Have you noticed police officers at traffic signals, or security guards patrolling malls? They are part of a sophisticated security system designed to predict threats and prevent them. They usually receive instructions from a security control room that analyses intelligence from various sources. In a mall, for example, security cameras spot unwanted or suspicious activity, and the security guard is dispatched to check on it. In an increasingly digitalised world, suspicious activity is transforming into cyber security incidents.
Cyber security has become a critical function, especially as retail, utilities, governance and services are becoming digital. The threat environment is evolving every day and requires a proactive approach to predict threats.
Security Operations Centre (SOC) – the war room against cybercrime
A Security Operations Centre (SOC) is a centralised control room set up by an organization to monitor the company’s network endpoints, databases, applications and websites, and analyse the data streams to prevent and respond to cybersecurity incidents. A SOC usually engages in high priority defensive activities such as cyber intelligence and threat hunting.
SOC centres usually house a team of experts including security engineers, architects, and analysts. They are familiar with the company’s risk profile and processes, and well informed on current cybersecurity threats and standards. They predict and analyse threats, and prepare the organisation to defend itself. They also investigate and report security incidents.
Behind the scenes of a SOC – people and technology build a strong defence
A robust cybersecurity program is based on the unique context of the organization and combines technologies, expert skills and experience. A Security Operations Centre (SOC) is the hub that manages all the processes, technologies, and people, in line with the organization’s security imperatives.
The technology and infrastructure are usually put in place relying on SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) tools that provide real-time monitoring and risk analysis. With the exponential amount of data collected by the various endpoints, websites, devices and applications, SIEM tools analyse the logs for patterns and flag off anomalies that could point out an incident. These tools, such as Azure Sentinel, Splunk, IBM QRadar, and Solarwinds Use artificial intelligence to automate manual processes associated with threat detection and incident response. Other tools like AlienVault USM Anywhere centralise threat detection, incident response, and compliance management.
SOCs adopt various approaches to manage threats and responses. A hierarchical approach helps structure the SOC team to address known and unknown threats and provide levels of defence.
- Level 1 analysts address well-documented patterns, according to the defined processes.
- The level 2 team has experts, who contain threats based on their experience and knowledge.
- Level 3 is an elite group often known as ‘Threat Hunters’ who diagnose and contain unidentified threats by building a context. They combine their knowledge of the organisation, the threat landscape and behavioural insights. As the last level of defence, if a threat is not addressed by this time, it means that a security breach is occurring in real-time. The company must then go into protect and react mode, to isolate their systems or shut them down.
SOC-as-a-Service makes cyber intelligence and threat hunting available
A recent global survey reveals that for CIOs, priority investments in cybersecurity are cloud security and threat intelligence. Cybercriminals are getting more organised, but organisations are far behind and need to adopt proactive and aggressive defensive measures that SOCs can provide. SOC-as-a-Service will enable smaller enterprises to gain an edge in fortifying their defences.
Organizations that operate in high-risk business environments or that are mission-critical may find it necessary to operate their own in-house SOCs. These include companies in the defence, utilities like power or internet, banking or healthcare. In such industries, the risk is high and cyberattacks pose a significant threat to life, financial loss, or impact to society.
However, setting up a SOC can be cumbersome and expensive, involving rental costs, expert resources, software licencing, and ongoing maintenance. While large organizations may have the ability to invest, other smaller enterprises can find a cost-effective solution in SOC-as-a-Service. Through SOC-as-a-Service, small and medium enterprises have all the benefits of a Security Operations Centre, provided by a managed security service provider who can do the heavy lifting.
WatchTower 365 –Managed SOC-as-a-Service from Entersoft
WatchTower 365 from Entersoft is a managed SOC-as-a-Service that integrates compliance, data security and cyber security defence strategies. WatchTower365 is a bespoke service, with all the benefits of an in-house SOC at a lower cost and managed by industry experts. WatchTower 365 offers a hybrid SOC model that includes a cybersecurity operations centre, monitoring, network operations centre, data loss prevention and reporting.
State of the art 24/7 monitoring and SIEM is deployed to customers’ specific cybersecurity objectives and real-time threat information about external and internal actors are shared along with remediation actions. Forensic analysis is executed in scenarios where an endpoint is infected with malware or if suspicious activity is detected. Advanced techniques examine, recover, preserve and evaluate all digital evidence to find the root cause of the malware or suspicious activity. Besides weekly and monthly threat reports, regular vulnerability and penetration testing (VAPT) is conducted every six months to evaluate the infrastructure. Entersoft’s SOC-as-a-Service brings the best experts, tools and knowledge to the service of small and mid-size enterprises, who can rest knowing someone is always on the watch.