Security operations managers across different industries often face similar challenges when it comes to managing and responding to security incidents. These challenges arise from the complexity and diversity of security tools and data, the increasing number of data sources, and the lack of centralized visibility and actionability. To address these issues, a unified security operations approach is essential.
Unified security operations play a crucial role in supporting busy Security Operations Centers (SOCs) by preventing analyst fatigue and attrition. By adopting a unified approach, SOC teams can proactively detect and respond to threats, automate repetitive tasks, and optimize resource allocation to focus on the most critical events.
What are the benefits of unified security operations?
Splunk Mission Control, available to Splunk Enterprise Security customers, allows security operations teams to unify threat detection, investigation, and response capabilities and data, simplify operations with response templates, and modernize their SOC with embedded security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR). Splunk Mission Control takes the best features of Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk SOAR, and Splunk Threat Intelligence Management and puts them into a single work surface, which enables analysts to understand the full picture of security insights and trends, quickly detect and triage what matters most, investigate threats, and respond intelligently and consistently.
With multiple processes centralized to a single view, organizations can address key use cases such as:
- Centralized security operations
- Threat detection and response
- Automated incident response
- Collaboration and case management
- Threat intelligence integration
A security analyst can easily work bi-directionally across Splunk Enterprise Security and Splunk SOAR through Splunk Mission Control to pivot less between consoles. This reduces mean time to detect (MTTD) and respond (MTTR) to security incidents with the contextual information needed to quickly assess and take action.
Unified security operations in action
Let’s work through an example investigation from the perspective of a SOC analyst. You are a skilled and dedicated SOC (Security Operations Center) analyst with a passion for searching out and unraveling complex security incidents to protect your organization.
As your day starts, you notice an anomalous spike in network traffic on one of the critical AWS retail website servers. You open Splunk Mission Control and immediately identify an incident created that might possibly be linked to this anomaly. Using the Incident review page, you are able to quickly perform triage of this event and see that it's marked as a high-priority incident that needs a deeper look.
To launch an investigation, you assign yourself as the incident owner, and update the incident's status to In progress. Navigating the incident interface, you examine the contributing events from Splunk Enterprise Security correlation searches that identified an unusual volume of network connections to your server's IP address.
Examining events using Splunk Mission Control
You come across a few interesting Splunk Enterprise Security events, which you attach to the Splunk Mission Control incident using the Event Actions menu.
As you review these events, one containing the endpoint detection and response (EDR) data reveals indicators of a potential malware infection. Recognizing the growing urgency, you take action by applying a malware response template and initiating Phase 1 tasks for triage and assessment.
Running automated response with Splunk Mission Control playbooks
Leveraging the automated playbooks in Splunk Mission Control, you initiate an anti-malware course of action. This playbook efficiently utilizes your organization's security tools to contain the affected system, remove it from the server pool, and conduct a comprehensive scan for additional signs of compromise. It also uses threat intelligence to enrich newly-discovered artifacts.
As the playbook progresses through automated actions, Splunk Mission Control provides real-time updates and correlates threat intelligence data. It uncovers that the malware is part of a known campaign targeting retail organizations.
In the second phase of the response template, you start to leverage Splunk Mission Control's collaborative features. You trigger incident response workflows to escalate the incident to the Incident Response (IR) team and notify SOC and NOC management of the event. With unified investigation and collaboration in Splunk Mission Control, you run a complete plan to assess the events, contain the incident, eradicate the malware, and strengthen defenses against future attacks.
By working through this event using Splunk Mission Control, security operations analysts gain the power to identify threats, respond promptly, and collaborate seamlessly. The automation and orchestration capabilities save critical time, enabling a focus on the most critical tasks. This smart and efficient approach addresses many of the challenging use cases that SOC managers aim to tackle.
Analysts today are expected to respond to threats known and unknown, working twenty-four hours a day across teams, tools, and time zones. Adding more screens often means a higher chance of missing something. What analysts need is incident response, both centralized and customizable. They also need better instant search capability and point-and-click response in the same place as detection.
Using Splunk Mission Control, available to Splunk Enterprise Security customers, you can unify your security operations to shift your operational focus from minutia to mission. Among the valuable features in Splunk Mission Control are:
- An incident review dashboard
- Embedded investigative searches and automation workflows for enrichment and remediation
- An integration with Splunk Enterprise Security for identity enrichment and threat intelligence frameworks
- An integration with Splunk Threat Intelligence Management to provide additional context and enrichment to investigations
- Response plans that provide guided actions to ensure that incidents are handled with consistency and follow best practices
- Audit trails of your actions
- Embedded SPL into searches to speed up investigation times
Watch the following video to see a demonstration of using Splunk Mission Control to investigate a PowerShell threat.
Get even more value through implementing use cases, or for additional information see some of these great resources: