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Domain separation and Security Incident Response

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Domain separation and Security Incident Response

This is an overview of domain separation in Security Incident Response. Domain separation allows you to separate data, processes, and administrative tasks into logical groupings called domains. You can then control several aspects of this separation, including which users can see and access data.


Support: Level 2

Domain separation is supported in this application. Not all ServiceNow applications support domain separation; some include limitations on the data and administrative settings that can be domain separated. To learn more, see Application support for domain separation.

In the Security Incident Response application, domain separation enables MSPs to standardize SOC (Security Operations Center) and Security Incident Response (SIR) procedures across the customer base they serve with lowered operational costs and a higher quality of service. Separate customer workspaces for workflows, dashboards, reports, and so forth, ensures that customer data is separated and never exposed to other clients.

Table 1. Domain separation support in Security Incident Response by version releases
Release Support level Notes
Geneva, Helsinki No support Initiation of data-level domain separation
Istanbul Data only
Jakarta Level 2 (Data, Requestor, Fulfiller) New features: 3rd-party Integrations support with Level 2 domain separation under single instance of integration, including Threat Intelligence integrations
Kingston Level 2 (Data, Requestor, Fulfiller) New features: Sighting Search integration for SIR is enabled with multiple instances, but all instances still live under a single domain. Example: If there are two instances of a Splunk integration configured (SplunkCLOUD and SplunkCORP), both are still leveraged for incident response activities in a single domain, where the implementation was originally configured.
London Level 2 (Data, Requestor, Fulfiller) New features: All integrations can now reside across multiple domains. In the above example, SplunkCloud can be domain1 and SplunkCORP domain2.

Domain separation for the Security Incident Response application covers the following product functionality:

  • Security alerts are directed to the appropriate domain of the user whose ID/ credential/ scope generates the incident and is registered as a Security Incident.
  • Alerts generate “observables,”which represent stateful properties or measurable events.
    • Observables extracted from the alert are stored in the domain of the security incident.
  • Security workflows in the domain of the security incident are used to orchestrate the response.
  • Integrations are configured in the domain of the security incident for response automation.
  • Capabilities are configured in the domain of the security incident for response automation. These capabilities (as of the Kingston release) include:
    • Threat Lookup
    • Enrich Observable
    • Enrich Configuration item
    • Get Running Process
    • Get Network Statistics
    • Block Request
    • Isolate Host
    • Sighting Search
    • Email Search and Delete
    • Publish to Watchlist
  • Results from Response Automation (such as Threat Lookup or Sighting Search) are stored in the domain of the security incident.
  • Other security incidents are cross-referenced n the same domain of the security incident based on a shared set of observables.
  • Other users are cross-referenced in the domain of the security incident.
  • Configuration Items are cross-referenced in the same domain as the security incident.
  • Manual response tasks are added to the domain of the security incident.
  • Knowledge base articles and run books are referenced in the domain of the security incident.
  • Security Incident Response metrics pertinent to incidents in the domain are displayed on dashboards as well as in reporting.
Note: In the above cases, the overarching principles of visibility in separated domains in the NOW Platform apply. As always, an incident in the parent domain can reference artifacts in the child domain, but not the other way around.

How domain separation works in Security Incident Response

The Security Incident Response application manages the life cycle of a security incident end to end. The following use cases are domain-separation aware:

  • Ingestion of events and alerts to create security incidents for the analyst in the customer SOC or the MSP to respond:
    • Email parsers (platform based, user-reported phishing, custom)
    • De-duplication events/alerts prior to incident creation
    • Auto extraction of observables
    • Applications in third-party SIEM store
  • Enrichment of artifacts involved in the incidents (IP, URLs, domains, file hashes):
    • Asset enrichment (CMDB)
    • Users (Platform)
    • Automation: Observable enrichment (Ex: WhoIs)
  • Investigate the incidents with the help of the artifacts and their reputation or association with known threats
    • Orchestrate: Playbooks and knowledge base articles
    • Automation: Threat Lookup (Ex: VirusTotal), Sighting Search (Ex: Splunk), Get Running Processes (Ex: Carbon Black)
  • Eradicate the threat-related artifacts involved in the incident based on the investigation performed
    • Orchestrate: Playbooks and knowledge base articles
    • Automation: Email search and delete (Ex: Microsoft Exchange), Block IP (Ex: Palo Alto Firewall)
  • Measure the efficiency or Incident response operations
    • Performance Analytics Dashboards: Productivity and incident trends
    • Reconstruction of incident investigation steps from work notes
    • Post-incident review

Domain separation setup

Setting up domain separation for Security Incident Response does not require any additional steps. All Security Incident Response tables acquire the Domain column after the instance is domain separated.

Domain separated data

Data can be domain separated, which means:

  • Security incidents in one domain cannot be viewed from other domains.
  • Observables extracted from the security incident are placed in the same domain and cannot be viewed from other domains.
  • Up to the Kingston release, configured third-party integrations exist in the global domain and are accessible to all other domains in the instance.
  • In the London release, third-party integrations can be configured and activated on a per-domain basis. This means that the integration activated and configured in one domain cannot be leveraged in another domain.
  • Automations that run on the observables using third-party integrations (for Threat Investigation, Containment, or Eradication), place their results in the domain of the security incident and the results cannot be viewed from another domain.
  • Orchestration workflows created in one domain are not visible in another domain.
  • Capabilities (as delineated in the capabilities function list above) that are invoked stay generic across domains with domain-specific implementation of the capability being called. For example, a Sighting Search on an IP can invoke a Splunk implementation in one domain and a QRadar implementation in another.


All aspects of product configuration are self-contained in a domain-separated environment. Setup can be tailored for individual domains.
Note: Business logic and the processes in #2-5 below can be administered within the tenant domain.

The following tasks must be configured:

  1. System Administration
  2. Security Incident Response Administration
  3. Security incident email settings
  4. Security incident playbook settings
  5. Capability configurations

How tenant domains manage their own application data

  • Tenant domain owners create their own email parsing rules for ingesting security incidents.
  • Tenant domain owners can configure specific integrations exclusively for use within the domain.
  • Tenant domain owners can create their own incident response workflows.
  • Tenant domain owners can create their own incident categories, incident response knowledge base articles and runbooks to be associated with incident response workflows.
  • Tenant domain users create and close their own security incidents.

Business logic and processes that can be domain separated by instance owner

  • Security incident response users and groups
  • Security incident response integrations (starting with the London release)
  • Email parsing rules for incident creation
  • Business rules to consolidate multiple events or alerts into a security incident
  • Workflows for incident response orchestration
  • Security incident risk score calculators
  • Security incident escalation path
  • Security incident SLAs
  • Security incident process definitions
  • Security incident post-incident review processes