From Speed to Consistency: The Power of Automation for Your SOC

Posted: 10th May 2023
By: Meghan McGowan
From Speed to Consistency: The Power of Automation for Your SOC

As the cybersecurity industry constantly evolves and threat actors leverage AI and automation, defenders are challenged to stay ahead of the game. To address this challenge, organizations need to incorporate automation into their security strategy. Automation can reduce the burden of monotonous and repetitive work, while freeing up more time for high-value activities that drive security strategy forward.

Automation is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but it can improve the effectiveness of security teams. Successful implementation requires a culture that supports automation. This post will provide insights from our recent webinar with experts from Recorded Future, Splunk, Ernst & Young, and NOV on automation best practices and tips on how to get started.

Why should you have an automation strategy?

  • Speed: Automation allows security analysts to respond to threats faster, which is crucial in today’s fast-paced threat environment. Automation can enable a faster response and help prioritize and document alerts.
  • Analyst Burnout: Automation can reduce the burnout of security analysts who are inundated with too many alerts to handle effectively in a single day. As Tips for Selecting the Right Tools for Your Security Operations Center report from Gartner points out, “SOC teams face scalability challenges. Too many events and too much time spent on investigating complex incidents drive security leaders to seek tools for improving their SOC productivity.” Automation is one of the strategies organizations are enlisting to improve their SOC team’s efficiency.
  • Consistency: Automation can help prioritize and document alerts, ensuring there is uniformity in the way they are triaged and managed. SOC Level 1 work can be offloaded to automation, allowing teams to focus on higher-value aspects of their role.

Deciding what to automate? Deciding what to automate can be daunting, but by considering a few key factors, you can make informed decisions about where to start.

  • Cost of Automation: Determine if the process is worth automating by evaluating the time, energy, and resources required to develop and maintain the automation.
  • Cost of Continuing with Manual Processes: Take into account the impact of continuing with a manual process on your team’s time and energy.
  • Orchestration: Ensure that processes are well documented and well understood.
  • Identify Good Starting Points: Strategically choose your first automation use case, avoiding complex and time-consuming processes.

Importance of Cultivating a Culture of Automation

As Gartner says, “There is a misconception that technologies powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), or any that promise to fully automate your SOC, would magically transform an SOC from low maturity to high maturity overnight. Tools alone won’t solve all SOC challenges.”

For organizations to see material improvements in SOC efficiency, consistency, and scalability, they must cultivate a culture of innovation and automation. Cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit to automation and empowering the team to participate in the implementation of those strategies leads to incredible outcomes.

Automation in Practice

Here are some examples of how intelligence-driven automation can be operationalized across security workflows to accelerate identification, investigation, and prioritization of threats:

  • Streamlined Investigation of indicators: The average SOC receives about 4,000 alerts per day, which can be overwhelming and lead to alert fatigue. Automating the enrichment of indicators eliminates manual research and prioritizes alerts, preventing resources from being drained by investigating non-critical alerts.
  • Automated Cyber Threat Hunting: Automation can provide contextual information about threats, giving security teams a better understanding of attacks and the ability to formulate a more comprehensive response plan.
  • Monitoring Digital Risks to Your Brand: Intelligence-driven automation streamlines the collection, analysis, and delivery of threat intelligence in real-time, enabling organizations to identify and respond to threats faster. For example, with Brand Intelligence, organizations can receive real-time playbook alerts on brand impersonation, including domain and logo abuse, packed with valuable context.
  • Remediating Identity Compromises: By using automation to identify newly compromised credentials and initiate password resets, organizations can protect their critical assets in real-time.

Automation not only streamlines security workflows but also optimizes productivity, allowing security teams to focus on high-value initiatives. By cultivating a culture of automation, security teams can operationalize intelligence-driven automation across security workflows and guard against cyber threats in real-time. To learn how to get started with automation today, watch our on-demand webinar, Elevate Your SOC: Automation Trends & Best Practices or read Tips for Selecting the Right Tools for Your Security Operations Center report by Gartner.

Gartner, Tips for Selecting the Right Tools for Your Security Operations Center, Al Price, Jeremy D'Hoinne, Angela Zhao, 1 November 2022 GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.