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Security Operations Center

What is a Security Operations Center (SOC)?

A Security Operations Center (SOC) is a team of highly experienced cybersecurity experts tasked with monitoring, detecting, investigating and responding to any security incidents and issues the organization faces. It’s not necessarily a physical room, though it can be. It’s more a dedicated team. Think of the SOC like a hub or central command post for all things cybersecurity. The team takes in telemetry from across the organization, managing events and deciding how to act on them.

The goal of the SOC is to prevent breaches and respond quickly when cybersecurity incidents occur to minimize potential damage to the company.

Roles and responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities within an SOC may vary depending on its size, but there are a few roles common to most SOCs:

  • SOC manager: This person is responsible for the SOC team and operations. Top-level responsibilities, like directing response to major threats, fall on them.

  • Incident responder: The incident responder reacts quickly to any alerts, doing a preliminary evaluation of any irregularities.

  • Compliance auditor: They ensure staffers are following procedures correctly, and play a key role in the standardization of processes.

  • Security analyst: The SOC analyst identifies potential security threats and determines the plan for handling them.

  • Investigator/Threat hunter: This person gathers data, preserves evidence, and searches for any potential weaknesses on the network.

Types of SOCs

There are many different forms an SOC can take, depending on the organization’s size, resources and security needs, including but not limited to:

  • Internal SOC: Cybersecurity team is set up internally.

  • Internal virtual SOC: The internal cybersecurity team doesn’t have a dedicated facility, but is set up virtually.

  • Co-managed SOC: The internal cybersecurity team works together with an outsourced vendor to manage cybersecurity needs.

  • Command SOC: These centers oversee smaller SOCs across a large region.

  • Outsourced virtual SOC: An independent third-party vendor provides the same service as an internal virtual SOC.