What Does It Mean to Automate Security Operations Beyond the SOC?

It’s not just ChatGPT hype. Over the last few years, AI and automation have fully arrived on the cybersecurity scene. In this post, you'll learn about SOAR use cases and the future of security automation using AI and ML tools.

Brad Johnson
Mar 31, 2023
 min read
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It’s not just ChatGPT hype. Over the last few years, AI and automation have fully arrived on the cybersecurity scene. Most recently, last week Microsoft introduced their new Microsoft Security Copilot, which “combines [an] advanced large language model (LLM) with a security-specific model from Microsoft.” In other words, Microsoft is leveraging AI-enabled technology to help users answer questions about their own infrastructure security and posture.

This follows a broader trend of increasing automation in cybersecurity. The demand for skilled security automation experts is far greater than the number of experienced professionals available for companies to hire. To overcome this challenge, security leaders are turning to modern technologies like AI and automation to bridge the skills gap.

For example, AWS, Azure, GCP, Datadog, and other leading technology companies have introduced no-code or low-code capabilities into their products. When compared to traditional software development approaches — no-code/low-code automation can be used to more quickly build and deploy applications, allowing organizations to be more agile in response to changing needs and market conditions, and reducing the dependence on individual contributors. Those same capabilities are needed by security teams to enforce guardrails and automate complex SecOps workflows.

What is Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR)?

Security teams are no strangers to building automations.

Traditionally, security automation falls within the domain of the Security Operations Center (SOC). Within the SOC, security analysts are responsible for triaging alerts from across their application infrastructure, establishing the relevant security context for each alert, and taking remediating action whether that’s opening an incident ticket or quarantining a user’s device.

In reality, SOC analysts receive thousands of alerts every day and are feasibly unable to respond to each alert on an individual basis. Instead, they rely on Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) platforms to automate basic processes like opening and closing incident tickets, and taking simple remediating actions.

The basic technical capabilities of SOAR platforms are:

  • Data collection: SOAR collects data from various sources, including network devices, applications, and endpoints.
  • Analysis: SOAR uses security algorithms to analyze the data collected, identifying patterns and assessing risks.
  • Response: SOAR automates the response to security incidents, such as isolating endpoints, quarantining files, and blocking malicious traffic.
  • Reporting: SOAR provides a unified view of security incidents, making it easy to identify threats, assess the security posture of an organization, and report on incidents.

Limitations of traditional SOAR platforms

SOAR may seem like the obvious answer for security automation challenges, but in practice it’s mostly limited to automating incident response and management tasks. Typical SOAR use cases include opening and closing incident tickets, alert enrichment tasks, and simple remediation workflows. Most companies that have adopted SOAR platforms only have a few automations built, unless they’ve invested significant developer or professional services resources into bespoke solutions.

That’s because SOAR platforms still require skilled developers to build custom workflows.

Here are common challenges teams face when building custom automations using traditional SOAR platforms:

  • Custom scripts required: You need to know how to code (Python, etc.) to build a workflow using traditional SOAR platforms
  • Complex integrations: SOAR platforms require your to manually integrate services together, which is tedious, time-consuming, and error prone
  • Event-based automations: Difficult to build automations with event-based triggers like schedules, webhooks, REST APIs or polling
  • Lack of flexibility: SOAR was not designed to automate IT security, IAM, or Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance workflows
  • High learning curve: SOAR had a high learning curve, requiring extensive training or skilled developers
  • Expensive to operate: SOAR platforms are expensive in their own right, and professional services for security automation is often too expensive for smaller teams

Blink is a No-Code Solution for Security Automation

Unlike traditional SOAR, Blink is a true no-code platform for security automation. Using Blink, security teams can rapidly streamline workflows for device management, compliance enforcement, incident response, platform operations, and more. Blink comes with 6000+ out-of-the-box automations ready to shift-left your security operations. With Blink, you can rapidly automate SOAR and other security workflows extending beyond the SOC. From compliance to IT security, or onboarding employees to incident response, Blink delivers flexible automation capabilities for security teams of any size.

Blink helps security teams reduce costs, deliver more competitive SLAs, and remove operational bottlenecks.

Get Started Today

While SOAR platforms are designed to help teams automate and streamline security operations, the cost of manually integrating security tools and heavy development burden means most teams never achieve full value from their SOAR investment. Blink gives teams a no-code answer to their security automation challenges, making it more cost-effective and accessible for security teams of all sizes to automate their internal processes and workflows. Blink helps teams maximize their investment in SOAR, protect their organization better, and automate security workflows beyond the SOC.

Get started with Blink today to see how easy automation can be.

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