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A Board’s Eye View of SOC – How CISOs Drive Value with a Modern Approach to SOC (Part 2)

To set up a suitable model of SOC operations, identify the maturity of your cybersecurity practices, goals, and impediments.  

Post by Amanjot Kaur Aug 04, 2021

In the previous blog of the two-part series on A Board’s Eye View of SOC – How CISOs can leverage intelligence, we talked about how the boardroom discussions on security are transitioning from reactive to proactive. From the Chairman of the Board to L1 NOC and SOC engineers, everyone wants IT to improve its credibility in the organization and align with the business better.  

Until now, IT focused merely on running operations, with little to no spending on innovation. This needs to change to accommodate the newer reality – digital transformation. A newer and modern approach to ITOps supports business-centric goals such as,  

  • Better digital customer experience  
  • Improved risk avoidance 
  • Increased business profitability  
  • Enhanced capacity for brand protection from cyber threats  
  • Larger market share growth  

What does a modern approach to SOC mean?

CISOs need to convey a greater capacity to detect, manage, and respond to risks and threats to drive strategic business goals. It starts with a ground-up transformation of SOC operations, where you have access to advanced strategies. These advanced strategies include,  

  • Automated discovery 
  • Real-time contextualization 
  • Risk-based automated prioritization 

Data on its own means nothing; intelligence is what drives the context and makes it actionable. Intelligent SOC integrates output from state-of-the-art security incidents and events management (SIEM) tools with Netenrich’s continuous threat and attack surface intelligence (ASI).

This automated correlation between threats and exposure (misconfigurations, brand exposure, and vulnerabilities), along with real-time expert insights, provides the necessary context and prioritization required for faster response, faster patching, enhanced threat hunting, and other processes.   

A working model of modern SOC

 

Fig.1: A working model of Netenrich Intelligent SOC  

As a result of combining broader threat intelligence and automated surface management (ASM) strategies, you can: 

  • Access end-to-end vulnerability management. 
  • Reduce alerts and eliminate the potential of breaches.  
  • Empower your SOC team with relevant context around IOCs, artifacts, and known exploits.  
  • Easily correlate any gaps in your infrastructure with vulnerabilities, known threats and attacks, and industries being attacked – without missing any relevant detail. 

Let’s dive into how this translates into business value.  

How to drive business value through SOC investment?  

In your cybersecurity and SOC evolution, you could be anywhere between the following four stages.   

  • Reactive: This is stage 1 for your SOC, where the focus is entirely on network threat detection. There’s partial visibility into threats and vulnerabilities because of disparate tools. SOC analysts struggle with project backlogs and rely on manual risk validation and investigation. The audit reports only inform you about the controls from a compliance perspective. Being at this stage helps you answer questions like:  
    • What threats impacted us? What caused them?
    • What assets were compromised?  
    • What did we do to resolve them?  
    • What kind of compliance issues do we have? How to resolve them?  
  • Proactive: At this stage, you can detect issues as they happen and prevent outages promptly. There’s broader visibility with the integration of advanced attack surface management and threat intelligence. There’s reduced noise, and SOC analysts can efficiently manage internal and external vulnerabilities. Some of the questions you will be able to answer at this stage:  
    • What threats and vulnerabilities are we exposed to? Is there a proactive fix?  
    • What could be the potential impact on our users and business? 
    • Is our brand currently compromised?  
    • How much have we improved our ability to detect, respond, and resolve unknown and known issues?  
    • Are we able to identify any threat patterns?  
  • Predictive: This stage takes you a step further from being proactive and equips you with intelligence for mature asset assessment, asset prioritization, detection engineering, control testing, and integration with cloud and SaaS vendors. It enables you to predict and prevent any attacks even before they occur. You can address some of the following questions at this stage:  
    • Are we able to foresee threats based on the existing threat patterns? 
    • What assets could it possibly impact?  
    • Are we able to contain threats before they occur?  
    • Are we able to prioritize threats accurately?  
    • Do we have enough controls in place? Are those controls working right? 
    • What are the current impediments in our detection to resolution lifecycle?  
  • Fully mature: Your SOC operations work at a higher capacity at this stage. You have sophisticated intelligence and tools to support advanced incident response (IR) and threat hunting practices like pen-testing, red teams, and other processes. Your alert triage is more efficient. There are fewer alerts with readily accessible meaningful context and recommended resolution. All your tools, processes, and resources are fully integrated, powering continuous and 100% visibility and monitoring. You can address some of the following questions when you reach this stage: 
    • How prepared are we to handle unknown risks? 
    • Can we ensure security and customer experience during specific events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, heavy registrations, and eCommerce sales? If yes, how mature is our incident response plan? 
    • Are all our tools fully integrated to deliver faster resolution?  
    • How prepared are we to handle zero-day attacks?  

Wherever you may find yourself in this journey, the end objective is to have IT operations that are robust, always-on, real-time, and fully integrated. To set up a suitable model of SOC operations, identify the maturity of your cybersecurity practices, goals, and impediments.  

Dive into the eBook to learn more on how to plan for an investment in a SOC and maneuver through some of the key challenges.  

How CISOs leverage intelligence ebook

Download the eBook

 

Conclusion  

Time has arrived when the focus in ITOps needs to be shifted from simply running the operations to achieving the outcomes in better ways. While the board is asking newer and more challenging questions related to oversight, as a CIO or CISO, your and your team should focus on aligning IT with business and modernized digital operations.  

Using an AI-powered SaaS Resolution Intelligence platform that brings together machine and human intelligence provides greater value in delivering outcomes – without adding more complexity into the SOC, whether it’s tools or resources.  

P.S.: Here’s read the link to part one blog in this series – A Board’s Eye View of SOC – How CISOs can leverage intelligence (Part-1) 

 

Photo by Jopwell from Pexels

 

About the Author

Amanjot Kaur

Amanjot is a marketer by profession. She appreciates good copy, good design, and a good cup of tea.

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