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Your SOC Quick Start Guide

Understand how a SOC works, the benefits, team responsibilities, and a quick guide to getting started with a SOC in your organisation.

Cybersecurity threats are now more common, dangerous, and difficult to detect and defend. Enterprises of all sizes need a formal organizational structure that is responsible for information security and can create efficient processes for detection, mitigation, and prevention of threats. This is where the Security Operations Center (SOC) comes into play.

What is a SOC?

SOC has traditionally been a physical facility within an organisation that houses information security teams. This team analyses and monitors your organisation's security system. The role of the SOC is to protect the organisation from security breaches by identifying, analysing, and responding to cybersecurity threats. The SOC team consists of management, a security analyst, and in some cases a security engineer.

SOCs are a proven method for improving threat detection, reducing the likelihood of security breaches, and ensuring proper organisational response in the event of an incident. The SOC team isolates anomalous activity on servers, databases, networks, endpoints, and applications identifies and investigate security threats,  and responds to security incidents that occur. At one point, SOCs were considered suitable only for large enterprises. Today, many small organisations have set up lightweight SOCs such as a hybrid SOC that combines part-time internal staff with sourced experts, or a virtual SOC without any physical facility and consist of in-house staff that serve other functions as well. 

How do SOCs work? 

SOCs have two main responsibilities, which include managing security monitoring tools and investigating suspicious activities. Some core processes they carry out are alert triage, alert prioritisation, remediation and recovery, and reporting. 

SOC roles and responsibilities 

Security analysts: They are the first to respond to incidents. The response includes threat detection, threat investigation and timely response. This requires correct training and proper implementation of policies and procedures within the enterprise. They work with internal IT staff and business administrators to communicate information about security shortfalls and have proper documentation. 

Security engineers/architects: They maintain and suggest monitoring and analysis tools and can be software or hardware specialist. They develop tools that aid enterprises in preventing and responding effectively to attacks. Documenting procedures, requirements and protocols is their job. 

SOC manager: The manager oversees the SOC team and reports to the CISO. They supervise the team, provide guidance and manage finance. Some responsibilities include creating processes, developing a crisis communication plan, and assessing incident reports. They also write compliance reports, measure SOC performance and report on operations to business leaders. 

CISO: A CISO defines the security operations and objectives. They have the final say on policies, strategies, and procedures relating to cybersecurity. They also have a central role in risk management and compliance and implementation of policies. 

Benefits of SOC

SOCs operate 24X7 to detect and respond to incidents. They use threat intelligence tools to fully understand incidents and curate an appropriate response. They also play a vital role in reducing ad hoc security costs in the long run. By coordinating data and information, they can also reduce the complexity of investigations. 

Challenges faced by SOC teams 

Apart from the unknown challenges of identifying attacks SOC teams are constantly faced with issues that alter their ability to perform at their optimum best.

Read the five challenges faced by SOCs.

Getting started with a SOC 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before setting up a SOC: 

  • Availability and hours - will your SOC work 8X5 or 24X7? 
  • Will you plan everything in-house or use an MSSP
  • Is your priority security or compliance? Will you use the cloud extensively? 
  • Are you using a single on-premises or a hybrid environment? 
  • Will you integrate SOC and NOC (Network Operations Centre)? 

Steps to setting up your SOC 

The following are some crucial steps while setting up a SOC: 

Ensure everyone understands what the SOC does: SOC observes and checks the organization’s network and detects possible security concerns. Have a clear difference between your IT help desk and the SOC. 

Provide infrastructure: Without appropriate tools in place, a SOC will not be able to deal with a security concern. Invest in technologies that will support the effectiveness of your SOC team. 

Find the right people: Security analysts, engineers and SOC managers should receive ongoing training and have strong expertise in crisis management. 

Have an incident response plan in place: This should include a detailed action plan and be able to adapt to different scenarios. You can include your business, PR and legal teams as well. 

Defend effectively: Your SOC should be able to collect as much data and context as possible and prioritize incidents to protect your enterprise’s perimeter. 

With DNIF HyperScale SIEM, your SOC can detect unknown threats, mitigate the threat in minutes and eliminate long processes.

Schedule a demo today! 

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