SIEM vs SOAR: Which Security Solution is Best?

Security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) and security, information, and event management (SIEM) are cybersecurity tools that collect data to help IT security professionals protect a business’s network environment from cyber threats and vulnerabilities. Both SOAR and SIEM collect log and event data from applications and network devices, but each solution handles threats differently. 

Purpose of SOAR and SIEM

The purpose of SOAR and SIEM is to identify and mitigate any potential cyberattacks by taking specific actions to resolve and eliminate any cyber threats or vulnerabilities.

SOAR can be integrated with diverse IT systems and devices using application programming interfaces (APIs) to collect data. For example, SOAR can retrieve data from endpoint protection tools, firewalls, intrusion detections systems, and SIEM platforms. A SOAR platform collects data from multiple disparate IT devices and applications and takes a specific action using predictive analysis to avert a threat before it happens.

Comparatively, SIEM collects log and event data from server applications, network devices, and infrastructure components that can become security alerts on a centralized platform. This provides real-time analysis and security monitoring by a team of IT security professionals to investigate.

How does SOAR work?

SOAR is designed to minimize decision-making by a business’s IT security staff. It uses a three-step process to collect data from IT systems and devices:

  1. Orchestration: Allows the IT security staff to configure SOAR to collect information from internal and external sources about potential threats.
  2. Automation: Involves using security automation to help eliminate manual steps by automating any tedious tasks. SOAR can make recommendations and automate responses based on the provided information using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). This feature can also elevate any threat to IT security staff for action.
  3. Response: Responses are generated based on input from the Orchestration and Automation processes. SOAR allows a business to manage, plan, and coordinate its response to a security threat. With SOAR making immediate and accurate responses, it eliminates potential mistakes from human errors.

SOAR’s core activities are threat hunting and scanning SIEM data for vulnerabilities, suspicious activity, or abnormal behavior.

Vendors that offer a SOAR solution include:

How does SIEM work?

SIEM uses predetermined rules to assess a threat level and generate a report to the IT security team if a threshold is reached. For instance, a user trying to log into an account 15 times in 10 minutes will not trigger an alert, but an entity trying to log in 100 times in 15 minutes will trigger an alert.

SIEM collects and logs event data from applications, network and security devices, endpoint devices, malware activity, and failed logins. Once SIEM software identifies a potential threat, it creates alerts for the IT security team to investigate.

The following vendors provide SIEM software solutions:

Keep reading: Best SIEM Tools

Differences between SOAR and SIEM

SOAR and SIEM cybersecurity solutions can collect data from the same sources, though the SOAR range is broader, as it can collect data from external applications. The difference between SOAR and SIEM is based on what actions each kind of tool can take when it discovers a potential threat or vulnerability.

SOAR uses AI bots and playbooks customized to take a specific action once a threat has been identified. The customized activities are part of an automated workflow that records and tracks the steps to resolve an identified threat. This creates more efficiency in the incident response process.

On the other hand, SIEM uses pattern matching to generate alerts that the IT security staff can investigate. SIEM also uses AI technology to reduce the number of false positives that can distract security teams from addressing credible cybersecurity threats. However, a SIEM tool’s role stops at identifying a threat, whereas a SOAR platform takes the next step of helping administrators take action.

How are SIEM and SOAR different from extended detection and response (XDR)? Find out on eSecurity Planet.

SIEM vs. SOAR: Which solution is best for you?

SOAR tools are more robust with automated workflows that mitigate threats and make SecOps teams more efficient. However, a SOAR platform depends on SIEM data to effectively evaluate, validate, and respond to credible threats.

Both cybersecurity solutions effectively identify threats and vulnerabilities but have different resolution approaches. The best cybersecurity strategy for most businesses is one that leverages both solutions.

Read next: Best Threat Intelligence Tools

Don Hall
Don Hall
Don Hall has been employed as an IT Manager/Supervisor in the U.S. Government for over twenty years. He has managed programmers, cyber security, and infrastructure/networking personnel during his management career. Hall currently works as an IT Operations Officer that requires him to have general knowledge of various IT topics to assist his Command in making informed decisions or recommendations on behalf of the customers we support.

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