A Security Operations Center (SOC) is the structural unit responsible for the real-time monitoring of a company’s IT environment and the prevention of cyberincidents. SOC experts collect and analyze data from a variety of infrastructure objects and, if they detect suspicious activity, take measures to prevent an attack.
SOC functions vary depending on a company’s size and organizational structure. Typical responsibilities include:
- Active monitoring of the IT environment and collection of incident data. Typically, SOC operators collect information from employees’ work stations, network devices, and other computer infrastructure objects on a 24/7 basis with a view to catching potential attacks as early as possible. To monitor and collect data, experts can use SIEM solutions and EDR products.
- Analysis of suspicious events. On notification of a potential incident, SOC experts determine the nature and degree of the threat, if one exists.
- Responding to threats. When a cyberincident is detected, SOC employees take measures to eliminate it and minimize any damage.
- Postincident recovery. SOC experts can take part in mitigation and cleanup operations, such as restoring damaged systems, files from backup, and so on.
- Incident investigation. SOC experts can take part in the search for the causes of cyberincidents. Investigation results can help the company prevent similar incidents in the future.
- Resource register maintenance. To perform their duties, SOC employees need to know which objects the corporate environment contains and which infosec products can be used to protect them. Therefore, in many cases, it is the SOC team that maintains the register of company resources.
- Compliance management. SOC employees are responsible for corporate data security, so in many cases they also handle compliance with national and international requirements and regulations in the field of data security, such as GDPR, HIPAA, CPPA, and the like.
How to set up a SOC
A SOC can exist either as a separate unit or as a cross-departmental team of experts, combining SOC tasks with other responsibilities. In addition, SOC functions can be outsourced to specialized companies that carry out remote infosec monitoring and response.