Automating SOC Alert Fatigue and Burnout with ULTRA-Playbooks

In the past decade, we have seen drastic changes in how cybercriminals carry out their attacks and how we run our businesses. Cybercriminals continue to capitalize on new technology to execute more sophisticated and dangerous cyber breaches, while the remote workplace revolution has dominated nearly every industry. However, these same businesses have made a few significant changes regarding network security and sensitive asset protection. In other words, cybercriminals are making leaps and bounds in advancing their cyber-attack tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), while network defense strategies still need to grow. “The more things change, the more they stay the same,” If businesses want to experience the same level of network defense they’ve enjoyed for decades, business leaders must make significant network security changes. One of these primary changes is transitioning from the archaic, human labor-based approach to mobilizing an automated strategy, relying on new technology to improve cybersecurity efficiency, organizational morale, and industry contentedness. This blog will introduce the advantages of mobilized automated vulnerability management platforms over human labor-based counterparts and their profound impact on the cybersecurity industry.

Security Operations Centers (SOCs) have historically been understaffed and used human analysts to focus on and execute incident response tasks. These SOCs comprise highly educated and sought-after professionals with unique skill sets. However, as we discussed, with the sheer volume of incident notifications growing astonishingly, SOC analysts now find themselves drowned in work. 60% of SOC analysts have reported dramatically increased workloads in the last year alone. Furthermore, most of the work modern analysts find themselves doing could be more mindful, routine analysis of Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) rather than strategic, higher-quality work to which highly skilled analysts are better suited. A significant consequence of these attitudes is burnout and disillusionment due to “alert fatigue” from analyzing too many false positives. Most analysts claim that reporting, monitoring, and detecting security breaches are the least preferred aspects of their job, yet also the ones they perform the most often. These truths cause unnecessary frustration and cause analysts to resent their careers to the point where they consider abandonment. 64% of SOC analysts have claimed to have plans to choose a new career path in the next twelve months. To ice this cake of constant bad news, using human analysts for this routine, monotonous work isn’t even a remotely effective strategy for incident response. Endless, mind-numbing work is prone to errors and inaccuracies that could cost companies millions in the long run. However, companies do not need to be doomed to invest in highly skilled yet ineffective human capital platforms, as giving SOCs the right tools can have inconsequential benefits, which we will now discuss.

As we discussed, SOC teams are typically understaffed but comprise niche, highly competent workers who are better suited for planning and analysis type work rather than tedious, never-ending incident response work. With that said, nearly all analysts believe the mundane, routine bulk of their work could easily be replaced with automated systems. Therefore, SOC managers must seek to mobilize and develop code-written automated processes to streamline their incident response platforms. Mobilizing automated SOC platforms will free up countless person-hours for SOC personnel. This saves organizations millions of dollars per year and saves SOC analysts dozens of hours daily to focus on higher-quality work, such as updating operational documentation, developing advanced detection rules, integrating more systems and logs, and concentrating on intelligence to decrease false positives. Consequently, workplace morale and satisfaction will skyrocket when SOC analysts use their ingenuity and creativity skills rather than mindlessly sifting through countless IOCs.

Utilizing an automated threat management response system will create inconsequential advantages for SOCs. A fully mobilized automated IOC analysis platform will identify true IOCs with far greater accuracy, dramatically slash operational costs, utilize far fewer resources, further develop the skill sets of current personnel, create a much healthier, more inspired work environment, and, most importantly, minimize alert fatigue and burnout. As a result of mobilized automation platforms, vulnerability analysts, who are required to be highly skilled code developers, will have much more time available to develop further automated platforms to innovate them with changes in demands and scope as needed. In the long run, this will be yet another valuable investment in human talent, as the future of successful SOC performance will directly depend on the ability to code in computer forensic techniques.

This is why ULTRA RED is eradicating alert fatigue and analyst burnout with its purpose-built solution based on Gartner’s Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) powered by automation that mobilizes security teams to take immediate action on combating cyber threats.

Introducing ULTRA-RED’s ULTRA-Playbooks:

Integration Using APIs

Automating processes using web APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) is a powerful way to streamline workflows, eliminate manual errors, and save time and resources. Essentially, a web API allows different software applications to communicate and exchange data with each other over the internet, making it possible to automate tasks and processes seamlessly.

In the context of our cyber security solution, integrating with existing automated routines can be achieved through the use of web APIs, enabling them to trigger actions and receive notifications in real time. This can allow for seamless integration of our security solution with our users' existing workflows and tools.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Playbooks can I create when I find a new threat vector? 

  • Generate new report.
  • Send to SOAR for incident response.
  • Send Slack message.
  • Create ServiceNow/Jira issue.

What Playbooks can I create when a new asset is discovered? 

  • Assign & scan asset.
  • Apply Firewall policy/rules.
  • Send to WHOIS to get more information.
  • Enrich with more information from other sources.
  • Send Slack message.

What Playbooks can I create when outdated technology or a software update is detected? 

  • Automatically install update/patch.
  • Get vendor information.
  • Create ServiceNow/Jira issue.

What Playbooks can I create when a new asset is enriched with data? 

  • Auto-Renew SSL certificate.
  • Analyze sensitive input field.
  • Create ServiceNow/Jira issue.

Business leaders desire the same network security standards they have enjoyed over the past two decades. In this case, they must be aware of the changes in the cybercriminal world and implement the appropriate internal changes to match their rogue counterparts. Adopting and mobilizing a fully automated incident detection and response platform for their SOC teams to streamline processes, decrease burnout, increase retention, and create a better overall work environment is undoubtedly the best place to start. There is no better strategy to improve threat detection and response efficiency while also improving workplace morale than to mobilize fully automated SOC tools. If you want to learn more about adopting automated systems for your business, please contact Ultra Red to learn more about industry-leading systems.