Data protection is a major challenge for organizations working online and protecting their computer networks against threats. Hackers, on the other hand, are finding new ways to attack networks to gain personal data access and putting the organization at risk. This is where a Security Operations Centre (SOC) comes in the picture, as it helps organizations identify, mitigate, and report threats to prevent future attacks.
All too often, the SOC team is stuck working on systems that don’t give them proper knowledge and data to make informed decisions. As a result, they waste time that could be utilized to correctly analyze and solve threats.
If you are looking to set up a SOC team within your organization or want to join one, this article will give you an idea of a few common challenges that hinder SOCs and how you can utilize analytical technologies to address these challenges.
What Is a SOC?
A Security Operations Centre will continuously monitor, prevent, detect, investigate and respond to cyberattacks. The SOC team is responsible for tracking and maintaining assets such as staff records, business systems, and personnel data.
The SOC team includes a manager, security analyst, and engineers in charge of propelling the organization’s overall cybersecurity policy into action, and acts as a primary point in protecting the organization from attacks.
The SOC aims to use technologies and processes to identify events and respond to cyberattacks. The SOC team collaborate with the incident response team to ensure that they react as quickly as possible. The tools used include firewalls, event management systems, and information systems that collect, identify, and monitor data at various platforms and endpoints.
Benefits of a SOC
Incidents do not happen at a particular time, nor do they happen only during work hours. They may occur at any point in time, so a SOC or a security command centre constantly monitors the network and provides security to the organization.
Reduces Response Time
SOCs cut down on the time required to identify threats or vulnerabilities as the team can detect threats with threat monitoring and detection capabilities before a threat occurs. The possibility of a network compromise is significantly reduced with a fast response time.
Achieving complete protection and visibility against threats can be expensive for any business. With an SOC, the cost is reduced as the platforms and licenses are shared within the organization.
Keeps the Organization Up to Date on Potential Threats
One of the main goals of a SOC is to stay alert in monitoring and communicating with the organization to be aware of risks. By providing a streamlined compliance report, SOCs can help organizations better measure financial risk from cyberattacks.
SOCs bring together all the security staff and tools into a centralized team to collaborate and coordinate more effectively. This close working encourages teamwork and makes it easier to conduct 24/7 monitoring and formulate a quick response to security incidents.
Common Challenges Faced by a Security Operations Center
Shortage in Knowledge
Knowledge shortage is nothing but a lack of skill. Even experienced candidates in system management can fail if they do not know about protecting the system environment. It may result in non-successful attempts or inappropriate responses to non-existent problems. By obtaining such results, SOC teams waste their time by tracking them down, which leads to a diversion when facing a real attack.
Lack of Adequate Tools
For data uplift and transfer from a data centre to a cloud environment, SOC teams need new security tools. Lack of proper detection and management tools is an all-too-frequent result of rapid shifts in the systems environment being monitored. Applications needs protection developed and deployed in systems, but the SOC has no means of accessing such systems or steps in the environment.
Lack of Training
For the issues mentioned above, SOC analysts and threat hunters can be given sufficient time off, focusing on their self-improvement, away from dealing with alerts. The SOC analyst should have:
- High-level quality training with a focus on the latest trends.
- Time for practicing their skills in a lab environment.
SOC analysts and threat hunters need to have high edge training because their mission is to match their adversary’s skills.
Insufficient Authority of the SOC
For the proper functioning of the SOC, it requires an authority within the organization. For instance, what if the SOC team is unable to make a rapid response to an incident and stop an ongoing intrusion? This could happen if they do not have any authority over other teams, preventing them from quickly isolating an activity compromised system. Things become complicated in such situations, and resulting in unnecessary hold ups.
Staffing shortage is the struggle to find trained, experienced personnel. The quick shift to new operating modes, cloud infrastructures, and cloud-native application architectures has worsened the issue as vacancies pile up.
Inadequate Information about the Infrastructure
It is quite evident that SOC teams have to deal with incomplete information about their monitoring environment. Clients sometimes do not share all the details about their infrastructure with the SOC. Things such as an updated list of essential assets within the network, correct naming scheme for devices and assets, current up-to-date network diagrams, stable list of firewall rules, a list of important personnel, etc. Failing to provide updated information to the SOC team causes their already challenging job to be even harder.
Reactive Defence Mechanism
An SOC’s most important role is to monitor, observe, and respond passively. Though there is an element of threat hunting that is quite proactive, most SOCs function mainly as a passive and reactive defence component triggered based on an alert of suspicious or anomalous activity. All organizations need to conduct penetration tests, red teaming, and other offensive security exercises as it is said that the best defence is an offense. Conducting tests regularly helps strengthen the infrastructure’s overall security posture, and hence it should be the first line of defence.
Increasing Volumes of Security Alerts
More security alerts are chiming in nowadays thanks to advanced technology, and time is being consumed sorting through these alerts. Analysts waste time performing similar tasks and finding out the alerts’ integrity, resulting in alerts being missed or more damaging consequences slipping through the net as they are overlooked. As we can see, an analysts’ time would be better off working on the more sophisticated alerts that need human intervention and proactively threat hunting to reduce the time from breach discovery to resolution.
How to Address and Overcome the Challenges
There are measures that an organization can take to boost its SOC results to reduce the burden on security personnel. An organization should firstly develop tools for automating SOC workflow. Strongly integrated security orders provide a total view in the IT environment, which allows the SOC team to deal with threats.
- Use software that can recognize emerging threats and provide machine learning capabilities.
- To fill the SOC team gaps, the organization should consider upskilling employees who can hold the fort if any position is vacant, allowing for continuous monitoring without a break.
- Use behavioral analytics software to ensure that the SOC team identifies the most unusual warnings. This will also help enhance their rules and threat detection solutions.
- To minimize manual analysis, the SOC can rely on automated tools for analyzing, sorting, and correlating information.
- To avoid an information overload, an SOC team should shift their attention to collecting data from well-known and trustworthy sources as it reduces volume and excess data. They then have to take data that is relevant to their specific environment to prioritize and address.
- Automation can provide continuous monitoring, allowing even the most minor teams to operate effectively and profitably.
Due to a lack of integration among security tools, many organizations have difficulty obtaining a complete view of their security posture. SOC analysts are the front lines of defense in their organization. With the right training, they can protect their organization with proper procedures and tools and quickly and effectively respond to threats.
For the best training, look no further than EC-Council’s Certified SOC Analyst (CSA) program. It provides in-depth knowledge of Information and Event Management and cyber threats, and goes through SOC operations basics as well as log management and correlation, SIEM deployment, and advanced incident detection.
The Security Operations Center is a command center for IT experts who monitor, analyze, and protect an organization against cyberattacks.
SOCs allows organizations to identify attacks more quickly and remove them before they cause further damage. Cyber attackers can be stopped proactively by companies that have a SOC. Advantages include having a centralized strategy for maintaining client and employee trust, maximizing awareness, and keeping costs to a minimum.
Security analysts generally monitor the security threats in their organization’s networks. Vulnerability testing and risk analysis are used to conduct security assessments. They use tools such as firewalls and programs to secure essential data.