Home>What is a Virtual Security Operations Center?

What is a Virtual Security Operations Center?

By |2019-11-21T10:24:13-07:00April 25th, 2018|

What is a Virtual Security Operations Center?

A virtual security operations center (V-SOC) is a must-have in today’s age of cyberattacks. Large companies are not the only ones at risk, as cybersecurity threats for small businesses can threaten the health of the entire company. With 58% of cyber attacks targeting small businesses in 2018, companies must be vigilant and create a small business cybersecurity plan. One primary way to combat cyberattacks is to use a V-SOC.

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What Is a V-SOC?

If you’re a small to medium-sized business that wants to protect itself from cyberattacks, you’ll want to consider a V-SOC. By employing a V-SOC, you’ll have a web-based tool that’s secure and monitors your systems, looking for any security breaches. As a tool, it centralizes your security operations and gives you a command center that you’re able to use to address threats to your company. As it’s virtual, the team protecting your company will be located offsite, operating through the cloud.

Many companies choose to employ V-SOCs due to their ability to help them pass an audit, evaluate their security posture and handle all of their incident response and security monitoring needs. With a V-SOC, you’ll have a team of experts monitoring your company’s security and quickly alerting your relevant staff if a threat shows up. As criminals constantly cyberattack small businesses, this sort of responsiveness allows for the right team members to jump on a threat and neutralize it immediately.

What Does a SOC Do? What Is a Security Operation Center?

A Security Operations Center (SOC) is a centralized system that exists inside an organization. In this system, the SOC prevents, detects, analyzes and reacts to cybersecurity issues and attacks. Along with finding ways to make your company safer, an SOC uses tech, people and processes to monitor security and consistently work to improve it.

As a hub for your protection, an SOC will protect assets that are vital to your organization, such as brand integrity, personnel data, intellectual property and business systems. In the overall structure of your cybersecurity, a SOC is the meeting point for recognizing, evaluating and responding to cyberattacks as a coordinated force.

What Is the Difference Between NOC and SOC?

SOCs and Network Operations Centers (NOCs) differ fundamentally, but they do play a complementary role to one another. Despite their differences, they both work on recognizing, evaluating and responding to issues affecting the company. However, there are differences between them.

NOCs

NOCs are primarily used to respond to various alerts and threats that can impact a company’s availability and performance. When it comes to NOCs, they are focused on your IT infrastructure such as your virtual programs and machines, servers and databases. The primary responsibility for your NOC will be to find issues in the IT infrastructure and quickly resolve them.

SOCs

While the NOC focuses on protecting your IT and online infrastructure, a SOC primarily focuses on protecting online assets. Instead of protecting infrastructure such as servers or virtual machines, a SOC keeps your data safe from cybercriminals. The issues they work to neutralize come in the form of malware, unauthorized login attempts, phishing attempts and other risks.

Though NOCs and SOCs both work to prevent issues in a company, they do provide distinctly different services. NOCs work at increasing the speed of your network while also preventing threats. In contrast, SOCs work to protect sensitive information and crucial assets from cyberattacks. As they are different, companies should use them both.

How Does a Security Operations Center Work?

At their basic level, a security operations center works by monitoring your systems and alerting you to vulnerabilities in them. It should be noted that both V-SOCs and in-house SOCs handle the same issues, but one is on-site while the other is off-site. The more advanced versions of these centers, on-site or off-site, move beyond just monitoring your system and go after packet-level threats and vulnerabilities affecting your networks, devices and applications.

How does a security operations center (SOC) work?

Along with monitoring threats and reacting to them, SOCs create reports that are easy to read and understand. In these reports, you can assess your current security stance, allowing you to make adjustments if needed.

The majority of the staff that comprise a security operations center are security analysts that work as a unit to handle cybersecurity incidents. These analysts keep an eye on endpoints and networks to look for vulnerabilities that can affect the security of your data. They also monitor data coming through telemetry, Syslog, packet capture and data flows, among other methods, so that they can correlate and analyze the data for greater security.

Why Are Virtual Security Operations Centers Important?

V-SOCs are crucial for companies as they provide greater security for data and assets. The following are key features of V-SOCs that make them indispensable for many companies:

  • Top talent: For regular SOCs, you’ll need to have an in-house team to protect your company from attacks. A V-SOC, due to its virtuality, allows you to hire the best staff on the market without having to set up the equipment and create space for a SOC team. With a V-SOC, you gain access to top professionals, while allowing them to do everything off-site.
  • Cost-effective: While you’re able to attract top talent with a V-SOC, you’re still going to be able to keep your costs low. Though a larger company can often shoulder the costs of an in-house SOC, many small to medium-sized businesses won’t be able to afford the costs of bringing in a full team, setting up equipment for them and giving them a space to work in. Offsetting these costs with a V-SOC will lower your expenses while still giving you a high level of protection.
  • Compliant: Along with lowering your costs and protecting your company with top talent, V-SOCs will keep your company compliant with state and federal regulations. By eliminating non-compliance, you’ll lower your liability risk and the chance of governing organizations taking actions against your company.
  • Proactive: Whenever a company is planning how to protect themselves from cyberattacks, they quickly see that security is a 24/7 process. Using a V-SOC keeps your company safe every hour of the day, all week long. This level of proactivity helps your company catch problems before they cause real damage.

Security Operations Center: Best Practices To Look For

As you decide on a V-SOC for your needs, there are a few security operations center best practices that you should ensure the center is following before you let them defend your data. Small and medium-sized businesses that are crafting a small business security plan will need their V-SOC to follow these SOC best practices:

  • Human-centered: There has been a shift away from SOC employees having to follow a script when dealing with a threat. Instead, the newer wisdom is to let staff members have more agency as they deal with risk. While IPS or firewalls can prevent a lower-level attack, employees need to be engaged in the analysis and reaction to larger-scale attacks.
  • Updated threat intelligence: Like you might expect intuitively in a tech-driven sector, V-SOCs should be keeping up with all of the latest trends and newest advances in the field. Most importantly, the centers should be aware of the latest threat intelligence and use it to adjust their defenses against the latest cyber threats.
  • Automated systems: While a human-centered policy is best when dealing with major threats, you’ll still want to work with a company that has automated some of the processes. Automation for lower-level tasks and defenses will free up resources and boost the staff’s ability to focus on larger-scale attacks.

Want to Learn More About V-SOCs?

If you’re interested in the managed security services that V-SOCs provide, you’ve come to the right place. CYBERShark is trusted by thousands of customers to provide security and compliance for their business. As a V-SOC, CYBERShark offers exceptional security services without breaking the bank.

By selecting CYBERShark, you can feel confident that you have top talent on your security team, a proactive security approach, compliant practices and a cost-effective SOC. To learn more about CYBERShark, contact us today to speak to one of our knowledgeable and friendly representatives.

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Sources:
  • https://www.forbes.com/sites/ivywalker/2019/01/31/cybercriminals-have-your-business-their-crosshairs-and-your-employees-are-in-cahoots-with-them/#6fc376d01953
  • https://digitalguardian.com/blog/what-security-operations-center-soc

 

Updated: 11/21/2019

Don Carfagno

Strategic executive management and delivery responsibilities of BlackStratus MSP product line offerings of SIEM and Logging for direct, SOC-as-a-Service and channels. Operations professional with 20 years of security management experience. I place a high premium on cost reduction and containment for all aspects of a business. With many years of experience supporting software sales organizations I am uniquely trained to develop and coach cross functional teams. My main area of interest, what makes me want to come to work, is company building and creating successful teams. I enjoy to creating and championing the successful attitude throughout an organization.

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