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3 Challenges Every SOC Struggles With (and How to Overcome Them)

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.

Resource Allocation

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.

3 Challenges Every SOC Struggles With (and How to Overcome Them)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.

Information Overload

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.

Is your SOC struggling with one or more of these common challenges? If so, automation could be the key to getting things back on the right track. Download your free trial of our innovative SOC automation platform today!





eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response




The Rise of SOC Automation

The Rise of SOC AutomationSecurity operation centers (SOC for short) are cropping up in organizations around the globe and across just about every industry. Many large enterprises have already initiated their own SOCs while others are currently in the process. Smaller companies are turning to external resources for their security needs. In either case, the SOC function serves to consolidate and centralize the incident prevention, detection and response process as well as monitoring, vulnerability management and several other key functions. Along with the wider-spread adoption of these teams has also been a steady rise in the use of SOC automation.

The reason why SOC automation is gaining in popularity is multifaceted. Firstly, there is the very real challenge associated with the highly-tailored and extreme complexity of today’s modern cybersecurity attacks. Gone are the days when incoming threats could easily be identified and thwarted with little to no impact on the organization or its sensitive data. Today’s hackers are leveraging newer and better technology to initiate highly targeted and relentless attacks on their victims. Human security teams are simply no match for these advanced persistent threats.

SOC automation facilitates a much more streamlined and highly effective defense against APTs and other such incidents. These platforms serve as an ever-vigilant, well-equipped army that stands at the ready, round-the-clock, to detect and address potential breaches. When an alert is created, it is automatically assessed and either remediated electronically or escalated to the appropriate human party for immediate attention. In other words, SOC automation acts as a force multiplier, enhancing the monitoring function and creating a closed-loop process that is much stronger.

The second area in which SOC automation is helping security teams, both internal and external, do their jobs more effectively is the amount of time it takes to address and resolve successful attacks. Despite our most valiant efforts, there will almost always be some vulnerability through which cyber-criminals can achieve their goals. The amount of damage they are able to do, however, will ultimately depend on how quickly they can be identified and stopped. Obviously, the sooner a breach can be identified and dealt with accordingly, the more the organization can mitigate damages.

In this dynamic, demanding and critical environment, there is little room for error. SOC automation and orchestration tools are virtually transforming these departments into advanced command and control centers by integrating with Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems and providing work­flows and play-books that extend SIEM existing capabilities. Agent-less architecture allows for the execution of tasks over physical, virtual, and cloud environments via standard protocols to speed up security incident response and resolution while improving security operations efficiency.

Finally, SOC automation cuts the Mean Time to Resolution and eliminates manual, repetitive tasks by automating incident response playbooks, freeing up scarce manpower resources, and measurably improving service levels. This type of platform also enables the advanced scheduling of security procedures on a regular basis in order to identify and prevent security vulnerabilities. In other words, it allows you to cover all your bases – from prevention and detection to response and remediation. The result is a much more secure, efficient environment overall, which benefits everyone.

To learn more about SOC automation click here. Or, better yet, try it yourself with our free 30 day, no obligation trial.





How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes




Live Webinar: How to Detect and Resolve Today’s High-Profile Threats

Tuesday, January 31, 12:00pm EST / 9:00am PST

One only needs to read the daily news headlines to recognize how big of a threat cyber-crime has become. These days, businesses of every size and industry and from all over the globe are vulnerable to ransomware and other malicious cyber-attacks, placing them at risk of both financial as well as reputational damage. And with an ever-increasing volume of complex cybersecurity incidents and dwindling resources, SOC teams are more overwhelmed than ever before.

What’s the solution?

In order to adequately defend against the onslaught of attacks and handle incidents in real time, IT must strike an ideal balance between detection and remediation of both known and unknown threats.

A great example of this type of power-packed combination is the integration of OPSWAT threat detection and Ayehu automated incident response and remediation platform. And now, you can see this dynamic duo in action by attending this live webinar.

On Tuesday, January 31, 12:00pm EST / 9:00am PST, join security experts from OPSWAT and Ayehu as we discuss how to detect and resolve today’s high-profile threats.

In this live online presentation, you’ll learn:

  • Why and how today’s high-profile threats have evolved and expanded
  • Key methods to identify and verify attacks in your environment and across disparate systems, including scanning anti-malware engines, automating routine tasks, and rapidly containing, remediating, and recovering from attacks
  • How combining technology from OPSWAT and Ayehu can bridge the gap between detecting and resolving threats

Does the topic of cybersecurity keep you up at night? Are you and your team tired of fighting an uphill battle to keep networks, applications and sensitive data secure and safely out of the hands of malicious hackers? If so, then this webinar is a MUST-attend!

But hurry….seats are limited and we fully expect that this highly-anticipated webinar will fill up quickly.

Register today to reserve your spot before it’s too late.

 

Presenters:

Guy Nadivi

Guy Nadivi, Sr. Director of Business Development, Ayehu

Sharon Cohen, IT & Security Professional Services Manager, Ayehu

George Prichici, Product Manager, OPSWAT

Taeil Goh, CTO, OPSWAT

Ayehu to Unveil Virtual SOC Operator at RSA

RSA Conference 2017Ayehu is excited to announce its participation in the 2017 RSA Conference. RSA Conference 2017 will be held from February 13th – 16th in San Francisco, CA at the Moscone Center and Marriott Marquis. Attendees will learn about new approaches to information security, discover the latest in cybersecurity technologies and interact with top security leaders and pioneers.

The Ayehu team will be presenting live demonstrations of its new Virtual SOC Operator in booth #4914 (North Expo). Conference attendees are invited to  stop by the Ayehu booth and enjoying an ad hoc presentation or schedule a demo in advance by completing this form. As an added bonus, we are offering those interested in attending our presentations the opportunity to get a free expo pass. Simply enter the code XE7AYEHU when registering.

RSA Conference conducts information security events around the globe that connect IT professionals to industry leaders and highly relevant information. They also provide valuable insights via blogs, webcasts, newsletters and more to help individuals and businesses alike stay ahead of cyber threats. Collectively, their conferences draw over 45,000 attendees per year, making RSA the world’s largest provider of security events. The multi-day event schedule is made up of seminars, keynotes, interactive learning experiences and much more. (See the full agenda here.)

The topic of cybersecurity has never been more critical than it is today. If you are interested in learning more about how you can protect yourself and your organization against the constantly growing threat of security incidents, this event is a must-attend! Click here to learn more about Ayehu’s participation and to schedule your free demo.

We look forward to seeing you!

Why the Distrust of SOC Automation?

Why the Distrust of SOC Automation?As more organizations become buried in a sea of alerts and data, automation is fast becoming the go-to solution. For many, it’s become the most powerful and effective tool for maintaining a safe, efficient and profitable operation. Yet, there are still some who view automation as the “enemy,” particularly those in the security operations center (SOC) realm.

Many of these talented professionals feel wary about handing over their most critical tasks and processes to machine. And they’re not necessarily wrong. Let’s take a deeper look at why this distrust in SOC automation exists and, more importantly, how to overcome it once and for all.

While it’s certainly true that SOC automation is an essential component of any IT operation – especially those that deal with the security aspect – it’s simply not the be all and end all. In reality, automation is meant to supplement, complement and enhance the security operations center. Rather than turning solely to technology as the ultimate answer, a healthy balance can and should be struck that marries machine with human intellect.

The fact is, nobody knows the needs, nuances and opportunities of their organization better than the SOC team. They are the ones in the trenches, day in and day out, handling the ever-increasing workload, putting out fires and working hard to stay a step ahead, both in terms of cyber criminals and the competition. When these talented individuals are able to leverage the power of automation technology to address those needs, capitalize on those opportunities and strengthen their position in the industry and against potential threats, the real benefits of SOC automation can be realized.

For SOC automation to be truly effective, it needs people to influence, oversee and drive its success. It requires seamless integration with existing platforms and across the entire security infrastructure to create end to end processes and workflows. It needs human insight to define and redefine the rules accordingly. With the right strategy, SOC automation can essentially do the “heavy lifting,” alleviating personnel of their manual workload burdens and freeing up top talent to apply their valuable skills elsewhere.

What it ultimately boils down to is perspective and balance. When SOC professionals begin to view automation not as a threat, but rather as a tool to make their lives infinitely easier, that’s when the true value of SOC automation can be realized.

Is your SOC utilizing technology to its fullest advantage? Try eyeShare FREE for 30 days and see for yourself what a difference SOC automation can truly make. Click here to get your free copy today.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




Is Your NOC Bullying Your SOC?

Is Your NOC Bullying Your SOC?Without question there are marked similarities between the Network Operation Center (NOC) and the Security Operation Center (SOC). Unfortunately, these similarities often lead to the misconception that the duties of each role are interchangeable. Couple this with the widespread opinion that having a NOC in place negates the need for a formal SOC and you’ve got a scenario wrought with tension, resentment and, often times, downright bullying. In reality, the NOC and SOC both provide unique value to the organization, but only if they are able to cohesively work together.

Key Differences

The first step in marrying the NOC and SOC in a harmonious relationship involves recognizing and understanding the key, fundamental differences between both roles. Yes, both teams may be responsible to some degree for identifying, evaluating, resolving and/or escalating issues, however it is the type of issues and their subsequent impact that ultimately separate these two groups. For example, the NOC is typically tasked with handling incidents that affect availability and/or performance while the SOC focuses mainly on incidents that could potentially impact the security of assets. Both are working toward a shared goal of managing risk, however, how they approach and achieve that goal varies greatly.

Measuring Performance

NOCs and SOCs are also measured differently in terms of performance. The job of the Network Operations Center is to manage, maintain and meet service level agreements (SLAs) as well as handle incidents in such a way that limits any potential downtime as much as possible. In other words, NOC technicians are measured on how well they optimize system availability and performance. The Security Operations Center, on the other hand, is measured primarily on how well they protect sensitive data, hence the “security” title.

Both of these tasks are of critical importance to the success and ongoing profitability of an organization and should therefore be handled as separate but equal functions. Unfortunately, many organizations fall into the trap of believing that both can be combined into one universal operation. This can spell disaster, not necessarily because either is incapable of handling the other’s duties, but rather because of the stark contrast with which each approaches their role.

Separate But Together

Another key reason the NOC and SOC should be operated individually but in conjunction with one another is because of the specific skillsets technicians of each specialty possess. For example, a NOC analyst must possess proficiency in network, systems and application engineering. This extensive experience and educational requirement has occasionally led to the mistaken opinion that NOC team members are somehow smarter or more skilled.

In reality, SOC analysts must exhibit a similarly complex skillsets specific to security engineering, thereby debunking the notion that NOC representatives are somehow superior. Driving home these distinct yet equally important differences can help mend fences and create a more cohesive interdepartmental relationship based on mutual respect and understanding.

Further complicating the situation is the very nature of the adversaries each group must deal with on a daily basis. The NOC focuses on naturally occurring system events while the SOC faces vastly different “intelligent adversaries,” such as hackers and other cyber-criminals. As such, the solutions and strategies each group must develop, implement and maintain will also vary significantly. Expecting one group to adapt to the other’s policies, processes and priorities is a recipe for disaster.

Greater Demands = Higher Turnover

Lastly, there is the reality of the many demands and pressures placed on each of these groups and the subsequent way they respond. Security Operation Centers tend to have a much higher turnover rate than that of NOCs, with the average length of employment of a level 1 SOC topping out around 2 years or less. This is due in large part to the volatile and ever-changing nature of security operations. The tenure of NOC representatives tends to be significantly longer. It would therefore only stand to reason that expecting a NOC analyst to also take on the duties of a SOC would result in greater attrition and subsequently higher turnover rates across the board. It’s a costly price to pay for most businesses.

A Match Made in Heaven

Ultimately, the ideal solution to avoiding issues between the NOC and SOC is to recognize, understand and respect the subtle yet fundamental differences and find a way to foster collaboration and cooperation between the two. One way to accomplish this goal is to employ technological tools, such as automation, to connect both teams, promote the sharing of data and systems and facilitate a close working relationship through which each department complements the other. The SOC can focus on identifying and analyzing security incidents and use the data they gather to propose fixes to the NOC, which can then evaluate and implement those fixes accordingly, improving operations as a whole.

Get started with automation for your NOC, SOC or both by downloading your free trial of eyeShare today.





How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes




Streamlining, Scaling and Securing Operations with SOC Automation

Streamlining, Scaling and Securing Operations with SOC AutomationWith security threats multiplying in number, frequency and complexity at an almost mind-boggling rate, the need for smart cyber-security solutions at the enterprise level has never been greater. What was once a concern only of larger organizations or those in certain industries, such as finance or medical, is now something businesses of every size and sector must carefully plan for. It’s no longer a question of if your company will be attacked, but when. Employing a strategy, particularly one that features SOC automation as a central component, can help keep the enterprise safer while also optimizing performance and facilitating a more scalable operation. Here’s how.

Threat Monitoring

Obviously one of the key objectives of the SOC is to constantly monitor, review, analyze and manage a massive volume of incoming data. This can be challenging even for the most seasoned IT professional. Developing security algorithms can help to more effectively identify and assess anomalous information, but it can also lead to identifying false positives. Couple this with the increasing number of alerts coming in and it becomes evident that human workers simply cannot keep up, resulting in a large number of incoming alerts going uninvestigated or being missed altogether.

SOC automation can aid enterprises in managing this volume of incoming data without the need to hire additional staff and while reducing unnecessary time spent on the process. Leveraging intelligent automation technology, almost the entire threat monitoring process can be streamlined and optimized. All incoming alerts are automatically identified and evaluated for legitimacy, which dramatically reduces false positives. Those that are legitimate threats can then be assessed, prioritized and flagged for attention from the IT staff.

Incident Management

Any experienced IT professional will tell you that incident management is more about response than anything else. How quickly can a legitimate threat be identified, isolated and stopped? Unfortunately, most of the damages from security incidents occur in the interim between when the breach is successful and when it is properly addressed.

The most effective and efficient way to handle this critical task is to employ SOC automation as a central part of the process. Experienced security analysts can help develop best practices and build those into incident response playbooks, which work to thwart potential attacks while also documenting the steps necessary to resolve a breach. Improving this process helps to prevent future attacks while also mitigating the damages caused by those that manage their way in.

Personnel Management

It’s no secret that the IT realm is experiencing a significant skills gap, particularly in terms of qualified security professionals. There simply aren’t enough capable candidates to handle the growing demand. As a result, those who are employed are being stretched beyond their limits, which leads to frustration, dissatisfaction and ultimately much higher turnover.

When SOC automation is implemented, technology steps in to bridge the skills gap and take much of the pressure off of existing IT personnel. These experienced professionals can then be freed up to apply their skills more effectively, including the training of newer staff members. Not only does operational efficiency and productivity soar as a result, but employee satisfaction does as well.

Process Optimization

Perhaps we should have listed this one at the top, since it’s one of the biggest benefits of SOC automation. In any case, incorporating automation can make almost every process undertaken by the IT department more efficient. To start, all of the day-to-day tasks and workflows that are absolutely necessary but can be described as mundane and repetitive can easily be shifted to automation.

Furthermore, by automating as many processes as possible, the risks associated with human error can also be eliminated, creating a more streamlined, efficient, effective and accurate operation all around. And with the right SOC automation tool, everything can be documented and tracked, which facilitates process improvement through the identification and development of best practices.

Risk Management

The goal of successful cyber security incident response isn’t necessarily to address and respond to threats, but rather to identify, develop and hone strategies that will help to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Cyber criminals work tirelessly to find new ways to achieve their malicious intent and, as a result, enterprise IT personnel must take every measure possible to beat them to the punch. This cannot be done by humans alone.

With intelligent SOC automation handling the 24/7 monitoring, assessment, action and resolution of incidents, senior IT professionals can focus their efforts on identifying areas of potential weakness so that the appropriate protections can be put in place ahead of time for a more proactive defense.

Could your organization benefit from SOC automation? Find out today by trying eyeShare FREE for 30 days. Click here to download and get started.





How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes




How SOC Automation Can Minimize Time to Remediation

How SOC Automation Can Minimize Time to RemediationOne of the biggest challenges with cyber security is that it’s a problem that cannot simply be solved by spending more money. A great example is the infamous Target incident from 2013. The retail giant had invested a significant amount into security, and had a number of impressive measures in place (as most large enterprises do). Unfortunately, as we all know, those fancy bells and whistles were not enough to protect against the compromise of some 70 million customer records (40 million of which included credit card numbers). This is where SOC automation can be immeasurably beneficial, and here’s why.

First, what can we learn from the Target debacle? After the massive breach, much research and analysis was conducted to determine where the vulnerability was and how it was exploited. It turns out the hackers point of entry was point-of-sale terminals, all of which – coincidentally – had multiple types of malware installed on them. In fact, their monitoring system successfully detected the breach when it first occurred, but no action was taken. Why? Because the sheer volume of incoming threats was simply too much for the human workers at the helm to handle.

While Target’s story may have taken over the headlines (and cost the firm both financially as well as reputationally), it’s really not that uncommon. In fact, these types of situations occur almost daily with other commercial and even governmental organizations, regardless of size or industry. And while the tools in place to monitor incoming threats may be getting more effective, without the right strategy in place, it’s not enough to keep an organization safe. In fact, 36% of security breaches still take several days to be discovered. 27% take weeks or even months. Imagine the damage that could be done in that amount of time!

Many security professionals are struggling to find a way to lessen the amount of time between detection and remediation. SOC automation can dramatically reduce this timeframe, mitigating potential damages (such as what happened to Target). The way it works is relatively simple, yet highly effective. In a traditional SOC, when an operator receives an alert, he or she would have to initiate the next steps manually. This could be time consuming and incredibly error-prone. When these actions are automated, the process is much faster and more accurate. This speeds up response time and minimizes errors with little to no human intervention required.

Automated incident response also an attractive option from a cost standpoint, since most SOC automation tools are compatible and can be integrated seamlessly with a wide variety of existing systems and applications, providing a centralized security platform that offers greater visibility and control. This essentially extends and enhances the ability of other systems and creates a closed-loop process, minimizing the gap between detection and remediation and establishing a much more solid defense against would-be attackers.

Could SOC automation be the tool you need to keep your organization from becoming the next victim of a cyber-attack? Request a product demo or download your free trial of eyeShare SOC automation today.





How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes