SIEM vs. SOAR: What's the Difference?

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) share a great deal. However, each ultimately serves a distinct purpose. Understanding the difference between the two is crucial in planning your security strategy.

SIEM provides incident data to SOCs. The technology plays an important role in threat monitoring and response, combining log data from Security Event Management (SEM) and data analysis from Security Information Management (SIM). Although some SIEM platforms are capable of applying machine learning and behavioral analytics to their monitoring, this is ultimately not their intended purpose. 

Their core function, above all else, is to generate and send incident alerts to security teams for investigation and remediation. Although SIEM solutions allow for the management and categorization of alerts, security staff typically handle this manually. In addition to less time spent dealing with threats, this can contribute to notification fatigue. 

SOAR solutions comprise a system of integrated technologies and tools designed to help security teams automate their data collection, threat analysis, and incident response processes. Since SOAR typically consists of multiple cybersecurity solutions operating in unison, its use cases are pretty broad. With that said, SOAR solutions typically specialize in proactively coordinating, automating, and prioritizing threat detection and remediation. 

Leveraging SOAR allows personnel to focus on tackling more complex issues and mitigating more sophisticated threats while also ensuring Security Operations Centers (SOCs) have advanced warning of possible incidents.  

What’s the Difference Between SIEM and SOAR?

SOAR, in many ways, represents a direct evolution of SIEM technology. Both collect and aggregate threat intelligence from multiple sources, and both are designed to streamline an organization’s response to security incidents. Some vendors have even begun using the terms interchangeably, while many SIEM vendors have started incorporating SOAR-like capabilities.

The two are not interchangeable, however.

SOAR solutions collect more data, incorporating real-time information and drawing on multiple external and third-party sources. They also do much more with the collected data, providing contextualized alerts and a predefined investigation path for security teams. SOAR platforms can also leverage playbooks to incorporate even more advanced automation, leveraging machine learning to grow more effectively. 

Finally, SIEM generates security alerts while SOAR intelligently manages and prioritizes those alerts. 

What’s Better: SIEM or SOAR?

Although you might expect SOAR to be classed as superior to SIEM, the reality is that both solutions are at their best when deployed in tandem. With this setup, the SIEM platform provides alerts and notifications about potential incidents, while the SOAR platform contextualizes those alerts and applies remediation measures as necessary. With that said, if you must choose one or the other, then SOAR is the clear winner: It has a more comprehensive focus, more advanced functionality, and better management and prioritization of incidents and alerts, ultimately allowing it to do a much better job reducing the workload of your security team. 

Businesses large and small contend with a growing number of devices, each adding to attack surfaces. At the same time, most enterprises face a cybersecurity skill gap and resources shortages. Cybersecurity staffing is particularly troublesome for small and mid-sized businesses.

As a human-centric subscription-based 24x7x365 Managed XDR service, CylanceGUARD® provides the expertise and support businesses need. CylanceGUARD combines the comprehensive expertise embodied by BlackBerry Cybersecurity Services with AI-based Endpoint Protection (EPP) through CylancePROTECT®, continuous authentication and analytics through CylancePERSONA, and on-device threat detection and remediation through CylanceOPTICS®. In short, CylanceGUARD provides business with the people and technology needed to protect the enterprise from the modern threat landscape.