What Is a Security Operations Center (SOC)?

Posted on August 3, 2021 Backups & DR

48% of organizations don’t have a Security Operations Center (SOC). This puts them at risk for increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks.

A SOC houses all of the technology, methods, and professionals identifying and responding to malicious behavior like phishing and malware. Its products and personnel need to run as efficiently as possible to protect crucial networks and their data.

There are several types of SOC, but outsourced solutions are the best option. They provide expertise and make sure that maintaining cybersecurity is no longer a seemingly impossible task.

Read our guide to learn what a SOC is and how it can benefit your business.

What Is a SOC?

A SOC or security operations center is a physical location that houses a business’s cybersecurity professionals and assets. This includes a team made up of several members. It also includes a wide range of cybersecurity tools such as firewalls, antivirus software, and more.

A SOC is different from a NOC or Network Operations Center. A NOC focuses on network services, but a SOC analyses applications, websites, servers, and more.

What Happens at a SOC?

A full cybersecurity operations center uses all the necessary cybersecurity technology and methods at its disposal. These include several powerful threat identification and response tools and a range of services that fit into 5 major categories.

Major Tools

A SOC uses several methods to identify and respond to threats. Some of its most crucial tools include SEM, SIM, and SEIM.

SIM or security information management involves collecting information from a log.

SEM or security event management involves taking that information and analyzing it to identify specific threats like superuser events and unauthorized log-ins or high-level management access. 

SEIM or security information management refers to technology that can collect information and manage events. It uses broader data sets and is a more long-term process than SEM.

Major Roles

A SOC is an essential tool because it performs several cybersecurity functions at once. Its services come in 5 major steps; identifying, protecting, detecting, responding, and recovering.

During the identification stage, a SOC looks out for cybersecurity threats. A few of the most common include ransomware, phishing, malvertising, brute force, social engineering attacks, drive-by downloads, and inadequate patch management. One of the most common SOC identification methods is penetration testing, which involves hacking into a system to find vulnerabilities.

A SOC uses several methods in the protection stage. It relies on firewalls, ISPs, IDSs, and 2FA-logins to protect your networks. It also provides physical protection using 4-tier data centers, managed facilities, and air-gapped backups.

The detection stage is when a SOC works with a NOC to detect abnormalities using artificial intelligence and machine learning. This allows it to prevent attacks now and in the future.

Once a SOC detects a threat, it responds using the same setup from the detection stage. This allows it to control data exploitation in real-time.

In the recovering stage, a SOC restores data after an attack by sending it to a disaster recovery site or the cloud. This also helps during other causes of downtime, such as natural disasters or blackouts.

Who Are the Members of a SOC?

A SOC is more than a place; the IT professionals that work within it are just as important as its location. 

SOC team is made up of several team members. They include a manager, compliance auditor, threat hunter, incident responder, and SOC analyst. 

The SOC manager oversees all other team members and reports to the chief information security officer.

The compliance auditor standardizes processes and creates protocols. They ensure that everyone follows these rules and that the SOC meets government regulations.

The threat hunter identifies cyberattacks before they reach the security system. The incident responder reacts to alerts as they occur and helps protect against and recover from them.

A SOC analyst looks for patterns in previous attacks to identify weaknesses in the system. 

Each team member must be as skilled as possible in their individual roles. Any threats they allow to slip through can have a rippling effect on every part of your business.

What Are The Different Types of SOC?

Several different security operations center frameworks, including dedicated or internal, virtual, global or command, co-managed, and SaaS.

A dedicated or internal SOC is created and filled by a business. They choose their own locations, technology, and team.

A virtual SOC lets its members work remotely. 

Global or command SOCS handle security functions over a large geographical area. 

Co-managed SOCs involve an internal IT team that works with an outsourced vendor. They join together to fulfill all cybersecurity needs, including creating a proper SOC.

A SaaS or software as a service solution from NETdepot is the best form of SOC. It’s another outsourced solution but is more scalable and offers several different types of cloud storage.

Benefits of an Outsourced SOC

An outsourced SOC is one of the most important cybersecurity tools you can have. It has several benefits, including continuous protection, improved collaboration, nurtured employee and customer trust, affordability, savings, easy implementation, and scalability.

Continuous Protection

Protecting your data is one of the most important things you can do for the safety of your customers, employees, and your business’s bottom line.

An outsourced SOC works 24/7 to prevent and respond to threats and gives you access to real-time threat assessments. It’s able to restore your network quickly and reduce downtime.

It also provides centralized and continuous monitoring. This ensures you can visualize and detect security issues as they occur, allowing you to respond to them faster.

Improved Collaboration

An outsourced SOC can also help your existing IT department respond to threats more effectively. They have additional knowledge and can use penetration testing to see where and how attacks could occur. This allows them to educate your in-house team members on what they can do to secure your system better.

A SOC can help improve collaboration between departments that aren’t directly involved in IT functions. They encourage every employee to work together to prevent and respond to security incidents.

Building Customer and Employee Trust

72% of Americans worry that hackers could steal their personal information, and the damage from these attacks has risen to over $4.2 billion.

The best way to ease these fears is to put security measures in place. A SOC is the most effective because it places all the necessary tools and professionals in one area.

Let the public know you have a location dedicated to keeping their confidential data secure. They’ll appreciate the effort, and you’ll gain the trust of current and future customers and employees.

Affordability and Savings

An outsourced SOC is affordable and easy to budget for. You’ll know in advance what you’ll have to pay for every service you need.

Data losses cost businesses significant amounts of time and money. A SOC will prevent this by keeping data secure.

Easy Implementation and Growth

An outsourced SOC is scalable and easy to implement. You’ll get immediate access once you add them to your existing systems and grow them to fit the needs of your business. 

Challenges of An Outsourced SOC

There are several reasons that almost half of all global organizations don’t yet have a SOC. They present challenges that they must overcome.

Outsourcing your SOC can limit remote access, create connectivity issues, require tiered pricing, make data difficult to manage, and create skill gaps.

Remote Access

An outsourced SOC is usually remote and stores your data outside of your network. It’s unavailable for immediate on-site intervention.

Connectivity Issues

An outsourced SOC uses technology outside of your location and network, and this can create connectivity issues. It may be unable to access your existing IT infrastructure until you update it.

Tiered Pricing

Although outsourced SOC solutions are scalable and affordable, they tend to become more expensive as your business grows. You’ll have to follow a tiered pricing system that could leave you with a large bill when your solutions become more extensive.

Data Management

An outsourced SOC has to deal with a large number of security alerts every day. This makes them difficult to prioritize.

A SOC also uses various tools, and monitoring all the data they generate can become a chore. A SEIM platform can help by gathering and analyzing data from multiple sources.

Skill Gaps

One of the largest problems in the SOC landscape is the significant skill gap in the cybersecurity industry. There are at least 3.5 million job openings in the field but not enough skilled professionals to fill them.

Many currently employed professionals are overworked and haven’t received enough training to react to evolving threats. Be sure to research the qualifications of any outsourced SOC you hire to ensure this problem doesn’t arise.

Where Can I Get a SOC?

A SOC or security operations center is like the police station of a computer network. It’s where all the officers that protect it go to do their job and where all the tools they need are housed.

A SOC keeps data secure, builds customer trust, and prevents expensive downtime. Finding one with the right level of connectivity and scalability is one of the best things you can do for your business.

An outsourced SOC from NETdepot gives you a team of professionals who can manage all your cybersecurity functions. Contact us today to get this effective solution for your business.

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