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What is a security operations center?

A security operations center helps protect your enterprise by monitoring and increasing its cyber resilience against cyber attacks and similar security risks.


Security operations centers explained

The IT environment surrounding companies continues to become more complex and diversified year by year, and security measures are indispensable to protect the company from various threats. Under such circumstances, the security operations center (SOC), a specialized organization of security, is attracting attention.

This article provides an overview of SOC, the background required, its benefits, challenges, and caveats when using it, and the differences from Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT).1

A security operations center (SOC) is an on-site or external team of cyber security professionals who monitor an enterprise’s IT infrastructure. A SOC provides a wide range of IT services, including monitoring networks and devices in corporate systems and advising on security measures.

Independent SOCs can manage the security of multiple companies. It is possible to organize an SOC from your enterprise’s IT professionals, but external organizations are often used because an enterprise’s monitoring and response are required 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.2

Why do enterprises need an SOC?

Today’s IT environments are evolving, becoming more complex and diversified.

For example, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, telecommuting became much more common among tech companies and the demand for cloud services increased. It is necessary to implement security measures in line with the diversification of IT utilization, but companies can find it difficult to take their own security measures in-house because of the specialized knowledge is required.

Cyber attacks are also evolving in line with today’s diversifying IT environment.

SOCs help enterprises increase their security and cyber resilience in a perpetually changing world.

What is the difference between SOC and CSIRT?

A Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) is sometimes mentioned alongside SOC.

A CSIRT is an organization that receives and responds to incidents such as cyber attacks. Both SOCs and CSIRTs are security-related organizations, but the difference is whether the organization focuses on acting before or after a disruptive incident.

While SOCs focus on security measures and threat detection to prevent security incidents from occurring, CSIRTs focus on recovery measures after an incident has occurred.3

What are the benefits of having a SOC?

Here are the two primary advantages of an enterprise leveraging a SOC:

  • Increased cyber resilience and IT security
  • Increased oversight of resource management, including a more specific overview of resource shortages and when they can be expected to be resolved

Because the scope of IT security is often very broad and deep IT-related knowledge is frequently required to consider and implement pragmatic measures and countermeasures, SOCs act as a functional subject matter expert and help your company with their IT security decisions and operations.

What are the challenges and precautions of installing an SOC?

SoCs are often difficult to create in-house because of the specialized knowledge they require and the demands for an inhouse organization with proper security training and certifications to provide security monitoring 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This difficulty only increases if there’s a shortage of qualified individuals with the necessary training and clearances.2

Alternatively, using SOC as an external service is expensive, although the cost of hiring an external SOC can be less than organizing your own SOC organically. In general, the cost of an SOC is often less than the cost of recovering and repairing any damage to your company because of preventable disruption.

When using SOC as an external service, it is important to confirm in advance the monitoring system, reporting means, and the extent to which the SOC can be handled. These vary greatly from service to service, be sure to determine the SOC with the service content that is best suited for your company’s needs along with your available budget.

How is SOC applied for cyber security assessments?

Techopedia argues that SOC “is part of a greater context [for] threat evaluation and assessment [where] companies analyze metrics dwell time for threat incidents [and calculate] damage control [for] when a data breach or other [cyber] attack occurs”.5

SOC’s pragmatic application “leads to the promotion of a central repository for cybersecurity assets”.5 Techopedia states that this repository is “what SOC represents, whether it’s a physical facility or a collaborative paradigm that involves remote work”.5

In conclusion

With today’s increasingly complex and diversified IT environments and the constant risk of cyberattacks, it’s difficult to always take the optimal protective security measures your enterprise need. SOCs help provide the necessary protection for your enterprise.

Learn more about how your organization can benefit from Kyndryl Security Operations and Response Services.