The Security Operations Center (SOC) is a command center facility for IT professionals and the team of experts who control, analyze, respond, and protect an organization from cyberattacks and take necessary precautions. A SOC can continuously improve detection and prevention of attacks. It helps organizations to safeguard their intellectual assets, business data, and brand integrity.
This blog provides vital information to anyone who wants to secure a job in the cybersecurity domain and gives you information about everything that the job entails.
Importance of SOC in Cybersecurity
A SOC is the central hub of an organization’s security architecture and is collectively responsible for connecting people, processes, and technologies together to protect a businesses’ assets and intellectual property. SOCs continually monitor the state of cybersecurity in real-time, actively analyzing, logging, and resolving all kinds of threats.
SOCs also incorporate Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) frameworks, governance-risk and compliance (GRC) systems, Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), Intrusion Detection System (IDS), User and Entity Behaviour Analytics (UEBA), Endpoint Detection and Remediation (EDR), and Threat Intelligence Platforms (TIP).
The role of an SOC in an organization is as follows:
- Threat prevention: Detecting anomalies and unusual behaviour in public and private networks, making future attacks more difficult, patching network security gaps, and resolving IT architectural vulnerabilities.
- Real-time proactive monitoring: 24/7 real-time proactive monitoring using behavioural analytics and SIEM for mitigating emerging threats. This involves monitoring day-to-day business operations and minimizing threat behaviour as well.
- Alert classifications: Notifying security analysts of threats and categorizing them based on priority levels. Identifying false positives amongst alerts and determining the aggressiveness of certain threats are also included.
- Root cause analysis: Identifying the root causes of threats, where they emerged from, and their sources. This is to prevent future attacks and bolster cybersecurity measures.
- Log management: Logging in all threats and maintaining records of activities and communications across company networks. This helps in troubleshooting and stopping future problems from occurring later.
- Compliance management: Many cybersecurity policies and systems fail to be legally compliant and do not meet regulatory guidelines. An SOC by its nature audits its own systems and makes sure it complies to governance rules and regulations such as the GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS.
Role of a SOC Analyst
The primary duty of a SOC Analyst is to ensure that the organization’s digital assets are secure and protected from unauthorized access. SOC analysts are actively involved in safeguarding both online data and the office premises data of an organization, and quickly respond to security incidents. They detect and analyze the data to identify suspicious activity, implement defensive measures, and monitor data to reduce the risk of a breach. If unauthorized access is determined, a SOC Analyst will be at the forefront to defend the information security.
In today’s busy work environment, cybersecurity courses are in high demand because of their short-term nature and ease of access. Among these, Certified SOC Analyst (CSA) stands out due to its comprehensive coverage of cutting-edge topics in an easy-to-consume format. By getting certified as SOC Analyst, you can get an overview of a SOC and gain access-level and intermediate-level knowledge of it. After the program, you can apply for Tier-1 & Tier-2 roles as a Security Analyst.
CSA empowers learners to develop and gain essential knowledge and skills to enter today’s dynamic cybersecurity workforce. You will learn about cybersecurity analyst tools, including data protection, endpoint protection, SIEM systems, network fundamentals, acquired knowledge around critical compliance, threat intelligence, and incident response and forensics.
Systems and Organization Controls Protocol (SOC)
Also abbreviated as SOC, Systems and Organization Controls Protocol are audits that address the risks related to information security and related financial health. The standard operating procedures that build these reports are based on controls for financial reporting, organizational oversight, vendor management, risk management, and regulatory oversight. Due to the rapid increase in usage of the cloud service as a platform for storing data, incorporating SOC 2 audit and compliance has become a must for technology companies and service providers. For SOC compliance, there is some requirement to prepare for SOC 2, which involves writing security policies and procedures. Everyone in the company should stick to these written documents.
SOC 1 audit focuses on controls related to financial reporting. SOC 1 is the service provider or the service auditor and its audit reports are best suited for organizations that have confidence in their controls and safeguards over their customers’ financial data. Examples of such services include data center services, cloud computing, network monitoring services, SaaS, Payroll, and medical claims processing.
- SOC 1 Type 1: Includes a description of your system and the auditor’s opinion regarding controls are fairly presented and effectively designed.
- SOC 1 Type 2:The Type 2 of SOC 1 audit contains a description of tests performed and their results. Includes an opinion on whether your controls are effectively operating over a specified period.
SOC 2 is a compliance report that is the best fit for an organization that wants to show its clients that they take data security very seriously. SOC 2 reports are compliant with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AIPCA) trust services criteria, with safety being the standard criteria. It can also expand its scope into other trust services criteria, including Security, Availability Confidentiality, Integrity, and Privacy. The SOC 2 certification costs anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000 based on the infrastructure.
SOC 2 developed by AICPA, and it manages customer data on five trust service principles. They are:
Security: For securing the data, three steps need to be followed — multi-factor authentication, firewalls, and intrusion detection
Availability: Performance monitoring, disaster recovery, security incident handling
Processing integrity: Quality assurance, processing monitoring
Confidentiality: Access controls, firewalls
Privacy: Encryption, multi-factor authentication
SOC 2 Type I: A SOC 1 Type 2 comes under an internal control report which is expected to reach the needs of the OneLogin customers management and auditors, as they estimate the effect of the OneLogin controls on their own internal controls for financial reporting.
SOC 2 Type II: Complete analysis of security systems and rules evaluated over a period (typically a year). It is the elected report and certification of prospects. In many instances, this type is required.
HITRUST Certification vs SOC 2
The Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) is an organization governed by representatives from the healthcare industry whose intention is to meet the requirements of multiple regulations and standards. It understands the challenges of assembling, data protection compliance, and maintaining varied programs, which is why its integrated approach ensures the components are aligned, maintained, and comprehensive to support the organization’s information security management program. HITRUST also adapts certification requirements to an organization’s risks based on organizational, system, and regulatory factors.
There is a difference between SOC 2 and HITRUST CSF in that SOC 2 is an attestation report, and a certification accompanies a HITRUST review. The SOC 2 report’s purpose is to meet the needs of a broad range of users developed by the AICPA. They need information and assurance about the controls at a service organization that help maintain the five Trust Services Criteria (TSC) categories: security, confidentiality, privacy, availability, and processing integrity. Organizations choose the five TSC categories to report on and engage an independent service auditor to decide whether the controls are appropriately designed and operating effectively.
The advantage is that there are synergies between SOC 2 TSC categories and the underlying standards and HITRUST CSF controls. Cost savings and time efficiency can be realized by holding controls for addressing HITRUST CSF requirements in SOC 2 engagements and service organisations. HITRUST and AICPA are together developing and introducing a set of recommendations to streamline and simplify that process.
A certification gives a lot of direction in any chosen career path, particularly in a field such as cybersecurity, where a specific certification not only enhances an individual’s abilities, but also adds value to the hands-on experience of a professional. The certified SOC Analyst (CSA) program of the EC-Council is the ideal addition to the qualifications and resume of any professional. This curriculum provides a person with comprehensive knowledge of cybersecurity and its various protocols.