Do you need both SIEM and SOAR?

August 24th, 2022

Since 2005, Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM) tools have been integral to any Security Operations Center (SOC). However, Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) have quickly become one of the most sought-after tools for cybersecurity. 

You might be thinking:

  1. What’s the difference between SOAR and SIEM?
  2. Do I need SOAR if I have a SIEM?
  3. Can I use SOAR to improve the effectiveness of a SIEM? How?

Let’s discuss in detail both of the tools to answer these questions:

What is SIEM?

SIEM is a security solution that offers complete real-time visibility to an organization’s cybersecurity through log management, event correlation, and threat intelligence.

SIEM aggregates logs from the firewalls, network appliances, and intrusion detection systems and generates alerts when a potential threat is detected. Security personnel further investigate the alerts, determine if it is a genuine incident, and take necessary actions.

With the increasing number of attacks, the SecOps team fails to interpret all SIEM alerts before a data breach occurs. 

This is where SOAR comes in. 

What is SOAR?

SOAR offers orchestration and automation of the manual workflow of security teams after a SIEM alert is received. It combines Security Orchestration and Automation (SOA), Security Incident Response Platforms (SIRP), and Threat Intelligence Platforms (TIP)

SOAR tool delivers more value from the company’s existing security solutions by automating the incident response processes. SOAR can overcome the challenges of a SIEM tool, such as – alert fatigue, human error, and even a skill set shortage. Security Operations that do not need constant human insight can be performed via workflows or SOAR playbooks.

How do SOAR and SIEM work together?

How does SIEM and SOAR improve SecOps ?

Let’s say you get a brute-force correlation alert from SIEM. What are the next steps for incident response?

Logs show 10 login attempts in less than one minute and login failure in this case. An alert is triggered as it violates an existing SIEM rule. A security analyst now needs to investigate the alert and take action. But, as mentioned above, the number of such daily alerts is heavier than the SOC team can handle. 

SOAR is the solution to this problem. With a SOAR in place, the user can be disabled automatically without manual intervention. You can also include further steps per your incident response strategy to streamline the workflow and reduce human intervention. 

User And Entity Behavior Analytics Ueba (UEBA) is a security solution that detects threats by identifying unusual traffic patterns, unauthorized data access, movement, or suspicious or malicious activity on a computer network or endpoints. If the SIEM supports SOAR and UEBA, you can group similar alerts to create an incident. You can assign this incident to a dedicated technician for further investigation and prevention.

The situation could have led to a security incident without a SOAR solution initiating a quick fix. 

Top SIEM tools with SOAR capabilities:

Elastic (ELK) Stack is one of the popular SIEM tools that can also be configured as a SOAR solution. If you use ELK as a SIEM/SOAR solution, you must send daily, weekly or monthly reports to your clients and stakeholders. Not everyone will have access or willingness to sit in front of a dashboard and interpret the metrics. So, you need a reporting solution to share the data with clients in an actionable format.

Are you spending your time writing code to send out these periodic reports? What if there was a much easier way?

Skedler is an affordable, easy-to-use report automation tool that converts Kibana dashboards into branded reports with zero coding. Set up Skedler and send out reports in an hour. 

Some other SIEM tools with SOAR capabilities are:

  • SolarWinds SIEM Security and Monitoring
  • Splunk Enterprise SIEM
  • LogRhythm
  • IBM QRadar
  • Insight IDR

Skedler can also be used to automate LogRhythm reports. 

Can SOAR replace SIEM?

The need for a SIEM arises because an organization generates thousands of daily security information and events. SOAR improves the security program’s incident response and vulnerability management using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

SIEM provides the alerts from the logs collected from various data sources. SOAR gathers the alerts, correlates them, and automatically takes the appropriate actions. So, both are crucial for an organization’s incident management architecture. 

They are no longer considered to be independent of one another. A SIEM solution is now expected to provide SOAR capabilities or the ability to integrate seamlessly with a SOAR solution.

Do I need a SOAR if I have a SIEM?

SIEM lacks incident response, investigation, and case management tools and workflows to manage threats efficiently. A security analyst must review and investigate each SIEM alert to determine if the event is a false positive. Only then can they initiate the necessary actions.

SOAR can improve the process by determining if the alert is genuine and automating further investigation and remediation.

SIEM is an ideal alert source with its threat detection ability from log and event data. Alerts escalated to an integrated SOAR platform save resources by reducing constant manual intervention. SOAR combined with a SIEM solution constitutes an efficient and responsive security program.

Conclusion

As discussed above, SIEM and SOAR are not alternatives but complement each other. To build a robust security solution for your organization, you must look for a SIEM solution with SOAR capabilities. 

SIEM and SOAR are effective in improving an organization’s security operations.

With information and event management, SIEM produces more alerts than SecOps teams can effectively respond to. SOAR enables the security team to handle the alert load quickly and efficiently. Using automated response, SOAR can mitigate vulnerability to the organization. 

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