A security operations center (SOC) is an enterprise monitoring and alerting facility that helps organizations detect security threats, monitor security events, and analyze performance data to improve company operations.

A SOC can be a great addition to any company, large or small. Let’s look at what a SOC is and what you should know about it.

What is a SOC?

A SOC is a central monitoring and surveillance center that collects and analyzes security information from various monitoring systems to identify threats.

An effective SOC monitors networks more efficiently while minimizing false positives, enabling faster detection of cyberattacks or security incidents. A good SOC provides a single view of the organization’s data security status, connects log data from multiple sources for improved alert analysis, automates manual tasks like signature updates, and has built-in risk assessment tools.

A SOC is a crucial component in any organization’s cybersecurity strategy. This central hub is where all network security data is collected and monitored. From here, SOC analysts can see everything that's going on in an organization’s network. SOCs provide an organization with a single view of its cybersecurity status and make it easier to identify potential threats.

Basic roles in the SOC team

  1. Incident responder: Configures and monitors security tools; identifies triages, classifies, and prioritizes threats
  2. Security investigator: Identifies affected hosts and devices, evaluates running and terminated processes, performs threat analysis
  3. Advanced security analyst: Identifies unknown vulnerabilities, reviews past threats and mitigations, assesses vendor and product health
  4. SOC manager: Manages the entire SOC team, communicates with the CISO, businesses leaders, and partners
  5. Security engineer and architect: Manages the overall security architecture, ensures the architecture is a part of the development cycle

Now that you know the different personnel a SOC team has, you can select your SOC team members based on your requirements and the size of your organization. But before you do, here are a few more things you should know.

Five things to keep in mind while building your SOC

  • Conducting risk assessments

    The first step towards building your SOC is to do a complete asset inventory and perform risk assessments to identify the areas of vulnerability that an attacker might exploit to invade your organization. Quantifying your risks and understanding your risk appetite can go a long way in helping you determine which security solution would be ideal for your organization.

  • Your business needs

    You must understand your business requirements and the threats your organization is vulnerable to and likely to face before selecting a vendor. A good SOC should be flexible enough to address your business’s security challenges and have built-in mechanisms for future expansion.

  • Your security goals

    The security solution you invest in should contain a feature set that aligns with your SOC's security goals. It is also essential to choose a vendor with a proven track record in the industry. It’s critical to read vendor reviews and get recommendations from companies that have bought and implemented the same product.

  • The time factor

    Selecting the right security solution for your business can be time-consuming, but it’s important not to rush the decision. It’s essential to plan the implementation and select your security solution wisely, as it will become an integral part of your business operations. Choosing a vendor that allows you to implement a Zero Trust policy in your organization in a phased manner while still securing your organization against potential attacks is a good place to start.

  • Your SOC setup

    Every organization will have a choice to make with regards to the setup of their SOC team: In-house or MSSP. While both have their pros and cons, the choice will ultimately depend on the needs and budget of that organization and the availability of experienced security personnel. Learn more about whether you should choose an in-house or managed SOC.

Empowering your SOC

A SOC collects and analyzes data from various security sources to identify threats and minimize false positives. With a vast number of users and assets to monitor and protect, it's impossible for security to be achieved based solely on human efforts. And that's where a SOC comes in. A good SOC will come equipped with a security analytics solution such as a SIEM tool that collects and analyses log data and correlates events to identify larger incidents.

Apart from offering real-time security monitoring, modern SIEM tools come packed with security orchestration, automation, and response capabilities that enable security teams to automate and streamline their incident response. In addition to modern SIEM capabilities, a SOC with extended detection and response capabilities providing valuable threat intelligence and enhanced threat detection is the ideal option for organizations looking to enhance their cybersecurity and compliance posture significantly.

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