The primary purpose of a Security Operations Center (SOC) is to provide oversight and incident response services in the area of information technology (IT). SOCs were developed to address cybersecurity issues and to counter the ever-growing number of cyberattacks.
How they operate
Most Security Operations Centers are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by a team of highly skilled professionals who monitor for threats and respond accordingly. This is called incident response monitoring (IRM), which entails immediate action if an attack is detected in order to prevent further damage or loss of data.
SOC employees are typically well-versed in network security, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems (IDS). They understand how these technologies work together to form an efficient cyber defense system.
What they monitor
Many SOCs monitor security events as they occur in real-time. This entails observing and evaluating all incoming data from various systems around the world, both public and private sector use, then prioritizing those that pose a threat to an organization’s network. When a cyberattack occurs, a SOC uses sophisticated tools to prevent further damage by simultaneously working with other departments within the organization to shut down or disconnect infected computing devices from company networks.
Continuous monitoring is standard practice for most established organizations, but newer companies may only monitor their networks periodically due to limited resources. In this instance, existing threats are identified by scanning email attachments and downloaded files for malware before being admitted into the system.
Common functions of Security Operations Centers
The primary function of Security Operations Centers is to monitor for cyberattacks that are both internal and external. However, SOCs have four main functions in addition to monitoring networks:
Security Operations Center (SOC) vs. IT Security Department
There are several key differences between the two entities. A Security Operations Center is a 24/7 team within an organization dedicated solely to cybersecurity. The personnel at a SOC receive specialized training on how to respond immediately when an attack is detected, regardless of time or day. They also possess the most up-to-date information regarding threats and tactics used by hackers to detect vulnerabilities in existing systems that would allow malware into an organization’s network.
The IT department, on the other hand, is concerned with the functionality of a company’s computer hardware and software. They ensure that these systems are properly configured to prevent cyberattacks from taking place. Additionally, they maintain all of the applications used by employees across an organization in order to keep them running smoothly and securely without interruption.
IT departments do not have the manpower or training required for cybersecurity purposes. However, a collaboration between IT personnel and Security Operations Centers can help organizations reduce their risks of an attack. This cooperation may involve consulting with one another regarding any changes made to existing policies or procedures, including updates to malware removal procedures when necessary.
Security Operations Centers and data breaches
The majority of companies now deploy Security Operations Centers because of increased cybersecurity regulations and evolving threats to company networks worldwide. However, there is no such thing as 100% guaranteed protection against hackers and other kinds of cyberthreats. This makes it essential for SOCs to focus on minimizing the consequences associated with even the worst-case scenarios rather than trying to prevent them completely.
Frequently Asked Questions about SOCs
What are the responsibilities of a SOC?
The first is vulnerability assessment, where they evaluate their system’s security by conducting an internal risks and threat analysis. Penetration testing is performed after this, which consists of giving hackers access to portions of your network infrastructure so that the SOC can identify how successful these attempts are at gaining entry into company data. Event management involves recording all logged events that may be potential threats. Finally, gathering intelligence on various cyberattacks is part of threat intelligence collection, which is used to help improve security operations as well as share information with other agencies or businesses who might need it.
How many employees work in a Security Operations Center?
On average, a SOC will have around 200-300 employees. This number may vary depending on the size of the company they are working for. Larger companies with more data to monitor and protect will generally have larger teams of security experts surrounding them, while smaller businesses might only need a handful of people to handle network monitoring and cyberattack detection.
What type of training does one need in order to become an analyst at a Security Operations Center?
In addition to high school diplomas or GED equivalent, most SOCs require applicants to have some sort of postsecondary education as well. Vocational training is also usually preferred by many employers because it offers hands-on experience that can be used immediately. This training can also cost a lot less than attending college classes, which makes it an attractive option for many who are looking to begin their careers quickly.
How long does it take to become an analyst at a Security Operations Center?
This depends on the individual’s current level of expertise and how many certifications they have earned. Some people begin their careers as SOC analysts right after high school, while others might spend a few years working for another company first before transitioning into this career path. It is possible for some professionals to go through all of the necessary training and testing within a year, since there are resources available online that provide materials needed for these exams.