Business Imperatives

XDR vs SOAR: Finding the Right Tool for the Job

Many day-to-day tasks of a Security Operations Center (SOC) are repetitive, manual, and require significant time to complete. Tedious tasks are among security analysts’ top frustrations, with 64 percent of security analysts spending over half their time on manual work.1 With the increasing volume of alerts and a shortage of security talent, this can lead to inefficiencies, burnout, and increased cybersecurity risk. What’s more, an overload of manual tasks can overshadow SOC analysts’ focus on higher-impact projects that make larger contributions to an organization’s overall security posture.

Sixty-six percent of analysts believe that half of their tasks could be automated today.1 For this reason, some organizations turn to Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) platforms. Often added as an extension of Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems, SOAR can provide playbooks to automate frequently used analyst workflows and can help implement “security middleware” that allows disparate security tools to communicate. But SOAR comes with high cost and complexity.

It takes a highly mature SOC to implement SOAR and maintain its partner integrations and playbooks. For organizations seeking simple, intuitive automation capabilities, there’s a different option worth considering: an Extended Detection and Response (XDR) platform.

XDR is all about adapting to and overcoming the constantly shifting security challenges that organizations face. Security automation helps alleviate many of these challenges by automating otherwise time-consuming manual tasks – freeing up space for teams who have bigger issues requiring their focus. Automation improves the efficiency and effectiveness of security operations, expanding the reach of existing staff despite common staffing challenges and accelerating mean-time-to-respond (MTTR) to limit the effects of threats. XDR is purpose-built for incident response, with built-in security investigation workflows and automated playbooks.

Another difference in XDR vs SOAR: XDR provides advanced detection, rapid response, and intuitive automation that meets most customers’ needs without the added cost of a third-party SOAR solution. By consolidating multiple security tools into a single threat detection and response solution, XDR eases the time, effort, and added complexity that comes with managing multiple standalone solutions. It also reduces alert fatigue, a problem security teams face when hit with a barrage of individual alerts from myriad point solutions. A solid XDR platform helps group and prioritize alerts, automatically correlating telemetry from across the environment. As XDR prioritizes threats, it enables security teams to respond according to priority and urgency.

In essence, XDR helps security teams move faster and respond more accurately. But not all XDR solutions are created equal. Before you decide to use XDR for automation, there are a few important questions to consider in your search for an XDR provider:

  1. Does the solution offload repetitive tasks and automate optimized processes? Automation replicates the most repetitive parts of security analysts’ tasks to give them valuable time back, maximize their skillsets, and enable broader reach across the enterprise. Automation streamlines routine tasks so SOC teams can focus on their most impactful responsibilities – investigating and responding to threats as efficiently and effectively as possible. Look for an XDR platform with a constantly expanding library of pre-built playbooks to automate manual tasks such as:
    • Creating and querying tickets through other ticketing systems
    • Creating custom email and instant messaging notifications
    • Managing alerts
    • Creating investigations
    • Responding to incidents across multiple security controls 

  2. Does the solution help you manage risk with automated precision? Automation minimizes alert fatigue and draws SOC teams’ focus back to the most critical and urgent threats in the environment. XDR helps eliminate “swivel chair management,” instead boosting productivity and precision to create better risk management from the ground up.
  3. Can you respond to the most severe threats quickly? By grouping repetitive and tedious alerts and expanding visibility to the most severe alerts within the attack surface, automation can support the SOC team in combatting threats across the enterprise. Automation enables analysts to respond quickly to critical security alerts by taking response actions to isolate hosts, prevent access to an IP address, disable a user, and more.  A quick response reduces dwell time and contains an intruder quickly, limiting the impact of an attack.
  4. Are you getting the most out of your existing security technology investments? External connectors to third-party technologies including ticketing systems, email, endpoint tools, and more allow you to get more out of your existing technology stack. A broad set of integrations adds better context to enrich incident data and automate response activities. Rather than rip-and-replace, look for an XDR solution that maximizes ROI on your existing investments.
  5. How well does the solution elevate your team’s capabilities? A good solution will enable the team to work more efficiently, respond to threats faster, and be more confident that the actions taken are the right ones for your organization and environment. XDR is designed to up-level analyst capabilities and improve SOC productivity.

Secureworks® Taegis™ XDR uniquely provides broad and deep threat detection that combines over two decades of machine learning and human intelligence to automatically detect and respond to threats early in the kill chain. 57 percent of organizations say that automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) – all built into XDR – have helped significantly improve their cyber resiliency.2 Taegis is built on the human insights of Secureworks’ Counter Threat Unit™ (CTU™) and we integrate ML and AI as key components underpinning our automation features.

To learn more about Taegis XDR and the automations that could change the game for your organization and security team, request a demo here. 

1Tines Report: Voice of the SOC Analyst, 2022
2Ponemon Institute: Cyber Resilient Organization Study, 2021

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