TO SIEM OR TO SOAR:  WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

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SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) platforms are a vital software investment for medium and large enterprises seeking centralized security management.  SIEM tools ingest log and event data enabling IT and cybersecurity analysts to filter through network traffic, and detect and respond to threats in real time.  SIEM software serves as a centralized collection point for all your security log data generated by applications, servers, endpoints, network infrastructure devices and other sources.  SIEMs enable users and security pros to detect cyberthreats early in the cyber kill chain, analyze data the system gathers, and then determine the appropriate incident or threat response.

 

Most large enterprises already leverage some type of SIEM technology such as Exabeam, IBM QRadar, Splunk Enterprise Security, Solarwinds, or LogRhythm as a central component of their security operations.  A good SIEM system such as these industry leaders, will alert your security team to suspicious activity and suggest actions for protecting your network.  However, even the best SIEM tools require a lot of monitoring and tuning, which often results in security analysts spending more time setting and fine-tuning parameters and alerts than actually investigating suspicious activities.

 

This is where SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation and Response) technology comes into play.  SOAR applications focus on automation and orchestration to reduce human intervention in the overall detection and response process to accelerate workflows and lower operational costs.  SOAR software is designed to decrease incident response time and improve visibility into network processes thereby reducing strain on security professionals.  SOAR products are not intended to replace SIEM products, but rather to enhance its ability to track and analyze potential threats from various sources via automated security tasks and incident response activities.  According to Gartner, an estimated 30% of network security teams with more than 5 analysts will be leveraging SOAR technology by 2022.

 

SIEM and SOAR software tools can both collect and aggregate log data from hardware, software, and other security tools for centralized management.  However, only a SIEM can correlate your data to generate alerts.  If a SIEM detects a potential security incident, it triggers automatic alerts and can also initiate an automated response plan of action.  SOAR technology is designed to supplement the existing SIEM software in your network.  The main difference between SIEM and SOAR technology is that SOAR platforms, including Splunk SOAR, Cortex XSOAR, FortiSOAR, and InsightConnect take the incident response capabilities of a SIEM to the next level by automating the process of evaluating incidents, weeding out false positives, and responding to confirmed security incidents with pre-defined playbooks.  Therefore, integrating SOAR software in addition to your network SIEM tool is advantageous because it automates many of the tedious and time consuming tasks that bog down most security analysts.  By leveraging both SIEM and SOAR technology together, you can streamline network security data collection, analysis and incident response so analysts can focus on higher level security activities, in-depth investigation and correlation, and developing a more efficient security environment.