Playbook Development - Administrator Guide - 8 - Cortex XSOAR - Cortex - Security Operations

Cortex XSOAR Administrator Guide

Cortex XSOAR
Creation date
Last date published
Administrator Guide

Cortex XSOAR playbooks enable you to structure and automate many of your security processes. Parse incident information, interact with users, and remediate.

When building your playbook, keep in mind the following:

  • What actions do you need to take?

  • What conditions apply along the way? Are these conditions manual or automatic?

  • Do you need to include looping?

  • Are there any time-sensitive aspects to the playbook?

  • When is the incident considered remediated?

Playbook Tasks

Playbook tasks are the building blocks of playbooks. With tasks, you can run scripts and sub-playbooks, communicate with end users, set conditions, and store relevant data. Tasks can be reused across playbooks and you can copy, cut, paste, and delete tasks within or between playbooks using keyboard shortcuts. You can also open a sub-playbook task and click Open sub-playbook to open the sub-playbook in a new tab.


To open multiple playbooks at the same time, edit the first playbook and then click the New symbol next to the playbook name to create a new tab. You can either create a new playbook, or add an existing one.

Cortex XSOAR supports different task types for different aspects of the playbook. Each task type requires different information and provides different capabilities. You should choose your task type based on what you want to accomplish in the task. For example, for enrichment, you might want to run an enrichment sub-playbook or a command that returns additional information for an indicator. If you are at a fork in your decision tree, you should use a conditional task to help you determine which path to choose.

You can use the following task types:

  • Standard tasks

  • Conditional tasks

  • Data Collection tasks

  • Section Headers

Inputs and Outputs

Depending on the task type that you select, and the script that you are running, your playbook task may have inputs and outputs.

Inputs are data pieces that are present in the playbook or task. The inputs are often manipulated or enriched and they produce outputs. Outputs are objects whose entries will serve the tasks throughout the playbook, and they can be derived from the result of a task or command.


Playbooks can be divided into two categories, depending on their use.

  • Parent playbooks are playbooks that run as the main playbook of an incident. For example, Phishing - Generic v3 and Malware Investigation & Response Incident Handler.

  • Sub-playbooks are playbooks that are nested under other playbooks. They appear as tasks in the parent playbook flow and are indicated by the sub-playbook icon sub-playbook-icon.png. A sub-playbook can also be a parent playbook in a different use case. For example, IP Enrichment - Generic v2 and Retrieve File From Endpoint - Generic v3. These playbooks are usually used as part of a bigger investigation.

    As sub-playbooks are building blocks that can be used in other playbooks and use cases, you should define generic inputs for them.

Inputs can be passed to sub-playbooks from the parent playbook, used and processed in the sub-playbook, and sent as output to the parent playbook. For more information about passing context data between playbooks, see Incident Context Data.


Any change made to a sub-playbook impacts the parent playbook in the next run of the parent playbook.

Field Mapping

You can map output from a playbook task directly to an incident field. This means that the value for an output key populates the specified field per incident. This is a good alternative to using a task with a set incident command.

Attach and Detach Playbooks

When installing a playbook from a content pack, by default, the playbook is attached, which means that it is not editable (apart from some input values).

To edit the playbook, you need to detach or make a duplicate. While it is detached, the playbook is not updated by the content pack. This may be useful when you want to update the playbook without breaking customization. If you want to update the playbook type through content pack updates, you need to reattach the playbook, but any changes are overridden by the content pack on upgrade. If you open an attached playbook in a tab, it can be detached from within the editor page.

If you want to keep the changes, duplicate the playbook before reattaching it.

Playbook Content Management

In Cortex XSOAR, you can develop and test your playbook content on other machines before using it in a production environment. You can do this by using the remote repository feature.