A security operations center, or SOC, is a team of IT security professionals that protect an organization from cyber threats. It can be an in-house team or a third-party IT security provider, such as BrightFlow Technologies.
How Does a SOC Protect a Company?
Cyber pros protect an organization by monitoring, detecting, analyzing and investigating cyber threats 24/7. Networks, servers, computers, endpoint devices, operating systems, applications and databases are continuously examined for signs of cyber security threats. The SOC team:
- Analyzes feeds.
- Establishes rules.
- Identifies exceptions.
- Enhances response times.
- Scouts for new vulnerabilities.
Given that technology systems in modern organizations run 24/7, SOCs usually function around the clock in shifts to ensure a rapid response to any emerging threats. SOC teams may collaborate with other departments and employees or contract with independent IT security providers.
Before setting up a SOC, organizations must develop an overarching cyber security strategy that aligns with their business objectives and challenges. Many large organizations have an in-house SOC but others opt to outsource the SOC to a third-party managed service provider.
Security intelligence and operations consulting services include an arsenal of security solutions to stay ahead of security threats.
At BrightFlow Technologies, we can protect you from cyber bullies. We are not out to scare you, but there are disturbing trends. These include:
- Cyber attacks increased by 50 percent in 2021 versus 2020.
- 43 percent of cyber attacks target small or medium-sized businesses.
- Only 14 percent of small or medium-sized businesses are prepared to prevent cyberattacks.
- 66 percent of small or medium-sized businesses experienced a cyberattack in the past 12 months.
The Evolution of the SOC
Let’s look at the journey of security information and event management (SIEM) and what lies ahead for SOC teams as they strive to advance their threat detection and response capabilities.
The primary mission of a security operations center is security monitoring and alerting. This includes the collection and analysis of data to identify suspicious activity and improve the organization’s security. Threat data is collected from firewalls, intrusion detection systems, intrusion prevention systems, security information and event management (SIEM) systems and threat intel. Alerts are sent out to SOC team members as soon as discrepancies, abnormal trends or other indicators of compromise are picked up.
Activities of the SOC include:
- Asset discovery. By acquiring a deep awareness of all hardware, software, tools and technologies used in the organization, the SOC ensures assets are monitored for security incidents.
- Behavioral monitoring. The SOC analyzes technology infrastructure 24/7/365 for abnormalities. It employs both reactive and proactive measures to ensure irregular activity is quickly detected and addressed. Behavioral monitoring of suspicious activity is used to minimize false positives.
- Maintaining activity logs. All activity and communications taking place across the enterprise must be logged by the SOC team. Activity logs allow the SOC to backtrack and pinpoint past actions that may have caused a cyber security breach. Log management also helps in setting a baseline for what should be deemed normal activity.
- Alert ranking. All security incidents are not created equal. Some incidents will pose a greater risk to an organization than others. Assigning severity ranking helps SOC teams prioritize the most severe alerts.
- Incident response. SOC teams perform incident response when a compromise is discovered.
- Root cause investigation. After an incident, the security operations center may be charged with investigating when, how and why an incident occurred. During investigation, the SOC relies on log information to track the root problem and therefore prevent recurrence.
- Compliance management. The SOC team members must act in line with the organizational policies, industry standards and regulatory requirements.
What Are the Benefits of a Security Operations Center?
When a SOC is implemented correctly, it provides numerous benefits including:
- Continuous monitoring and analysis of system activity.
- Improved incident response.
- Decreased timeline between when a compromise occurs and when it is detected.
Consider the outcomes of these benefits:
- Reduced downtime: Centralization of hardware and software assets leads to a more holistic, real-time approach to infrastructure security.
- Effective collaboration and communication: Direct and indirect costs associated with the management of cyber security incidents are reduced. Employees and customers trust the organization and become more comfortable with sharing their confidential information.
- Greater control and transparency over security operations. A clear chain of control for systems and data is created, which is crucial for the successful prosecution of cybercriminals.
What Are SOC Challenges?
Along with benefits, there are always drawbacks. With the security operations center, consider these challenges:
- Talent gap. There is a huge shortfall in the number of cyber security professionals needed to fill existing cyber security job vacancies. The gap stood at 4.07 million professionals in 2019. With such scarcity, SOCs walk a tightrope daily with a high risk of team members getting overwhelmed. To bridge this gap, organizations should look within and consider upskilling employees to fill gaps in their SOC team. All roles in the SOC should have a backup with the expertise needed to hold the fort if the position suddenly becomes vacant.
- Sophisticated attackers. Network defense is a key component of an organization’s cyber security strategy. It needs special attention since sophisticated actors have the tools and know-how required to evade traditional defenses such as firewalls and endpoint security. The solution is to deploy tools that have anomaly detection and/or machine learning capabilities and can identify new threats.
- Voluminous data and network traffic. The amount of network traffic and data the average organization handles is enormous. With such astronomical growth in data volume and traffic comes a rising difficulty in analyzing all this information in real time. Fortunately, SOCs rely on automated tools to filter, parse, aggregate and correlate information to keep manual analysis to the bare minimum.
- Alert fatigue. In many security systems, anomalies occur with some regularity. If the SOC relies on unfiltered anomaly alerts, it’s easy for the sheer volume of alerts to be overwhelming. Many alerts may fail to provide the context and intelligence needed to investigate, thus distracting teams from real problems. The solution is to configure monitoring content and alert ranking to distinguish between low-fidelity and high-fidelity alerts. Use behavioral analytics tools to ensure the SOC team is focused on addressing the most unusual alerts first.
- Unknown threats. Conventional signature-based detection, endpoint detection and firewalls cannot identify an unknown threat.
BrightDefense by BrightFlow Technologies
At BrightFlow Technologies, we offer BrightDefense cyber security services. We have developed a multi-ingredient secret sauce: our cyber stack of highly sophisticated digital tools designed to defeat all cyber threats. Our cyber stack wraps a forcefield around your resources and data, protecting it 24/7 from all angles.
If you want to learn more about BrightDefense, contact us. We are fully prepared to fight the Evil Empire for you.