Why Your Business Needs a Security Operations Center (SOC)

Security Operations Center - AZCOMP Technologies

Security Magazine estimates that there are at least 2,200 cyber-attacks every day. That’s a single cyber-attack somewhere every 39 seconds.

Since cyber threats are increasingly a danger for today’s businesses of all sizes, how do you shore up your cyber defenses?

In our 15 Ways to Protect Your Business from a Cyber Attack series, we’ve discussed tools like antivirus software, firewalls, and web gateways.

These tools and others are all designed to prevent the bad guys from gaining access to your systems. But what happens when the bad guys figure out a way around your preventative security?

When designing a physical security system, you might include things like a fence and locks to keep the bad guys out. You might also include things like security cameras and motion sensors just in case someone gets past your locks or in case an employee forgets to lock all the doors and gates.

Like physical security systems, hackers will get past your anti-ransomware, antivirus, firewall, and web gateways. They just will. So, it is essential to include additional layers of digital security, and a Security Operations Center (SOC) is one of those extra layers that is incredibly important for your business.

What is a Security Operations Center (SOC)?

A Security Operations Center (SOC) is a group of specially trained security experts (real-live people) dedicated to monitoring specific things happening on a network that indicate bad guys have compromised the network. When the SOC teams see suspicious activity, they investigate and respond when necessary. To do this, the SOC team uses a specific set of software tools to help them collect, review, and scrutinize data.

The primary goal of a SOC is to identify and mitigate potential security threats before they can cause significant damage. This involves continuously surveilling network traffic, endpoints, data, and looking for signs of suspicious activity that could indicate a cyber attack or breach.

The SOC team is necessary for a well-rounded security plan because hackers will eventually get past preventative security measures like antivirus, anti-ransomware, firewalls, and web gateway security tools. When hackers get inside a network, the only way to prevent significant damage from something like ransomware would be for a SOC team to identify the suspicious activity on the network.

An Oversimplified Example of What a SOC does:

Pretend you own a nightclub, and you don’t want anyone to bring in bread, or donuts, or pastries, or biscuits, or anything else bread-related. NO Bread! So, you hire a bouncer to check everyone before they come into your club for any bread products. If they have bread, the bouncer kicks them to the curb.

Since the guests at this nightclub really want to bring bread in with them, some of them decide to bring a bag of flour in their back pocket. The bouncer didn’t recognize flour as bread, so now they have flour inside the club. Within no time, the club guests had all the ingredients needed to bake bread on the inside. 

Luckily, because you’re a smart club owner, you also have security cameras with a team of trained security experts watching the cameras. Your camera surveillance team could easily spot the couple of guys in the kitchen mixing the bread. You also installed an alarm on the oven in the kitchen that triggered when these troublemakers turned the oven on to preheat. 

Your inside security team caught the bad guys and quickly stopped anyone from actually baking bread. The inside security team at this nightclub is just like a Security Operations Center for your network.

A Realistic Example of What a SOC does:

Imagine a small office with 40 computers, where employees use their devices for everyday tasks like emailing, browsing the web, and accessing company files. One day, the SOC team notices something unusual: one of the computers starts sending a large amount of data to an unfamiliar external server late at night when no one is supposed to be working.

This behavior is suspicious because it’s out of the ordinary for that computer, and the timing is odd. The SOC team investigates and discovers that the computer has been infected with malware, which is stealing sensitive company information and sending it to the hacker’s server. By quickly identifying this unusual activity, the SOC team can isolate the infected computer, remove the malware, and prevent any sensitive information from being stolen, thus protecting the company’s data and operations.

In this example, this could realistically happen by hackers who successfully got past anti-ransomware defenses and a firewall. They could easily get past these defenses through what is called “social engineering,” “zero-day exploits,” out-of-date software, out-of-date security tools, or other insider threats. Security breaches happen like this every day on big and small networks. When this does happen, the hackers are now on the inside and can do whatever they want… until a SOC team catches them in the act of course. However, the SOC team will only be able to catch them if the business has decided to use a SOC.

How a SOC Operates

A well-functioning SOC combines skilled personnel, advanced technology, and proven processes to provide comprehensive cybersecurity monitoring and response. 

Here’s how it typically operates:

  • Data Collection. The SOC collects data from various sources, including network devices, servers, endpoints, and security tools like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and web gateways. SOC does not work in isolation but as a part of the whole cybersecurity system.
  • Analysis and Correlation. Using advanced analytics tools like machine learning and artificial intelligence, the SOC analyzes the collected data to identify patterns, anomalies, and potential threats.
  • Threat Detection. By correlating and analyzing data from multiple sources, the SOC can detect advanced threats that may have evaded individual security controls.
  • Incident Response. When a potential threat is identified, the SOC team quickly investigates and responds to mitigate the risk. This may involve isolating affected systems, implementing additional security measures, or coordinating with other teams for remediation.
  • Continuous Monitoring. The SOC continuously monitors the organization’s security posture, ensuring that any new threats or vulnerabilities are promptly detected and addressed.

The Benefits of a SOC

How does implementing a SOC benefit your organization?

  • Enhanced Threat Detection. With advanced analytics and continuous monitoring, a SOC can detect threats that may have gone unnoticed by your antivirus, antimalware, and other traditional security controls.
  • Faster Incident Response. By having a dedicated team focused on cybersecurity, incidents can be addressed more quickly, minimizing the potential impact on your business operations.
  • Reduced Workload. Centralizing cybersecurity monitoring and response alleviates the workload on IT teams so they can focus on other critical tasks.
  • Better Compliance. Many businesses have to follow strict rules about protecting data and keeping it secure. A Security Operations Center (SOC) helps you meet these rules by always watching for any security issues or threats. The SOC also creates reports on any security events that happen.
  • Vulnerability management. A SOC regularly checks for any vulnerabilities or weak spots in your firm’s defenses that could be exploited by hackers or cyber attackers.
    The SOC team helps identify these weak areas and then fix them or “patch” them up before the bad actors can take advantage.
  • Detects threats from the inside. Often, the threats to your business may come from the inside. From your own employees.
    “Insider threats” happen when employees or others who have access to your company’s systems and data try to do something harmful or risky. In such a case, other cybersecurity measures like malware detection, firewalls, and password management may do very little to prevent insiders.
    A Security Operations Center (SOC) can help identify and reduce these threats. If SOC sees an insider doing something that could threaten the company’s security, it works to stop it and minimize the danger.
  • Reduced cybersecurity cost. Having multiple security systems and licenses to fully protect your business against cyber threats can cost an arm and leg.
    A SOC helps reduce these costs by allowing the whole company to share and use the same security systems instead of each department buying its own. This eliminates duplication and redundancy which wastes money.
    You can also look at it this way – an effective SOC helps a company save money over time by reducing cybersecurity risks. For example, ransomware attacks are extremely expensive due to downtime and recovery costs. But if a SOC blocks even just one major cyberattack before it causes damage, it has already proven to be a cost-effective investment that pays for itself.

Protect Your Business with Help from AZCOMP

Don’t leave the business you’ve worked so hard to build vulnerable to costly cyber-attacks by implementing a robust Security Operations Center. 

AZCOMP Technologies can help fortify your cybersecurity defenses with our state-of-the-art SOC solutions. 

Our team of highly skilled security professionals, paired with cutting-edge technology and proven processes, will provide round-the-clock monitoring and rapid incident response.

Ready to take the next step in protecting your business? Contact us today to schedule a free cybersecurity consultation and learn how AZCOMP can help secure your digital assets.

ABOUT AZCOMP TECHNOLOGIES:

AZCOMP Technologies of Mesa, AZ, is a leading provider of Managed IT Services, cybersecurity, and technology solutions for businesses. AZCOMP’s purpose is to unleash phenomenal experiences through innovative tech solutions. This means that we help businesses achieve top-notch technology results while delivering phenomenal service.

AZCOMP Technologies has provided business technology solutions and cybersecurity services since 2000. AZCOMP offers full-service managed IT services in Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert, Apache Junction, Queen Creek, San Tan Valley, Gold Canyon, and the entire state of Arizona. We also provide limited IT services to businesses across the US! Request your IT consultation today!

author avatar
Byron Adams
Byron has spent nearly two decades helping thousands of small businesses resolve technology issues, design technology solutions, improve technology security, plan and budget for technology projects, and improve business productivity through technology. As the Technology Director at AZCOMP Technologies, he leads a team that provides Managed IT Services our clients. Our goal is to "deliver phenomenal" to our clients - AZCOMP's first core value. By outsourcing their IT needs to AZCOMP, Byron serves our clients as their CTO. Byron helps our clients get their time back, allowing them to focus on their business and what they do best. In addition, they enjoy more predictable technology costs, increased employee productivity, and improved cyber-security posture.

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