Security Operations Center (SOC)

Riya Jain
3 min readSep 26, 2023

A security operations center (SOC) is a centralized facility for a team of information security specialists and IT professionals who analyze, monitor, and safeguard an organization against cyber attacks.

SOC teams continuously monitor networks, internet traffic, servers, desktops, databases, endpoint devices, applications, and other IT assets for indications of a security event and handle incident response

SOC staff typically have all the skills they need to identify and respond to cybersecurity incidents. However, they also cooperate with other departments or teams to share information about incidents with relevant stakeholders. Most SOCs operate 24/7, with employees working in shifts to mitigate threats and manage log activity. Some organizations outsource their SOC to third-party provider.

5 Key SOC Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Sophisticated Attackers

Challenge — network defense is a core element of an organization’s cybersecurity strategy. It requires attention as sophisticated cybercriminals have the skillset and tools to bypass conventional defenses, including endpoint security and firewalls.

Solution — deploy tools with machine learning capabilities or anomaly detection, which can discover sophisticated threats, reducing the need for human investigation.

Big Data

Challenge — the volume of data and network traffic the typical organization deals with is tremendous. With such enormous growth in log data comes an increasing challenge in analyzing all this data in real time.

Solution — SOCs use automated tools to parse, filter, correlate, and aggregate information to enable convenient, centralized analysis.

Alert Fatigue

Challenge — in many security systems, there are many anomalies and a huge amount of security alerts. If the SOC relies on unfiltered alerts, these alerts can quickly become overwhelming. Many alerts are false positives, or do not contain sufficient context to investigate the incident. These types of low quality alerts divert teams away from real security incidents.

Solution — a SOC must have a solid strategy for alert prioritization. It is critical to improve alert quality and differentiate between low-importance and high-importance alerts. Utilize behavioral analytics tools to ensure SOC teams attend to the most severe issues first.

Unknown Threats

Challenge — Traditional signature-based detection, firewalls, and endpoint detection cannot discover an unknown threat. SOCs find it difficult to detect and defend against zero day threats.

Solution — SOC teams can improve their rules, signature, and threshold-based threat detection solutions by using behavior analytics to discover unusual behavior.

Security Tool Overload

Challenge — many organizations acquire several security tools to identify all possible threats. These tools tend to be disconnected from one another, have restricted scope, and cannot identify sophisticated threats that cut across security silos.

Solution — implement technology like eXtended Detection and Response (XDR), which combines data from all layers of the IT environment to identify sophisticated or evasive threats.

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Riya Jain

Security Researcher | Penetration Tester | Red Team | Blue Team | eJPT|CAP | CND | Purple Team