How SOAR Can Help You Attract and Retain Cybersecurity Talent

Security operations center (SOC) teams play a vital and underappreciated role in the function of any organization, but they are especially crucial in many sectors — including finance, technology, and healthcare. Members of SOC teams work around the clock and are responsible for keeping the company safe, so it’s no surprise that security leaders need to pay attention to how they attract, recruit, and retain them. With rising cybersecurity threats from fraudsters, hackers, and cyber-espionage groups, and due to a larger attack surface, the SOC team inevitably finds itself understaffed to deal with this changing landscape. This is exacerbated by a persistent talent gap in the industry and a high degree of analyst turnover due to a lack of work-life balance. Stress-related burnout is common in the SOC. It’s a tough place to be, judging by a 2020 report on SOC performance conducted by Ponemon Institute. Here are some revealing statistics from the report:

  •   78% say working in the SOC is very painful (up from 70%)
  •   75 % say increased workload is the #1 reason for burnout (up from 73%)
  •   67% say information overload is an even bigger problem (up from 62%)
  •   53% say “complexity and chaos” in the SOC is a major pain point (up from 49%)

While it’s no silver bullet, one of the biggest steps you can take as a SOC manager or CISO is to invest in next-generation security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) software like Smart SOAR. Here are some ways in which D3’s SOAR technology can dramatically improve the security posture in your organization, while helping you attract and retain cybersecurity talent. SOAR software can address some of these SOC operations pain points, lowering analyst workloads and bringing order to an environment full of complexity and chaos.

Automate Repetitive and Tedious Tasks

The automation aspect of SOAR software helps do away with the mundane and tedious aspects of a security analyst’s day-to-day workflow. With SOAR, SOC teams can respond to a high volume of security incidents with speed and consistency. Analysts can quickly collect case evidence from multiple security tools and endpoints, saving hundreds of hours annually by automating alert triage, and dismissing false positives. It allows analysts to spend their time investigating important cases, rather than performing mundane tasks, like manually collecting evidence, querying, and copy-pasting information from different security tools. The result is less time spent on mindless work and more time available for investigation, which increases productivity and improves the overall quality of life for analysts by letting them actually use their skills and expertise.

Prioritize and Consolidate Alerts

Analysts typically face the problem of too many alerts and not enough time to manually sift through all of them. Prioritizing incident response is one of the key strategies to maintaining a strong cybersecurity posture. D3’s SOAR platform enriches alerts from detection tools with threat intelligence, IOC data from other tools in the SOC, and TTP frameworks like MITRE ATT&CK to prioritize incidents and alerts by severity. It also groups together similar alerts — lowering the cognitive burden on the analyst and scaling incident response. As a result of this, SOC teams work on the most time-sensitive security issues first.

Read: 10X: Real-World SOAR Case Study

Give Junior Analysts Training Wheels

The bestselling management book The CheckList Manifesto stresses the importance of checklists to prevent errors of ineptitude — it’s now an SOP for both airline pilots and surgeons to use checklists. SOAR’s incident response playbooks do the same thing for the SOC. They prevent errors by presenting the analyst with a decision tree-style checklist of steps and actions. Playbooks provide analysts with guard rails to respond to incidents, so that routine steps related to triage and investigation activities are followed consistently, without error. SOAR also helps junior analysts step up and become more effective at tasks that are above their skill level. Playbooks reduce the fear of getting something wrong, which causes a lot of stress, especially among rookie analysts.

Smart SOAR takes it a step further with a codeless drag-and-drop playbook editor that eliminates the need for Python scripting skills. With vendor-specific integrations with leading security vendors, D3’s codeless playbooks can save hundreds of hours of work in your SOC — helping analysts create and maintain playbooks with ease.

Read: Top SOAR Playbooks for 2022

Quantify and Communicate SOC Value

SOAR can provide security leaders charts and analysis on SOC metrics that they can take to the leadership — such as Mean Time to Detect (MTTD) and Mean Time to Recovery (MTTR). Presenting data-driven evidence can be helpful in convincing the leadership team to invest in more resources, training, or better tools.

Help SOC Teams Collaborate Effectively

SOAR’s case-management features help IR teams seamlessly coordinate the activities of multiple investigators across cases and incidents, without the friction that is usually caused when dealing with multiple resources and departments. SOCs run on many different models — dedicated, co-managed, and SOCaaS (security operations center as a service), to name a few. Some companies have multiple SOCs distributed across locations around the world. SOAR helps SOCs operate in these models by encouraging collaboration through built-in features like instant messaging and case notes. D3 SOAR also integrates with a wide variety of messaging tools and IT service platforms. Teams can clock in and out and the next shift can pick up where the previous team left off.

Save Resources on In-House Approaches

Managing automation and workflows using in-house programming talent is usually how most SOC teams start off. At first, it might seem a lot cheaper than buying a SOAR tool, but it can quickly become a huge resource drain as the SOC grows in maturity. Code becomes harder to manage once the SOC starts to see employee turnover. Get ready to spend thousands of hours on coding as new platforms and tools need to be integrated into the response workflow. Judging by all the SOAR acquisitions we’ve seen of late, you can learn from the wisdom of tech giants in that they never tried to build one from scratch. Adding SOAR will keep your security team a security team, instead of making them moonlight as a development team.

D3 Smart SOAR – Powerful, not Overpowering

D3 Security’s Smart SOAR is the next generation of SOAR. Automating and unifying security operations is critical to securing your infrastructure. Time-consuming playbooks and a lack of triage automation make you feel like a fireman that’s been robbed of his hose. Smart SOAR allows security teams to take full control of their environments by automating and orchestrating threat detection and response with deep integrations, and an event pipeline that reduces noise and false positives. Transform your security operations by speaking to a specialist today.

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Shriram Sharma

Shriram is a Marketing Content Writer at D3. A former journalist, he chronicled high-profile data breaches, cyber-attacks, and conducted interviews with white and grey hat hackers. He likes to share his fascination for the field of cyber security by creating accessible and engaging content.