Implementing O&A: Why Intelligence Is the Key to Strategic Orchestration

Cybercriminals are more sophisticated than ever. They share attack strategies and both human- and machine-based intelligence. They scale their attacks through automation and leverage a combination of tried-and-true tools and emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence. In other words, they are leveraging the latest technologies and best practices to advance their objectives. Enterprises want and need to do the same.

For example, we often hear that our customers want to empower their security teams with intelligence and expertise, leveraging the human- and technology-derived intelligence that exists inside and outside their organization. This could include expertise from veteran analysts and third-party incident response teams or intelligence from their security information and event management (SIEM) and endpoint security tools. Of course, everyone is excited about ways artificial intelligence can help.

Wherever it might come from, analysts need as much real-time insight as possible to help them take quick, decisive action. Successful security leaders will find ways to deliver it.

Today, many organizations are addressing this need through incident response orchestration and automation (O&A). O&A makes analysts faster and more effective by providing them with the expertise, guidance and intelligence they need when they need it. It also helps organizations battle more complex security incidents with greater speed and efficiency. Intelligence is the key: 35 percent of IT and security professionals want to use O&A technology to integrate external threat intelligence with internal security data collection and analysis, according to research from Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG).

Empower Your Security Team With O&A

If you haven’t already leveraged O&A, how should you get started? Or if you’ve already applied O&A to some initial use cases, what might you try next? Here are three ways we’ve seen security leaders deliver greater intelligence to their teams through orchestration.

1. Capture and Codify the Expertise of Your Best Analysts

Many organizations don’t have the staffing they need and rely on less experienced security analysts to conduct initial triage and execution. O&A can help these analysts punch above their weight by guiding them through best practice-based processes that are informed by veteran and expert analysts.

By simply codifying the steps your best people take to respond to specific incident types, O&A can guide less experienced analysts through the response process in expert fashion.

2. Leverage the Intelligence of Experts Across Other Business Units

Major security incidents are businesswide issues. Teams from HR, legal and marketing often need to be involved. After all, if these departments are overlooked during an incident, the organization risks serious financial, regulatory and reputational impact.

Involve experts from these groups in the response planning process. What are their roles and responsibilities? What specific steps will they need to take to fulfill their role during an incident? What are the best channels to communicate and share information with them?

By building this intelligence into your response plan, your security team will be better equipped to collaborate with these groups during an incident and ensure a complete resolution.

3. Deliver Intelligence From Advanced Security Technologies

Integrations and automation are essential parts of any orchestration strategy. For example, automating repetitive escalation and triage tasks — such as threat intelligence lookups and SIEM or endpoint detection and response (EDR) enrichment — can save experienced analysts valuable time and make actionable information available to more junior analysts who might not otherwise know how to get it.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are taking this to the next level, delivering insights beyond the grasp of even the most experienced analyst. Integrating these approaches into the response process and automating the delivery of their output to analysts at the right moment can go a long way toward helping security teams decrease response times and keep up with increasingly complex attacks.

At its core, the goal of orchestration and automation is to empower security professionals to do their jobs better. By collecting existing intelligence and infusing it into security workflows, you can enable your analysts to deliver an expert-level response.

Watch the full session from Think 2018: Intelligent Orchestration — The Future of Incident Response

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Ted Julian

VP Product Management and Co-Founder of Resilient, IBM

Ted Julian is a well-known, highly regarded figure in the security and compliance markets. Over the last 12 years, he has conceived and launched multiple successful security startups across software, hardware and professional services. He served as the founding VP of Marketing at Application Security, the leading provider of database security solutions. Prior to Application Security, Ted was a company founder and Chief Strategist (functionally the VP of Marketing) at Arbor Networks (acquired by Danaher), a leading network security firm whose technology protects the backbone networks of virtually every provider around the globe. Prior to Arbor, Julian was a company founder and VP of Marketing at @stake, the premier digital security consulting firm (acquired by Symantec). He got his start in tech as an industry analyst at International Data Corporation (IDC) and Forrester Research.