Published 15th February 2022 | Cybersecurity, Security

What is a Security Operations Centre?

In the modern business world, where cyber systems are under constant siege from cyber criminals bent on extorting money using ransomware or stealing personal data and intellectual property, cybersecurity needs to be kept on full alert 24/7.

This can seem daunting for companies who may not have the available resources to hire their own internal cybersecurity team.

Fortunately, there’s a perfect, tailor-made solution: use a managed service provider with the backing and support facilities of a SOC or Security Operations Centre.

What is a Security Operations Centre (SOC)?

You may have seen the term SOC but wondered what it stands for or what it is.

A SOC is essentially a security resource, equipped with cybersecurity technologies and manned by security experts. Its purpose is to boost the capabilities of your MSP (Managed Service Provider) to analyse and monitor your IT systems and gather threat analysis.

In so doing, they are able to identify and protect against cyber-attacks across your networks and endpoints.

SOCs typically have a range of capabilities for monitoring, response and remediation, not only keeping your systems safe but also allowing you to meet all your regulatory requirements around cybersecurity.

In addition to the software that constantly monitors and analyses incoming and outgoing network activity, a SOC team typically consisting of analysts, investigators, responders and auditors, all of whom are primed to take the action required.

A SOC works closely with SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) operations, which identify risks, monitor networks and log data for compliance or auditing.

Why are SOCs Increasingly Necessary?

Cyberthreats are growing in both number and severity at an alarming rate.

For every advance in IT sophistication, cybercriminals are inevitably quick to find weak points – such as out-of-date or unpatched software, or employees using weak passwords or with poor cyber-awareness training – and identify how they can be exploited.

The aim is sometimes to steal data for sale on the dark web or extort money directly by means of ransomware.

Technology can help to monitor your systems and identify threats, but there’s a limit to its capacity to pick up the signs of danger in advance of incidents occurring.

For that, you need experienced cybersecurity experts to recognise and interpret data — but, of course, many IT departments simply do not have access to the extensive resources, detailed knowledge or latest security technologies required.

SOCs are now key in managing cybersecurity and preventing problems.

They offer 24/7 monitoring, mitigation and remediation of security threats using robust and completely up to date technologies and are specifically set up and equipped with specialist security teams.

As a complement for in-house IT departments or outsourced IT team, the SOC model is a vital add-on that boosts security management to levels which are way beyond what even the largest organisations could do themselves.  

What Functions Does a SOC Perform?

A SOC can fulfil multiple roles in maintaining cybersecurity.

One of the most important functions of a SOC is its performance of MDR (managed detection and response).

MDR is a cybersecurity service combining human and technological resources to monitor for, spot and hunt down threats and then respond to and mitigate them. This means it can very rapidly identify threats and limit their impact — and all with no extra staff onsite.

The many strategies a SOC uses to achieve this include:

  • The software they use continuously monitors and analyses data activity in order to identify any threat to your cybersecurity. The team will then further analyse this and act on any threats identified in real time.
  • The SOC will provide round-the-clock monitoring of all security aspects of the business IT systems. This will include networks, endpoints, servers and databases in all sections and locations within the business.
  • The SOC will detect and respond to any security incident quickly, before the problem has time to manifest. Because the monitoring is 24/7, there’s no time for the incident to get out of control before it’s picked up.
  • In most cases, the SOC will generate an alert before problems start to arise. Where many less-robust security systems simply react to attacks as they come, your SOC will usually be able to nip issues in the bud.
  • In the event that a problem does hit your system, a SOC will be able to recover and repair both the system and data that might otherwise have been lost.
  • Since cybercrime is evolving all the time, a SOC will also future proof your security systems to protect them in the foreseeable future.

What Should You Look for in a Security Operations Centre?

As with any type of service, not every Security Operations Centre is equal, and it’s important to understand what quality looks like.

After all, by putting your cybersecurity in the hands of the SOC provider, you’re potentially also putting your business’s survival in their hands should a cyber-attack occur.

You need to make sure your IT service provider is working with a world-class SOC that combines cutting-edge software with a highly experienced team.

The SOC should have the capability, if necessary, to take systems off-line and disconnect them from the network; to remove malware and roll back any changes to your system it might have made; and to restore systems in the case of a ransomware attack.

It is clearly crucial that proactive monitoring is active at all times – 24/7/365 – but it’s also important to look at alerting and contact arrangements, making sure that communications and reporting lines are in place in case of any urgent situation.

Next steps

Alliance Solutions is a Managed Service Provider that deploys the Fortify Endpoint Protection service, which is powered by SentinelOne security software.

It is backed by comprehensive Security Operations Centres that operate globally, round the clock.

Get in touch with Alliance Solutions to discuss putting your cybersecurity in safe hands, offering you complete confidence and peace of mind.

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