Security Operations Center


Although a Security Operations Center (SOC) is a sophisticated department within a business that is responsible for monitoring and mitigating attacks. To be sure, the internet grew exponentially, cyber-attacks began, and businesses have always desired to be prepared for an attack. That is when SOC gained notoriety. SOC is occasionally referred to as ISOC (Information Security Operations Center)

The attack surface or threat landscape is expanding at a faster rate than ever before, owing to the increasing sophistication of cyber-attacks. In today’s digital world, information is the most valuable commodity. Everyone desires privacy and easy access to their personal information. Businesses and security experts are stepping up their efforts to address the critical security areas of confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Many businesses are unaware that their Security Operation Center (SOC) is a critical asset, and as a result, they hire Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP) from security vendors. And this paved the way for security firms to offer SOC as a Service.

A Security Operations Center (SOC) is a centralized facility within an organization that houses information security and is responsible for monitoring and maintaining the organization’s security infrastructure. Every SOC’s fundamental vision or objective is to secure existing IT infrastructure, to provide metrics and reports on the effectiveness of risk management, incident response, threat management, and countermeasure planning, among other things.

How does SOC function?

The SOC team’s goal is to analyze, detect, identify and respond to incidents which challenge the security measures which is available. A typical SOC area looks like the cover picture above. All the activity on the network, endpoints, servers, firewall, applications, and other systems are monitored by SOC analysts. They keep looking for any anomaly and defend, mitigate, investigate, report the incident and initiate the countermeasures.

SOC team involves Security analysts and teams which is capable in forensic analysis, malware reverse engineering, either not all of these together or not limited to these. Their infrastructure typically includes firewall, Intrusion Detection Systems /Intrusion Prevention Systems (IDS/IPS), Security Information & Event Management (SIEM), threat intelligence streams and other things.

SOC’s fundamental workflow resembles the illustration above. The first three levels of systems are log, incident, and event management systems that work cooperatively to provide analytical data to security analysts. They organize this data using a ticketing system in order to report incidents via an Incident Management platform.

Now there may be some confusion about what SIEM is, how it differs from SOC, and why SOC alone is insufficient. To put it simply, SIEM is a tool that collects and normalizes logs from firewalls, IDS/IPS, antivirus, and proxy servers. These logs are then compared to a set of correlation rules that, when triggered, generate events for human analysts to analyze.

SOC is a facility that makes extensive use of a variety of tools and technologies, with SIEM being one of the primary tools. While SOCs require SIEM, this does not mean they are the only ones who do. SIEM is required for Incident Response Teams, and their capabilities have expanded to include information sharing and intelligence, implying that SIEM is an integral part of Security Operations.

SOC infrastructure alone does not make any wonders. A combination of information, analytical, management systems and security teams, help operate a SOC.

Why should organizations have a security operation center (SOC) in their facility?

Why don’t I simply install a Firewall, an IDS (Intrusion Detection System), and possibly an Anti-Virus program and leave it running? To respond, a firewall is something that an attacker can discover, and additionally, a firewall protects systems, not users. Anti-Virus will simply scan your files. They do not conduct network traffic scanning. Additionally, having only an IDS or firewall does not constitute a SOC.
SOC is entirely concerned with operations. It encompasses all aspects of data collection, sorting, categorization, inspection, analysis, response, remediation, patching, and updating, as well as preparation for such attacks.

The primary reason for having a SOC is to improve security detection by monitoring and analyzing data activity in real time 24 hours a day. They are critical in ensuring prompt detection and response, thereby shortening the time between compromise and detection.