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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Standalone SOAR is Alive and Kicking


A number of publications and analyst companies have predicted a doomsday situation for the standalone SOAR following numerous acquisitions within the area, primarily by SIEM distributors. Google acquired Siemplify, Devo acquired LogicHub, Fortinet acquired CyberSponse, Palo Alto Networks acquired Demisto, Splunk acquired Phantom, Sumo Logic acquired DFLabs, and Micro Focus acquired Atar Labs, which, in flip, obtained acquired by OpenText.

However this high-level view has very low decision. It assumes that every one attainable SOARs are already in circulation, that each acquisition minimizes the pool of standalone distributors, and that an acquisition signifies that the SOAR will likely be natively built-in inside a SIEM or XDR. As a part of my analysis on SOAR, I’ve seen quite a few developments over the previous three years that point out that not solely is there a spot for the standalone SOAR, however the options are evolving to assist new use instances. 

Listed below are some key explanation why the standalone SOAR options is not going to be consumed into SIEM or XDR within the close to future:

  1. Extra standalone distributors enter the market.
  2. Massive gamers nonetheless select to supply standalone.
  3. The inherent advantages of standalone and vendor-agnostic options.
  4. Non-security occasion ingestion.
  5. Non-security automation.

Extra Standalone SOARs Enter the Market

In comparison with the second iteration of the GigaOm SOAR Radar, the third iteration options three extra standalone SOAR gamers, specifically Cyware, Tines, and Torq. Torq is the latest participant, having been established in 2020 and has constructed a powerful portfolio of shoppers. Tines has additionally been gaining traction available in the market. I’ve repeatedly and adventitiously seen Tines added to integration portfolios throughout varied community and safety distributors over the previous couple of years.

Massive Gamers Nonetheless Supply Standalone SOARs

Whereas a choice of safety distributors have chosen to combine SOARs into their SIEM – akin to OpenText, Huntsman, Sumo Logic, and Devo – others have saved SOAR as a standalone and vendor-agnostic product. Most notably, heavyweights akin to Fortinet, IBM, Splunk, and Palo Alto Networks. 

Why would they try this? The obvious motive is to increase their whole addressable market. If an built-in SIEM plus SOAR resolution (see our GigaOm Radar on ASOM) is just appropriate for purchasers that both wish to migrate from the incumbent SIEM or don’t have a SIEM in any respect, a standalone SOAR also can goal prospects with a third-party SIEM that don’t wish to migrate.

However there’s extra to standalone SOARs than only a bigger goal market, which we discover within the part under.

The Inherent Advantages of Standalone and Vendor-Agnostic Options

A SIEM with native SOAR capabilities might change into unwieldy and tough to handle, with slower cadence on new options. A really massive portion of your SOC turns into depending on this one resolution, and regardless of all of the automation and ML-powered insights, the platform will seemingly incur loads of technical debt.

Right here, SOAR platforms have two benefits—Standalone and vendor agnostic – that are two sides to the identical coin. Vendor agnosticism signifies that a SOAR resolution can work with any third-party SIEM, significantly reducing the dependency on a single platform and making migration significantly simpler, whether or not it’s switching out the SOAR or SIEM a part of an answer. 

The standalone high quality signifies that the SOAR resolution can fulfill its goal within the absence of SIEM. This facet permits SOAR to department into two extra use instances unavailable for built-in SIEM and SOAR options, immediately ingesting non-security occasions, and automating non-security duties.

Non-Safety Occasion Ingestion

Current developments point out that the remaining standalone SOAR distributors are discovering a method of side-stepping SIEM, with the choice of changing into the primary device for SOC analysts. Quite than counting on SIEM to ingest logs and generate alarms, some SOAR distributors are actually ingesting occasions immediately from the instruments that generate them. On this context, non-security occasions should not generated by a safety device akin to SIEM, XDR, firewall, or antivirus.

Whereas this situation sounds similar to SIEM’s log assortment performance, SOAR options don’t seize the whole lot, solely occasions akin to API calls, HTTP requests, or login makes an attempt. This strategy signifies that occasions are fewer and richer in comparison with logs, which suggests two issues:

  • SOAR is not going to have the identical situation of gathering, digesting, storing, and analyzing billions and trillions of logs as SIEM does.
  • SOAR is not going to present the identical degree of deep visibility that SIEM does. 

This skill to ingest occasions immediately and not using a dependency on SIEM doesn’t imply breaking away from SIEM altogether—the 2 options can proceed working collectively, particularly when their options are complementary. Nonetheless, it might be the case that SOAR options would provide a lighter and extra agile method for safety analysts to deal with incident response within the context of easier IT environments, akin to start-ups and different cloud-native and cloud-only organizations.

Non-Safety Automation

SOAR and drop the S to change into Orchestration, Automation, and Response. How is that this completely different from different IT workflow automation instruments? SOAR has been bred in a high-stakes setting and advantages from sturdy audit, compliance, governance, and, most significantly, belief. To not point out, an all-purpose SOAR can nonetheless perform its core safety features apart from the extra IT automation. 

As a multi-purpose device, (S)OAR can change into its personal class that blends IT automation and safety response. Including non-security-related features right into a SIEM would make little to no sense, that means that solely a standalone SOAR can play on this market. Sure, I can automate responses for the alerts generated by SIEM, however it may also be used for automated patch administration, making certain compliance, asset administration, and onboarding new workers.

A vendor akin to ServiceNow has a definite benefit contemplating their ITSM background and complete SOAR capabilities.

Exit Choices for Standalone SOAR Distributors

From a much less technical viewpoint, one seemingly motive we’ve seen so many acquisitions is that an acquisition is the probably exit for SOARs. Most of those start-ups have been acquired inside 5 to 10 years of inception. Are we prone to see an IPO from a SOAR-only vendor? The probably candidates are D3, Swimlane, and ThreatConnect, well-established gamers with lengthy tenure.

Maybe the reply to this stands inside the final two factors I made above for the non-security occasion ingestion and non-security automation. There are solely a handful of point-solution SOAR distributors that increase their capabilities to open up new use instances for his or her merchandise, which signifies that there are income streams that can not be tapped by adjoining options akin to SIEMs or IT workflow automation. 

Whether or not we’ll see a SOAR IPO or not, the near-future prognosis for the SOAR market is powerful, and no quantity of acquisitions will spell the tip of the standalone SOAR, as its inherent standalone and vendor-agnostic capabilities can’t be changed.

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