Have basic questions about Security ChatOps? Read our FAQ blog to get a quick primer on the concept and its benefits.
There is a groundswell of momentum building around ChatOps and its applications in cybersecurity. The ability to converse with other analysts, leverage chatbots, run live security commands, and document actions – all in one platform – enables SOCs to drastically reduce resolution times while also increasing the overall quality and accuracy of investigation.
Here, we’ll focus on one of the main benefits that ChatOps is known to provide: an increase in workplace transparency and accountability.
Before ChatOps – Punching in the dark
Currently, security analysts balk at collaborating on incident response because of the tiresome housekeeping that comes with it. Information sharing across analysts is done through email or ticketing solutions, creating unproductive back-and-forth exchanges and tab congestion. Tracking IR flows and processes for future incidents is taxing and often done on paper. Retrospectively searching for task ownership and accountability is a futile exercise amidst all the clutter.
This piecemeal collaboration results in:
Stagnating analyst skill-sets: Since it’s quicker and more economical to resolve incidents in silos, analysts rarely learn from each other to improve their skill-sets or conduct joint investigations by combine their proficiencies.
Sub-optimal investigation processes: Once standardized, automated triage and enrichment is out of the way, analysts typically have unique go-to lists and orders of security commands that they run. Since these investigations take place in isolation and don’t feed into a central intelligence database for knowledge management, similar incidents can end up having different, sub-optimal investigation processes.
Uncertain accountability: While audit trails and user monitoring are present for standardized response tasks, interactive investigation processes usually lack the same level of granularity because of the wide gamut of platforms they occur on. With investigation comments spread ticket chains, email threads, and collaboration tools such as Slack, it becomes a taxing exercise to collate all pertinent information in a central location.
These drawbacks eventually result in SOCs that plateau in their ability to reduce alert fatigue, improve end-to-end investigation efficiency, and stem business risk.
After ChatOps – Let there be light
ChatOps helps meet and conquer these challenges of collaboration. When a team of analysts converses and investigates in a single window, every chat, action, and command is tracked and visible to all parties. This provides full transparency to both analysts and any external stakeholders with access who want to view progress. It’s also easier to track accountability and link ownership of tasks with specific analysts, aiding measurement and making successful tasks repeatable.
Using ChatOps has the following benefits with respect to security team transparency and accountability:
Analysts learn from each other: ChatOps facilitates visibility of all analyst actions and comments on one window without any decrease in efficiency. Thus, analysts can conduct speedy joint investigations by synergizing their strengths and work on their weak points by learning from their colleagues.
Leaner response processes: In addition to facilitating proactive analyst learning, ChatOps also helps realize a central knowledge database of analyst actions, commands, and conversations. This database ensures that SOCs are not hit hard by sudden personnel losses and that expertise – in its rawest form – is retained within the organization. Moreover, statistical and machine learning algorithms applied to this database can result in useful insights on the analyst-level and command-level metrics, which allows both the platform and its users to get smarter with every incident.
Granular accountability: A well-functioning ChatOps platform is a dream for auditing and compliance teams. Auto-documentation of all incident actions helps SOCs meet stringent regulations and have compliance data ready at the time of review. SOC managers can also study this data to assign task-level accountability to analysts, eliminate investigation rework, and foster a transparent, collaborative environment.
What other benefits do you think stem from the increased transparency afforded by Security ChatOps? Leave a comment below and let’s start a conversation!
If you’re interested in validating the fitment of Security ChatOps for your SOC, download the Security ChatOps Readiness Checklist below and find out if ChatOps can help your security posture.