Top 10 considerations for success

Security Operations Centers against cybercrime

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A Security Operations Center (SOC) forms the heart of effective cyber threat detection

The face of information security is changing at a rapidly accelerating rate.

In today’s world of “always-on” technology and not enough security awareness on the part of users, cyber attacks are no longer a matter of “if” but “when.” We live in an age where information security prevention is not an option.

Leading organizations are doing more than improving on their current state. They are seeking to expand their efforts — take bolder steps — to combat cyber threats.

Organizations may not be able to control when information security incidents occur, but they can control how they respond to them.

Leading organizations are doing more than improving on their current state. They are seeking to expand their efforts — take bolder steps — to combat cyber threats. Rather than waiting for the threats to come to them, these organizations are prioritizing efforts that enhance visibility and enable a proactive response through monitoring and prompt detection.

A well-functioning Security Operations Center can form the heart of effective cyber threat detection. It can enable information security functions to respond faster, work more collaboratively and share knowledge more effectively.

At the core of a successful SOC is a strong foundation for operational excellence driven by well-designed and executed processes, strong governance, capable individuals and a constant push for continuous improvement to stay ahead of the cyber adversaries.

A good SOC is one that supports business objectives and effectively improves a company’s risk posture. A truly effective SOC is one that provides a safe environment for the business to deliver on its core objectives in line with its strategic direction and vision.

 

Whether an organization is building a new SOC or looking to expand existing capabilities, here are 10 considerations for success:

1. Executive and board support

Without clear executive support, a SOC may be ineffective, and its value will not be realized. Creating an effective SOC requires support to establish a clear charter for the SOC and a long-term strategy, and also a strong SOC leader to drive organizational change and develop a culture of security.

2. Investment

One of the most significant challenges SOCs can face is their ability to work (and succeed) within their often limited means, especially when they have not yet developed a track record of success or produced any tangible results. A significant number of respondents in our Global Information Security Survey cite budget constraints as their number one obstacle to delivering value to the business.

3. Strategy

The SOC must be able to clearly articulate its vision, mission and objectives within the context of three critical priorities:

  • Alignment with overall risk posture
  • Support of business goals
  • Assistance in meeting compliance obligations

4. People

The SOC requires talented resources who possess deep technical knowledge, and also a broad range of capabilities and diversity of experiences. SOC staff should be able to efficiently analyze large volumes of data, intuitively recognizing the need for further investigation.

5. Processes

Well-defined processes enable consistent operations and repeatable outcomes. The SOC needs to document and communicate processes effectively and implement change management mechanisms to quickly update processes when improvement opportunities arise.

6. Technology

Organizations must supplement their technology deployment efforts with strategic initiatives that address proper governance, process, training and awareness.

7. Environment

The overarching purpose of a SOC is to secure and enable the business. To do so, SOC personnel must understand the business and the value associated with specific decisions to be able to prioritize the most appropriate response.

8. Analytics and reporting

The SOC can bring unique value to monitoring activities by using behavior-based analytics against environmental baselines. The SOC can analyze data across various systems and devices, providing visibility into unique trends and patterns that may have been obscured otherwise.

9. Physical space

The SOC should maintain its own physical space in a secure facility. Creating a distinct location for the SOC, along with the requisite hardware and software, will facilitate shorter response times and promote unity, knowledge-sharing and closer teamwork.

10. Continuous improvement

Organizations must establish a framework for continuously monitoring performance and improving their information security programs in the areas of people, process and technology.

 

The blistering pace of technology change and the cyber threats that come with it are only going to accelerate.

A SOC gives an organization the ability to anticipate and respond more quickly to threats, work more collaboratively and share knowledge more effectively. The SOC can act as a security-monitoring, detection and response hub for the entire enterprise.

Download the full report to learn more about the top 10 areas organizations need to consider to make their SOC a success.

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