Improving IT resiliency with SOAR

3 Minute Read


The 2018 Winter Olympics offered many exhilarating examples of resiliency in sports—world-class athletes recovering from hair-raising setbacks and turning in star performances despite nearly wiping out. IT departments have their own such moments when it comes to IT resiliency. A serious security incident or natural disaster can make a business continuity manager feel like the skier who expects to land on snow but finds only air beneath him.

While it may seem less glamorous and dramatic, a business continuity fail is arguably worse than a taking a bad spill at PyeongChang. For popular businesses or government agencies, a slow, poorly-organized recovery can result in high costs and long-term reputation damage. Improving IT resiliency with SOAR can make a significant difference in its ability to recover and ensure business continuity quickly to minimize the impact of a serious incident.

A poorly-organized recovery from a security incident can result in high costs and long-term reputation damage.

What is IT resiliency?

IT resiliency stems from the established practices of business continuity and disaster recovery (DR). It includes how quickly critical systems can be brought back, the efficiency of the recovery process, and the overall impact on the business.

IT resiliency includes the tools and processes that improve the efficacy of business continuity and DR workflows. Tooling and processes, as well as the people who do the recovery work itself, can make a big difference in the speed, quality and impact of recovering from a major outage. The more efficiently a security analyst responds to an incident and brings critical systems back online, the more resilient the business.

How SOAR boosts IT resiliency

Security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) enables IT resiliency by speeding up incident response and disaster recovery, freeing up the team to focus on challenging tasks rather than the mundane. SOAR automates routine and repetitive, previously manual incident response tasks. It also orchestrates security systems used in incident response and DR.

For example, imagine a critical system goes down with an unknown cause. The situation is too complicated to be resolved by a simple failover to a backup instance. The security team has to leap into action by diagnosing the problem, remediating it and communicating with key stakeholders. With a manual approach to incident response, analysts spend critical time on tasks like opening tickets, researching causes of the outage, and sending email notifications about the status. This is not a good use of the SecOps team’s time.

Instead, a SOAR solution can be configured to automatically take care of ticket management, email communications and threat research. Manual recovery steps are replaced by machine-speed decision making. The team can then spend precious recovery time doing more sophisticated investigation and analysis.

SOAR orchestrates the coordination between people, entities and systems that arise in disaster recovery workflows – the system does it for them. With the team working smarter, the response and recovery processes will go faster, resulting in a higher level of IT resiliency.

SOAR solutions combine comprehensive data gathering, standardization and workflow analysis. The solution can be “taught” to enact more sophisticated plans. The team can then transfer the incident response and recovery plans it develops to the SOAR solution, capturing knowledge that might be otherwise lost due to staff turnover.

Sometimes, the most resilient IT organizations are those that anticipate outages before they occur. Security automation and orchestration facilitates this by streamlining the critical workflow steps of threat detection and analysis. For example, if a suspicious binary appears on the network, SOAR can automatically check it against known threats without human interference. The solution can rapidly gather contextual alert data from multiple sources, analyze the security intelligence and recommend a course of action.

Security automation and orchestration with Swimlane

Swimlane bolsters IT resiliency by providing security automation and orchestration that is easy to implement, use, manage and scale. Using object-oriented methods, Swimlane allows security operations teams to leverage the capabilities of their existing security solutions and unique security processes to enrich the information presented to analyst.

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