How to Set Up a Security Operations Centre in 5 Steps

The benefits of a security operations centre (SOC) are most obvious when you don’t have one. 

For example, imagine it’s 3 am on a Saturday morning and a hacker breaks into your organisation’s systems. There’s no one to detect the intrusion and no one to deal with it either. In fact, it’s not until a member of your sales team notices they are locked out of the network on Monday morning that anyone even knows there is something wrong. After that, things start happening very fast.  

The company’s files and servers are down, and strange emails demanding a bitcoin payment in 24 hours start popping up in everyone’s inbox. The guy who “does security” is on holiday. 

Where does your organisation’s cry for help go? Who is going to coordinate remediation and stop attacks like this from happening again?

Security operations centres (SOCs) should be the answer to these questions. By putting key security people and tech in one place, a SOC can help organisations identify and remediate cyberattacks faster, minimising the impact of cyber threats and reducing risk.

Here are the five steps organisations should take when building out a SOC. 

Step 1: Identify Your Objectives 

What do you want a SOC to do? Primary motivations for setting up a SOC include: 

Step 2: Determine the Length of Time You Need Monitoring for

Depending on your industry and how and when your business operates, the length of time you need monitoring for may vary from 8 to 5 with out-of-hours on-call to 24/7 to something in between. 

Threat actors never sleep, and 24/7/365 SOC provides round-the-clock threat monitoring. At the same time, having an 8 to 5 SOC is better than not having a SOC at all. 

Step 3: Set a Budget 

Your budget will define what you can and can’t do. 

For example, if you want a 24/7/365 SOC, you will need to hire a minimum number of staff to support that function. If your budget can’t cover this minimum number of staff, you won’t be able to run a 24/7/365 SOC. 

Instead, you may want to look at outsourcing your SOC from a third-party service provider. A common approach to this is having an outsourced L1/T1-L2/T2 SOC managed service and retaining a smaller skilled set of in-house staff who have significant experience in the industry and your company (i.e., managed security service provider or MSSP) or taking a hybrid approach (i.e., outsourcing consultants and setting up part-time in-house staff).  

Step 4: Perform an Inventory Analysis

When building a security operations centre, you’ll need to invest in a suite of security tools that will help your security team monitor your systems and make sense of alerts. 

The kinds of technologies and tools you buy will depend on a) the SOC’s purpose, b) your budget, c) how many security team members you have, and d) their skills. 

Before you buy new tools, you should look at what you already have. In many cases, having too many tools, especially tools that overlap, can make SOC professionals’ jobs harder rather than easier. By leveraging what you already have, you can avoid redundancies and reduce costs. 

With every security solution that is currently deployed, ask yourself:

Step 5: Equip the SOC

At a minimum, a SOC should have the following:

Organisations can consolidate their tool stacks and initiate active response with next-generation solutions like security orchestrations, automation, and response (SOAR), extended detection and response (XDR), and SenseOn

SOCs whose purpose is to fulfil an audit requirement will also need governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) systems. 

Whatever technologies and tools you get, make sure you have people on your team who can use them or give them appropriate training. There’s no point in having an expensive SIEM if no one on the team is trained to make sense of the data that’s showing up. 

Building a SOC with SenseOn

SenseOn is a security automation platform that consolidates tools like EDR, network detection and response (NDR), SIEM, intrusion detection system (IDS), and SOAR into one centralised platform.

SenseOn gives security teams unparalleled visibility into their digital estates and eliminates the need for organisations to purchase disparate tools to equip their SOC. 

With SenseOn, security professionals can perform the following SOC activities:

Whether due to budget or staffing issues, some organisations may not have the capacity to investigate alerts produced by the SenseOn platform in-house. 

As a result, we also offer a managed SOC service. Our team will investigate priority alerts identified by the SenseOn platform, notifying security professionals when actual security incidents are underway or remediating events on their behalf. 

To try out SenseOn in your SOC, schedule a demo today.