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What Does a Security Operations Centre Do?

4 October 2021

With an ever-evolving threat landscape and a growing volume of threats, organisations require a Security Operations Centre (SOC) to address threats in a structured and effective manner. However, building this function in-house is hugely time-consuming and requires a variety of resources that many organisations do not have currently.  

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What does a SOC do?  

Data Insider suggests:  

A security operations centre (SOC) is a facility that houses an information security team responsible for monitoring and analysing an organisation’s security posture on an ongoing basis. The SOC team’s goal is to detect, analyse, and respond to cybersecurity incidents using a combination of technology solutions and a robust set of processes.  

The critical function of a Security Operations Centre is to:  

  • Monitor: The SOC can monitor your organisation for any potential cyber threats.  
  • Detect: Security Operations Centre’s help to uncover malicious or suspicious activities. Through detection, a SOC collects information about possible threats for more in-depth investigations.  
  • Investigate: The suspicious activities detected are analysed by SOC experts. This helps to determine the nature and extent of the threat and understand the threat vector, chain of events and eventually how to respond.  
  • Respond: SOC teams assist and advise in the remediation of any issues arising from any cyber threats.  
  • Prevent: A SOC team can provide organisations with actionable reporting customised to an organisation’s needs. This means that the reports focus on valuable and relevant security information and can help improve the organisation’s security strategies.  

The way a SOC does this is by combining people, processes and technology via 24-hour coverage.  

What Tools does a SOC use?  

To stay ahead of the fluid threat landscape, a SOC needs to evolve constantly. One of the most effective ways to do this is by utilising tools and techniques to keep up with these emerging risks.   

Some of the tools that a SOC often uses are:  

  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)  
  • Vulnerability scanners 
  • Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) 
  • Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS)  
  • Log Management Systems 
  • Cyber Threat Intelligence Feeds 
Sapphire cyber security- security incidents and data monitoring tools

What are the Best Practices of a Security Operations Centre?  

Toolbox suggests that:  

‘2021 will be an important year for SOCs worldwide. As enterprises recover from a record number of attacks in the last few months, working under unusual circumstances, the focus will be on strengthening security systems for more proactive protection. Research suggests that more than one in three companies will be adding fresh security staff to address SOC skill gaps. There is also room for using advanced technologies like automation, AI and ML for app discovery, threat analysis, and user authentication.’  

This means that the best practices below are essential to create a resilient security operations centre and stay a step ahead of all malicious hackers.  

Use a Strategy  

Defining a clear strategy when establishing an organisation’s SOC helps to align business goals. Developing the strategy using an assessment is the best way to identify gas and potential vulnerabilities.   

After this assessment, the team can create a clear, comprehensive set of processes, helping to guide the SOC team in operating, monitoring, detecting, responding and reporting as suggested above.  

As a result of the fluid and ever-evolving threat landscape, this strategy will need reviewing periodically, helping to keep ahead of any new emerging risks and vulnerabilities.  

Enable Visibility  

The SOC must identify all digital assets such as networks, databases, devices/endpoints, websites, and information stores to protect assets. This helps create end-to-end visibility, which will protect each asset individually.   

If visibility is enabled, it makes it easier for security technologies and tools to identify and prioritise risks and recommend actions for remediation of any future malicious activities.  

security operations centre soc

Create a Technology Stack  

A SOC is a large combination of people, processes and technologies working as a whole to protect and defend organisations against malicious attackers.   

However, on just the technology side of the SOC, some critical components work tirelessly to defend organisations, such as:  

  • SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) system: This aggregates and correlates data from feeds to identify deviations and take action against them.  If you would like to know more about SIEM, please check out our blog posts here.  
  • Digital Assessment and Monitoring Systems: These systems detect anomalous behaviour or activity.  
  • Prevention Tools: These can be firewalls, antivirus software, or EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response).  
  • Threat Detection Tools: Just as the name suggests, threat detection tools recognise suspicious activity using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) within the SOC system.  
  • Threat Response Capabilities: Threat response capabilities can use intelligent automation to respond automatically to these lesser threats for low-level security threats and routine incidents.   

Additionally, next-generation security solutions also play an essential role to support the ability to adapt to new emerging threats in this fluid, ever-evolving threat landscape. This is because a SOC consumes and digests data from tools such as penetration testing and even firewalls too.

Intelligence Automation and Human Resources  

As touched upon above, many SOCs use both human oversight and threat intelligence automation to manage malicious threats. As a result of combining highly skilled security professionals with AI-enabled solutions, the SOC can ensure the safety of an organisation’s network and assets utilising the least amount of time, cost and effort.  

Sapphire cyber security-  security strategy for the security industry

Why a Managed Security Operations Centre?  

To maintain the health and security of your organisation’s hardware, networks and software, detecting and responding quickly to threats is crucial. However, many organisations can’t respond to malicious attacks as promptly as necessary without a managed SOC.  

Managed SOCs work to bring together the latest technology with highly skilled analysts to protect organisations 24×7. Based in the UK, Sapphire’s managed SOC allows organisations to focus on core competencies rather than front-line threat detection, analysis, prevention and reporting, ensuring that your time and resources are handled effectively.   

Why Sapphire’s Managed Security Operations Centre?  

Sapphire’s SOC has 25 years of experience and a certified specialist team working tirelessly to deliver the highest quality of service. Our security analysts operate round the clock from a UK-based SOC, powered by a Tier 3 datacentre.  

With Sapphire, organisations benefit from:  

  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)  
  • Endpoint Detection Response (EDR)  
  • Vulnerability Management  
  • Incident Response technology   
  • And more  

With dynamic reporting tailored to each specific organisation’s needs, Sapphire’s SOC enriches customer data for context ensuring organisations have access to high-grade threat intelligence feeds.  

For more information about Sapphire’s SOC, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here.   

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