Many organizations find managing security operations to be a daunting task. The costs, the staffing requirements, and the complexity of various components can be overwhelming. In a world where cyber threats are constantly on the rise in both number and complexity, security has become a critical concern not just for large enterprises but also for SMBs. The Security Operations Center, or SOC, can be the solution to this pressing challenge.

What exactly is a SOC?

A SOC serves as the central hub of the security department. It comprises a team of individuals responsible for collecting telemetry data from various sources. These experts possess a deep understanding of risk posture, risk tolerance, and an organization’s attack surface. They analyze this telemetry data in real-time and convert it into actionable security intelligence, a task that tools alone cannot accomplish. The SOC itself is not a tool, but in a way it is the wrapper around all the tools. It’s the managerial force that knows what’s going and ensures you’re aware of threats within your environment.

SOC vs. Network Operations vs. Other Tools

It’s important to note that a SOC and network operations have some areas of overlap since they both involve monitoring network traffic. However, their intentions differ significantly. Network operations are solely focused on whether or not network traffic is working. If traffic flowed through the firewall into the network, the network operations would be focused on if that traffic was able to go through the way it was supposed to and then on to its destination. Think of network operations as the road engineer making sure the roadway is functioning properly as cars drive by.

On the other hand, the SOC, would be concerned with whether that traffic, or its behavior, is unusual and why. It’s similar to the traffic cop monitoring for speeding motorists. Due to the different functions, one is not a substitute for the other.

Regarding other security tools like firewalls, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and broader access management tools, while they are critical, they can be limited without human personnel overseeing them. Take the firewall, for example. Yes, it’s an essential tool. But not one that can be set up and forgotten about. Doing the due diligence to make sure it’s set up correctly and then is adjusted over time falls squarely onto the SOC. Another common tool is an active directory.  Ensuring users don’t have too much access, or that user access is changing over time unintentionally, can be completed by the SOC. It’s a partner to the tools, not a replacement. However, what a SOC does goes far beyond those examples.

What does a SOC actually do?

The functions of a SOC can be categorized into two main areas: data handling and detection and response.

Data handling involves collecting telemetry data from all areas of an organization’s environment. Typically, it provides broad visibility, and the human element in the SOC is responsible for processing and sifting through this data. Data handling encompasses tasks such as logging, reporting, auditing, and compliance.

Detection and response, on the other hand, involve continuous monitoring for unusual behavior. When an incident is detected, the SOC collaborates with the organization to respond effectively. Moreover, proactive actions, derived from data analysis, help prevent future incidents. A robust security strategy involves a blend of reactivity and proactivity, and this collaboration between the SOC and the organization is crucial for safeguarding against future threats.

Why should you consider a SOC?

For SMBs, a SOC can be a game-changer in terms of enhancing their security posture. While large corporations often draw the attention of cybercriminals, it’s smaller organizations that are more susceptible to falling victim to phishing emails, experiencing ransomware attacks, and lacking the resources and time to establish a robust in-house security infrastructure.

At Axians, we understand the challenges businesses face when it comes to setting up and maintaining a Security Operations Center. Our team of dedicated professionals is committed to working closely with your organization to tailor a security solution that meets your unique needs. By partnering with Arctic Wolf, a leader in security operations, we ensure that you receive top-notch expertise and cutting-edge technology to fortify your defenses against cyber threats. Let us guide you through the process of implementing a SOC, empowering your organization to effectively protect your data and operations.

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