How SOAR Automation Can Mitigate the Cybersecurity Talent Crunch

The cybersecurity talent shortage is not just a problem in enterprises; it is a problem at every size of company. And while some might attribute the shortage to market hype, there’s an abundance of research data to prove it. We’ll lean on the most authoritative sources to underscore this. Cyberseek, a project supported by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) notes that US employers are struggling to find workers for over 500,000 job openings that need cybersecurity-related skills. Demand for cybersecurity talent increased by 43% during the 12-month period running through April 2022. And that’s just the US. Globally, there’s a shortage of 2.72 million cybersecurity professionals, as per (ISC)², the non-profit that’s best known for offering the much sought-after CISSP certification.  

The typical chief information security officer (CISO) or security operations center (SOC) leader might have to interview over a dozen qualified candidates to secure two people they can hire as a cyber security engineer — not an enviable prospect. At best, this process takes countless hours of interviewing, and evaluation. All while companies must continue running their businesses. As cyberattacks become more prevalent, companies can’t afford to lose talent and be subject to such burdensome hiring processes.

Meanwhile, in the SOC, due to the high number of attacks and attacks in progress, cyber defenders are faced with the realization that they can only work on so many threats and unpatched vulnerabilities at any given time. New threats and vulnerabilities are discovered almost daily, necessitating constant monitoring. The sheer volume of alarm activity is overwhelming, to say the least, creating high levels of alert fatigue in some SOC analysts. When this occurs, and security personnel retreat into “hack mode” over prolonged shifts, it causes stress at an unsustainable level, which ultimately leads to burnout and employee turnover.

How can your SOC manage the cybersecurity threats that constantly arise in today’s dynamic threat landscape? If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to improve operations, consider leaning on SOAR’s automated incident response and security orchestration capabilities. The following are a few signature capabilities of NextGen SOAR, which can significantly enhance the operations of your SOC while reducing analyst workload and helping you retain cybersecurity talent.

Improve SOC Productivity

NextGen SOAR leverages automation technology to enable SOCs to conduct quick and repeatable incident investigations. With its intuitive user interface, analysts can collect evidence from disparate data sources and endpoints, filter out false positives from alert messages, and quickly analyze potential dangers. NextGen SOAR’s Event Pipeline can filter out, auto-close, and consolidate up to 98 percent of alerts, ensuring that the most relevant break-glass alerts are escalated to analysis first. With NextGen SOAR, you can automate traditional Tier 1 work, such as triage and alert enrichment, and free your analysts to spend more time on more challenging and rewarding tasks, like threat hunting and investigations.

The typical security operations team may have to contend with as many as 11,000 security alerts, according to a study by Forrester Research. The result is a lack of focus on critical threats. NextGen SOAR uses a blend of ATT&CK TTPs, threat intelligence data, and IOC data to prioritize incidents and alerts by severity. This reduces the alert load and increases analyst focus. As a result, SOC teams work on the most pressing security issues first, ultimately improving their response to cyber threats.

SOAR playbooks bring consistency to SecOps, by presenting the steps an analyst should take when responding to an incident or alert. They guide the analyst through a decision tree-style user interface that eliminates errors that can inevitably happen when doing repetitive work like copy-pasting values between applications. SOAR playbooks ensure analysts are following best practices and policies specific to their business unit and help operationalize institutional knowledge. They help upskill analysts, who can confidently respond to sophisticated threats because they don’t have to worry about making mistakes. 

Case Study: This Global FinTech Company Improved MTTR by 10x

Measure SOC Performance

No matter how good your SOC team is, there’s always room for improvement. NextGen SOAR’s customizable reporting features help track key metrics to provide avenues for further improvement. Comparing data against predetermined metrics, such as MTTR, MTTD, and the number of incidents by type gives you a complete picture of security operations. Plus, report generation can be completely automated, freeing your analysts from tedious, repetitive data entry.

Support Distributed SOC Teams Through Improved Collaboration

One of the most actionable ways to address the talent crunch is by tapping into the global cybersecurity talent pool. NextGen SOAR has evolved to support SOCs operating across regions and with distributed resources. From a local SOC to a globally distributed incident response team, it offers the flexibility to support diverse SOC models and brings them together in a single, collaborative communications hub. In our case management module, analysts can submit notes, interviews, and other time-stamped artifacts to document and manage a case as its scope grows and evolves. We make sure it’s properly tracked every step of the way with our chain-of-custody component.

NextGen SOAR provides a secure instant messaging and email interface that improves collaboration and speeds up incident response times. Plus, it also has built-in integrations with leading messaging platforms such as Slack, Telegram, Twilio, etc. All of this ensures that your SOC team can work together with the efficiency of a Formula One pit stop no matter where they are — at work, home, or at a beachside resort.

Automate and Orchestrate Incident Response with NextGen SOAR

Avoid the human fatigue, mental distraction, and information overload that can overwhelm and burn out talent in your SOC team. NextGen SOAR provides a single pane of glass view where analysts can gather, formulate, and process alerts faster. Respond faster to real threats, improve your incident response and gain intelligence to prevent similar incidents in the future. Join our 30-minute product demo every month to see how your team can do more, with less effort.

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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.