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Security Operations Center Best Practices

21 May 2021

A Security Operations Centre (SOC) is a service that is used to monitor, detect, and respond to security incidents and events across an organisation’s infrastructure. Cyber-attacks and data breaches, organisations, companies, are an inevitable part of our digital world and enterprises of all sizes need to place emphasis on their ability to detect and respond to cybersecurity incidents quickly to maintain an effective security posture. An effective SOC requires an understanding of an organisation’s limitations, needs, and has the necessary capabilities to secure an organisation should a breach occur.

Below are five areas that are crucial elements of any managed security service.

People

One of the most important aspects of a Security Operations Centre is sourcing the right people. Experienced security enthusiasts, who are certified and highly skilled can respond quickly to security-based scenarios and alerts with efficiency and certainty. The SOC team consists of the people who will respond to all incidents and manage the continuous improvement of the service.

Some skill Sets needed in your Security Operations Centre (SOC)

Your security operations centre will need people with different skillsets and specialist roles which may include but are not limited to:

SOC Manager

These are the individuals who guide the SOC and report directly at the executive level, their responsibilities include recruiting, setting priorities and strategies, budgeting, and acquisition. The SOC manager also oversees the Security Operation Centre teams and ensure they respond to threats effectively.

Incident Responder

An incident responder reacts to alerts as soon as possible, analyses every incident, and proposes a relevant action. They use various monitoring services to rank how severe the alerts are and engage with the affected enterprise to start recovery efforts.

SOC Analysts

A SOC analyst is responsible for reviewing incidents or events in organisations and finding the root cause. The skills and experience retained by each analyst will vary and it is important that this role is filled with someone who meets the requirements of the SOC and the clients it supports.

Threat Hunter

Threat hunters are proactive team members who frequently perform testing and live investigations across an environment to identify any potential incidents, weaknesses, or attacks. Their role is critical within the SOC because they are responsible for identifying vulnerabilities and pre-emptive behaviours indicative of an attack before threat actors can exploit them.

How well equipped the SOC is determines how well it can protect organisations from cyber threats, though analysts have integral skills required to perform the role. Additional tools and resources are available providing a plethora of response capability to any developing attack.

A fully equipped SOC team will have both the skills and resources at their disposal to protect the client environment and is a critical line of defence for any enterprise.

Technology

A Security Operations Centre should utilise tools and resources built upon both mature and emerging technologies, enabling analysts to manage their tasks with efficiency and effectiveness.

Having a reliable technical infrastructure means you have a sound documentation system, ticketing system, and inventory system in place.

Popular Tools Used in a Security Operations Centre (SOC)

  • Data Monitoring Tools
  • Endpoint Protection Systems
  • Automated Application Security
  • Asset Discovery Systems
  • Firewalls
  • Security and Information Event Management (SIEM)
  • Threat Intelligence
  • Vulnerability Management

Processes

Mature SOCs have clear and well-defined processes which are necessary to ensure that the teams respond to alerts consistently. Part of this involves ensuring that process documents have went through the same standardisation procedure providing continuity between documentation and aiding implementation.

Based on the workflow standardisation, the resources can then be allocated effectively.

The security of all organisations relies on a set of requirements widely accepted by the security industry. To have a thriving security operations centre (SOC), you should align your organisation with the different security requirements such as PCI and ISO 27001.

A security operations centre will need to have processes and workflows related to monitoring centred around best practices, incident response handling requirements, and remediation. SOC analysts should request content and provide effective feedback to management and the security engineering team to guarantee iterative improvement.

Threat Intelligence

To create an effective SOC, you must have an incident response team that can quickly adapt and respond to an ever-evolving cyber threat landscape. These teams are part of an incidence response system responsible for managing incidents detected and formulating an effective plan of action in response. The team is also responsible for communicating with the different departments and the other elements of the security apparatus deployed by an organisation.

This high-quality and high confidence actionable threat intelligence is critical to ensure that the SOC incidents are contextualised against the threat landscape. A sound SOC threat intelligence system will decide the appropriate way to delegate and handle any identified events and execute a specific action plan.

Visibility

Visibility plays a significant role in safeguarding the network, and there should be comprehensive visibility across assets. A SOC must track its network while conducting 24/7 vulnerability scans to achieve maximum security success for your organisation. The assets are to be monitored to ensure that the SOC protecting an organisation can detect, prevent, and defend the enterprise against any attacks.

To secure the infrastructure and data, the SOC team should know where they are and understand priorities and who should have access. Accuracy in assigning priority to assets determines how well the security operations centre will manage its time and resources. Raising your visibility is critical because it makes it easy for your SOC to stop any attackers and threats and minimise the locations where attackers can hide.

To learn more about Sapphire’s SOC offering visit: www.sapphire.net/mss/soc/

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