What is a Security Operations Centre and why is it important?

Your business needs a sophisticated cybersecurity infrastructure to protect your assets, finances, and reputation. It’s that simple.

Building a security product stack, integrating solutions and letting the technology do its thing may seem tempting. Especially with products touting AI and automation capabilities that allow you to be hands-off yet totally protected.

But, as cyberattackers become more sophisticated and determined and threat surfaces swell, your mitigation action must become more involved, and more strategic. And as for your responses? You must be far faster in addressing near misses and diffusing active incidents.

In short, your security approach needs to be comprehensive, intelligent and coordinated. That calls for the human element – a team of cybersecurity pros at the top of their game strategising your every move and taking full accountability.

What we’re describing is a SOC – a Security Operations Centre. Keep reading to find out what a SOC is, what it does and why you need one.

What is a Security Operations Centre?

A Security Operations Centre (SOC) is a centralised virtual (and sometimes physical) location where an information security team monitors, detects, analyses and responds to cybersecurity incidents seven days a week, 365 days a year.

What does a Security Operations Centre do?

  • A SOC employs a crack team of engineers, analysts, responders, and investigators to oversee all activity within IT infrastructure that defines, or risks, security posture.
  • A SOC is concerned with the full spectrum of security posture – mitigating, monitoring, analysing, responding, evaluating and improving – and has clear-cut job roles and responsibilities.
  • SOCs focus on everything. Servers, databases, networks, apps, endpoints, connected devices – you name it – and deploy a complete security stack. More on that here.
  • A SOC takes a centralised approach combining leading-edge technology, proven processes and people with the highest grade of security expertise to aggregate data and operations efficiently and effectively.
  • A SOC also looks outwards, monitoring external sources and emerging trends that could threaten an organisation’s security. After all, threats aren’t contained to the four walls of a business.

What services are offered by a SOC?

A SOC is responsible for several critical security tasks.

Depending on the size of a business or its threat level, different levels of resources will be assigned to specific functions.

But you can expect every SOC to provide five key services:

  1. Log Management from every source of data and connectivity within business
  2. Detection and Response, utilising tools such as Network Detection and Response and Endpoint Detection and Response
  3. Incident Management, utilising tools such as Security Incident and Event Management
  4. Regulatory Management, including reporting on posture and implementing changes
  5. Advanced Threat Protection technology deployment and technology. For example, AI-driven antimalware, identity management and next-generation firewall

Why does a business need a SOC?

The core purpose of a SOC is to identify and mitigate all security threats as soon as possible. Having a SOC gives businesses complete peace of mind that their entire digital ecosystem will be monitored, safeguarded and managed in real-time. But it’s more than that.

By consolidating all organisational and technical security activity including people, processes and technology, a tighter security posture can be achieved with less resource waste and more cost-effectiveness.

The streamlined, centralised and staggered nature of a SOC puts IT teams and leaders in more control of their time – directing focus to business-critical tasks while never losing sight of important rolling tasks.

 

 

Why is a security operations centre important for cybersecurity?

Today’s cybercriminals are more sophisticated than ever before. According to a plethora of online statistics, businesses face a barrage of cyberattacks, including phishing and ransomware, resulting in record-breaking data incursions globally.

Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly malicious, determined and dangerous, from exploiting people’s lack of tech knowledge to launching sophisticated all-out assaults capable of wreaking havoc across networks with seemingly sophisticated security protocols. And business leaders are feeling the heat.

  • 68% of leaders say their cybersecurity risk is increasing
  • 41% of executives say security lags behind digital transformation
  • 54% of organisations worry IT departments cannot handle advanced attacks

Leveraging a SOC provides businesses with a powerful security ecosystem to combat sophisticated, coordinated cyber-attacks.

 

The commercial benefits of a SOC

Whether you invest in an internal team (but please read up on the cyber skills shortage before committing to this route) or take a different approach with a remote solution, your business will benefit from faster incident response, greater trust and improved cost efficiency.

Faster incident response times

With its centralised, complete and real-time view of the security performance of your entire IT infrastructure, SOCs help businesses quickly resolve and prevent issues across multiple locations.

By deploying Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR), Network Detection and Response (NDR) and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) you can rapidly identify and isolate covert threats.

When time is of the essence, a SOC can respond quicker to known and unknown threats, including DDoS attacks, SQL injection and data filtering and extraction.

Improve stakeholder confidence

In today’s commercial ecosystem, trust is a big deal. People and businesses are already highly sceptical of how their data is used and whether it’s safe. A SOC can build internal and external trust across the business by preventing breaches that erode trust in the first place.

Any SOC worth their salt will keep stakeholders constantly in the loop – giving leaders more faith in data use and unlocking the commercial opportunities this brings. The SOC will provide comprehensive, transparent, and easy-to-understand reports that detail proficiency and weak spots, which can be addressed in line with digital transformation.

Control and reduce costs

A SOC is an investment in your ability to stay competitive long into the future. Although it might sound costly to leverage a SOC, resolving a serious data breach or downtime can be far more costly. And that’s before customer fallout is accounted for.

A SOC’s centralised functions and strategic use of automation enable resources to be used more efficiently.

Outsourcing allows businesses to benefit from the concentrated and varied expertise of security professionals without taking on these people (and their sky-high salaries) in-house, in addition to the best technology.

 

 

Can you have more than one SOC?

Yes. Multi-location businesses can leverage Global Security Operation Centres (GSOCs) to manage cybersecurity regardless of location.

Businesses with multi-national offices are ideally suited to GSOCs as this negates the need for a separate SOC for each international location, saving time spent on performing duplicate tasks and functions, reducing overheads, and giving security teams a clear overview of what’s happening across the whole network.

 

Why do you need a SOC?

Today’s reliance on digital infrastructure is greater than ever before but keeping on top of that critical job is increasingly complicated and costly.

Without exception, every business must have a trusted IT infrastructure, with cybersecurity being a key point of emphasis. Not only will this safeguard your business against risk, downtime and data loss, but, in many cases, robust security measures must be taken to adhere to compliance regulations and relevant corporate governance.

With a global shortage of cybersecurity skills (driven in part by the larger organisation mandate for internal CISOs), you need to think smart about cybersecurity, without cutting even the slightest of corners.

A SOC is an ideal option – offering the triple threat of quality, efficiency and future-proofing.

If you’re even a little concerned about cybersecurity posture, speak to Sentis about the possibilities of a SOC.