A security operation center (SOC) is a centralized information security management team charged with managing intensive security operations for another organization. They’re responsible for externally monitoring, analyzing, and mitigating threats within an organization’s IT environment as well as strengthening their overall security posture on a regular basis.
As technology has advanced, SOC has become available as a service. And it’s become a game changer for many organizations that lacked the resources, expertise, or time to focus on their security posture.
But how does this work and what are the benefits of security operation as a service?
What is a Security Operation Center SOC?
Every year, the threats IT and security staff face evolve and increase in frequency. The constant state of change makes it difficult to keep up with existing threats, let alone those that emerge with new technologies.
According to ESG Technical Review, 51% of businesses believe that their IT organization has problematic shortages when it comes to their IT team and its existing skill sets. The skills gap poses a significant concern to organizations of all sizes, jeopardizing their ability to continuously maintain viable security controls.
This current challenge is what SOC, as a service, was designed to fix.
The security operations center is the physical facility that houses the security team. From this centralized location, the SOC remotely monitors and analyzes an organization’s various servers, networks, applications, websites, and systems. With the help of sophisticated programs and analytical tools, they’re able to search for anomalous activity and protect an organization from cyberthreats.
SOC as a service is the combination of people (engineers and analysts) and state-of-the-art equipment, working together to manage two primary types of assets:
- The organization’s devices, applications, and processes
- Their own defensive monitoring tools
Typically, a SOC provides organizations with a malleable team of IT experts who bring the most recent knowledge and tools needed to protect the organization from cybersecurity threats—both from within and without.
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What Services Does a SOC perform?
SOCs perform a variety of vital cybersecurity functions, including but not limited to:
- Gauging your available IT resources – In order to protect your various devices, processes, and applications, an SOC must gain a total vantage over your organization’s environmental threat landscape. To accomplish this, they must review the various servers, systems, networks, and applications that stores, processes, or transmits data (especially sensitive data), searching for:
- Preventative maintenance – The best defense is a good offense. In the world of IT, this means finding as many ways as possible to minimize or eliminate threats before they can ever arise. Preparation begins with the creation of a security roadmap as well as a disaster recovery plan. This is followed up with regular maintenance and updating of existing systems.
- Security information event management (SIEM) – Cybersecurity must be performed on a continuous basis. SIEM is a technology solution that SOC analysts use to collect security data across the expanse of your organization. The automated tools scan and monitor networks around the clock, flagging suspicious or anomalous activity the moment it occurs.
Once threatening events are identified they’re sent to the SOC team, allowing them to identify and mitigate incidents at a faster pace. SOCs use this proactive posture to give your organization the valuable time it needs to deal with a threat as it emerges. The goal is to nip an incident in the bud before things can get out of hand.
- Compliance governance – Depending on the type of system or organization, a SOC’s processes may be governed by compliance regulations such as HIPAA or PCI. The security operations center is required to frequently audit their system to ensure compliance. Doing so not only protects the sensitive data they’ve been charged with protecting, but also shields them from liability and reputational harm that may result from a breach.
In addition, the team is capable of auditing your organization’s security infrastructure to see whether it meets all regulatory compliance requirements.
- Implementing and managing security tools – A SOC team will rely on a suite of technology products that help manage and protect your organization’s security environment. The team integrates basic security tools like:
- Intrusion detection
- Threat vulnerability management
- Data loss prevention
- Traffic inspection solutions
- Data analytics
- Reporting technology
On top of this, premier SOCs also have access to enterprise forensic tools that simplify and improve incident response investigations.
- Alert ranking and management – A SOC may have to juggle a variety of emerging threats at any given time. To do their job appropriately, they must be able to analyze each new threat, see whether it actually is a threat, and then prioritize it based on the possible damage it could cause. By ranking viable threats, the team can address the most urgent issues first before moving on to the lesser concerns.
- Incident response – The SOC is the first responder. It’s their job to see if they can minimize the issue without impacting business continuity. When threats are detected, SOC analysts can use automation or work directly with internal teams to respond to incidents.
- Log management – SOCs are charged with gathering, maintaining, and analyzing network activity logs and communications for your whole organization. Doing so helps establish a baseline network activity, which makes it easier to expose potential threats. Often, SIEMs are able to automate both data collection and organization.
Benefits of Security Operations as a Service
There are several reasons why organizations benefit from enlisting a SOC. They include:
- Cost savings – One of the first reasons why an organization will work with an SOC is that it lowers the total cost of ownership. When you partner with an SOC you don’t have to spend money hiring internal security analysts, purchasing software, or wasting valuable time on making sure the security environment and solutions are working as intended.
A SOC provides knowledgeable IT experts and top-of-the line software solutions via an affordable monthly subscription, with several tiers of service. This allows you to pay for the IT services you need as you go.
- Access to advanced technologies – SOCs use the most up-to-date technologies, capable of powerful threat scanning, data visualization and analysis, stat correlations, and data pivoting. In addition, security operation centers are plugged into the world’s most important threat intelligence databases, meaning they are able to better prepare for and then respond to newly emerging threats.
- Skilled and experienced professionals – Security as a service providers rely on building teams of veteran security analysts and engineers, armed with best-of-breed toolsets and well-versed in the modern threat profile.
- Simplifies the IT relationship – The SOC team supplements your existing internal IT and security teams, simplifying the relationships and work required. The internal IT team is freed from having to deal with a variety of tasks, including:
Instead, they’re able to focus on larger business initiatives.
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Security operation center as a service is a means by which your organization can optimize its efforts to detect threats and respond in a timely, cost-effective manner.
Rather than devoting your internal resources to the task of monitoring and managing threats, you can outsource your various security tasks to an external team of IT experts. This allows your internal IT team to prioritize your business’ core needs.
RSI security isn’t just a SOC, we’re a security program advisory.
Our mission is to ensure that your organization is always improving its security posture while mitigating your overall threat profile. We provide a wide range of security program advisory services, including:
- Security Operations Center (SOC)
- Security Program Development
- Security Staff Augmentation
- Virtual Chief Security Officer
- Social Engineering Assessments
- Security Awareness Support
- Client-Specific Security Program Strategies – Assessment, Development, Remediation
Want to take your cybersecurity efforts to an entirely new level? We can help.