Guide to Operating a Security Operations Center (SOC)

Best Practice Guide

Best practices for running a security operations center (SOC) in today's climate

If organizations find it difficult to protect physical assets and people as well as coordinate speedy responses, the answer is clear: companies need to build robust Security Operations Centers (SOCs) to improve their operational security posture.

So what’s an SOC, exactly? Definitions vary. But broadly speaking, an SOC provides a platform for detecting and reacting to security incidents.ii The actual SOC is a facility that houses an organized and highly-skilled security team, which relies on sophisticated technology and well-honed processes to achieve topline, security objectives for the organization.

The security team responsible for carrying out the SOC’s core mission usually includes the SOC manager who heads up operations, engineers, and security analysts – the team also works closely with the organization’s Crisis, Emergency Management, and Business Continuity teams to coordinate responses to physical security incidents that become critical events. And the primary duties the team discharges consist of regularly monitoring and analyzing the organization’s security posture. More specifically, the SOC team detects, investigates, responds to, and reports on security incidents – remember, the SOC is an operational unit; it’s not responsible for developing security strategy. In essence, the SOC has to work to continuously manage known and existing risks and threats. Of course, those responsibilities don’t cease when the traditional office closes down. Far from it: and that’s why most SOCs are open around the clock.

The benefits of this particular, centralized security arrangement are pretty clear, though. It’s widely understood that advanced equipment and technology alone aren’t enough to achieve organizational security goals; if they were, there’d be far fewer physical security incidents, as security procurement went up. Instead, mitigating risks and improving incident preparedness and response call for a security apparatus specifically dedicated to preventing damage, theft, and intrusions, as well as protecting people.

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