the workflow continues. It is important that analysts can create workflows without a high level of scripting or programming.

                3. Incident management

                  In addition to basic case management functionality, many SOAR solutions offer advanced features such as evidence and chain of custody management, detailed task tracking, asset management, and objective tracking.

                  4. Threat intelligence

                    SOAR solutions gather and correlate threat intelligence information, providing context to help with incident management. A SOAR platform can access all incident information from related sources, thus providing actionable threat intelligence.

                    Find out what your peers are saying about Critical Start, Palo Alto Networks, Splunk and others in Security Orchestration Automation and Response (SOAR). Updated: October 2021.
                    543,089 professionals have used our research since 2012.