Building a SOC: 7 Best Practices to Consider

As a security professional, you know that while technology is an important tool to prevent malicious activity from becoming a real problem in your environment, it’s only part of the equation. A well-designed Security Operations Center (SOC) is essential for protecting your enterprise against the ever-evolving risks that come with modern technology.

So how do you build an effective SOC?

Building a SOC requires many considerations; proper planning will enable you to effectively monitor threats, respond swiftly when an attack occurs, and maintain secure compliance standards. Through this blog post, we’ll explore seven proven best practices to consider when building a productive and robust SOC that can withstand any security challenge thrown its way.

Let’s get started.

Follow these seven best practices to help you build a SOC and ensure its success

1. Understand the feasibility of your project before you start to build a SOC.

Establishing a successful Security Operations Center (SOC) starts with an in-depth feasibility assessment, which should be done early on. Such assessments must account for all usual variables, such as budget and personnel capacity, while also including various other factors that may have an effect on the overall outcome.

For instance, proper staffing is a key factor in the effectiveness of any security operations center. Having the right number of personnel directly impacts capability–if 24/7 monitoring isn’t feasible, then it can create an environment where success is unattainable.

Not sure you have the capabilities to build or manage a SOC on your own? Discover the advantages of a Managed Security Services Provider and learn why it’s essential for round-the-clock security operations–all detailed in our related blog post.

2. Determine what services are desired. 

The main functionality of a SOC is to provide monitoring and incident response. However, a SOC may provide additional services depending on unique needs of an organization. These services may include malware analysis, vulnerability management, and digital forensics.

It’s important to ensure the desired service expectations of a SOC–creating greater clarity around the expectations and responsibilities an efficient SOC will deliver.

3. Develop your use cases and data sources. 

Use cases–how users will interact with your systems–should be developed for monitoring purposes. These use cases should be relevant to the organization and must be worth alerting. Knowing the organization’s environment can enhance this so that critical assets are prioritized. 

You’ll want to: 

  • Determine the data sources for your use cases,
  • Consider relevant threats and incidents to monitor for. 

Depending on the organization’s goals, certain use cases may be developed for compliance purposes. If these compliance alerts do not need to be analyzed thoroughly, then automation–which can be supported by SOAR–may make them more efficient and reduce stress on the SOC.

4. Choose cohesive, flexible technologies.

A SOC may utilize many technologies for their services. These technologies must be chosen wisely to ensure the SOC fulfills their goals.

SIEM and SOAR solutions are often paired together for monitoring and incident response. The chosen technologies should be tailored to the organization’s environment and needs. 

5. Select your preferred SOC model.

There are three models of SOCs that should be considered based on an organization’s needs and desires: dedicated, outsourced, and hybrid solutions. 

  • A dedicated SOC provides the most control and visibility, but may have an increased cost. 
  • Outsourcing a SOC to a third-party like an MSSP may be cheaper than establishing a dedicated SOC.
  • A hybrid solution would outsource some responsibilities of the SOC to a third-party.

6. Define organization-relevant metrics.

An organization can use metrics collected for the SOC to identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions. These metrics must be measurable and relevant to be helpful. The metrics may also be used to determine how successful the SOC is running currently, and where it should be in the future.

7. Integrate documentation methods into the process. 

The process of documenting is essential to many information technology functions, and a SOC heavily utilizes documentation. Policies, procedures, problems, exceptions, and other information should be thoroughly documented to ensure that they are clearly defined and that the information is available for future use. SOC analysts in particular may use many documented playbooks for different use cases.

Bottom Line

A SOC can provide invaluable peace of mind and protection for your organization, but only if it’s done right. There are a lot of moving parts to building a successful SOC as well as maintaining it, but it’s only worth it if you can make it work. If you need help getting started or want someone to take the reigns, reach out to Hurricane Labs. Our experts would be more than happy to assist you.

Additionally, you’re looking for more about setting up a SOC, be sure to check out our two-part podcast about it:

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*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Hurricane Labs authored by Cameron Krivanek. Read the original post at: