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How to Design, Operate and Evolve an Effective Security Operations Centre

Azure Cloud Migration

Without a cyber security plan, your company cannot protect itself from risks. You’re left open to attack from cyber criminals who see an easy target, impacting not only you, but your customers if their data falls into the wrong hands. The best Security Operations Centres (SOCs) significantly improve organisational security by offering visibility and control over security systems.

However, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution and can be challenging to implement. According to a recent SANS poll, the biggest obstacles to maintaining effective SOC operations are a lack of experienced personnel. Many respondents also cited a lack of efficient coordination and automation of security systems.

With that in mind, understanding your organisation’s needs and constraints is necessary for creating an effective SOC. This post will explain how to design, operate, and develop your ideal-fit SOC solution.

How to Design a Security Operations Centre – SOC?

The first step in creating a functioning SOC design is to define the SOC’s domain of responsibility. Include the activities and services that will fall under its remit, how each component can be implemented, and how they all work together.

From there, you can look for the SOC tools you need to perform these pre-defined duties. For instance, you may need to incorporate the following strategies and technologies in your SOC process framework:

  • Monitoring tools – Automated security information and event management (SIEM) technologies pull data from various sources, including human and machine-based sensors.
  • Analysis technologies and expertise – A mix of human intelligence and XDR (Extended Detection and Response) artificial intelligence tools that help you prioritise security alerts and respond where required.
  • Incident response protocols – Security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) technologies log events to provide contextual data at the incident analysis stage.
  • Threat intelligence – Threat intelligence tools gather information from outside of your networks to help companies avoid security pitfalls.

Another critical factor is the organisational structure of your SOC. All team members need a combination of hard and soft skills, covering the following technical competencies:

  • Monitoring alerts
  • Controlling systems
  • Remediation tactics
  • Post-incident analysis
  • Countermeasure recommendations

At this point in your SOC strategy, you may want to consider if it is worthwhile hiring SOC operatives in-house. In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to outsource critical tasks to a managed security services SOC. With that said, you can also deploy a mix of internal and external specialists (also known as a Hybrid SOC). A hybrid model could be the best way to ensure all enterprise security bases are covered.

How to Operate the SOC

Once business leaders have assembled their SOC teams, integrated their SOC tools, and established their protection framework, the challenges of running 24/7 SOC operations begin.

Workforce management is a key area where your cybersecurity strategy can fail if it is not properly planned. Companies need contingency plans for monitoring systems while crucial security staff are away, or fill in knowledge gaps in areas where skill internal sets are lacking.

This is where working with an MSSP (managed security services SOC) like Atech can step in. Our Microsoft accreditations showcase our extensive vertical expertise and services for designing, implementing, and managing Azure SOC solutions. We can offer you complete peace of mind in running your SOC operations. Read more about our SOC expert accreditations here.

The importance of SOC operations reporting

Alongside evaluating your managed service SOC provider’s credentials and experience, regular SOC reporting is vital for safeguarding your systems. Your enterprise needs to be kept in the loop of all cybersecurity developments. To make sure this is done optimally, several industry-approved SOC reports can help you inspect your systems at regular intervals.

Here is a quick rundown of the type of SOC reports Managed SOC services like Atech deploy in their service offering:

  • SOC 1: A report that provides evidence of the effectiveness of enterprise security controls in relation to financial reporting.
  • SOC 2: An essential inspection tool for service providers involved in secure customer data storage. The report outlines how customer confidentiality is maintained and grades a business’s data governance and security risk management strategies.
  • SOC 3: The results of this type of cybersecurity report can be shared across your organisation as it is less detailed than the above report examples. It also covers the same areas as SOC 1 and SOC 2.

SOC 1 and SOC 2 reports can also be divided into two further subcategories. A Type 1 SOC report measures the effectiveness of current systems in line with your company objectives. In contrast, a Type 2 SOC report will cover the same content as Type 1 but will also include recommendations for how firms can improve their systems.

SOC reports are fundamental in shaping your cybersecurity policy and ensuring your business stays within the bounds of the law. Therefore, always seek the best security operations centre teams to help you conduct these regular audits.

Tips for evolving your SOC operations over the short to long-term

SOC success is achieved by creating an effective SOC team and deploying the right SOC tools. However, firms should also think about their technology stack and how to consolidate and future-proof their resources where possible.

The aim with effective SOC management is to streamline budgets and maintain a single pane of glass view of integrated systems. Atech conducts complete assessments of your business and develops a robust incident response plan (IRP) that is easy to implement and gives you total IT visibility and ROI.

Unlock the potential of SOC tools with managed services from Atech

As the challenges of maintaining cybersecurity in the modern workplace evolve, ensure you’re designing, operating, and developing your IT environment. Always strive to stay one step ahead of malicious actors. Managed services providers like Atech can fill the competency gaps in your organisation and protect your data 24/7.

We’re a certified Microsoft Solutions Partner for Security, Modern Work, and Azure Infrastructure. We’re also one of the world’s top four Endpoint Management service providers. This achievement earned us a position as finalists in Microsoft’s Partner of the Year Awards 2022. So, We’re confident in our ability to continuously watch over your IT environment and respond promptly and effectively to every incident.

If you want to learn more about how our MSSP and Hybrid SOC services can take your security implementation to the next level, please contact one of our expert teams now.

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