Security Operations Center (SOC)

The Modern World is an advanced era where everything is technology dependent and data is stored in digital form. As the era is progressing, technology has advanced and all our data is sitting inside either some computer or somewhere in the servers. Billions of data packet are traveling every millisecond through the connected devices on the internet, whether its personal data or business related.

This growing digital data has attracted much nefarious activity with the intent of either stealing or causing harm to the data. Data in plain texts are no longer safe in our system. There has to be some protection mechanism now to stop this malicious intent of attackers. Cyberspace has grown rapidly and along with that various attacks have also evolved with an intent to cause harm or steal data or just for their fun activity. So cyber and information security needs to be strengthened now to cope up these increasing attacks. SOC provides this defense mechanism to deal with security incidents.

Security Operations Centre (SOC) is one of the crucial cyber defense mechanism that may help to prevent as well as remediate the cyber-attacks. The third world war is predicted to be centered around Cyber Security. If the defense mechanism is not properly implemented organizations and other cyber dependents will have to suffer a great loss if any cyber-attack outbreaks.

SOC is a centralized setup unit which deals with the security issues by monitoring the logs and the data flow in and out of the organization. It requires specially trained security analysts who can analyze the data, distinguish the false positive, take correct preventive measures and remediate. The goal is to have a SOC team that has the right skills and uses the least amount of resources while gaining visibility into active and emerging threats. According to big organizations Security Officers, typical SOC infrastructure includes firewalls, IPS/IDS, breach detection solutions, probes, and a security information and event management (SIEM) system. SIEM is the tool that collects all the logs and data activity and shows them in a readable format, applies alerts use cases and correlation functionality before displaying them in the monitoring console. This then analyzed by the SOC Analyst who uses runbook/playbook to process the alert accordingly.

Almost all the devices create log file wherein they include important information regarding the task and activity it performs. SIEM tools utilize this log file in its monitoring process. Its agents sit on the network devices and push the logs in the correct format to its central server which then applies the correlation function to generate the alert in the SIEM console. Typically most of the SIEM tools from different vendors follow the same principle as stated above. They show an alert, and those alerts have other necessary information inside it which then security analyst uses for their operations.

The security operations center also monitors networks and endpoints for vulnerabilities to protect sensitive data and comply with industry or government regulations. For example, if any laptop’s AV agent is not working, the SIEM will throw an alert reporting the hostname and its noncompliance issue. SOC also facilitates other security functionalities like DLP, Endpoint detection and response and User and Entity behavior analytics. DLP (Data Loss Prevention) is an important part of data security now. An organization which deals with a lot of sensitive data always has a fear of data breaches by their employees. They may leak data intentionally or unintentionally via mediums like USB, web portals, emails, and prints. SOC analysts also monitor this data breaches in the form of alerts which triggers in SIEM tool whenever any files or texts are leaving or moving away from the system.

RUNNING A SECURITY OPERATIONS CENTER

To keep up with the latest threats and vulnerabilities the Threat Intelligence Team should always provide all the information and IOC’s related to the threats to improve the internal detection and defense mechanism of SOC. SOC also needs to correlate the internal data that they have collected with the external sources that deliver insight into threats and vulnerabilities. This external Cyber intelligence can provide data like a critical signature update, attack working mechanism, incident report, news feed from different cyber security websites, incident report and vulnerability alerts that help the SOC analyst to keep up their network environment with the latest trends and threats. In turn, the SOC team also has to provide the data and their tool access to the threat intelligence team to keep updating them with the alerts and threats. SOC needs to have a proper process flow and intelligence to distinguish false positives from the real positive incidents.

A highly skilled analyst has a very important role in running SOC operations successfully. They must have proper knowledge and intelligence to utilize the security automation to become effective and efficient which in turn enhances the analytics power and improved security measures to defend the organization against the cyber-attacks and data-breaches.

A lot of organization doesn’t have In-house SOC centers built within themselves. Setting up SOC is costly and requires a special skilled team to setup and automate the flow of data in and out of the tool. So they depend upon the managed SOC service provider who acts as the third party to run the SOC services for them.

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