managed-security

Building an Effective

Security Operations Center at Your Organization

Building an Effective Security Operations Center (SOC) at Your Organization

With the complexities of modern networks, the sophistication of current threats, and the cybersecurity skills gap, many organizations simply do not have the resources and expertise available to build an effective in-house Security Operations Center (SOC).

While the SOC of an organization is typically comprised of high-level IT team members who analyze and respond to various security incidents and alerts, it’s become harder by the day to put a solid team together. Now, many organizations are left wondering how to implement a SOC with so many roadblocks in the way.

There is good news, however: building out a strong SOC at your organization is not impossible. Let’s take a look at how you can put together an effective SOC that can be maintained for years to come.

Why is it Important to Have a Security Operations Center (SOC)?

Before we get started, you may be wondering why it is important that your organization has a SOC if you already have cyber-security defensive controls in place. The reality is, is that even with these controls it is never guaranteed that they are keeping you completely safe, especially as cyber-criminals develop attacks that can evade security tools. The defenses you have in place are likely only protecting you from what they have been set to protect you from, so any zero-day, unknown threats outside of that can still breach defenses and make their way into your network.

A security operations center will be able to monitor, alert, and respond to security events as they are discovered. Whether you have a dedicated SOC team or build your SOC through a third-party managed security provider, threats and alerts will be monitored around the clock, identifying attacks and minimizing dwell time. The idea is to move away from perimeter-based defenses focused on prevention, and toward threat detection and remediation in real time.

What’s Required of a Strong SOC

Before you begin your journey of building out an effective SOC, you should first know the essentials. This entire process will revolve around people, processes, and technology, as they all go hand in hand. The capabilities of your organization’s SOC analysts and engineers truly have to be top tier due to the complexities of modern networks. Finding team members with the skill sets required to take these sophisticated threats on will be crucial, especially as networks become distributed between cloud environments and on-premises datacenters. An understanding of the Shared Responsibility Model will be important among team members.

Your SOC should incorporate endpoint security, network security, cloud security, and identity management teams. Each team can then put their individual capabilities to good use. Various tools are used within each team to alert of attacks at the first sign of suspicion. If the threat cannot be immediately remediated, it is imperative that it is isolated from the rest of the network until it can be.

So, what technology will you need to have in place? Your organization will need to implement tools that can keep pace with modern cyber-attacks, and should emphasize detection and response speeds when selecting tools. Continuing to incorporate newer technology and staying aware of the updates that go along with it is an absolute must. Remember: threat awareness is key to an effective SOC.

The Challenges of Building Out a Strong SOC

The biggest challenge to building out a strong security operations center is, unfortunately, the skills gap of the people involved. It has become increasingly challenging to find candidates with the right skill set. In fact, Cyber-Security Ventures has predicted that there will be approximately 3.5 million unfilled cyber-security positions by the year 2021. Without a strong team of capable analysts, an SOC team simply can’t keep up with the threats they’re being confronted with.

Another challenge organizations are experiencing is the furthering of their internal expertise. You and your colleagues must keep up with the proper certifications, skills, and features as they are rolled out. This could be a monthly, weekly, and even daily commitment, but it has to be done. If you aren’t maintaining these capabilities with regular trainings and certifications, you’ll fall behind. And when you fall behind, remediation will suffer as well.

Finally, the last hurdle that an organization may have with their SOC is retention. Due to the extremely high demand for qualified analysts and engineers, it is of the utmost importance that you retain the employees you currently have. Be upfront and clear about their career paths and continue to distribute different tasks. Your SOC team will need compelling, interesting challenges in order to stay motivated.

Where SoftwareONE Fits Into Your SOC Strategy

As mentioned above, sometimes it is a better fit for an organization to rely on a managed SOC provider like SoftwareONE. SoftwareONE SOC is designed to continuously monitor the customer’s environment so they can thoroughly respond to security threats.

Our approach not only finds the gaps in your security, but fixes them as well. The first step in your process of achieving an effective SOC is understanding that your environment has vulnerabilities that you probably don’t know how to fix. Our first step in the process is always going to be either an assessment or advisement service to find those vulnerabilities. This could be through a security maturity assessment, a risk assessment, or whatever best suits your situation.

After we identify the gaps, we’ll be able to define the policies and controls your organization needs. The third piece of this plan is to then implement those technologies and controls so they can be monitored by the SOC team for threat alerts and, ultimately, a response.

Additionally, we have the ability to automate cloud security, which reduces overall risk and brings down the cost of remediation. Automation has played a huge role in the detection and remediation of vulnerabilities as well as overall security maintenance. By eliminating the added personnel and tools, we’re able to bring the cost down significantly and reduce risk at the same time.

Staying Ahead

An effective security operations center will help your organization monitor, analyze, and respond to threats. Whether you have the capacity to implement an in-house SOC or you’ve decided to move forward with a provider, you’ll be on the right path. Once you have the ball rolling, you’ll be well on your way to preventing and detecting threats before they ever hit your organization.

Begin Your SOC Journey

If you would like to learn more about the our solutions, be sure to check out our Managed Security Services.

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Author

Bala Sathunathan

Bala Sethunathan

Director, Security Practice & CISO

Cybersecurity

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