How Partners Can Leverage SOAR to Optimize SOC Operations

The expanding cyber threat landscape has left many organizations unable to proactively manage their network security. To keep up with today’s sophisticated attacks, businesses deploy point solutions to manage specific vulnerabilities within their security infrastructures. In fact, today’s enterprises deploy an average of 75 security tools to defend their networks. While these can address gaps in security, they also decentralize network operations, making it difficult for IT teams to coordinate their security efforts.

The Need for SOAR

Stephan Tallent, CRO, High Wire Networks
Author: Stephan Tallent, CISSP, senior director, MSSP & service enablement, Fortinet

Working to identify and remediate alerts from different sources requires a great deal of manual effort for security operations center (SOC) teams – the increased workload slows down incident response times, meaning it takes longer to contain a breach. This issue is compounded by the current cybersecurity skills gap as nearly two-thirds of companies lack the staff required to maintain effective security operations. Having an excessive workload while being understaffed further increases the chances of a breach being mismanaged or going undetected.

This is where SOAR– also known as security orchestration, automation, and response – comes in. By leveraging SOAR, partners can integrate their security tools and better coordinate their defensive strategies. The visibility gained from SOAR translates to more strategic cybersecurity alerts, lessening the workload placed on security teams. The SOAR model also enables partners to automate security workflows that do not require human oversight, allowing IT teams to focus their efforts on critical tasks and better meet the needs of their customers.

Challenges Facing Security Operations Center Alert Overload


64% of SOC operations personnel’s daily activities are manual repetitive tasks, using disintegrated tools. Due to the mundane and manual process of alert triage, information overload and odd hours, SOC personnel are hard to retain. Combine this with the zero percent unemployment rate among security operations talent and staffing a SOC is an ongoing challenge.

Response times

Attackers are successfully penetrating networks in seconds. Unfortunately, a defender’s processes are often manual and response happens at human speeds – from people who are often overloaded. Inappropriate response to breaches creates more dwell time for the bad guys to expand access internally. Machine-speed response times are needed to deal with a more sophisticated attacker.

Disparate Tools

Most NOC and SOC personnel use a variety of different tools to do their jobs, and seldom do these tools talk to each other or collaborate in a response. This means lots of swivel chair time for SOC operations personnel and the potential for attackers to slip in between the cracks.

Case Management

As the sophistication of the attackers increases so does the process of discovering and interdicting their efforts. This often involves multiple teams that could work during different shifts. Collaboration in such an environment can be challenging without a uniform integration point for case management, threat intelligence and response.

The Partner Opportunity Around FortiSOAR

FortiSOAR enables security operations teams to create automated IT frameworks that merge their organization’s security tools into one offering. As a result, SOC teams can achieve integrated threat detection and response, enabling them to adapt and optimize their security practices as needed.

The following are three ways partners can leverage FortiSOAR to optimize their SOC operations and add value for customers.

Unified Security Operations

FortiSOAR simplifies SOC operations by integrating point solutions into a centralized orchestration system that can be deployed across network environments. With FortiSOAR, SOC teams can seamlessly operate existing security solutions from other vendors, providing a centralized point of visibility of network operations. This level of integration simplifies security processes and extends the lifespan of existing solutions, maximizing the return on investment for those purchases.

Increased Automation and Accelerated Response Times

FortiSOAR leverages security automation to streamline simple SOC tasks such as alert ingestion and task assignments. FortiSOAR also automates more complex tasks such as triage, enrichment, investigation, and remediation. These automation capabilities help eliminate alert fatigue, enabling SOC analysts to optimize threat mitigation.

The manual workflows brought on by point solutions slow down alert investigations and introduce opportunities for human oversight and error. FortiSOAR extends the automation features offered by FortiAnalyzer and FortiSIEM to accelerate SOC threat response processes.

Maximize SOC Team Resources

Elimination of manual tasks takes the pressure off SOC teams in terms of staff time and labor costs. With FortiSOAR, partners can take this a step further by customizing protocols and security responses to meet the needs of their SOC teams. FortiSOAR also helps SOC teams coordinate and collaborate on case management across shifts. In other words, every team member's workflow and insights remain documented in the system and can be used at any time, even if an employee leaves the organization or works different duty hours.

Final Thoughts

By leveraging SOAR, SOC teams can address the difficulties that come with the expanding attack surface. With FortiSOAR, partners can simplify their security ecosystem by offering customizable solutions that enable SOC team success. The integration that comes with FortiSOAR not only helps partners better manage security within their own organizations, but also enhances their ability to protect their customers’ infrastructures against today’s advanced threats.

Author Stephan Tallent, CISSP, is senior director, MSSP & service enablement at Fortinet. Read more Fortinet blogs here.