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What is SOAR? SOAR vs. SIEM

What is SOAR?

SOAR stands for security orchestration, automation, and response. SOAR seeks to alleviate the strain on IT teams by incorporating automated responses to a variety of events. A SOAR system can also be programmed to custom-fit an organization’s needs. This gives teams the ability to decide how SOAR can accomplish high-level objectives, such as saving time, reducing the number of IT staff, or freeing up current staff to engage in creative projects.

SOAR combines three software capabilities: the management of threats and vulnerabilities, responding to security incidents, and automating security operations. SOAR security, therefore, provides a top-to-bottom threat management system. Threats are identified and then a response strategy is implemented. The system is then automated—to the extent possible to make it run more efficiently. An effective SOAR system can be used as a valuable tool to alleviate the strain on IT teams.

What Is SIEM?

SIEM stands for security information and event management. It is an arrangement of services and tools that help a security team collect and analyze security data, as well as create policies and design notifications.

SIEM tools enable IT teams to:

  1. Use event log management to consolidate data from several sources
  2. Attain organization wide visibility in real time
  3. Correlate security events collected from logs using if-then rules to effectively add actionable intelligence to data
  4. Use automatic event notifications that can be managed via dashboards

SIEM combines the management of security information and security events. This is accomplished using real-time monitoring and the notification of system administrators.

To manage security information and events, a SIEM system uses the following:

  1. Data collection, consolidation, and correlation: Data across the system is collected into a central storehouse. This includes information from servers, firewalls, antivirus software, operating systems, and intrusion prevention systems. These are all set up to feed data into the SIEM system. Data is consolidated and correlated using log files of security events. Rules are set up to organize these issues, which aid the IT team in deciding which problems are the most legitimate.
  2. Notifications: Once a single event or an arrangement of events triggers a SIEM rule, the system issues a notification so security personnel can take action.
  3. Policies: The SIEM administrator creates a profile defining how enterprise systems behave. In the creation process, the organization’s system is analyzed when things are normal and during security incidents. The SIEM can then be used to set up rules, reports, alerts, and dashboards according to the organization’s specific security concerns.


Both SOAR and SIEM detect security issues and collect data regarding the nature of the problem. They also deal with notifications that security personnel can use to address concerns. However, there are significant differences between them.

What is SOAR? SOAR collects data and alerts security teams using a centralized platform similar to SIEM, but SIEM only sends alerts to security analysts. SOAR security, on the other hand, takes it a step further by automating the responses. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) to learn pattern behaviors, which enable it to predict similar threats before they happen. This makes it easier for IT security staff to detect and address threats.

The Investigation Advantage

While a SIEM solution merely sends an alert to the IT team when suspicious activity is detected, SOAR does more. With SOAR, the investigation path is automated. This reduces the amount of time it takes to handle alerts. With SIEM, even though alerts can be organized and categorized, the investigation has to happen manually. SOAR’s automation eliminates that step.

The SOAR Data Aggregation Advantage

While both SIEM and SOAR aggregate data, SOAR reaches farther and to a more diverse set of data sources. For example, SIEM can collect data from logs or events coming from the usual components in your IT infrastructure. SOAR can absorb that data, as well as information from external sources and endpoint security software. 

This makes SOAR a more comprehensive aggregation solution because it gathers information from more sources, helping to unify your security response across the network.

How Does SOAR Work?

SOAR’s individual components—orchestration, automation, and response—work together to ease the burden on an organization’s security teams.


A SOAR system enables cybersecurity and IT teams to combine efforts as they address the overall network environment in a more unified manner. The tools that SOAR uses can combine internal data and external information about threats. Teams can then use this information to ascertain the issues at the root of each security situation.


The automation features of SOAR set it apart from other security systems because they help eliminate the need for manual steps, which can be time-consuming and tedious. Security automation can accomplish a wide range of tasks, including managing user access and query logs. Automation can also be used as a tool for orchestration. As an orchestration solution, SOAR can automate tasks that would normally necessitate multiple security tools.


Both orchestration and automation provide the foundation for the response feature of a SOAR system. With SOAR, an organization can manage, plan, and coordinate how they react to a security threat. The automation feature of SOAR eliminates the risk of human error. This makes responses more accurate and cuts down on the amount of time it takes for security issues to be remedied.

Benefits of SOAR

  1. Meet budgetary needs: The growing number and type of threats present significant budget issues to enterprises. With each new threat, novel protocol has to be developed, and this may require hiring new people to manage the process. With each new type of cyberattack, an organization has to arrange for ways to analyze the data and develop systems of addressing the problem. This takes time, energy, and resources. But with SOAR, each facet of the approach is streamlined, and much of it can be automated, which conserves time and money.
  2. Enhance time management and efficiency: As time is saved through the use of a SOAR approach, productivity is bolstered. People on the team who would normally spend countless hours doing things that SOAR has automated can now invest their time in supporting other organizational objectives. With this comes a more efficient use of human resources. This can result in spending less time recruiting and hiring new staff because the current team can accomplish more.
  3. Manage incidents more effectively: Enterprises can also benefit when threats are dealt with more quickly. The SOAR infrastructure allows for faster response times, as well as more accurate interventions. Because fewer mistakes are made, less time has to be spent fixing problems. Human error is minimized, leading to an all-around more effective issue-management system.
  4. Flexibility: SOAR can be set up according to an organization’s specific needs. SOAR'S design enables it to change according to the needs of the existing security system. This means it can be adopted into your current setup without the need for a time-consuming or resource-heavy system redesign. SOAR can collect data from disparate sources, whether it comes from manual input, machines, or emails. The IT team can then decide how the data gets tracked according to what best fits the needs of the organization.
  5. Enhanced collaboration: As different types of threats are addressed by the central SOAR system, teams that would normally be handling these on an individual basis can collaborate around coming up with the best SOAR settings and automations. This can result in a more unified set of protocols, as well as empower IT teams to collaborate around innovative solutions.

How Fortinet Can Help

FortiSOAR incorporates all the features of a SOAR system in a way that allows your IT team—and entire organization—to function more effectively. The platform’s foundation are its modules. FortiSOAR has modules designed for vulnerability management, incident response, legal processes, automation, alerts, and more. FortiSOAR also empowers you to customize modules so they fit your organization's processes.

After clicking on a module, you gain access to all the fields available inside. You can limit who can see what using FortiSOAR’s role-based access control. Even if a user has access to a module, you can limit what they can see once inside the module itself.

FortiSOAR automates a variety of actions using playbooks. Each playbook can be set up to automate repeated response protocols to help your IT team and those it communicates with save time.

FortiSOAR also interacts with other applications using connectors. Each connector is designed to interface with an external program, and with hundreds of connectors (and growing), FortiSOAR is easily interfaced with applications that are currently part of your IT infrastructure. Because it can integrate all of your current applications, it can be a seamless addition to your current setup. Furthermore, the automation FortiSOAR uses can lighten the burden on your IT team.