What is Security Operation Center (SOC) Icon

What is SOC (Security Operation Center)?

A Security Operation Center (SOC) continuously monitors and improves an organization’s security posture. The SOC is a command post consisting of people, processes, and technology that detects, analyzes, and responds to cyber security threats across devices, networks, and all other IT assets.

The SOC logs every event a company wants to monitor and determines how each logged event should be handled. Some of these decisions are executed through automation while other decisions are made manually.

A Security Operation Center is in full effect 24 hours per day monitoring, detecting, and investigating cyber security threats.

Security operations organizational structure

Each SOC is led by a manager and consists of incident responders, threat hunters, incident response managers, and SOC Analysts. The SOC manager reports directly to the CISO of the organization who then relays information up the chain all the way to the CEO of the company.

Essentially, SOC team members implement an organization’s cybersecurity plan. For example, SOC staff are tasked with protecting intellectual property (IP), sensitive data, and brand integrity.

Security operations automation

Security feeds aggregate data into a security information and event management (SIEM) system, which involves the following components:

  •     Assessing vulnerabilities
  •     Risk and compliance systems
  •     Threat intelligence platforms (TIP)
  •     Endpoint detection and remediation (EDR)
  •     Intrusion prevention systems (IPS)
  •     User entity behavior analytics (UEBA)

What functions does a security operation center perform?

An organization’s SOC performs a variety of functions related to threat prevention, mitigation, and elimination. A standard SOC performs the following crucial operations:

  1. Safeguarding devices and data through 360-degree resource visibility
    The SOC relies on visibility to safeguard all devices and data. Without full visibility, network security blind spots can be exploited by cyber criminals. The SOC aims to identify all endpoints, servers, and software both on premise and in the cloud.
  2. Preventive maintenance
    Responding to threats is important, but prevention is always the first line of defense. SOC teams work hard to make security breaches difficult, which is driven by maintaining updated and patched software, whitelisting, blacklisting, and securing applications.

    A company’s SOC team stays in-the-know regarding the latest security technology, recent cybercrime trends, and what potential threats experts see in the near future. This information forms the basis of a company’s security roadmap designed to guide security decisions.
  3. Continuous monitoring
    Automation is used to scan networks 24/7 and identify any abnormal user behavior or suspected intrusions. All detected threats will trigger an immediate notification to the SOC.

    Automated continuous monitoring often utilizes machine-learning-based SIEM that learns regular user behavior to minimize flagging false threats that require the human SOC team to manually resolve.
  4. Threat response
    When a threat is detected, the SOC will automatically isolate endpoints, terminate processes, delete files, and perform any other function required to stop the threat without interrupting business operations.

    The SOC is also responsible for finding the root cause of an incident to figure out what happened, how it happened, and why. This information is then used to tighten the organization’s security posture and prevent future incidents.
  5. Recovery and remediation
    The SOC is designed to restore IT systems and recover lost/compromised data. To accomplish recovery, the SOC might wipe or restart endpoints, reconfigure systems at the root, or deploy backups to restore the network to a pre-compromised state.
  6. Log management
    The SOC will collect and review all network activity logs for the organization. Once an activity baseline is established, then threats can be detected. This often includes logs produced by SIEM-aggregated data feeds from multiple sources of data.
  7. Alert management
    As a baseline of normal activity is established, automated systems will get better at identifying credible threats with less false positives. The SOC is responsible for looking at threats to discard false positives and determine how critical each credible threat is and what those threats are targeting. This sifting, in turn, trains the machine-learning algorithms employed by automated threat detection systems.
  8. Compliance management
    Security policies only work when everyone in the company follows those policies. The SOC is tasked with regular system audits to ensure compliance with regulations both internal and external. For example, companies bound by regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS will be regularly audited by the SOC for compliance. This is critical for shielding the organization from expensive lawsuits resulting from a preventable data breach.

Managed security operation services are ideal

As cybersecurity threats continue to become more sophisticated, it’s crucial to have a strong security operation center that employs both human and automated technology. However, you can’t take an a-la-carte approach to security management. A managed security service is the easiest way to prevent and thwart complex network threats for organizations with a variety of devices, endpoints, and users.

 
 

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