In a security environment burdened by too many tools, a shortage of skilled staff and an increasing number of cyberattacks, automation benefits that help bring efficiency and prioritization to the security operations center (SOC) are primarily delivered through security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) solutions. Given this, it’s no surprise that the SOAR market continues to gain steady traction, as outlined by Gartner in its recently released 2020 Market Guide for SOAR Solutions.

Gartner defines SOAR solutions as having four major engines. These are workflow and collaboration, ticket and case management, orchestration and automation and threat intelligence management. By merging these engines, the solution can make a SOC more productive and cut down on incident response times by bringing together people, process and systems.

Although the prevalence of SOAR solutions continues to grow and mature, the primary buyer remains large security teams with well-established processes, a prerequisite for optimizing SOAR solutions. Because they may not have well-defined processes that help identify areas ripe for automation and orchestration, reaping the benefits of a SOAR solution can be challenging for smaller and less mature organizations.

SOAR Solutions Embedded in Other Tools

One of the most notable trends in the SOAR market during the past year is the increasing prevalence of SOAR capabilities embedded in other security technologies, such as security information and event management (SIEM) and extended detection and response (EDR).

As Gartner points out, “the SOAR market continues to build towards becoming the control plane for the modern SOC environment, with the potential of becoming the control plane for a variety of security operations functions.” 

In addition, according to the Gartner market guide, “orchestration and automation, case management and operationalizing threat intelligence are ‘table stakes’ for SOAR tools.”

These capabilities are being embedded in SIEM, EDR and email security to improve the use of those products’ services.

Helping Managed Security Services Providers Improve Response

SOAR solutions are increasingly helping managed security services and managed detection and response (MDR) services providers deliver and improve the incident response services they provide to their customers. With cyberattacks on the rise and organizations’ trust with customers at stake, security teams are placing high demands on their service providers for rapid response.

As Gartner states, “SOAR plays an essential role in helping security services to provide services that include remote response, making multi-tenancy a mandatory capability for SOAR.” 

Cloud-Based Solutions Gaining Momentum

Gartner has also witnessed cloud-based SOAR solutions gaining more traction in the market. There are several reasons for this. First, more people are working remotely due to the pandemic. Because of this, orchestration may shift from firewalls and intrusion detection systems to solutions like endpoint detection and response (EDR). Those solutions are often cloud based. In addition, the feature differences between on-premise and cloud-based versions have gone away. In order to erase them, vendors have worked to deliver parity with agile deployments. This in turn makes cloud-based solutions more attractive.

Looking Ahead in SOAR

You can use SOAR to help cut down on time consuming, manual processes. Teams which would otherwise have to respond manually to phishing, a common use case for SOAR, now can automate some of their work because phishing has high repeatability and high volume. Every organization’s journey to SOAR will be different; focusing on the use cases that best complement an organization’s maturity and existing products will be important. 

Organizations evaluating SOAR solutions should take into account simplicity and flexibility, both in terms of pricing and deployment options.

In order to do this, Gartner recommends: “Have a pricing model that is aligned with the needs of the organization and is predictable. Avoid pricing structures based on the volume of data managed by the tool or based on the number of playbooks run per month. These metrics carry an automatic penalty for more frequent use of the solution.”

In addition, cloud deployments provide alluring options for clients looking for a rapid return on investment.

Read the full Gartner report for more information on the direction of the SOAR market, as well as recommendations and key findings to help security and risk leaders improve security operations efficiency.

Gartner, Market Guide for Security Orchestration, Automation and Response Solutions, Sept. 21, 2020, Claudio Neiva, Craig Lawson, Toby Bussa, Gorka Sadowski

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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