Security Operations Center – Organizational Perspective
A security operations center, or SOC, is a group of IT security professionals who monitor, detect, analyze, and investigate cyber threats for the organization. Networks, servers, computers, endpoint devices, operating systems, applications, and databases are constantly monitored for indicators of a cyber security incident. The SOC team analyzes feeds, creates rules, identifies exceptions, improves responses, and monitors for new vulnerabilities.
Organizations must first develop an overarching cyber security strategy that aligns with their business objectives and challenges before establishing a SOC. Many large organizations have their own SOC, but others outsource it to a third-party managed security services provider.
SOC In Live Action
A security operations center team’s members are in charge of a variety of tasks, including proactive monitoring, incident response and recovery, remediation activities, compliance, and coordination and context.
- Proactive Monitoring ~ This includes examining log files. Endpoint logs (for example, a notebook computer, a mobile phone, or an IoT device) or network resources (for example, routers, firewalls, intrusion detection system (IDS) applications, and email appliances) can generate logs. Threat monitoring is another term for proactive monitoring. Security operations center team members work with a variety of resources, including other IT workers (for example, help desk technicians), artificial intelligence (AI) tools, and log files.
- Incident Response and Recovery ~ A SOC coordinates an organization’s ability to mitigate damage and communicate effectively in order to keep the organization running after an incident. Viewing logs and issuing alerts isn’t enough. Helping organizations recover from incidents is an important part of incident response. That recovery may include activities such as dealing with acute malware or ransomware incidents, for example.
- Remediation Activities ~ SOC team members conduct data-driven analysis to assist organizations in addressing vulnerabilities and fine-tuning security monitoring and alerting tools. A SOC member, for example, can recommend a better network segmentation strategy or a better system patching regimen based on information obtained from log files and other sources. A SOC’s primary responsibility is to improve existing cybersecurity.
- Compliance ~ Organizations protect themselves by adhering to a security policy as well as external security standards such as ISO 27001x, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF), and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (GDPR). Organizations require a SOC to help ensure compliance with critical security standards and best practices.
- Coordination and Context ~ Above all, a member of the SOC team assists an organization in coordinating disparate elements and services and providing visualized, useful information. One aspect of this coordination is the ability to provide a helpful, useful set of narratives for network activities. These narratives aid in the development of a company’s cybersecurity policy and posture for the future.
Prominent Roles in SOC
The heart of a successful enterprise cyber security program is a well-managed SOC. The SOC offers insight into a vast and complicated threat landscape. There are various roles that fulfill the responsibilities of a full-fledged security operations center for an organization. These roles define the organization’s security strategy and ensure that liability is kept to a minimum.
- Security analyst ~ The first person to respond to an incident. Their typical response consists of three stages: threat detection, threat investigation, and timely response. Security analysts should also ensure that the appropriate training is in place and that staff are capable of implementing policies and procedures. Security analysts collaborate with internal IT staff and business administrators to communicate security limitations and create documentation.
- Security engineer/architect ~ Keeps track of and recommends monitoring and analysis tools. They design a security architecture and collaborate with developers to ensure that it is incorporated into the development cycle. A security engineer can be a software or hardware specialist who focuses on security when designing information systems. They create tools and solutions that enable organizations to effectively prevent and respond to cyber attacks. They record procedures, specifications, and protocols.
- SOC manager ~ Reports to the CISO and manages the security operations team. They manage financial activities, supervise the security team, and provide technical guidance. The SOC manager is in charge of the SOC team’s activities, such as hiring, training, and evaluating employees. Other responsibilities include developing and implementing crisis communication plans, as well as creating processes and assessing incident reports. They write compliance reports, assist with the audit process, measure SOC performance metrics, and provide business leaders with security operations reports.
- CISO ~ Defines the organization’s security operations. They discuss security issues with management and oversee compliance tasks. The CISO makes the final decision on cybersecurity policies, strategies, and procedures for the organization. They also play an important role in compliance and risk management, and they put policies in place to meet specific security requirements.
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Every organization requires stringent security. Whether you integrate security functionality into your SOC, outsource most or all SOC functionality to third-party service providers, or staff an in-house team, it is critical to address the security questions that a security operations center is supposed to answer.