What Is a Security Operations Center (SOC)?

Rohan Mathew

Do you know what happens when your company gets hacked? The bad guy brags about the little incident online and that’s how you lose clients. Your reputation dips shortly after that, with customers demanding compensation for being “careless” with their sensitive information. Hefty fines are also on the table, along with an impromptu audit from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). That’s why setting up a SOC monitoring operation is an absolute must-have for every business. Here’s everything you need to know.

How a Security Operations Center Works

SOC is a secure facility that houses a cybersecurity team that prevents, analyses, and responds to hacking attempts. They use specialized software and a robust set of procedures to monitor the company’s systems for any anomalies on an ongoing basis. It’s usually staffed with engineers, security analysts, and managers.

Ideally, the SOC team is responsible for knowing who hacked your system, what they took, and how to find them. This is achieved through advanced forensic analysis, cryptanalysis, and malware reverse engineering to help identify the offending user.

SOC relies on a combination of hardware and software to monitor systems with military-grade accuracy. This technology collects system data from workflows, Syslogs, packet capture, and other advanced methods for real-time analysis.

Components of the SOC

A SOC is as good as the tools they have and use. Without them, they would not have all the valuable data needed to analyze vulnerabilities in the system. Here are some of the essential components that every SOC team needs.

Operating Systems: An SOC team needs to have every OS with permission to access devices or applications in your system. That includes Mac OS, Windows, iOS, and Android operating systems. This allows the team to run in-house attack simulations or test solutions on an ongoing basis. On top of that, they will also need Linux-based operating systems to get more control over networks, applications, and hardware.

Utility software: This is where things get pretty interesting. You will need a powerful application that can gather log data from network devices, operating systems, and applications in the company. IBMQRadar is an excellent example of such software that also supports Linux. 

Voltage Regulators: An SOC facility should have voltage regulators and power management circuits to protect the pricey equipment from power surges. The last thing you want is to fry all the hardware in the company for not having proper protection in place.

Digital Signal Processors: The SOC team might need to pick up signals and use them to trigger another process automatically, and that’s where DSP comes in. It’s a piece of hardware that takes voice, audio, video, pressure, or temperature input and turns it into a digital signal that can turn on hardware or trigger a software process. For example, it can turn on the AC to cool the server room during the day and turn it off at night.

RAM and ROM Memory: RAM fails all the time, and you don’t want to rush to the store when that happens. So the SOC team has to keep these little peripherals in stock just in case.

Why Do You Need a SOC?

With SOC, you will always have a team monitoring the security technologies you have in place. That makes it easy to catch malicious activity from external and internal sources in real-time before something goes wrong. 

By default, these people will also keep the company compliant with security regulations. That will protect you from fines, legal action, and other nasty surprises that may result from a breach. 

If the SOC runs 24/7, you will have a virtually bulletproof system. The team will catch an intrusion attempt before it’s too late and also do something about it. Sometimes, these guys will redirect persistent attacks to government websites such as the FBI site. The law enforcers will then receive an intrusion alert from their SOC, which rarely ends well for the hacker. 

Can You Outsource SOC?

Setting up an internal SOC facility is often the best way to beef up system security. But putting together a team of knowledgeable security experts, engineers, managers, plus the equipment and software, is not cheap or easy. That’s why most small and medium-size businesses opt to outsource their system monitoring to a trusted entity.

By sharing this valuable resource, you get access to talent you couldn’t afford. The team acts as an extension of your business, monitoring everything that happens without causing disruptions to the workflow. These guys will catch equipment failure or data breaches before anyone else does.