Uncover hidden risks

Watch how the Wiz platform can expose unseen risks in your cloud environment without drowning your team in alerts.

Cloud Investigation and Response Automation (CIRA)

Cloud investigation and response automation (CIRA) harnesses the power of advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and automation to provide organizations with real-time insights into potential security incidents within their cloud environments

6 minutes read

Cloud investigation and response automation (CIRA) harnesses the power of advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and automation to provide organizations with real-time insights into potential security incidents within their cloud environments. By leveraging sophisticated data analysis techniques and machine learning (ML) algorithms, CIRA enables proactive threat detection, empowering organizations to stay ahead of cyber threats.

At its core, CIRA is designed to address cloud infrastructure's unique challenges. Unlike traditional on-premises environments, cloud environments are characterized by their dynamic nature, with resources being provisioned and de-provisioned on demand. This dynamic nature complicates monitoring and securing cloud environments, and CIRA fills the gap by offering a holistic approach to incident detection and response that’s tailored specifically to cloud environments.

Why you should care about CIRA

As cybercriminals adopt newer technologies, it has become more challenging than ever for organizations to stay ahead of potential security threats. With organizations increasingly migrating their infrastructure to the cloud, there’s a clear need for a more sophisticated and automated approach to incident response. 

The biggest names in the industry agree that traditional incident response methods often fall short in addressing the complexities of cloud environments. Gartner recognizes cloud investigation and response automation as an indispensable technology in the cybersecurity landscape. Gartner views CIRA as a strategic investment for organizations looking to fortify their security posture in the cloud. Simply put, the shift to cloud computing brings unprecedented opportunities but also introduces new risks. 

CIRA is a crucial tool that effectively mitigates these risks. CIRA is able to provide real-time intelligence about any malicious activity, automate incident-response workflows, and enable organizations to stay one step ahead of threat actors. Let’s take a closer look.

Key features and capabilities

For CIRA to be effective, it must offer a range of features and capabilities that address the intricacies of cloud environments. Here are some essential elements that contribute to CIRA’s success:

1. Threat detection

In the context of CIRA, threat detection is greatly enhanced by better ways to analyze data and respond to incidents. These threats range from misconfigurations to vulnerabilities and suspicious activities that may be warning signs of an impending security breach. The key aspect of incident response is the ability to analyze data and convert it to actionable steps.

With the maturation of machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence technologies, there are now ways to automate data analysis after a threat is detected. For example, log and event data can be analyzed to spot anomalous activity related to a threat. This greatly improves the quality of investigation, forensic data collection, and incident response. The improved analysis can help thwart security incidents before they escalate into full-fledged breaches across the cloud. In short, because automation is machine-driven, organizations can respond to threats sooner than older, manual data analysis methods allow.

2. Cloud forensics

The ability to conduct meticulous forensic investigations is a pivotal component of effective CIRA solutions. Robust digital forensics capabilities are invaluable for organizations as they gather evidence to identify the root cause of incidents and ultimately develop a holistic view of the incident's breadth and depth. By seamlessly integrating cloud forensics functionalities into their cybersecurity strategy, organizations not only collect crucial evidence but also identify key factors that are behind each incident. 

Comprehensive postmortems serve as a cornerstone for informed decision-making, enabling organizations to formulate targeted strategies for remediation and prevention. There are other benefits too. Strong cloud forensics capabilities empower organizations to meet regulatory compliance requirements and reinforce their credibility.

3. Attack path analysis

Understanding how attackers move through multi-cloud environments is another essential aspect of effective incident response. Cloud investigation and response automation should offer tools for attack path analysis so that organizations can map out the movements of an attacker and implement containment and recovery strategies.

4. Playbooks

Pre-built playbooks streamline incident response processes. These playbooks offer a structured framework for automating incident resolution for common types of breaches. Effective CIRA solutions boast a diverse library of pre-built playbooks, and businesses can deploy tailored responses to different incidents by customizing these playbooks to align with their specific needs and cloud infrastructure. Playbooks have templates for a range of actions, like isolating affected resources, remedying vulnerabilities, and gathering pertinent evidence for postmortem analysis. Look to playbooks to navigate incidents with precision and efficiency.

5. Cloud-native response

Cloud adoption is a strategic imperative for modern businesses. That’s why cybersecurity needs to be cloud-first by default. CIRA includes cloud-specific APIs and automation tools that execute responsive actions seamlessly. By integrating the cloud-native capabilities of CIRA, you can streamline operational workflows and fortify your resilience against disruptions, ensuring sustained performance and a competitive edge. 

6. Integration with other tools

CIRA is a key piece in any suite of security tooling because it seamlessly integrates with a diverse array of security solutions. Incorporating CIRA with other security tools optimizes incident response workflows, bolstering the overall efficacy of your security infrastructure. With CIRA, you can look forward to faster incident identification and resolution while still leveraging your existing investments in security tools.

Wiz: Transforming incident response in the cloud

If you want to take a proactive approach to cloud investigation and response automation, count on Wiz. Our all-in-one platform empowers organizations to detect, investigate, and respond to security incidents in their cloud environments with unparalleled efficiency. Here's how Wiz addresses the key aspects of incident response in the cloud:

Detection and investigation

  • Threat detection: Wiz employs a range of sophisticated techniques to detect threats in the cloud, including identifying misconfigurations, vulnerabilities, and suspicious activities. This proactive approach helps you identify potential incidents early—before they become full-scale breaches across the cloud.

Figure 1: Example of vulnerability detections (Source: Wiz)
  • Cloud forensics: Wiz provides robust cloud forensics capabilities, allowing organizations to conduct thorough investigations. This includes collecting evidence, pinpointing the root cause of incidents, and gaining a comprehensive understanding of the incident's scope.

  • Attack path analysis: Wiz helps organizations understand how attackers navigate through their cloud platforms. This insight is crucial for devising effective containment and recovery strategies, ultimately minimizing the impact of security incidents.

Cloud investigation and response automation is a game-changer in cybersecurity, especially as organizations continue to embrace cloud technologies. And with the introduction of the Wiz Runtime Sensor, organizations have a powerful ally.

Let’s have a look at how the Runtime Sensor works to your advantage against threat actors.

The Wiz Runtime Sensor

  • As a lightweight agent deployed within cloud environments, including public cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), the sensor is designed to integrate seamlessly with existing infrastructure, requiring minimal configuration. Once deployed, it continuously monitors activity across the cloud environment, collecting telemetry data from various sources such as VMs, containers, storage buckets, and network traffic. Here’s are some other essential features:

    • Real-time data correlation: The Runtime Sensor employs advanced machine learning algorithms and behavioral analytics to conduct cloud and SaaS multi-vector hunts in real time, identifying patterns signifying potential security threats like anomalous user behavior, suspicious network activity, and unauthorized access attempts. By correlating data from multiple streams, including cloud logs, network logs, and application logs, the sensor can detect complex attack scenarios and emerging threats that may evade traditional security measures.

    • Dynamic alerting and automated responses: To ensure timely detection and response, the sensor is equipped with dynamic alerting capabilities. It generates real-time alerts, providing actionable insights into cloud incidents. Alert customization based on severity levels and specific threat indicators is incorporated to prioritize efforts effectively. And in addition to alerting, the sensor can initiate automated response actions to mitigate threats. This includes isolating compromised resources, blocking malicious IP addresses, or any other security controls to contain the incident. By automating response actions, response times are starkly reduced, minimizing impact on any multi-cloud environment.

    • Scalability: Wiz's Runtime Sensor is designed with scalability and performance in mind, ensuring it can handle loads across multi-cloud environments. This allows organizations to maintain continuous visibility and protection across their entire cloud infrastructure, regardless of scale or complexity.

Response and remediation

  • Playbooks: Wiz offers a library of pre-built playbooks for common cloud incident response scenarios. These playbooks can be customized to automate actions such as isolating affected resources, patching vulnerabilities, and collecting evidence to ensure a swift and standardized response to security incidents. A comprehensive set of playbooks provides a guiding path for responses to situations like data breaches, credential compromise, unauthorized access, and compliance violations.

Figure 2: Wiz’s compliance heatmap
  • Cloud-native response: Wiz enables organizations to take full advantage of cloud-native capabilities for incident response. By leveraging APIs and automation tools within the cloud environment, Wiz facilitates faster and more efficient response actions that are tailored to the specific nuances of cloud infrastructure.

Figure 3: Wiz protects the full cloud-configuration life cycle
  • Integration with other tools: Wiz seamlessly integrates with a variety of security tools, allowing organizations to create a cohesive and interconnected security ecosystem. Integration streamlines incident response workflows and enhances the overall effectiveness of security teams. These integrations help to reduce false positives (and alert fatigue) and facilitate identifying threats with greater efficiency. With Wiz, security teams can focus only on the alerts and incidents that really matter.

As the cyber threat landscape evolves, embracing cloud investigation and response automation with solutions like Wiz CDR (cloud detection and response) empowers you to protect everything you build and run in the cloud. See for yourself: Schedule a free demo today.

Trip up threat actors before they can move laterally

See for yourself why CISOs at the fastest growing companies choose Wiz to improve their detection and response capabilities in the cloud.

Get a demo

Continue reading

What is Security by Design?

Wiz Experts Team

Security by design is a software development approach that aims to establish security as a pillar, not an afterthought, i.e., integrating security controls into software products right from the design phase.

Guide to Standard SBOM Formats

Wiz Experts Team

Two major formats dominate the SBOM ecosystem: Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX) and CycloneDX (CDX). Let’s review!