What is a Security Operations Center?
In this post we’re going to explore what a Security Operations Center (SOC) is, the key benefits of using an outsourced SOC, and the indicators that it is time to expand your security to 24x7.
What does a Security Operations Center team do?
A Security Operations Center (SOC) team is typically comprised of a SOC Manager, multiple levels of Security Analysts, and other operational coordination roles. This team isn’t your typical security team who may have other responsibilities like compliance or penetration testing. SOC Security Analysts have focused their careers on threat hunting, detecting, and responding. You can expect these individuals to actively stay up to date on the latest threat actors’ techniques, detections, and mitigations.
When it comes to daily activities of a SOC team, they collect events on what is happening on networks and devices, identify items of concern, verify detected issues, and then contain activity to minimize the impact. A SOC also provides reporting that keeps clients informed of active risks and threats that have the potential to impact business operations.
What are the benefits of using a Managed SOC?
A Security Operations Centers schedule is structured to ensure that there is coverage twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing a SOC is that when your office closes for the day, someone is keeping watch. If you’ve found yourself getting a phone call at 2AM alerting you of a suspicious threat on your network, or sifting through hundreds of alerts, then you can imagine the relief of having a team watching systems while you’re on vacation or holiday break would bring.
On the topic of staffing. Finding and retaining security talent is not easy. According to job searching tool CyberSeek, there are currently 507,924 cybersecurity job openings in the United States as of October 2020. If your organization’s primary function isn’t technology, you might have a difficult time making the case to hire additional security staff. In addition, tools required to operate a SOC can be cost prohibitive and require constant optimization. There is no set and forget it. When you use a SOC operated by a third party to augment your team you can counteract the skills shortage and eliminate additional costs.
If you’re still relying on traditional anti-virus and firewall, a SOC will detect advanced and zero-day attacks that legacy tools can’t. The faster threats are detected (mean time to detection), then the faster they can be responded to (mean time to response). It is very common for cybercriminals to lurk on networks for months before they strike. Without consistent monitoring for suspicious activity, a single intrusion can turn into a disastrous breach.
When should an organization invest in a Managed SOC?
There isn’t a single organization who shouldn’t look into a SOC. Every company has something to lose and attackers always have something to gain. It may be time to consider if:
- IT staff is working at capacity and lack security knowledge
- A security event or breach has already occurred
- Compliance regulations must be met
- You have confidential IP and sensitive data
- Your only safety net is cyber insurance
Utilizing a Security Operations Center cuts down on your costs and puts an experienced team of threat hunters in your corner. When it comes to security we always say, the cost of remediation if a breach does occur, far exceeds the cost of protection.