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Ticketing Automation: Harness the SOAR to reduce the workloads

Ticketing Automation

Companies are increasingly looking to replace their old manual ticketing system with a ticketing automation system. 

Indeed, Ticket management in IT and cybersecurity is central. Ticketing is the process of tracking, managing, and resolving requests and incidents. Focusing on cybersecurity, we’re talking about tickets registering alerts generated by your security tool-stack. It’s usually carried out thanks to a help desk software solution. 

The market for these help desk software solutions is growing fast, and the rate of tickets is piling up on the analyst front desk. As the alerts increase in number, tickets multiply. The same goes for their complexity, often requiring further investigation and other manual tasks to be thoroughly handled. A top-of-the-notch held desk solution can only do so much when it comes to streamlining the different sources needed to manage tickets.

This is where the need for an efficient ticket management system finds answers within the SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response). SOAR’s unique Automation and Integration capabilities as a Service are crucial to streamline, organize, and prioritize your help desk requests tickets. 

Below, we’ll look at the following points: 

Current Ticketing Management systems often implies tedious and repetitive tasks

There are multiple factors that make a proper functioning ticket management system a challenging task in cybersecurity and IT. 

Take the ticket routing (or assignment), for instance. In companies sometimes, there are no rules to determine how incidents tickets are assigned to agents or teams. Agents take the tickets as they appear, with no regard for their knowledge and skills. This system can also make agents avoid tickets deemed too challenging or requiring a more significant amount of work at first sight. 

Besides that, manual ticket routing is also time-consuming and not productive. Time lost could be spent somewhere else, significantly when the flow of tickets is growing. 

Once the ticket has been created, there’s the enrichment issue. Most of the time, the original alerts need further investigation to qualify as a true positive or false positive or even to look if they’re duplicates. Such a ticketing system would mean that the analyst in charge of the ticket would have to undertake the enrichment process manually. With varied sources of intelligence and information, the analyst quickly multiplies the tabs even if they just want to check the litigious URL in a database like VirusTotal, for instance. 

Why Ticketing automation

Ultimately, although tasks undergone to determine the nature of the alert aren’t complex per se, the time and efforts needed to complete these are too great. 

If incidents were sparse, this manual system would hold. But, as the incidents are multiplying exponentially in recent years, most ticketing systems are drowned in the incident tickets piling up. It creates a dangerous state, where analysts cannot ingest the flow of tickets and even determine their criticality, leaving potential loopholes undetected and unprocessed for days

Long story short, risk, risk, and risk.

On top of that, the elasticity of the cyber professionals’ workforce is a known issue. In 2021, there’s a gap of 3.1 million workers. One could argue that companies need to hire more analysts. The truth is that there are first not enough talents to recruit. Second, these jobs aren’t attractive and prone to a high turnover besides generating loads of stress. Third, it’s just not the way to go! You’re not resolving the core issues by recruiting more and more people. It’s the processes that are the issue. They’re the ones that need to change. 

The answer to these challenges is ticketing automation via a no-code SOAR. 

The Benefits of Ticketing Automation, thanks to the SOAR capabilities

Using a tool like Mindflow, creating a ticketing automation system isn’t a task that complex, thanks to its no-code approach to cybersecurity. With the right tool, this can be implemented shortly in your company for immediate benefits. Take the creation/deletion of tickets or their enrichment through each use case; there are multiple benefits you can expect from automation. 

Below, we’ll look at some of them. 

Automatically assign tickets – When creating playbooks, you’re able to define which agents will be given on this use case. With ticketing automation, tickets are created and assigned directly to an agent or the employee concerned and notified via an internal messaging platform. As such, the assignment is automatic; there’s no gatekeeper directing tickets to other agents in the team. 

For example, a playbook on malicious logins attempts can automatically create the incident ticket and escalate it to a determined agent.

Create and close tickets automatically – Sometimes, the employee concerned by the incident wouldn’t answer the agent asking for details for various reasons. Leaving these tickets open forever can lead to an accumulation and disturb the system’s proper functioning. Ticketing automation through playbooks enables agents in charge of ticketing management to predetermine callbacks and incident closing cases of tickets after the investigation is handled if the alert is deemed false positive. 

As such, the number of tickets, more than often artificially magnified by the sheer amount of false positives and duplicates, is reduced, which helps to keep the incident ticket queues low and clean.

Enrichment – Most of the time, the incident reported by the ticket needs further investigation to be correctly assessed by the agents in charge. As we said above, it often leads to the multiplication of the panes of glass and ends up being a time-consuming task. Before being escalated to the agent assigned, the ticket can be enriched in various ways. The playbook can provide steps to cross-check the artifacts collected with other sources listing known Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) and gathering additional information, such as threat reports. 

This way, agents in charge take over an already investigated ticket and decide to proceed with the workflow further.  

Triage and hierarchization of most urgent tickets – Some incident tickets don’t require an immediate response. Some are, on the contrary, urgent matters. Detecting which tickets report a critical incident requiring prompt investigation and remediation is essential for any cybersecurity team. Thanks to the SOAR capabilities, the designated playbook can automatically enrich artifacts first collected in the initial ticket. An incident criticality scale can be issued by interrogating Threat Intelligence feeds or private databases to push forward the most critical and urgent tickets to handle first.  

Weekends and holidays – Often, one agent in the security team has the knowledge and skills to handle the ticketing system. Simply put, the system runs on the shoulders of one agent who cannot support it 24/7. Should this agent leave or take holidays, the system’s functioning would be impacted, and risks arise. Ticketing automation is a way to extend the ability to handle the processes to other agents. A SOAR like Mindflow eases the creation, investigation, and handling of reported incidents. More, combining all of the benefits above, less urgent matters can be put on hold to allow most urgent ones to be processed quicker.

Ticketing Automation

Reduce ticket response and resolution time  We’ve seen that ticketing automation provides a varied array of benefits: triage and hierarchization, automatic enrichment, assignment, and creation/deletion.

Combining these ultimately accelerates the time needed to process each ticket while reducing the chances of human error thanks to better information and consistency of handling repetitive tasks via automated processes. Incident tickets, after being triaged and hierarchized, thus get better-informed responses faster. The pile of unanswered incidents diminishes, and the risks associated as well.  

Conclusion

Facing a dynamic threat landscape, where incidents are multiplying quickly, ticket management systems often come short as they still heavily rely on manual tasks executed by understaffed teams. Agents have to undergo tedious and time-consuming tasks on increasingly diverse tools, sometimes lacking semantic awareness regarding other tools in their security stack. The inadequacy of these ticketing systems with the threat landscape threatens your agents’ productivity and increases the risks that breaches go unnoticed for an extended period. 

Use Mindflow’s unique integration capabilities and pre-built actions to infuse automation in your ticket processes in cybersecurity incident response, IT workflows, and more. Create an incident ticket by simply invoking your helpdesk in a playbook and enriching it by adding multiple sources of information, without any line of code typed, from a single platform.

Effective ticketing automation improves your incident and change management processes’ speed, quality, and throughput.

Paul-Arthur Jonville

CEO of Mindflow. I share our thoughts and vision about cybersecurity and how Mindflow can answer current issues on this blog.

About Mindflow

Mindflow is an agnostic and no-code SOAR making cybersecurity more accessible to face current challenges. It aims to break silos between technologies and teams, following Fusion center and Cybersecurity Mesh concepts.

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