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What is a Security Operations Center (SOC)?

In the Security Operations Center (SOC), IT specialists continuously analyze and evaluate all security-relevant data of a company's IT. The primary task of the SOC is to proactively identify and close potential vulnerabilities in the systems and actively initiate countermeasures in the event of cyber attacks. Furthermore, due to meticulously accurate documentation, the security center can be called upon for questions relating to data protection and compliance.

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SOC: a definition

The operation of a SOC is a companies' response to the increased demands for professional cybersecurity. Whereas in the past IT security was often dismissed as a sideline activity for administrators, today a team of experts is required to provide reliable protection for companies. There is no other way to identify or successfully fend off ambitious cybercriminals in one's own systems. As a digital security hub, the SOC comprises teams of specialists who check and keep a constant eye on all areas of corporate IT – from server systems and network systems to the individual endpoints and applications at employees' workstations.


How is a SOC structured?

As a rule, a SOC is structured like an operations control center, such as those used by the police or the military. Gathered in one room, analysts, threat hunters, platform engineers and senior management work side by side in 24/7 operations throughout the year. Centrally positioned info screens provide security professionals with the data they need in real time. This concept enables seamless communication between all SOC staff and an unrestricted flow of information, which is also urgently required for efficient processing of tickets and security incidents.

The responsibilities of the individual members of SOC teams are clearly defined and usually structured hierarchically. Incoming tickets and security reports are processed and, in the event of problems, forwarded to the next-higher analyst to avert attacks. In parallel, the SOC team takes care of proactive protection, for example by checking systems for vulnerabilities using penetration tests (pentests) and remediating them. The SOC is also responsible for optimizing and securing internal processes in IT and is also in charge of patch management. The team is coordinated by SOC management, which is also responsible for communication with other departments and management.


What are the tasks of a SOC? 

Depending on the conceptual design, the typical scope of tasks of a SOC includes:

  • defensive measures and damage limitation in the event of cyber attacks

  • proactive monitoring and analysis of corporate IT using current threat data (threat intelligence)

  • continuous hardening of digital systems and processes

  • central security management for all endpoints

  • alerting in the event of specific suspicious cases and attacks

  • implementation of security assessments and pentests

  • support for security-specific questions and compliance

  • detailed reporting of all actions


What are the benefits of a SOC? 

Companies and organizations that run their own SOC benefit from immediate and efficient handling of security problems and cyber attacks. Thanks to constant preparedness, attacks can usually be nipped in the bud. One of the analysts' tasks is to identify anomalies in the company's IT at an early stage. Threat intelligence solutions, for example, provide the necessary data to react to new threats and security gaps before concrete damage occurs. If viruses or trojans infiltrate the corporate network, the malware can be eliminated locally on the affected endpoint through rapid intervention before other systems are corrupted.

In addition, a SOC can be used to defend against professional APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) attacks.

In this type of attack, professional attackers penetrate the corporate network with extreme caution to capture valuable data sets, usually unnoticed for months. Conventional security solutions hardly offer any protection against such ambitious attacks, which are also carried out by state-supported groups. Only continuous analysis and monitoring of the company's IT by experienced cybersecurity professionals promises remedy.

Finally, a SOC also helps to consistently improve IT security within the company. By continuously testing and questioning digital processes, solutions and applications, security, data protection and compliance continuously gain in quality.

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Which companies need a SOC?

In principle, operating your own, fully comprehensive SOC is extremely expensive. As a result, only large corporations and organizations are usually willing to incur these cybersecurity costs. There, the goal is to protect critical business secrets and sensitive data sets from digital espionage and manipulation. For smaller companies, on the other hand, running their own SOC is simply not affordable. In addition, there is often a lack of qualified personnel.

An efficient SOC alternative is offered by security service providers who provide tailored services for the respective company with fixed service level agreements (SLAs). The range of Managed Security Services (MSS) extends from simple individual solutions such as managed antivirus to comprehensive SOC as a Service (SOCaaS). Outsourcing IT security also comes with the benefit of allowing management to focus on operations rather than dealing with the administration, recruitment and operation of the digital security center. For large companies and corporations, security service providers are also an interesting option, for example as a supplement to the existing SOC. This is because many internal SOCs cannot adequately process the sheer volume of incoming tickets for capacity reasons. Reliable service providers can help here to maintain the quality of IT security at a high level.

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SOC: What you need to know

A SOC is a centralized cybersecurity control center within a company. Specialized teams work there around the clock to secure the company's systems, applications, and services holistically and proactively. To this end, security-specific incidents are analyzed, and the appropriate countermeasures are initiated. The SOC is also responsible for the preventive protection of the company's IT. For this purpose, all systems in the company network must be continuously updated and adapted to the constantly changing cyber threat situation. Operating a SOC is extremely cost-intensive. For this reason, such cybersecurity control centers are deployed by larger companies and global corporations. Alternatively, companies can obtain SOC-specific protection services from specialized IT security service providers via the Security-as-a-Service model – this eliminates the ongoing costs for personnel, hardware, and operations. In return, companies receive customized security services at SOC level.

Myra also operates its own SOC, which provides 24/7 full-service support to ensure the best possible performance and security for our customers. Experienced teams of IT experts protect digital business processes from malicious access around the clock. In addition to online applications and websites, Myra technology also fully automatically secures the DNS servers and IT infrastructures required for communication. Learn more.