SOC: what it is and how it operates

SOC or Security Operations Center – not to be confused with SoC (“System on a Chip) – is the core component of a serious business security strategy.

Simply put, a SOC assures threat detection and prevention in real-time and makes sure that the protection of clients’ and users’ data is always optimal.

As professionals, managers, entrepreneurs, and internet users, we are not completely aware that malicious actors’ threat is skyrocketing nowadays. In actual fact, cyberattacks are increasingly damaging organizations. Every year billions of people suffer from cyberattacks and data leaks, too.

A SOC may be expensive, and many organizations do not go beyond their IT department when considering security.

However, very often, the actual costs of an attack may be much higher than the SOC itself: both in financial and reputational terms.

Curious? Learn more about this crucial constituent of security against threats below, then!

 

SOC: Definition

First and foremost, Security Operations Centers monitor and analyze activity on networks, servers, endpoints, databases, applications, websites, and other systems.

Basically, they hunt for anomalous activity that may indicate a security incident or compromise.

In other words, then, the SOC is responsible for ensuring that potential security incidents are correctly identified, analyzed, defended, investigated, and reported.

They use a combination of technological solutions and a strong set of procedures and processes to do so.

To be fully effective, the Security Operations Center premises themselves have to be secure. This is what security professionals refer to the term “physical security.”

Therefore, businesses should not neglect it. SOCs can do their work at their best once organizations have secured them. Indeed, intrusion may originate from a poorly-secured SOC.

Finally, SOCs employ a wide range of professionals with high technical qualifications in cybersecurity, such as engineers and security analysts. They also work in coordination with the organization’s incident response team.

 

How it works and benefits

Rather than just designing a security architecture,  a typical SOC infrastructure includes firewalls, IPS/IDS, breach detection solutions, probes, and a security information and event management (SIEM) system.

This technology should be in place to collect data via data flows, telemetry, packet capture, Syslog. Also, other methods exist.

Finally, once the SOC collects this data activity, SOC staff correlates and analyses it.

However, you should remember that SOCs work when organizations set a very clear security strategy behind them. Owning a SOC per se does not guarantee security, then. Executives should make it clear when designing the security of the organization they work for.

Turning now to benefits, SOCs have great value. They run every day of the year on a 24/7 basis. Thus, this means they assure continuous protection.

Secondly, they decrease the elapsed time between compromise and actual response. Time savings can really make a difference in dealing with violations.

Thirdly, reducing the effects of a breach means reducing its costs. SOCs are generally expensive. However, they cost nothing compared – for instance – to the costs of data theft concerning industrial secrets. We have already covered this in the blog concerning the Campari case.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, a SOC is one of the first defense lines against attacks and breaches.

They may cost a lot, but they rescue businesses from many troubles.

Having a SOC per se does not guarantee complete security, however. A SOC is fully effective once an organization sets a very clear security strategy at its base.

Notwithstanding, a serious security strategy always includes a SOC. If you aim to protect your business and its secrets, you must have it.