Security Operations Center

two people seated at computer stations and two standing in the background in front of clocks and monitors at a security operations center
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What is a Security Operations Center?

Think of a security operations center (SOC) as command central for your cybersecurity. Effectively, it seeks to uncover security weaknesses both inside and outside your organization.

A SOC monitors, analyzes, and protects your organization from cyber-attacks. High-level IT and cybersecurity professionals staff the center and work around the clock to log activity and mitigate threats.

SOC security examines internet traffic, networks, desktops, servers, endpoint devices, databases, applications, and other IT systems for potential security incidents. Continual examination drastically reduces the chances of a data breach by detecting intrusions quickly and taking the steps required to mitigate them.

Large organizations typically deploy and manage a security operations center in-house. SMBs, on the other hand, often rely on an MSP, the cloud, or a virtual SOC. If you’re working with a managed IT services provider, you’ll want to ensure they provide SOC security as a part of their cybersecurity services. Unfortunately, the reality is that many MSPs lack this critical layer in a security program.

SOC Models and Staffing

Security operation centers come in different flavors:

  • Dedicated SOC where an organization deploys an on-prem solution.
  • Co-managed SOC involving in-house personnel coupled with a managed security service provider (MSSP).
  • Managed SOC, where the MSSP provides all services to the organization.
  • Command SOC that focuses on threat intelligence and provides that service to another SOC.

Additional models like a fusion center, multifunction SOC, or virtual SOC round out the offering.

As mentioned, SMBs almost always rely on an outsourced IT solution for a SOC because it demands a well-rounded staff. That staff comprises security analysts, threat hunters, networking professionals, managers, and others.

Image courtesy of CrowdStrike

SOC Responsibilities

The chief concern of a security operations center is threat management involving detection, protection, and prevention. It collects and analyzes data for suspicious activity to enhance your security. If a compromise or abnormal behavior arises, SOC team members receive an alert immediately to begin remediation.

In conjunction with that primary objective, a SOC also handles other essential responsibilities, including:

  • Capturing a complete view of the threat landscape, including endpoints, servers, and software as well as third-party services
  • Asset discovery and management to ensure IT assets receive regular patching and updates
  • 24/7 behavioral monitoring of all systems for any irregular activity — monitoring tools generally include security information and event management (SIEM) or endpoint detection and response (EDR)
  • Activity logging to aid in the forensics of activities resulting in a breach.
  • Severity ranking of each alert for prioritization of action
  • First response including endpoint isolation, terminating processes, deleting files, etc. to reduce the impact on business continuity
  • Restoration of systems and data recovery
  • Investigation of cyber incidents to uncover when, how, and why the incident occurred
  • Creation of an incident response plan to support detection, response, and recovery from security incidents
  • Compliance enforcement of regulatory and organizational standards

Depending on an organization’s requirements, the SOC team may handle other responsibilities.

Which Fits Your Organization Better, An SOC or NOC?

A SOC differs from a Network Operations Center (NOC) in that the latter focuses its efforts specifically on network performance and availability. It manages processes for network monitoring, device malfunctions, and network configuration with an eye on creating maximum network availability.

Whereas network issues typically involve malfunctions or traffic overloads, security issues often come from sources outside the organization. As a result, a NOC spends its time addressing hardware and equipment issues while a SOC addresses more virtual events.

The bottom line is that organizations requiring uptime fit the NOC model better. Likewise, organizations seeking to mitigate cyber threats benefit more from a SOC. As a result, deploying both operation centers in conjunction is not uncommon.

How Can Your Business Benefit from Having a SOC?

A SOC incorporates another layer of security into your cybersecurity that’s focused proactively on detecting threats. Apart from the apparent benefits attached to threat remediation, you’ll benefit from the following:

  1. Continuous, uninterrupted monitoring and analysis that ensures 24/7 cybersecurity
  2. Faster response times to prevent and minimize the impact of a cyber intrusion
  3. Reduction in the gap between the time of compromise and the mean time to detect (MTTD) for faster remediation of incidents
  4. Centralized operation of assets yielding better communication and collaboration for threat detection and response
  5. Cost reductions associated with a cyber incident for more rapid remediation
  6. Improved data collection for forensic use to diagnose attack points and infected systems
  7. Greater customer trust due to enhanced security

Benefits like these bring an invaluable, additional layer of cybersecurity protection to a small to medium-sized business.

Looking to Increase Your Cybersecurity?

If you’re looking for an IT company near you in Pennsylvania, we serve the needs of SMBs. You can benefit from our SOC solution along with our array of cybersecurity services.

We also offer a range of IT services and solutions designed to improve your IT operation. For example, talk to us about a FREE vulnerability scan that will pinpoint your points of attack within your IT systems.

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