The way how businesses work tends to transform with time and current trends so that a business stays relevant and ready to compete. Presently, dealing with cyber vulnerabilities remains the biggest challenge for industries of all sorts. This is why it’s suggested that you have a dedicated unit to take care of the digital security profile of a company cautiously. A SOC is one such unit.
Get to know this unit in detail with this crisp SOC guide by Wallarm.
Security Operations Center: Meaning and Significance
A key unit in every security-conscious business organization, SOC is a carefully organized centralized security hub accountable for keeping an eye on a business’s security strategy and deployments. The concerning entities here are networking apps, servers, endpoints, websites, storage solutions, 3rd party software, corporate devices, or any other technology that a company uses.
A fully managed Security Operations Center can perform real-time threat/risk analysis, remediation, and continual surveillance of the concerned digital infrastructure. In addition, it’s also liable for upgrading and enhancing the current posture of a business’s security arrangement so that even unexplored/hidden threats fail to cause any harm.
Speaking of its constituents, in-house/outsourced IT and cybersecurity specialists form the SOC unit in a company.
As the company/business expands and has a global presence, SOC often becomes a GSOC or Global SOC that looks after the security risks and strategies related to diverse locations. With GSOC, business ventures can manage security overheads and gain deeper insights into security loopholes.
What are the Main Functions of a SOC?
The establishment of the SOC unit allows businesses to remain free from multiple worries because it takes care of tons of operations and tasks such as:
Doing Preventive Maintenance
By carefully measuring security postures, the SOC unit prepares a highly viable preventive maintenance strategy to help an organization stay rescued from lethal threats. Preventive measures are a strategic procedure that involves keeping the team members updated about new digital security innovations. Doing enough research, spreading awareness about the latest trends, firewall updates, vulnerability patch-deployment, blacklisting, and white-list creation.
Continuous and Proactive Activity Tracking
With the help of cutting-edge SOC tools, a team of experts executes continual network scanning and tries to spot any deviant activity. With persistent proactive monitoring, businesses can mitigate risks and guarantee that their frequent activities/processes are free from any risks.
SOC is the first responder for businesses. It starts constructing a threat response as soon as a threat is identified.
Alert Ranking & Management
The notifications related to risks/threats are manually assessed by the SOC team. Experts rank them so that the team knows which threat demands immediate action. This helps corporate businesses to have a remedy for risky threats before they do damage beyond their control.
The SOC unit keeps logs of every network activity and communication so that threats are identified quickly. This way, it builds a huge threat database that business companies can use in future threat prevention.
Root Cause Investigation
Not only can a SOC unit identify a threat, but it also makes efforts to figure out what’s the main reason behind the threat. This allows businesses to get familiar with the practices/actions that led to a threat.
SOC Team members - Roles & the Scope of their Work
Chief Information Security Officer or CISO
CISO is a C-Suite role that often takes high-level decisions in the SOC unit. CISOs are experienced and equipped security experts having a deeper knowledge of security strategies and practices. CISOs work closely with the SOC Manager and Director Of Incident Response to mitigate risks and manage the security posture.
Senior Security Manager
These professionals supervise all the security operations and make crucial decisions while deciding the strategies.
The professionals with this job role audits if the security monitoring tools are well-configured and capable of identifying cyber threats. As an Incident Responder, an IT professional has to go through multiple threats and plan remedial actions for them.
The last key role that forms the SOC team is SOC Analyst, who is assigned to do continuous tracking of digital security risks and figure out suspicious activities.
Benefits of a Security Operations Center
Even though establishing a SOC unit can seem daunting and demands huge efforts and investment, it’s highly recommended to have one in every organization, small or big. This is because a SOC unit brings a lot to the table. Below-mentioned are certain assured benefits of a SOC.
Central storage for threat and security data helps you come up with quick threat responses. You make proactive decisions quickly. This way, you have a chance to control the damage.
With SOC, winning customer trust and improving brand value is easy. With every attack, the brand value of a business is reduced. SOC helps organizations control threats and reduce the possibility of an attack. This way, organizations can easily gain customers’ trust.
Dealing with an attack is very cost-extensive. At times, businesses have to pay hefty compensation to customers when crucial data is lost. When a SOC unit is in place, threats are controlled, and attack possibilities are low. So, organizations don’t have to bear unnecessary expenses and pay a huge sum for compensation.
Challenges of a SOC
As one plans to set up a security operations center as a service or organizational SOC, it’s important to learn about the challenges that are part of the process.
The first and most evident Security Operation Center challenge is the shortage of skilled staff. SOC mandates top talent to do objective and instantaneous threat detection. The staff should be equipped with a wide range of skills and expertise. Only a handful of IT professionals have all this expertise, and organizations have a tough time hiring and retaining those experts. This is why most of the SOC units underperform.
The second SOC challenge is to remain informed about recent cybersecurity trends so that SOC units can also deal with the newest cybersecurity challenges. Businesses need to keep an eye on contemporary trends and apprise their team about them.
Often, organizations have to organize training for the SOC units to get familiar with the latest security threats and enhance their viability. This is a cost-extensive time-consuming task, and not every organization can put in the asked investments.
Based on the deployment position, SOC units are of three varieties.
Internal SOC: This SOC unit functions from a specified location and features dedicated IT staff. The internal SOC will occupy one room on the premises and often work closely with the rest of the team.
Virtual SOC: Virtual SOC doesn’t operate from the business location. It operates remotely and is made up of contracted or part-time IT professionals. They all are located at dispersed locations yet remain fully connected via telecommunication tools.
Outsourced SOC: The outsourced SOC type is made up of MSSP or managed security service providers. The MSSP looks after some or all of the security functions. Starting from SOC strategy to SecOps tools, everything is offered by MSSP.
Behavior Monitoring System
It is a modern tool that one can use to monitor the organizational properties that are useful for the real-time analysis of endpoint reboots, suspicious downloads, network activity, policy violations, and error messages.
Endpoint Monitoring System
With the help of this tool, the SOC unit is capable of spotting threats to endpoints so that cyber threats are under control.
SIEM or Security Information & Event Mngt.
SIEM is perhaps one of the most crucial tools that a SOC unit can ever use. With its help, SOC units can analyze real-time security data and gather valuable data to avoid security threats.
Intrusion Detection System or IDS
IDS is useful for monitoring the data goes in and out from a network. IDS allows the SOC team to do accurate network threat detection.
What to keep in mind during SOC Creation?
SOC is of great help to improve the security posture of a business venture, provided you have established it right. Here is a list of Security Operations Center Best Practices:
Have A Strong Strategy In Place
Without a robust strategy, organizations will fail to have a viable SOC unit. You need to make sure that you have clarity on aspects like what has to be secured, how many endpoints should be part of an analysis, which data has a higher value, and so on. Having clarity on all these and many more concerns is important to make sure that the SOC unit knows what it has to do.
Try to Gain Visibility To The Entire Security Infrastructure
Cyber threats are ruthless and missing out on one single endpoint can harm an organization a lot. Try to identify the mission-critical endpoints, devices, servers, data, and systems that need to be protected. When you have this information, it’s easy for the SOC unit to understand which all entities are the priorities.
Use The Right Kind of Tools and Technologies
The SOC unit is empowered with the right kind of tools and technologies that will help the team to do automated and accurate threat detection and analysis. This task is so extensive that its manual processing is a foolish move.
Hence, organizations need to equip the SOC unit with advanced tools. Some of the most preferred Security Operations Center tools are firewalls, SIEM, endpoint protection systems, asset discovery systems, automated application security, log management systems, data monitoring tools, and so on.
Take the Best Talent On Board
The strength of a SOC unit lies in its members. So, you need to make sure that you always hire talented IT and cybersecurity professionals and provide them with adequate training. The IT professionals you’re planning to hire must be aware of network security, SIEM, information assurance, UNIX, security engineering, and IT architecture.
As far as skills are concerned, ethical hacking, cyber forensics, reverse engineering, and intrusion prevention system expertise should be inherited by the candidates.
A tight and viable security approach is what an organization needs to stay safe in the era of cyber vulnerabilities. As providing adequate cybersecurity protection is a tough task and needs attention on tons of concepts, it’s not a one-person job.
With a cyber Security Operations Center or SOC, organizations can have a regular security monitoring system that will do early threat detection and viable threat remediation. However, a SOC unit must be established with full diligence. Hire the best talent, use advanced security tools, train the staff well, have a clear approach, and understand which all assets must be protected.
Can a SOC be outsourced to a third-party provider?
Yes, many organizations choose to outsource their SOC operations to a third-party provider, known as a managed security service provider (MSSP). This can be a cost-effective way for smaller organizations to benefit from SOC capabilities and expertise without having to build and manage a SOC in-house.
What is the difference between a SOC and a NOC?
A SOC is focused on monitoring and responding to security incidents, while a Network Operations Center (NOC) is focused on managing and maintaining an organization's IT infrastructure, including servers, networks, and applications.
What skills are required to work in a SOC?
Working in a SOC requires a range of technical and non-technical skills, including knowledge of security technologies and tools, analytical skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills, and the ability to work under pressure.
What are some common tools used by a SOC?
A SOC typically uses a range of tools and technologies to support its operations, including security information and event management (SIEM) systems, intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS), threat intelligence platforms, endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools, and vulnerability scanners.
What are the key functions of a SOC?
The key functions of a SOC include continuous monitoring and analysis of security alerts and events, incident response, threat intelligence gathering and analysis, vulnerability management, and security operations reporting.
What is a Security Operations Center (SOC)?
A Security Operations Center (SOC) is a centralized unit responsible for monitoring and analyzing an organization's security posture, detecting and responding to security incidents, and ensuring the overall security of the organization's systems and data.