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June 24, 2020 By Davor Karafiloski

How SOAR improves Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Cybersecurity is slowly but surely embracing the age of automation. The dawn of machine learning is upon us, and the goal of automating complex security operations that in the past seemed impossible, now is very much possible, and in fact, surpassable.

The evolution of cyber threats has stimulated an equal progression of the technology used in cybersecurity environments. And the zero-tolerance SOCs (Security Operating Centers) have for security breaches has birthed the necessity of setting a clear and concise set of rules and instructions that every security team member must follow. That’s what marked the genesis of Standard Operating Procedures.

However, as cyber threats continue to grow, merely following SOPs is not enough. Organizations must be quicker than their malicious counterparts and implement SOPs in an effective manner all the while making sure they're using the full potential of their resources. And in this blog post, we will thoroughly depict SOAR’s role in improving the implementation of standard operating procedures in SOCs.

What are Standard Operating Procedures?

Standard Operating Procedures, or SOPs, present a set of written instructions that allow security professionals to closely follow a laid-out procedure that leads to optimally accomplished activities.

SOPs provide individuals with all the necessary information regarding a certain operation from initiation to conclusion, and their goal is very simple:

  • Provide a step-by-step guide to help security professionals carry out complex operations

  • Achieve maximum efficiency while minimizing miscommunication

  • Align security operations with government regulations

Basically, in a typical security operations center, all security professionals follow specific SOPs related to the assignments in their particular niche. The reason why SOPs are important is that they document the way recurring operational processes are to be conducted that lead to optimal efficiency within the organization. In other words, SOPs facilitate a step-by-step guide that ensures the organization’s security operations maintain a consistent level of quality.

The benefits of SOPs in a Security Operations Center

Standard operating procedures offer immense benefits to SOCs. If followed closely, SOPs help security operations centers in the following ways:

  • Minimize the variation of quality of security operations

  • Minimize miscommunication between security teams

  • Reduce the work effort by finding the most effective path toward project completion

However, the most important thing about SOPs is that in order for them to be effective, every security professional must strictly adhere to them. Even the best SOPs will fail if not followed closely by every member of the team. And this is where the problems arise.

Some SOPs can be very time-consuming and can actually disrupt the workflow of security professionals. For example, repetitive tasks such as generating reports prove to be very time-consuming, this is why incorporating a solution that can help automate such repetitive and low-risk tasks can be highly beneficial for the SOC.

How can SOAR improve Standard Operating Procedures?

SOAR as a technology applies automation in the conventional workflow processes of security teams. This means that tasks that were once handled manually will now be able to be run automatically with the same or even better degree of quality.

The reason why SOAR should be deemed as an invaluable solution in the field of cybersecurity is that in this particular industry, time plays a very essential role. Dealing with the ever-growing cyber threats leaves no room for potential mishaps, and with every minute cyber attackers spend breaching your security defenses, the bigger the damage inflicted on the organization.

Let us explain the simple math behind SOAR’s integral role in improving your standard operating procedures:

  • Automating certain tasks: SOAR automates certain standard operating procedures, such as generating and sending reports. And what this automation does is relieves analysts from their duty of doing these repetitive tasks and allows them to redirect their expertise to other tasks of greater importance.

  • Improve threat hunting: With analysts having more time to focus on important tasks thanks to SOAR’s automation, this means that they will be able to better assess cyber threats as they arrive in real-time. This instantly improves their response time to attacks and enhances their threat hunting ability.

  • Make the most out of your resources: Given the fact that the cybersecurity field is undergoing a shortage of skilled analysts, making the most out of your resources is crucial if you want to keep up with the sophisticated cyber threats. In other words, the quicker you are at effectively seeing out every aspect of your workflow processes, the more chances you will have at being prepared to deal with unexpected cyber threats.

  • Orchestrate different tools: SOAR allows you to orchestrate your security tools into a seamless response platform, and thanks to playbooks, security analysts can have a better overview of their SOPs in a visually accessible manner.

Essentially, SOAR allows you to save time, cut costs, and optimally utilize your resources by automating standard operating procedures.

SOAR takes much of the burden out of your analysts’ shoulders by automating standard operating procedures, but the immense value of SOAR goes beyond improving SOPs.

Implementing SOAR improves your entire cybersecurity posture

With the implementation of SOAR, not only will you improve your standard operating procedures, but you will also effectively enhance your entire cybersecurity posture:

  • SOAR instantly improves your response time to incidents

  • Provides you with the ability to intercept false positives

  • Allows you to seamlessly integrate SOAR with other third-party technologies

And the great thing is that SOAR does all of this without ever disrupting your workflow processes. SOAR integrates very well within your current cybersecurity environment and is perfectly customizable.

Furthermore, our Cloud SOAR supports an Open Integration Framework that allows you to integrate with over 200 of the most popular cybersecurity technologies. Additionally, you can add your own integrations independently with little coding experience required.

Bottom line, SOAR allows you to automate many manual tasks related to standard operating procedures, which ultimately saves a lot of time that was previously spent on manually handling those tasks, and at the same time, it improves your response time to cyber threats as it allows your analysts to have more time to assess alerts as they arrive in real-time. And, with that being said, the addition of SOAR to your cybersecurity repertoire of technologies is without a doubt a smart move.

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Davor Karafiloski

Davor Karafiloski

SEO and Content Marketing Specialist

More posts by Davor Karafiloski.

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