SOAR: The Complete Guide

Learn all about Security Orchestration, Automation and Response

Need a crash course on SOAR? In this guide, we’ll share all the strategies and concepts you need to know when it comes to setting up security orchestration and automation across enterprise silos, no matter if you’re a beginner or a seasoned cybersecurity veteran.
SIEMs are known to generate a huge volume of alerts and incidents that need to be investigated by security teams. As these volumes continue to increase exponentially, it is difficult for resource scarce security teams to cater to each of them manually before it’s too late. Automating most basic forms of threat hunting and mundane daily checks can be done, so that they are left with just enough time to look into threats that actually need their attention.
Enterprises have been struggling in getting a clear picture of what can and cannot be automated within their security operations.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
  • The basics of SOAR and how it operates.
  • How SOAR revitalizes the SIEM market.
  • Things to keep in mind while implementing a SOAR solution.
  • Practical and easy to implement use cases to get started.


The basics of SOAR

What SOAR is, why you need it, and it’s evolution journey till today

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Differences between the two, and importance of solid integration between the two

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Implementing a SOAR platform

Things to keep in mind during implementation, it’s benefits and pitfalls to avoid

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Security automation use cases for your business

From basic correlation to automating detection and response

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CH 01

The Basics of SOAR

Welcome to the Complete Guide to SOAR! In this first chapter, you’ll learn about the basic features of SOAR, as well as some recent developments that have made this technology more powerful and more versatile.

What is SOAR?

SOAR is short for security orchestration, automation and response. This phrase is applied to technologies that make security operations more efficient by retrieving data and performing common or repetitive actions without human intervention. The specifics vary from one security operations center (SOC) to the next, but typical uses include querying threat intelligence feeds and quarantining suspicious machines.

What is orchestration?

Security orchestration is all about gathering information from a variety of sources and consolidating it in a useful way. For example, suppose you’ve found a suspicious file. To get an idea of the risk it poses, you want to know the source of the file and whether or not it contains any known malware. Getting these answers manually takes time — you’ll need to dig through some logs to find out where the file came from, and you’ll need to upload it to a service like VirusTotal to find out if it’s infected.
If you use a SOAR solution, however, you can ask it to carry out these tasks for you. The software does the necessary work behind the scenes, and presents you with the answers once it’s retrieved them. By providing quick access to valuable security information, SOAR makes investigations more efficient and gives you the information you need to make the best decisions possible.
Gartner defines SOAR as:
Technologies that enable organizations to collect security threats data and alerts from different sources, where incident analysis and triage can be performed using a combination of human and machine power to help define, prioritize and drive standardized incident response activities according to a standard workflow.

What is automation?

Security automation refers to features that enable software to take action without human intervention. Automation isn’t a replacement for human analysts; instead, it reduces the time analysts spend on simple, repetitive tasks. This lets them spend more time focusing on more complex matters where their attention and expertise are genuinely needed.
By pairing automation with orchestration, you can set up rules to handle some of the most common events as soon as they occur. For instance, you can configure the software to check network traffic against a regularly updated list of malicious domains. If a machine in your environment repeatedly attempts to contact one of these domains, the software can automatically quarantine it until an analyst is available to investigate. In the meantime, the rest of the network is protected from the suspicious endpoint.

What kinds of things can SOAR do?

One of the advantages of SOAR is its flexibility. You can use a SOAR solution to simplify any number of common (or not-so-common) tasks, like updating databases and responding to threats. Here are a few key applications:

Manage vulnerabilities

Correlate log data with threat intelligence to understand what exploits attackers are using, and identify vulnerable elements of your infrastructure before they can be compromised.


Coordinate investigations

Organize security data easily and retrieve relevant third-party threat intelligence when you need it. Instant access to external data sources helps your analysts make the right decision in every investigation.


Respond to incidents

Sets of rules called playbooks enable SOAR platforms to take action automatically when a particular kind of incident occurs. Using this functionality, you can set up automated responses for the most common incident types.


Streamline collaboration

Incident investigation and other security processes can grind to a halt when teams aren’t able to collaborate easily, such as when teams throughout an organization store data in different formats and use different software. SOAR helps you eliminate these barriers to collaboration.