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Custom Playbooks: Optimize Incident Response with Automated Workflows

Develop scenario-driven response frameworks that match your organization’s unique security needs. 

Automation gives small security teams the ability to compete with much larger ones. Ultimately, that’s the kind of performance end users demand. Security expectations remain high regardless of how large or complex your organization is – and it’s up to security leaders to meet those expectations. 

Optimized workflows are an important part of this process. Once your security team establishes an efficient incident response workflow, it can automate the workflow into a self-contained custom playbook. These playbooks are a core feature of well-designed Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) platforms. 

How Playbooks Optimize Incident Response 

Without comprehensive incident response playbooks, analysts must address every security incident on a case-by-case basis. That puts analysts on the defensive, constantly reacting to evolving threats. New threats arise constantly, so analysts rarely get to proactively improve the scalability or efficiency of the organization’s security tech stack. 

Security threats follow predictable patterns of their own. Security teams that learn to recognize these patterns don’t have to manually block each individual step in the attack kill chain. Instead, they can configure preset response workflows that match the attack scenario in question and launch the entire sequence of responses as a single action.  

That predetermined sequence of actions is what an incident response playbook essentially is. With Exabeam, the process behind triggering an incident response playbook looks something like this: 

  1. Exabeam detects a security event that meets the conditions for triggering a playbook. It looks up the user and grabs all log data related to the event from Data Lake. 
  2. The system connects to third-party technologies according to its pre-programmed response workflow. It can trigger the playbook autonomously or wait for analyst approval before launching. 
  3. The playbook is now ready to execute. Depending on the specifics, execution might mean generating endpoint alerts, locking compromised accounts, or using XDR technology to neutralize unauthorized processes entirely. 
  4. Exabeam captures data throughout this process, allowing security professionals to analyze the results and act accordingly. 

Exabeam enables analysts to leverage both automated and semi-automated workflows. The challenging part is building an accurate model of how various attack scenarios play out in the real world. 

Why Custom Playbooks Make a Difference 

Exabeam comes with a library of incident response playbooks designed for out-of-the-box functionality. However, there are limits to how accurately default playbooks can address real-world needs.  

Your organization has its own IT architecture and a risk profile influenced by a wide range of unique factors. The technologies and processes you rely on make you different from any other organization. To truly manage security risks for your organization, you must adapt incident response scenarios to your organization’s specific needs. 

That means crafting and deploying customized incident response playbooks that address the risks and vulnerabilities unique to your organization. It might mean using one of Exabeam’s Turnkey Playbooks as a starting point and expanding its capabilities to optimize incident response automation for the types of threat scenarios your organization is likely to face. 

Example of an Exabeam Turnkey Playbook 

Source: Exabeam 

This enables organizations to take their security processes one step further than what pre-configured Turnkey Playbooks otherwise allow. Not only can you deploy automated incident response workflows in a self-contained system, but you can also configure those workflows to meet specific security needs unique to your organization. 

Deploy Advanced Solutions for Improved Incident Response 

There are several ways Castra can help you use custom playbooks to improve incident response across multiple threat scenarios: 

  • Enrich and distribute alerts effectively. Customized alert enrichment allows analysts to prioritize high-severity alerts and spend less time on false positives. Distributed alerting can improve collaboration and reduce user experience friction for busy analysts. 
  • Customize escalation pathways. Some threats need input from a specific stakeholder or administrator. Custom escalation pathways can ensure alerts get sent to the right people as quickly as possible, reducing delays and streamlining incident resolution. 
  • Deploy comprehensive containment policies. Automate low-risk actions like resetting passwords, running antivirus scans, and verifying the block status of suspicious hosts and IP addresses. Take immediate action to contain threats without waiting for an analyst to investigate. 
  • Incorporate proactive threat hunting. Incorporate threat intelligence data directly, without requiring analysts to run time-consuming manual queries to public databases. Provide analysts with direct insight into emerging threats so they can respond accordingly. 

Enhance your Response Capabilities with Castra 

Make Castra your managed detection and response partner to streamline your organization’s incident response capabilities. Our team can help you configure and deploy highly customized playbooks that directly address your security needs.

Schedule a demo to find out how we can leverage our SIEM expertise to help you automate incident response effectively.