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What is a SoC and why do you need it? 

5 July 2022

SOC

A Security Operations Centre (SOC) is a function which combines people, processes and technology for the monitoring and analysing of an organisation’s security posture. Rather than only employing preventative security, a SOC allows organisations to identify an attacker who may have made it past initial defences and mitigate damage before it spirals out of control. The cyber defence team running a SOC comprises several individuals with varying skills and responsibilities, aiming to effectively prevent, analyse, detect, and respond to cybersecurity incidents and threats in real-time and take immense pressure off the organisation’s security team. Typically, a SOC operates on a 24/7/365 basis, facilitating an around-the-clock security culture and ensuring that the organisation is never caught off guard – even over holidays.

 

How does it work?

 

The SOC team’s primary focus is the ongoing, operational component of enterprise information security, performing core activities such as collection, detection, triage, investigation and incident response. The collection reflects the integration and visibility effectiveness of the SOC operations, involving specialised technology components that directly integrate with the organisation’s infrastructure to collect in real-time security meaningful data in the form of events, logs, probes, telemetry, data about the client posture beyond the perimeter and so on. The collected data enable the analytics content and algorithms in the form of use cases, correlation rules, machine learning algorithms, and statistical analysis techniques on SIEM, XDR and other specialised analytics engines to perform real-time threat detection. Whereas centrally managed monitoring tools help the SOC teams focus on generated alerts or performing threat hunting queries and prioritise them to further triage and investigation activities. A modern SOC should be able to perform its functions across the domains of User, IT, OT, Cloud, Endpoint, and Brand. This is called the Digital Universe approach to protecting an organisation’s security.

 

For the SOC to run smoothly, there are several roles, although, in some smaller organisations, several will be occupied by the same individual. These include:

 

  • Manager: This person acts as the leader of the group and will be able to step into any role while overseeing all procedures/systems.

 

  • Analyst: A tier 1 level of analysts proactively searches data through analytics engines like SIEM and XDR  via threat hunting and monitoring dashboards to find malicious activity. Alerts are shortlisted for triage to be performed by the tier 2 analysts.

 

  • Incident handler: investigate complex alerts assigned through the triage queue of tier 1 and tier 2 analysts seeking to validate the true positiveness of an attack and shape the kill chain of the identified tactics and techniques of the attacker. At a verified breach, they are called to search for the root cause and provide improvements in the aftermath to an organisation’s security posture. Makes use of the concepts such as the MITRE ATT&CK Framework and additional security analysis tools.
  • Threat Intelligence specialist: is part of the cyber defence team who collects intelligence about new attack adversaries, IOCs and guide focused threat hunting to organisations’ security posture of activity and logs, or help prioritise the development of new use cases, correlation rules and detection algorithms to the analytics engines

 

  • Responder: performs immediate threat containment in response to a security breach – helps the organisation to threat remediation and recovery depending on the impact of the incident – is familiar with requirements and indispensable during a crisis

 

Best practices when running a SOC

 

Running a SOC is no easy feat, as teams must constantly be on top of existing threats while identifying and learning about emerging dangers in the expanding threat landscape. It is equally essential for them to meet their company and customers’ needs and adjust the risk tolerance level accordingly.

 

To keep up with existing and emerging threats, the SOC must know the latest threat-intelligence trends and leverage this information to boost internal defence mechanisms and overall protection.

 

To run a successful SOC, it is vital to constantly incorporate threat intelligence into monitoring tools to be up to date with the evolving threat landscape. In addition, there must be some process to distinguish real threats from non-threats, to not exhaust the team with false alerts.

 

Most importantly, SOC processes are automated to streamline, boost productivity, and increase effectiveness. This strengthens analytics powers and allows for constant monitoring, even if the SOC is reduced to a skeleton staff.

 

The benefits of a SOC

 

Implementing a SOC helps organisations stay on top of all existing known and unknown threats within their environment. With on-call staff to deal with security incidents, they can focus more on their roles without worrying about a cyber-attack, knowing that there is continuous protection.

 

In addition, while the costs of running a SOC may appear steep, they ultimately decrease the amount of time between when a compromise first occurs until it is detected, which cuts losses due to damage or business downtime.

 

More importantly, SOC staff can educate employees on the threat landscape and what to look out for to avoid being targeted or hit. This leads to communication and collaboration within the company, facilitating a more robust overall security culture. Finally, an organisation can drastically improve their business reputation by implementing a SOC. It indicates to their employees, clients, and potential leads that they take data security and privacy seriously and can protect themselves adequately, building a stronger sense of trust.

 

Ultimately, it gives organisations the upper hand, as they can defend against any incidents and intrusions, regardless of where they originate from, what time of day they strike and what kind of tactic is used.

 

How Obrela can help

 

Obrela offers MDR SOCaaS (Managed Detection and Response Security Operations Centre as a Service), which supports real-time monitoring and analysis of event data. Obrela’s SOCaaS supports all event data in diverse and hybrid environments, including IT (Information Technology), Cloud, and OT (Operational Technology). It leverages threat intelligence, threat detection analytics and incident response capabilities. Additionally, it supports MDR technologies with an around-the-clock call centre that provides first-level support and can coordinate emergency support teams to help organisations throughout the year. By implementing Obrela’s SOCaaS, organisations can significantly reduce their mean time to detect and respond to attacks in their environment as fast and efficiently as possible.

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