Understanding the Realities of SOC Work: Common Hurdles | Compuquip Cybersecurity

In the modern world of fast-changing digital work environments, cyber threats are growing in both volume and sophistication. The best way for organizations to safeguard their data infrastructure is to invest in a security operations center (SOC). Now, chances are good that you have already heard of SOCs before and may even be convinced of their indispensability. But unless you are in the daily technical weeds of cyber security operations, you may not know all the details of what SOC teams do, what challenges they face, and what steps you should take to ensure your business’ cyber security is operating at its fullest potential.


To begin with a brief overview: Security operations centers house information security teams who are responsible for monitoring and managing an organization’s security posture. SOC teams detect, analyze, and respond to cyber security incidents using a variety of tools, technologies, and processes. It is hard to overstate the importance of security SOC teams in the overall cyber security scheme of any given business. The dedicated watchfulness and continuous detection, analysis, and response protocols of SOCs are absolutely essential to mitigating security incidents before they can cause significant damage.

Key Components of SOC Work

Given that security analysis is a primary responsibility for security operations centers, managed SOC cyber security teams must be up to date on the latest and most effective information-gathering and threat response technologies. 

One of the broadest such tools is one used for log collection. Millions of logs are generated across networks every day, and since manually parsing them all is basically impossible, an automated solution is key. These log management systems are often packaged with security information and event management (SIEM) tools, which aggregate log data from disparate sources and holistically examines it for patterns. Endpoint detection and response (EDR) technologies can also aid your security SOC team by monitoring endpoints and providing immediate alerts in the event of a threat. All of these advanced tools allow for a proactive approach to cyber security.

Of course, all of this data collection is in service of threat detection and intelligence, which involves using information about existing and emerging threats to efficiently anticipate and deal with attacks. Developing robust defense strategies is only possible through a thorough understanding of adversarial tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). In a perfect world, this preventative approach to cyber security would be enough to repel all threats. 

Unfortunately, even the strongest security systems in the world, be they physical or digital, prove vulnerable to new and unusual methods of unauthorized entry. Thus, when security incidents do occur, SOC teams must also be well-trained in their response. This involves identifying root causes, neutralizing threats, and restoring affected systems to normal operations. Remediation includes everything from password resets and system backups, to partial or complete overhauls of security policies and structures. Managed security operations centers complete all of this work within the strictly compliant bounds of data privacy regulations. All evidence should be preserved both for the purposes of auditing processes and evolving based on what security teams have learned.


SOC Challenges and How to Overcome Them

One of the most significant challenges in SOC cyber security is the skills gap. Finding good people who know what they are doing is incredibly difficult at a time when technological advancements on both sides of the law are outpacing the know-how of once-qualified security workers. What’s more is that retaining talented employees after you hire them is an expensive proposition, as frequent trainings are necessary for your SOC team to stay up-to-date, and for them to then turn around and educate the rest of your organization about best cyber security practices. If you are fortunate enough to find a cyber security guru, chances are high that they will experience burnout, because their resources will be strained by rising tides of cyber crime and they have no one else on whom they can rely.

Nevertheless, there are solutions, all of which can be provided via co-managed SOC. Staying up to date with ongoing training programs and certifications is a worthwhile investment that will pay dividends down the line. Your SOC team may not be able to anticipate every individual attack, but continuous learning through workshops and simulations will ensure that analysts are prepared to respond immediately – and get a strong sense of how the field of cyber security is evolving. 

Ensuring an equitable workload with a solid roster of security experts is a good start, and encouraging collaboration and cross-training among various teams is even better. It is crucial to keep sensitive information on a need-to-know basis, but taking this too far can lead to silos and cause delays in threat management. Avoid “tribal knowledge” by creating a dedicated action plan sourced from the combined intelligence of your security team, and spread the messaging far and wide. By promoting a broad understanding of how to guard your organization’s assets and systems against malicious actors, your overall security framework will be more versatile, resilient, and well-balanced.

Combine solid hiring, training, communication, and retention with the latest technology to match, and you will be able to deal with two other common and interrelated security SOC issues: sophisticated threats, and false positives / alert fatigue. Everything from basic malware to advanced persistent threats (APTs) are within the scope of your SOC team, so constant vigilance is key. Continuously update processes, tools, and trainings through periodic reviews and assessments to guarantee peak efficiency. Use artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to ease the burden on your security team and sift through the routine and the rote, freeing up your top talent to focus on more complex and long-term issues. 

Smart and agile tools and practices can also prevent a glut of false positives and alert fatigue. After all, the constant barrage of alerts can lead to desensitization whereby critical threats might be overlooked. Alert management that is generated by predictive analytics and automated incident responses can help organize security priorities and minimize. 

Get Managed SOC Operations Now

Managed SOC operations can overcome these hurdles and more. And if all of this is starting to sound like it will strain your budget, remember that managed SOC services will still be better for your bottom line than paying a dedicated engineer to review network data logs – not to mention more cost-effective than falling victim to a major attack. If you want to learn more about the benefits of SOC-as-a-service, contact Compuquip today.