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Incident Response Platform: The Road to Automating IR

Incident response services are a growing priority at organizations, and technology platforms are essential to making incident response efficient and effective. Incident response platforms help security teams quickly identify and investigate incidents, manage their work on a case until closure, and automate incident response tasks to provide a faster response.

In this article you will learn:

Need an incident response platform?

Cynet Response Orchestration, part of the Cynet 360 security platform, can automate your incident response policy. Define automated playbooks with pre-set or custom remediation actions for multiple attack scenarios. Cynet also helps detect known and zero-day threats to ensure you only implement a manual response when necessary.

Learn more about Cynet Incident Response Orchestration.

What are Incident Response Platforms?

An incident response platform is a software system that guides, assists and automates incident response. Incident response services provide three key capabilities:

  1. Supporting analyst workflows—helping security analysts collaborate around a security incident, by providing case management. Case management allows analysts to open a case for a security incident, collect data from their investigation and save it as part of the case, prioritize cases, and share data with other analysts.
  2. Intelligence and analytics—helping security teams collect security event data by integrating with Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and other tools, triage it, add context to create event timelines, and combine it with threat intelligence to identify security incidents with minimal effort.
  3. Security automation—automating responses using security playbooks. These are automated workflows that the platform can run when a specific security incident is detected. Incident response playbooks can be very effective at reducing response time, and can help save time for security teams.

Learn more about incident response platforms in our in-depth guide: Incident Response Retainer: Getting Your Money’s Worth

Features of Incident Response Platforms

Below is a summary of features provided by incident response platforms across three primary functional areas.

Supporting analyst workflowsIntelligence and analyticsSecurity automation
  • Knowledgebase of regulations and response plans
  • Automating escalation and assignment to security staff
  • Tracking Service-level agreements (SLA)
  • Privacy breach and compliance reporting
  • Integrating with SIEM, ingesting and analyzing events from multiple sources
  • Analyzing event timelines to identify complex threats
  • Real-time attack behavior analysis
  • Forensic data retention and querying
  • Library of common incident response playbooks
  • Customizable playbooks
  • Automatic execution of playbooks in response to events
  • Automated lockdown or isolation of infected systems or user accounts
  • Automated remediation

What is SOAR?

Gartner defines Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) as a new category of security tools that can collect threat data from multiple sources, triage security events, and automatically respond to a large variety of security incidents. Make sure that your incident response platform of choice supports SOAR capabilities.

Gartner defines the following key capabilities for SOAR systems:

Orchestration

The ability to coordinate actions across multiple security tools, IT systems and human analysts. This is required for many types of automated response workflows—for example if a virus is detected in a spam email, there is also a need to integrate with antivirus systems on endpoints, identify infected systems and quarantine them.

Automation

The ability to define security playbooks using standardized workflows or steps. Security analysts should be able to define automated workflows without being experts in the specific tools being automated, and without having to write code or scripts. The SOAR system should integrate with a large variety of tools via APIs or connectors, and translate standard security playbook operations to commands performed on the designated tools.

Incident case management

The ability to gather security data from a SIEM or other sources, triage it, collect contextual evidence, and allow security teams to add information from their own investigations. A SOAR tool supports fully automated incident response and allows security analysts to step in at any stage of the process to make decisions or enrich the incident with additional data.

A Process for Automating Incident Response

Automation is extremely important to building a scalable, efficient incident response system. However, implementing an incident response platform with automation capabilities is not enough. Take a gradual approach to automating your incident response processes:

1. Build your first playbooks around manual actions

Automating external tools can be risky. The automation itself may not work as expected, and it is reliant on those tools being available and functioning currently. Build your first playbooks using manual tasks analysts can easily perform to respond to an incident. Practice those processes on real events to see they are really effective. This paves the way to automating these processes, in part or in whole.

2. Continually assess and refine the process

After every security incident, investigate what worked and what didn’t, and fine-tune your processes. Gradually, identify steps that can be easily automated using your incident response platform and integrated tools. As you automate these steps, continue monitoring the relevant processes to see they are running as expected and incidents are mitigated effectively.

3. Develop playbook templates for iterative and scalable development

Finally, you will reach a high level of maturity, with multiple incident response processes tried and tested, with a high degree of automation. It will now be possible to create templates of processes for categories of IR processes, allowing analysts to start from a template and customize it to a new type of security incident. This allows reuse of common procedures to design an effective, automated response to all common incidents your organization faces.

Automated Incident Response with Cynet

Cynet provides a holistic solution for cybersecurity, including the Cynet Response Orchestration which can automate your incident response policy. Users can define automated playbooks, with pre-set or custom remediation actions for multiple attack scenarios. Cynet automated playbooks also help detect threats to ensure that you only implement a manual response when it is necessary.

Cynet Response Orchestration can address any threat that involves infected endpoints, malicious processes or files, attacker-controlled network traffic, or compromised user accounts.

Learn more about Cynet Response Orchestration.

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