A security operations center (SOC) is a facility that houses an information security team responsible for monitoring and analyzing an organization’s security posture on an ongoing basis. The SOC team’s goal is to detect, analyze, and respond to cybersecurity incidents using a combination of technology solutions and a strong set of processes. Security operations centers are typically staffed with security analysts and engineers as well as managers who oversee security operations. SOC staff work close with organizational incident Response teams to ensure security issues are addressed quickly upon discovery.
Security operations centers monitor and analyze activity on networks, servers, endpoints, databases, applications, websites, and other systems, looking for anomalous activity that could be indicative of a security incident or compromise. The SOC is responsible for ensuring that potential security incidents are correctly identified, analyzed, defended, investigated, and reported.
HOW A SECURITY OPERATIONS CENTER WORKS
Rather than being focused on developing security strategy, designing security architecture, or implementing protective measures, the SOC team is responsible for the ongoing, operational component of enterprise information security. Security operations center staff consists primarily of security analysts who work together to detect, analyze, respond to, report on, and prevent cybersecurity incidents. Additional capabilities of some SOCs can include advanced forensic analysis, cryptanalysis, and malware reverse engineering to analyze incidents.
The first step in establishing an organization’s SOC is to clearly define a strategy that incorporates business-specific goals from various departments as well as input and support from executives. Once the strategy has been developed, the infrastructure required to support that strategy must be implemented. According to Bit4Id Chief Information Security Officer Pierluigi Paganini, typical SOC infrastructure includes firewalls, IPS/IDS, breach detection solutions, probes, and a security information and event management (SIEM) system. Technology should be in place to collect data via data flows, telemetry, packet capture, syslog, and other methods so that data activity can be correlated and analyzed by SOC staff. The security operations center also monitors networks and endpoints for vulnerabilities in order to protect sensitive data and comply with industry or government regulations.
ROLES WITHIN A SECURITY OPERATIONS CENTER
The “framework” of your security operations comes from both the security tools (e.g., software) you use and the Individuals who make up the SOC team.
Members of a SOC team include:
- Manager: The leader of the group is able to step into any role while also overseeing the overall security systems and procedures.
- Analyst: e Analysts compile and analyze at the data, either from a period of time (the previous quarter, for example) or after a breach.
- Investigator: Once a breach occurs, the investigator finds out what happened and why, working closely with the responder (often one person performs both “investigator” and “responder” roles).
- Responder: There are a number of tasks that come with responding to a security breach. An individual familiar with these requirements is indispensable during a crisis.
- Auditor: Current and future legislation comes with compliance mandates. This role keeps up with these requirements and ensures your organization meets them
Note: Depending on the size of an organization, one person may perform multiple roles listed. In some cases, it may come down to one or two people for the entire “team.”