What is a security operations center (SOC)? Why is it important?

As technology evolves and cyber criminals become more sophisticated, organizations must find new and innovative ways of protecting themselves and preventing damaging cyber security threats that can cause them to lose millions in revenue or result in significant data breaches.

One way organizations do this is by setting up a security operations center (SOC) to increase their visibility of incoming threats and, more importantly, their recovery and preventative measures. But what is a SOC, and why are they so important? If you're unsure what a SOC is, you've come to the right place. 

At DEXON, we believe protecting your business with the power of technology and a centralized control room is a step to optimizing your operations. So, to help you do this, we've compiled this complete guide to SOC. Today, we'll discuss what a SOC is, its purpose, essential functions, SOC professionals, technology, and benefits.  

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What is a security operations center (SOC)? 

Before we get into the specifics of a security operations center, it's crucial that we first understand what this means. A security operations center is a centralized control room where businesses can visualize and monitor their security set-up, incoming threats, resolutions, and preventative systems. 

This kind of mission control room allows chief information officers and IT support professionals to access their systems in one area, enabling them to monitor networks and, more importantly, potential cyber threats. 


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While most businesses have a cyber security process, a security operations center is a more advanced physical location with all technology, servers, and endpoints in one area. Within this location, centers have dedicated professionals who will monitor networks, ensure all preventative measures operate effectively, and can alert the relevant professionals in the event of a cyber security breach. 

These centers are central to curbing cyber security threats that can cost businesses significant amounts in lost revenue and data breaches. Security operations centers are increasingly popular options for curbing these attempts as the number of cyber security threats grows. 

The need for proactive security measures such as SOCs is only ever more critical as time goes on. Data breaches resulting from cybercrime cost businesses an average of $4.35 million in 2022. This demonstrates that businesses need to do more to gain comprehensive visuals on their cyber security measures and need to take strides to constantly optimize this.

What is the purpose of creating a security operations center? 

The primary purpose of a SOC is to act as a kind of command post for security operations. This will house the people, processes, and technology to monitor an organization's security stance, providing CIOs and network professionals with a complete visual of their security systems.

This is an imperative way of ensuring that organizations stay on top of their cyber security systems to stop incoming threats from cyber criminals who want to steal data. 

The primary purpose of these centers is to optimize existing security measures, ensuring organizations can patch any vulnerabilities and learn from previous attacks. These centers are significant for high-value businesses such as banking and financial institutions that house sensitive data and have at-risk capital. 

Primarily, businesses that don't house essential data such as personal identification data or have significant funds to protect might not need a security operations center. Still, larger businesses with many endpoints must patch vulnerabilities and consistently monitor networks to stop cyber criminals from causing significant disruption. 

Another purpose of a SOC is to give businesses a sort of 'situation room' during a cyber security breach. Professionals can easily access and isolate any at-risk or infected systems in one area, stopping further disruption, and gather to discuss resolutions to hacking, ransomware, viruses, and more.

Lastly, a security operations center gives professionals easy access to every event logged on their system, allowing them to quickly identify potential insecurities and avenues where threats are coming from and isolate these immediately.


What are the most critical functions performed by a SOC?

SOCs perform essential functions that ensure a business can stay on top of its cyber security measures. Here's a guide to these functions: 

Preparation and Preventative Maintenance

The first and most obvious function of a SOC is to prepare for a potential cybersecurity breach and generate processes that prevent them. SOC teams will assess their resources and find preventive measures that ensure their responses to cyber security threats are a last resort. 

Team members take preventative action by creating security roadmaps to inform their protection process, researching new and emerging threat trends amongst cyber criminals, and keeping updated on the latest cyber security protection systems they can implement into their businesses. 

Teams also take preventative action by monitoring systems, updating firewalls, finding new ways to throw cyber criminals off, patching vulnerabilities in their network, and securing existing and new applications. 

Take Stock of Resources

By centralizing operations, professionals use SOCs to take stock of their available resources. This is when they assess which protection systems, processes, applications, and personnel they have at their disposal to assess whether it's enough to stave off potential attacks. 

From this, CISOs can make more informed decisions about their resources, helping them streamline operations by ridding surplus or investing in new resources if they notice significant vulnerabilities. 

Continuous Monitoring

Monitoring is a central component of a robust cybersecurity system. With a SOC, businesses can transform their monitoring into a proactive measure, providing 24/7 monitoring to ensure businesses never put themselves in a vulnerable position. However, this isn't necessarily done by humans around the clock.

While some centers may use manual monitoring for optimum protection and fast response to threats, SOCs usually implement automated continuous proactive monitoring systems that notify professionals immediately in the event of a breach. Advanced monitoring systems can detect the difference between normal operational network behavior and suspicious activity, reducing the manual intervention needed by professionals.  


Recovery and Remediation

SOCs come into their own during the recovery and remediation stages. These stages refer to the aftermath of an attack, where a SOC works to restore any damaged systems or recover breached or lost data. 

Professionals will typically use dedicated security measures tailored to the exact attack type to recover data, ensuring adequate backups to reduce disruption. Professionals will also reconfigure any systems and isolated systems to stop further infection. 

Alert Ranking 

Alert ranking is an essential function of a SOC as it helps professionals understand the priority of specific threats and how to respond to them. Professionals working within a SOC will take the information from continuous proactive monitoring tools to determine how dangerous specific threats are, ensuring that professionals can always deal with the most dangerous threats first. 


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Threat Response

The threat response is possibly the most crucial function of SOCs. SOCs systems will immediately alert professionals to threats, serving as a first response center and shutting down infected systems to avoid significant damage. Professionals will also delete files and execute harmful processes to stop them from progressing to steal financial information or data. The primary aim of this function is to keep business impact to a minimum to ensure regular operation.

Log management 

SOCs will also log all network information for further analysis across an organization. A data log ensures that users can always identify the difference between regular network activity for day-to-day operations and harmful activity. This data log is essential for informing new cybersecurity processes and identifying trends in cybercriminal behavior. 

Who works in a SOC? What do the members do?

A SOC, while having automated features, will incorporate physical teams. These SOC teams are usually entrusted with detecting insecurities, investigating the cause of breaches, and generating quick responses to threats to limit damage to a business. These teams will work on a 24/7 basis to ensure that the business is never vulnerable to cyber criminals. Usually, these teams monitor and protect assets by scanning networks for suspicious activity. 

They will also design response frameworks that help them generate quick and practical responses to potential threats, ensuring harmful software doesn't infect the entire business. Several professionals may be responsible for different parts of the protection framework. 

For example, a professional may be responsible for assessing vulnerabilities, risk and compliance, scanning databases, managing intrusion prevention systems, user analytics, remediation, and threat intelligence. 

Having a professional responsible for each of these operations ensures that businesses can constantly generate a coordinated effort to respond and learn from cyber security threats.

Organizational structures typically follow a hierarchy led by the chief information officer, chief information security officer, or chief executive officer. This is followed by a SOC manager, incident responder, analysts, threat finders, and other managers responsible for threat response.

Who works in a SOC?

The technology behind security operations centers: how do this work?

The technology behind the security operations center will vary depending on the business and its security requirements. Of course, businesses will have all the necessary technology to run their security, such as servers, monitoring systems, and computers; however, another technology ensures businesses can visualize this information. 

SOCs use display technology like video walls to visualize their entire operation. Video walls are a collection of monitors to behave as a single surface. Users can isolate screens to show different snippets of information and display security footage and real-time data to give SOC teams better insight into their network operations. 

To control video walls in this way and connect to remote networks, users will need to use video wall technology. 

Video wall technology such as video wall processors, matrix switchers, and controllers ensures that SOC teams can arrange their data in their desired order and connect to remote networks to display live feeds and all the necessary information for efficient communication.

What are the benefits of a security operations center? 

Here are some of the critical benefits of a security operations center: 

Lower costs

As mentioned, security breaches are costly, and businesses could risk losing significant revenue in the event of a large breach. To avoid this happening, preventative security measures like SOcs are essential. These centers will ensure you can swiftly respond to threats, reducing the financial damage they do. This will save large sums of money in the long term. 

Faster response

Having all security systems and personnel in one area allows professionals and monitoring systems to respond faster to breaches. This reduces the damage a breach or cybercriminal can do, ensuring that professionals can shut down or isolate endpoints infected by harmful software. 

Centralized control

Centralized control allows CISOs to visualize their important data more efficiently, enabling them to make more informed decisions about their security processes. They can easily access and control all log data to administer training and develop new processes to improve security systems. 

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Final thoughts

All security operations centers need comprehensive display technology to ensure all professionals receive their information quickly and concisely. There's no better way to do this than with a video wall and secondary technology. DEXON has a comprehensive range of video wall technology that can give you total control over your display, ensuring your team receives their information quickly and clearly. Browse today to find out how we can take your SOC to the next level. 

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