In today’s world, cyber-attacks are becoming more frequent and sophisticated. As a result, corporations need to shift their mindset to monitor these threats in real-time. An IT security operations center monitors detect, analyzes, and investigates cyber threats for the organization via a team of IT security experts. Cyber security incidents are constantly being analyzed across networks, endpoint devices, operating systems, applications, databases, and servers. Analyzing feeds, setting rules and identifying exceptions, providing enhanced responses, and monitoring new vulnerabilities are some of the things the SOC does.
As technology systems in modern organizations run 24/7, SOC teams work around the clock in shifts to ensure quick responses. They analyze feeds, establish rules, identify exceptions, enhance responses and keep an eye out for new vulnerabilities. Team members of SOCs may work collaboratively with other departments or with third-party IT security experts.
A cyber security strategy aligned with the organization’s business objectives and challenges should be developed before creating a security operation center. Some large companies maintain an in-house security operations center, but many outsource the function to a third-party provider of managed security services.
How Does a SOC Work?
Security operations centers have a primary mission to monitor and alert on suspicious activity and improve the organization’s security. This includes collecting and analyzing data to identify suspicious activity. Security information and event management (SIEM) systems and threat intelligence systems gather threat data from firewalls, intrusion detection systems, intrusion prevention systems, and intrusion prevention systems. When discrepancies, abnormal trends, or other indicators of compromise are detected, an alert is sent out to SOC team members.
What Does a SOC Do?
The SOC ensures assets are monitored for security incidents by acquiring a thorough knowledge of all hardware, software, tools, and technologies used in the organization.
Monitoring of suspicious activity is conducted by the Security Operations Center (SOC) 24/7/365 to detect and eliminate irregularities. Reactive and proactive measures are employed to maximize the possibility of finding irregularities and addressing them quickly.
Maintaining Activity Logs
It is imperative that the SOC team logs all activity and communications across the enterprise. Log management also allows SOCs to make a baseline for what can be deemed normal activity based on past actions that may have caused a cyber security breach. Activity logs allow the SOC to retrace its steps and pinpoint past actions that may have led to a security breach.
Assigning a severity ranking provides SOC teams with a way to prioritize the most severe alerts. Not all security incidents pose the same risk to an organization.
As soon as a compromise is detected, SOC teams handle incident response.
Root Cause Investigation
SOCs are responsible for investigating how, when, and why incidents occur. During the investigation, the SOC uses log data to identify the root problem and prevent reoccurrence.
Organizational policies, industry standards, and regulatory requirements must be followed by members of the SOC team.
In other words, SOCs are responsible for detecting and preventing threats in real-time. From a big-picture perspective, they are able to:
Respond faster: Even if you have several locations and thousands of endpoints, the SOC can give you a centralized, complete, real-time view of your entire security infrastructure. By detecting, identifying, preventing, and resolving issues before they become too serious for the business, you can prevent unmanageable costs.
Protect consumer and customer trust: In the age of scepticism and privacy concerns, creating a SOC to protect consumers’ data can help you build trust in your organization. Although preventing breaches is the best way to build trust, it isn’t always enough.
Minimize costs: Although many companies think setting up a SOC will be too expensive, the costs associated with a breach – such as data loss, corrupted data, or customer defection – are significantly higher. As well as using the right tools for your business effectively, SOC personnel ensure you are not wasting money on inefficient tools.
10 key functions performed by the SOC
Take Stock of Available Resources
Among the SOC’s responsibilities are two types of assets: the devices, processes, and applications they’re charged with protecting, and the defensive tools they have at their disposal to guarantee that they’re safe.
What The SOC Protects
A security operation center cannot protect devices or data it can’t see. Without visibility and control over data from devices to the cloud, vulnerabilities can be discovered and exploited in the network security posture. A SOC’s goal is to gain an understanding of a business’s threat landscape, which includes not only the many endpoints, servers, and software components on-premises, but also third-party services and traffic flowing between them.
How The SOC Protects
SOCs should also have a complete understanding of all cybersecurity tools available to them and all workflows found within the SOC. This will increase agility and optimize the SOC’s efficiency.
Preparation and Preventative Maintenance
No matter how well-equipped and agile the SOC’s response mechanisms are, they are not able to prevent problems from occurring in the first place. To prevent attack attempts, preventative measures are implemented, which fall into two categories.
Cybercriminals should stay on top of the latest security and threat developments, as well as the latest trends in cybercrime. A security roadmap can help inform the development of a disaster recovery plan for the company that will serve as an operational guide in the worst-case scenario and provide direction for the company’s cybersecurity efforts.
It includes updating firewall policies, patching vulnerabilities, and whitelisting and blacklisting applications in order to make successful attacks more difficult.
Continuous Proactive Monitoring
Monitoring the network around the clock enables the SOC to detect any irregularity or suspicious activity on the network, allowing them to mitigate or prevent harm as quickly as possible. SIEMs and EDRs are examples of monitoring tools. The most advanced of these can perform behavioural analysis to help systems differentiate daily operations from actual threats, thereby minimizing the amount of triage and analysis that has to be done by humans.
Alert Ranking and Management
SOCs are responsible for reviewing each alert issued by monitoring tools, for discarding false positives, and for determining the aggressiveness of any actual threats and what they might be targeting. In this way, they can address issues that are most urgent first, triaging emerging threats appropriately.
Typically, when considering the SOC’s actions, people think of shutting down or isolating endpoints, terminating undesirable processes, deleting files, etc. As soon as an incident is confirmed, the SOC acts as the first responder, acting as the first line of defence in the fight against the threat. As little impact as possible is intended on business continuity while responding to the extent necessary.
Recovery and Remediation
Immediately following an incident, the SOC will work to restore systems and restore any compromised or lost data. Restarting endpoints, wiping and reconfiguring systems or creating viable backups, if the system has been affected by ransomware, may be a necessary step to circumvent the ransomware. The network will return to its previous state when this step is successful.
In the SOC, all network and communications activity and communications logs are collected, maintained, and regularly reviewed. In the aftermath of an incident, the data can be used for remediation and forensics, providing a baseline for determining what is “normal” network activity. A SIEM is commonly used by SOCs to correlate and aggregate the logs produced by applications, firewalls, operating systems, and endpoints.
Root Cause Investigation
SOCs are in charge of finding out what exactly happened when, how and why an incident took place. Log data and other information are used by the SOC during this investigation to determine the source of the problem, which will help prevent similar problems from occurring in the future.
Security Refinement and Improvement
The SOC must continuously implement improvements in order to stay ahead of cybercriminals who are constantly refining their tools and tactics. As part of this step, security plans are brought to life, and practices such as red-teaming and purple teams can also be incorporated as part of this refinement.
Some of the SOC’s processes are governed by regulatory requirements, but most are governed by established best practices. Typically, the SOC is tasked with auditing their systems regularly for compliance with such regulations, whether issued by the organization, the industry, or the government. Regulating bodies such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS fall under these categories. By complying with these regulations, the company can not only protect sensitive data that it has been entrusted with but also prevent reputational damage and legal challenges when data breaches occur.
In managed security operations, threat detection and response are integrated with current network security tools. Other security operation solutions can be added to help assess and eliminate vulnerabilities and reduce cyber risk.
In addition to security, every organization needs SIEM and security functionality. Whether you choose to outsource the majority or all SOC functions to third parties or staff your own team, each requires tight security. Security questions must be addressed by a SOC.