Proven Steps to Strengthen Your Security Operations Center (SOC)

Jul 29,2021 by Manoj Yadav
Security Operations Center

Cybercrime has grown considerably in recent times. And the bad news is, it’s not going to end anytime soon. It would be no exaggeration to say that with the passage of time, hackers have become more ambitious and their objectives have doubled – from stealing financial information to user confidential data to intellectual property info. The loss of any given asset can bring down an organization. A recent study by PwC, Economic Crime Survey 2016 predicts that more than 50% of the British companies are expected to get attacked by an online crime over the next two years.

With unethical attempts getting more persistent and powerful, it’s indispensable to have a data center that has robust security incident detection and response capability. Organizations lacking fully functional security operations center that is considered as a heart of good security management process are immensely disposed to such attacks. This slip off can be owing to multifold factors, such as inappropriate security tools, budget constraints, non-trained security professionals, and fragile incident management process. To attain complacency, IT administrators should gear up for up-to-the-minute techniques and lay emphasis on enhancing the capabilities of their existing security operations center (SOC) so that these space-age attacks can be wiped out positively. Remember – decisions taken in nick of the time will drive your business forward, or else be ready to face the aftermath.

This blog attempts to elucidate some of the critical factors that can help in making your SOC – an effective weapon to combat against unwarranted cyber-attacks:

In the current age, most of the businesses live under the impression that they are not vulnerable to cyber-attacks because they have never encountered it in their organization. The façade is different as they are not even aware whether their systems have gotten already compromised or not. The need of the hour is to beat the clock and fathom the fact that average number of days from the commencement of the breach to detection lies in between 210 – 254 days.

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Before we step ahead, take a look over the tools being used by organizations to shield their company networks.

In order to mitigate the effect of such targeted attacks, SOC needs to be maintained in a way that it promptly detects and defends the issue before letting them to enter in the irrecoverable phases. Before taking a leap, determine your security operations maturity in the first place:

Security Analytics

Majorly, attacks are segregated into two dimensions depending on the attackers and the methods applied to commence such attacks. When the attack methods are known, IT administrators make use of basic rules to address them such as AV signatures, Intrusion Prevention Systems, Automated vulnerability scanners, SIEM, data leak prevention systems, and Endpoint Antivirus. Well, when the attacking methods are unknown – analytics comes into the picture. Well, it is observed that most of the attacking modes are unknown, which makes the conventional rule-based systems irrelevant to deal with the current threat economy.  

Analytics allow identifying unknown attackers and attacks and send notifications if further hunting is required to isolate the potential breaches, if any. Moreover, analytics using threat intelligence is more absolute as it determines the potential breaches without any second attempt.

Ways to Upgrade SOC to Security Analytics

The first and the foremost step for IT professionals in a quest to upgrade SOC–is to determine more and more use instances before deploying the analytics platform. The use cases should not be only confined to basic known and unknown attacks concept. Of all these reasons, understanding of the facts that where you should implement statistical or machine learning methods and how it fill bridge the gaps is important.

The second phase that comes after understanding of the use cases of analytics is to utilize the same analytics platform and join it with the right set of data sources. Just to add, as the size of data from security technologies including other sources will be soaring high – the platform can be connoted as a big data platform.

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Now implement the threat intelligence to identify unknown attacks. In this scenario, security professionals have the knowledge about the attacker characteristics, however attack remains unknown. Security operation center can affluently combine threat intelligence feeds derived from external sources and modify rules so that attacks can be easily identified.

Detection of threats is then quickly followed by the security orchestration phase in order to block the attacker’s access on the network. Remember, poor response time or delayed response can cause disasters.  

Here comes a fourth stage which demands automated probing and remediation. Herein, SOC analysts are required to share the responsibility by probing the questions such as – who are the attackers, what damage it can cause on the systems, is it a new type of attack, or if it belongs to the campaign attack. Answer to these questions will help in addressing the issues more correctly and holistically.

In the end, applying security analytics and orchestration will help in bringing a change in the roles and structures of teams at SOC.

Identify your security operations maturity for better throughput

Every organization is different so are their maturity and capabilities. It is quite difficult to evaluate your own effectiveness and formulate a plan according to the findings found. There are a number of security operations maturity assessment benefactors that can help in determining your current maturity plus they allow you to compare your systems with that of your counterparts. This kind of assessment helps in fulfilling multiple objectives:

  • Helps in determining the efficiency of the security operations
  • Provides best-suited recommendations that help in unlocking many opportunities
  • Creates a roadmap that helps in attaining mature security operations center

The Final Word

By integrating security analytics and orchestration capabilities businesses can mitigate unethical attempts. However, such fully-functional model can only be attained by making use of avant-garde technology platforms and integrating new sets of roles in the next-gen SOC. Once successfully executed, IT administrators can quickly detect and address the issues, thereby curtailing the undetectable cyber-attacks.

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