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What should be your next-generation SOC strategy?


The next-generation security operations center places considerable emphasis on actionable real-time information to counter modern-day threats round the clock.

COVID-19 has accelerated organizational efforts towards digital transformation solutions. The virtual work environment mainstreamed by the pandemic has made the role of IT infrastructure—comprising data centers, cloud systems, and internal enterprise servers—even more, critical for businesses.

While the remote-working model has enabled organizations to keep moving amidst the pandemic, it has also increased the attack surface area. Dramatic and sudden changes have significantly impacted all organizational security architectures, as attacks have become more sophisticated and continue to evolve.

Organizations are facing constant pressure to shield networks from rapidly evolving cyberattacks that may happen at any time. Given the massive quantity of data and the evolutionary nature of threats, stationary cybersecurity solutions cannot be trusted to fully protect the networks. Enterprises can no longer do with simply implementing traditional firewalls, web gateways, antivirus solutions, and sandboxes. Moreover, any unauthorized access to networks can impact business operations significantly and jeopardize the goodwill of enterprises.

Thankfully, there is a greater understanding among technology leaders around the need for a broader security ecosystem to gain deep insights into the current threat landscape. Intelligent and accurate real-time solutions can smartly monitor unknown cyberattacks and threats, while a targeted methodology can significantly strengthen cybersecurity efforts to secure digital devices and networks and prevent business continuity disruptions.

Realtime threat assessment

In today’s virtual-first environment, there are innumerable devices connected to an organizational network. This has increased the vulnerability of the IT infrastructure, both from external threat actors and unintentional actions of employees, especially when operating their own devices.

One of the best approaches to develop effective protection mechanisms from threat vectors is to deploy native security solutions and strengthen internal monitoring capacity. Today, the need is to improve IT security monitoring by implementing automated analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to detect and remediate anomalies quickly.

To keep threats at arm’s length and face the evolving information security landscape, investing in a security operations center (SOC) has been considered as a time-tested enterprise security strategy. The original role of SOCs was to maintain centralized visibility of security postures. The aim was to help organizations monitor prevailing threats on a steady basis. Most operations were then manual, and automation integration opportunities were relatively limited.

The new, distributed workspace environment has made it more critical for organizations to analyze and monitor all devices’ safety posture in a virtual environment. Networks need to be effectively protected from malware threats and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks through consistent data and app traffic control.

The ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape has resulted in a substantial leap from manual and human-based processes to machine-based automation. In the current transformational landscape where technologies like the internet of things (IoT) and machine to machine (M2M) are being leveraged extensively for various processes, the traditional mechanisms are ineffective.

In such a scenario, organizations need to invest their resources and development efforts in building next-generation SOCs. These SOCs can utilize AI and ML algorithms toward enhanced fraud-and-threat-detection capabilities in real-time. More emphasis needs to be laid on using intelligence and automation to obtain actionable information on the fly, block malicious IP addresses and threat vectors, and address a combination of such threats. However, not all enterprises have enough resources and investments to build these next-generation SOCs.

The virtual SOC approach

As part of the evolving cybersecurity landscape, many companies are now grappling with too much data, which impacts their collaboration efforts with employees. As noted above, the shortage of talent and tight budgets have hampered the shift to in-house next-generation SOCs. This has given birth to outsourced cloud-based SOCs, which comes at a fraction of the cost of an on-prem alternative.

Cloud-based SOCs are secure web-based analysis tools, enabling businesses to monitor their IT infrastructure in real-time, irrespective of where an organization’s offices are located. By combining this approach with a trusted service partner, companies can receive daily notifications, alerts and event-based notifications, detailed trend analysis, and metric reports that can alert them to a possible security incident on corporate networks.

Enterprises may also go for a hybrid model where SOC-related responsibilities may be shared between the company and a managed service provider.

Overall, the next-generation virtual SOC is a key step further in safeguarding the information assets from millions of cyberattacks round the clock. SOCs also provide an incredible return on investment, as they can contribute to the scale and simplification of the security architecture without making significant investments in human capital.

While SOCs offer tremendous benefits from a security standpoint, the model for implementing a SOC may vary from company to company.

Discover how IBM can help you build and monitor the security of your organization effortlessly.

Also, download the 2020 X Force Threat Intelligence Index Report

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