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Published August 18th, 2023 by Avigdor Book

In the face of evolving cyber threats, the concept of Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) has emerged as a critical tool in the cybersecurity landscape. At the heart of SOAR lies a crucial component – the playbook. Let’s unravel the power and potential of SOAR playbooks.

What are SOAR Playbooks?

In simple terms, SOAR playbooks are structured workflows that guide security teams through various procedures in an automated or semi-automated manner. These procedures could include anything from threat intelligence enrichment and phishing email detection, to incident response and remediation activities. Playbooks help reduce manual and repetitive tasks, thereby making security operations more efficient.

Why are SOAR Playbooks Important?

SOAR playbooks automate security operations, enabling quicker response times to security incidents. They can ingest threat intelligence from multiple sources, enrich the data, and act on threats such as malware or ransomware more efficiently. They also play a significant role in threat hunting, reducing false positives, and overall vulnerability management.

In short, SOAR playbooks are essential to maintaining a robust security posture.

SOAR Playbook vs Runbook: What’s the Difference?

While the terms ‘playbook’ and ‘runbook’ are often used interchangeably, there are subtle differences between them. Playbooks, as we’ve mentioned, are automated workflows within a SOAR platform, designed to streamline security operations.

On the other hand, a runbook generally refers to a set of manual procedures and operations that the security team follows. Runbooks can be considered as the precursors to playbooks, with many organizations transitioning from manual runbooks to automated playbooks to enhance their SOC effectiveness.

Examples of SOAR Playbooks

Let’s consider a simple SOAR playbook example for a common use case: phishing attacks. When a potential phishing email is detected, the playbook can automatically extract indicators of compromise (IOCs) such as IP addresses and hashes, cross-verify these IOCs with threat intelligence platforms like VirusTotal, and triage the threat accordingly.

Another example could be a malware detection playbook, which upon detecting potential malware, could quarantine the affected endpoint, notify stakeholders, and initiate further investigation.

Crafting Effective SOAR Playbooks

Creating an effective SOAR playbook requires a deep understanding of your security operations, potential threats, and the desired outcomes of automating your workflows. Start by identifying repetitive tasks and processes that can be automated. Next, define clear metrics to measure the effectiveness of your playbook, such as response times and false positive rates.

Remember, the goal of your playbook should not just be automation for the sake of automation. It should be to enhance your security team’s efficiency and your organization’s overall cybersecurity stance.

Tufin and SOAR Playbooks

Tufin’s integrations with SOAR platforms, such as the Cortex XSOAR integration, Swimlane integration, and QRadar SOAR integration, provide a seamless way for security teams to deploy and manage playbooks.

Our previous blog on optimizing SOCs with SOAR platforms elaborates on how Tufin can help enhance your SOAR implementation.


1. What is a playbook in SOAR?

A playbook in SOAR is a pre-defined sequence of actions or processes automated to streamline security operations. These actions might include threat intelligence enrichment, incident response, or remediation activities.

To learn more about Streamlining the Process for Enhanced cybersecurity, read our blog post on Automated Incident Response

2. What is the difference between a SOAR and a playbook?

SOAR stands for Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response. It is a collection of integrated tools that enable automation and orchestration of various cybersecurity tasks. A playbook, on the other hand, is a component of SOAR which automates specific workflows or tasks within the security operations framework.

For a deeper dive into SOAR and its applications, consider checking out our detailed article about optimizing SOCs with SOAR platforms.

3. What are SOAR runbooks and playbooks?

In the context of SOAR, runbooks and playbooks are sets of pre-defined procedures that security teams follow to manage security incidents. While runbooks are generally manual, playbooks are automated or semi-automated, thus streamlining the process and saving valuable time.

We discuss how automating and orchestrating through SOAR is revolutionizing the way security operations are performed in our blog post on The Value-Add of Combining SOAR With Existing Security Technologies. Be sure to check it out!

Wrapping Up

Curious to know how Tufin helps streamline security operations and improve the efficiency of incident response workflows? Through our multiple SOAR integrations, Tufin seeks to empower organizations to leverage the full potential of SOAR playbooks. Schedule a demo with us today to learn more!

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