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What is the difference Between Security Orchestration and Security Automation?

Posted on: March 05, 2021

The success of security teams is measured in terms of their efficiency and time-to-response. However, it’s difficult to integrate security teams, tools, and systems in a way that simplifies detection, incident response, and remediation processes.

One of the most strenuous tasks is to amalgamate all the alert details to analyze if an event is a genuine threat, along with coordinating data and harmonizing the relevant response. That’s why there must be connected security systems, efficient processes, and collaborative teams. With the advent of emerging technologies, security teams need to embrace an approach to be more agile. This is where security orchestration and security automation come in.

What is Security Orchestration?


The huge volumes of output generated from modern-day security tools tend to cause alert fatigue among security teams often leading to missed intrusions. With security orchestration, security teams can handle the data flow and tasks such as monitoring SIEM alerts by integrating processes and tools into an automated workflow. Security orchestration is a technique to connect and integrate different security systems and tools. Basically, it is the connected layer that smoothens security processes and drives security automation.

By connecting tools, systems, and processes together, a security orchestration solution allows security teams to leverage automation when required, and obtain more value out of their people, processes, and technologies. Furthermore, security teams can get rid of time-consuming, manual processes and rather substitute them with informed decision-making and quicker responses. 

In simpler words, orchestration is the machine-based coordination between different interdependent security incidents across a complex infrastructure. It harmonizes incident investigation, response, and remediation. Furthermore, it eradicates the need for security teams to sift through disparate systems, putting everything in one place.

A security orchestration solution gathers data from a wide range of sources to provide comprehensive insights into the threat landscape. This allows the security teams to shift their focus from handling alerts to investigating the cause behind the incidents. Security orchestration provides all the critical data at everyone’s fingertips, making processes such as collaboration, problem-solving, and remediation more effective. Ultimately, it strengthens an organization’s security posture, allowing its security team to automate complex processes.


What is Security Automation? 


Security automation refers to the automatic handling of tasks in a cybersecurity system. Security automation automatically handles the time-intensive tasks, so that security teams can orchestrate their tools together, leveraging streamlined workflows or playbooks to automate entire processes. This means when a security issue occurs, the workflows quickly start working, coordinating data between tools, carrying out extensive investigations, escalating alerts, and helping in the response.

With automation, several low-value tasks that security teams spend their time on can be handled without human intervention, enabling them to strategically and proactively protect their organization from emerging threats.

Whether it’s alert fatigue, operational inefficiencies, slower response times, or lack of security talent, security teams today look forward to embracing automation to fill these gaps. With the help of security automation solutions, teams can perform security processes across their infrastructure in no time. 

Security Orchestration Vs Security Automation


Often the terms security orchestration and automation are used almost interchangeably in the cybersecurity domain. However, both these terms have entirely different meanings and objectives. 

With security automation, security teams can automate various tasks within a single system or product, but security orchestration is needed to automate multiple tasks or processes between other tools, systems, or products. 

While security automation is preparing a single security operations task to run on its own, without manual efforts, security orchestration is making use of several automation tasks over one or more platforms. This implies that automation functions are part of the overall orchestration process, which includes larger, more complex tasks and scenarios. Basically, orchestration refers to the automated management and coordination of systems, services, and middleware. Security orchestration utilizes different automated and semi-automated tasks to execute a complex workflow or process, and these can comprise various systems or automated tasks.

Orchestration streamlines and optimizes repeatable security processes and ensures proper execution of tasks. Whenever processes become repeatable and tasks can be automated, security orchestration can be applied to optimize the processes and remove redundancies.

The Fusion of Security Orchestration and Security Automation


Both security orchestration and security automation provide benefits of their own. However, these benefits can be augmented by leveraging both the concepts together in a Cyber Fusion Center. When combined, they help to minimize alert fatigue, accelerate incident response times, improve investigation accuracy, reduce risk to the business, and save time and cost.  

By combining processes and tools in a streamlined manner, security teams can free up their time to focus on more strategic and valuable work. With orchestration and automation applied to cybersecurity operations, security teams can truly stay ahead by quickly and more accurately responding to threats.

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