A security operations center (SOC) is a facility that houses an information security team that is in charge of continuously monitoring and analyzing an organization’s security posture. The goal of the SOC team is to detect, analyze, and respond to cybersecurity incidents using a combination of technology and a strong set of processes. Security operations centers are typically staffed with security analysts and engineers, as well as security operations managers. SOC personnel collaborate closely with organizational incident response teams to ensure that security issues are addressed as soon as they are discovered. Security operations centers monitor and analyze network, server, endpoint, database, application, website, and other system activity for anomalies that may indicate a security incident or compromise.
The SOC team is responsible for the continuous, operational component of business information security rather than defining security strategy, building security architecture, or implementing protective measures. Security analysts work together in the security operations center to identify, evaluate, respond to, report on, and prevent cybersecurity problems. To examine occurrences, certain SOCs may also include extensive forensic analysis, cryptanalysis, and malware reverse engineering capabilities.
The first stage in building an organization’s SOC is to clearly identify a strategy that involves departmental goals as well as input and support from leaders. Once the plan has been defined, the infrastructure needed to support it must be put in place. A typical SOC architecture consists of firewalls, intrusion prevention systems (IPS/IDS), breach detection solutions, probes, and a security information and event management (SIEM) system. Data should be collected via technology such as data flows, telemetry, packet capture, syslog, and other ways so that SOC employees can correlate and analyze data activities. In order to secure sensitive data and comply with industry or government standards, the security operations center also monitors networks and endpoints for vulnerabilities.
To achieve the greatest outcomes, the SOC must stay current on threat intelligence and use it to strengthen internal detection and defensive processes. The SOC, according to the InfoSec Institute, consumes data from within the business and correlates it with information from a variety of external sources to provide insight into risks and vulnerabilities. This external cyber information comprises news feeds, signature updates, incident reports, threat briefings, and vulnerability warnings, all of which help the SOC stay on top of changing cyber threats. To stay up with threats, SOC workers must regularly feed threat data into SOC monitoring systems, and the SOC must have mechanisms in place to differentiate between true threats and non-threats. Security automation is used by truly successful SOCs to become more effective and efficient. Organizations strengthen their analytics power by combining highly trained security analysts with security automation to improve security procedures and better protect against data breaches and cyber threats. Many firms that lack the necessary in-house capabilities resort to managed security service providers that provide SOC services.