How to Update Agency Security Operations Centers

thatkasem14/Shutterstock.com

Evolving IT environments require officials to plan for the next-generation SOCs.

Today’s hybrid IT environments, which incorporate cloud and on-premise infrastructure, demand structural changes to agency security operations centers, or SOCs, to be better able to operate within cyberspace versus simply reacting to it. 

SOCs face plenty of challenges: serving the needs of remote and teleworking employees, managing multiple cloud platforms, and dealing with the exploding number of IT-configurable devices on emerging 5G networks. 

The structure of SOCs is already adapting and evolving to bring together defensive operations and the analysis of emerging threats with the strategic introduction of new technologies. The result is a mature, flexible, risk-based and cost-efficient approach to ensure the crown jewels of an enterprise remain secure.

One key to succeeding in this environment is to apply both automation and orchestration. Automation is applied to both defense operations and threat hunting, using a combination of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Orchestration manages how multiple sets of tools and platforms interact and are sequenced for incident response action sets.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

AI includes capabilities such as natural language processing, image recognition of objects, and pattern recognition through neural network models attempting to mimic cognitive functions of the brain. The term machine learning is frequently used interchangeably with AI, although there are distinct differences. ML algorithms use machines to learn about a given dataset. A subset of ML includes deep learning, which has shown a lot of promise in the cybersecurity realm

AI and ML are not only used in a next-generation SOC to enhance detection and prevention activities, but also, increasingly, to augment incident response actions such as containment actions, ticket creation, and user engagement to triage and/or validate a suspicious action. The applications of AI and ML reduce the time spent on each alert and improve the Mean Time to Detect as well as the Mean Time to Repair.

Automation and Orchestration

Automation and orchestration are basic components of the NextGen SOC. By combining high-speed machine search and advanced controls (of tools and platforms), more data is available to the analyst, enabling them to be more efficient and helping them to deliver more contextually aware outcomes for remediation. This reduces the threat count and speeds up the analyst’s ability to assess and respond. Advanced controls can also protect against zero-day threats and provide much higher fidelity data about such threats. These outcomes have two key benefits: better security and higher value for the same cost as compared with traditional managed security services.

Automation and Threat Hunting

A NextGen SOC leverages manual and machine-assisted analysis in a proactive effort to accelerate detection capabilities where traditional measures like SIEM solutions, firewalls, malware protection solutions, and other signature-based options can only solve part of the puzzle. Detecting and responding to advanced threats requires going beyond common detection techniques. Successful hunting requires a preemptive repetitive process of searching through large data sets, using a combination of AI and ML, to identify threats that likely will, or already have, evaded the client’s current detection capabilities. The application of automation to threat hunting enables faster response time and more agile and improved recommendations on responses. It reduces attack vectors, breaches, and breach attempts and enables organizations to move from a purely reactive response to operating ahead of threats.

NextGen SOCs Represent a Fusion Center

NextGen SOCs perform complex defensive operations that are comprehensive and apply proactive monitoring. As incidents are identified, they provide rapid incident response and remediation support. All of this must be done within a risk management framework that requires in-depth understanding of organizational risks and vulnerabilities, as well as current threats and the most effective policies and technologies for addressing them. Finally, new technologies must be strategically introduced in order to mature and enhance SOC capabilities while reducing risk and lowering total cost of ownership.

When all these pieces come together, it represents a fusion of information sources, advanced analytics, and centralized coordination to answer questions quickly and to protect, detect, and respond to security events so a compromise doesn’t become a full-scale breach. 

John Harrison is director of Criterion Systems’ Cybersecurity Center of Excellence.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.