In the cybersecurity realm, security operations centers (SOCs) are under increasing pressure to not only be proactive about protecting networks and the sensitive data contained within, but in many cases, they are expected to be predictive. This is coupled with the demand to provide 24/7 protection. All of this requires that SOC leaders learn from, understand and remain a step ahead of would-be attackers. That being said, there are certain challenges that just about every SOC is plagued by. Here are three such obstacles and how to effectively overcome them with SOC automation.
One of the biggest issues SOC leaders face today is centered on staffing, or the lack of qualified personnel. Are there enough people on staff? Do they have the right skills for the job? What happens if and when someone leaves? While some organizations choose to solve this problem with outsourcing, there is then the compounded issue of greater vulnerability that comes with remote work environments.
These resource constraints don’t have to be crippling to productivity or even growth, provided the right technology is in place. For instance, SOC automation can provide continuous monitoring as well as rapid response and resolution with little to no human intervention required. Such a setup enables even the smallest of teams to run efficient, highly effective and profitable operations.
There has been a noticeable shift over the last decade or so through which security operation centers have gone from intelligence scarcity to experiencing what can only be referred to as information overload. Today, SOC operators are challenged with sifting through mountains of data – from emails and reports to files and alerts – with a goal of extracting the information they need and leveraging that data to effectively thwart potential cybersecurity incidents.
To combat this challenge, it is recommended that SOC leaders focus on obtaining information from known and trusted sources, thereby narrowing volume and eliminating unnecessary noise. From there, they should prioritize and address the data that is deemed to be relevant to their particular environments. Furthermore, SOC automation can be utilized for better threat management and help avoid alert fatigue.
Data Integrity & Intelligence Management
Last, but certainly not least there is the challenge of standardization for the purpose of effective information sharing. Now that the cybersecurity domain has become a place where intelligence transfer is commonplace, there is a new struggle that involves determining and agreeing upon a set of standards for how that intelligence is classified, validated, communicated and, of course, protected.
To address this, the first step revolves around the development and adoption of common naming conventions and common indicator formats. For instance, naming identified APTs, malware and viruses. From there, creating and maintaining a database of past attacks and attackers is recommended in order to develop a set of best practices. This requires more of a focus on building a predictive and actionable defense rather than reactively putting out fires as they occur. Once again, SOC automation fits right into this strategy by providing the tools necessary to easily track, monitor and report cybersecurity data.