Security Operations Center (SOC) Simplified

With the advent of cyberattacks and data breaches, businesses of all sizes must prioritize protecting their technology assets. Due to budget limits and competing objectives, assembling a full-time in-house IT security staff may not be practical.

In this instance, working with a SOC, or security operations center is a wise approach. A security operations center (SOC) is an outsourced office that is solely responsible for evaluating traffic flow and monitoring for threats and cyberattacks.

Here you’ll learn what a SOC is, what its core functions are, as well as the various models and roles that are involved. It’s critical to understand SOC security best practices so you can explore your alternatives and select the best supplier.

What is a Security Operations Center, and what does it do?

SOCs are a centralized place within an organization where a security team is responsible for monitoring the company’s security condition and any cybersecurity breaches. The SOC assists in safeguarding all aspects of the company’s IT infrastructure, including but not limited to networks, software, and existing data. SOCs perform a variety of tasks to achieve the core purpose of defending against cyber-attacks.

A security operation center monitors and responds to events reported in the organization’s system continuously, 24 hours a day, and seven days a week. They’re usually backed up by a group of security analysts, engineers, and managers who collaborate to respond to security threats quickly.

In general, you can rely on this system to cover security issues in real-time and protect your network. The security operations center is also constantly looking for ways to improve the security posture of the organization and prevent future cyber-attacks. If you want to sleep soundly at night knowing that your network is constantly protected from hackers, a SOC is a wise investment to consider.

Benefits of a Security Operations Center

Because technology is so important in every industry around the world, cybersecurity must be a top priority for all businesses. The SOC model has been proven to work in a variety of situations, and we’ll go over some of the key advantages below. Keep in mind that outsourcing your IT security activities comes with a certain amount of risk.

Cost-Effectiveness

Employee salaries are the most expensive item in most businesses budgets. Employing a whole team of cybersecurity experts necessitates a significant initial and continuous investment. Instead of paying for a product, you’ll be paying for a service with clear conditions and less liability if you use the SOC model.

There will be less downtime

When a website or application goes down, it can result in lost income or a bad reputation for a corporation. Using a SOC can help to mitigate these consequences and reduce the time it takes to resolve an event. Because even the most reliable uptime monitoring technologies aren’t perfect, a security operations center adds redundancy to your network. Because your internal workforce has so many conflicting objectives, outsourcing cybersecurity to a SOC may be useful.

Customer Confidence and Trust

A single data breach, such as the one at Capital One, can make a customer reconsider trusting a corporation with their personal information. With so little margin for the mistake, putting a security operations center to work monitoring systems 24 hours a day, 7 days a week provides reassurance in those who rely on the network and data.

7 Key Responsibilities of Security Operations Centers (SOC’s Responsibilities)

Until the recent emergence of cloud computing, a company’s usual security approach was to choose a traditional software malware scanning solution, which could be downloaded or, in the old days, mailed as a CD-ROM. They’d throw in a firewall at the network’s edge, and trust that such safeguards would keep their data and systems safe. Today’s reality is a very different one, with risks strewn across the internet as hackers devise new methods for launching lucrative and complicated attacks like ransomware.

A security operations center (SOC) is a centralized function within a company that employs people and uses tools to continuously monitor security posture in order to detect and prevent malicious software and cybersecurity problems. It adds a layer of hired knowledge to a corporation’s cybersecurity strategy, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure that networks and endpoints are always watched. If a vulnerability or incident is uncovered, the SOC will work with the on-site IT team to address the problem and figure out what caused it.

In order to offer value to a business, a SOC must execute a basic set of operational functions. Individual SOCs, regardless of the model they choose to operate under, carry out a variety of activities and functions internally. However, in order to offer value to a company, a SOC must execute a basic set of operational functions. We’ve dubbed them the “seven competencies,” and we’ll go over them here.

  • Asset Survey – For a SOC to assist a company to be secure, it must have a thorough inventory of the resources that need to be safeguarded. They might not be able to defend the entire network otherwise. Every server, router, and firewall under company management, as well as any other active cybersecurity technologies, should be identified during an asset survey.
  • Log Collection – For a SOC to function effectively, data is critical, and logs are the primary source of information about network activities. Direct feeds from enterprise systems should be set up by the SOC so that data may be collected in real-time. Obviously, Humans are incapable of processing vast amounts of data, which is why log scanning technologies based on artificial intelligence algorithms are so useful for SOCs, even if they do have some fascinating side consequences that humanity is still working out.
  • Preventative Maintenance – The SOC can avoid cyberattacks by being proactive in their activities. Installing security patches and modifying firewall settings on a regular basis are examples of this. Because some cyberattacks start as insider threats, a SOC must also check for hazards inside the organization.
  • Constant Monitoring – To be ready to respond to a cybersecurity issue, the SOC’s monitoring techniques must be attentive. It can be the difference between stopping an attack and allowing it to take down a whole system or website in a matter of minutes. SOC software examines the company’s network for potential attacks and other suspicious behavior.
  • Alarm Management – Automated systems excel at identifying patterns and following instructions. When it comes to reviewing automated warnings and ranking them based on their severity and priority, the human element of a SOC proves its usefulness. SOC personnel must know how to respond to alerts and how to verify that they are real.
  • Root Cause Analysis – The SOC’s job doesn’t end when an event happens and is resolved. Experts in cybersecurity will investigate the source of the problem and determine why it occurred in the first place. This feeds into a cycle of continual improvement, with security tools and policies being tweaked to avoid similar incidents in the future.
  • Audits of Compliance – Organizations want to know that their data and systems are not just secure, but that they are also being managed legally. Regular audits of SOC providers’ compliance in the locations where they operate are required.

Job Roles in the SOC

A SOC provider is an excellent place to start a career if you have a background in cybersecurity. Let’s go over some of the most important roles in running a SOC.

SOC Manager – SOC Managers are the organization’s leaders. As a result, they are in charge of top-level responsibilities such as hiring and firing, budgeting, and defining objectives. They usually report directly to the top of the organization, particularly the chief information security officer (CISO).

Compliance Auditor – The compliance auditor is an important part of a SOC’s process standardization. They effectively serve as the quality assurance department, ensuring that SOC members adhere to protocols and regulatory or industry laws.

Incident

Responder – People who are hired to respond to notifications as quickly as possible are known as incident responders. They rate the severity of warnings using a variety of monitoring systems, and once one is determined to be a full-scale problem, they engage with the afflicted company to begin recovery efforts.

SOC Analyst – A SOC analyst is in charge of evaluating previous occurrences and discovering the root cause. They usually have a lot of professional expertise in cybersecurity and are crucial in understanding the technical aspects of breaches and how to avoid them.

Threat Hunter – These are the team members who go above and above to run tests throughout a network to find flaws. The purpose is to identify vulnerabilities before they may be exploited by a hacker and to improve overall data security.

SOC Models – Until now, we’ve been focusing on the external SOC processor model, in which a corporation pays an outside SOC provider to manage its cybersecurity needs. However, there are a number of different SOC design types that can perform similarly.

Dedicated or Internal SOC – Within the company’s personnel, the company establishes its own cybersecurity team. You’ll need staff and skills to complete all SOC job roles, from manager to analyst, if you opt to run your own specialized SOC.

Virtual SOC – The security crew does not have a permanent location and frequently works from home. The SOC manager’s function becomes even more important under a virtual SOC architecture when it comes to coordinating individuals across many locations.

Global or Command SOC – A high-level group in charge of lesser SOCs spread throughout a vast area. The global SOC architecture is generally preferred by large, geographically dispersed enterprises because it helps them to undertake strategic goals and standardize procedures down to the threat hunter and analyst levels.

Co-Managed SOC – Internal IT within the company works closely with an outsourced partner to manage cybersecurity requirements. This is one of the most cost-effective approaches because you won’t need to hire everyone and may collaborate with your partner’s compliance auditor to ensure the right procedures.

SOC Best Practices

In terms of Standard best practices, how to operate a SOC is evolving as the SOC model has matured and evolved in recent years. Here are some critical best practices to implement whether you’re running your own SOC or seeking for a SOC service.

Implementing Automation

SOC teams must be as efficient as feasible while implementing automation. This implies they won’t be able to spend all of their time reading log entries and monitoring traffic flows. Instead, they should use automated security operations center computer technologies that employ artificial intelligence to detect trends and direct them to the most important information.

Cloud Approach

You used to be able to put a firewall at the edge of your data center and be confident that everything inside was safe. However, with the rise of cloud computing, SOCs must consider a broader range of issues. They should look at how all of the components of a cloud infrastructure work together and where the vulnerabilities might be hidden.

Thinking like a Hacker

Cyber attackers are continually seeking for new ways to target businesses and individuals that they won’t anticipate coming. To keep ahead of them, cybersecurity SOC teams must employ the same inventiveness. They will be blind to new forms of attacks looming on the horizon if they spend all day worrying about outdated risks. Penetration and chaos testing are important tasks in the security operations center because they force teams to look for weaknesses in unexpected locations.

SOC FAQs

Q – What is the purpose of a security operation center?

A – To protect data, systems, and other enterprise resources, a SOC is essential. With a SOC, you can rest comfortably that your network is secure, allowing your workers to focus on their main responsibilities rather than worrying about cybersecurity.

Q – What should a SOC stay updated on?

A – External traffic on a network should be monitored by SOC tools and teams. This means that the security operations center personnel must have access to every server, router, and database.

Q – What is the difference between NOC and SOC?

A – NOC is a network operations center. A NOC is focused primarily on minimizing downtime and meeting service level agreements, whereas a SOC looks deeper into cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities.

Q – What is the difference between SOC and SIEM?

A – SIEM means Security Information and Event Management, a software solution that can assist provide context to security incidents by grouping them together for analysis. A SIEM is a tool that is used by a SOC, which is a set of people and tools that operate together.

Conclusion

One of the greatest methods to safeguard important networks and data from both external and insider threats is to use a SOC, whether internal or outsourced. A security operations center (SOC) can assist you in taking preventative actions, limiting the impact of hacks, and assessing the cyber death chain if one occurs. And by partnering with a seasoned SOC provider like Varonis, you’ll be able to reap all of the benefits of a SOC at a low cost.