Security Operations Center (SOC) Definition & Meaning

A security operations center (SOC, pronounced sock) is a centralized unit within an organization that deals with security issues to continuously monitor and improve an organization’s security structure. It consists of a team of experts and the facility in which they work to prevent, detect, analyze, and respond to cybersecurity threats or computer, server, and network incidents. A SOC is unique in that it provides round-the-clock monitoring on all systems on an ongoing basis as employees work in shifts.

Responsibilities of a security operations center

The SOC team is responsible for the ongoing operational component of enterprise information security. It is not so much focused on developing security strategies or designing security architecture. Main responsibilities are listed below.

  • The SOC team must be capable of implementing and managing various tools. From systems such as firewalls, IPS, and DLP to complex enterprise forensic tools, a team must have a working knowledge of many security-related tools.
  • Analyzing suspicious activities within the organization’s system is critical for a SOC.
  • A SOC must keep network downtime to a minimum and ensure business continuity by notifying stakeholders during any security breach.
  • Auditing security infrastructure is necessary to ensure it meets applicable regulatory compliance requirements.

Benefits of a security operations center

The main benefit of a SOC is the improvement of security incident detection and response, but there are other benefits:

  • Centralized knowledge: With the breadth of attacks hackers can use to compromise a system, there is a possibility some attacks will be overlooked. With a SOC, relevant information is shared and stored centrally, so the entire team has access to the same knowledge. In addition, with a SOC, the team is better equipped to have a complete overview of the entire network, decreasing the chance of an attack going unnoticed.
  • Cost control: Since the entire team is in one location, an organization does not have to worry about paying for specialists scattered throughout the organization or for the use of multiple facilities.
  • Threat reports: Threat identification and response time is much quicker because threats are reported to a single location.
  • Collaboration: A single location allows teammates an enhanced ability to work together and develop solutions for monitoring and protecting a network.

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