SOC strategies are critical for businesses of all sizes. However, as networks scale and evolve, they must adapt as the network and its attack surface grow. Organizations can confidently develop the network they need to compete effectively in today’s digital marketplace if they have a solid framework in place.
Changing operational requirements, recent network complexities due to the transition to a remote workforce, rapid network edge development, and increased compliance requirements are all increasing the volume and velocity of data, as well as the overall complexity of SecOps.
Moreover, the threat landscape has grown more sophisticated and complex. Threat actors are focusing their efforts on penetrating unprotected and under-protected remote networks in order to exploit VPN connections of remote workers to get access to the corporate network. SecOps teams are increasingly finding it difficult to keep up. While disruption of key infrastructure networks and supply chain attacks have recently gotten everyone’s attention, ransomware attacks have increased seven-fold in the second half of 2020 as per Fortinet’s 2020 Global Threat Landscape Report.
Redefining the SOC strategy
There are no indications that networks will suddenly stop expanding, that more devices won’t be added, or that threat actors will stop seeking new ways to compromise networks. As a result, unless a new approach is taken, SecOps teams that are trying to keep up may soon find themselves hopelessly behind in the fight against their cyber adversaries.
A single, unified platform
It is crucial to reduce complexity as much as possible. This begins with constructing the SOC system on a single, unified platform that can be deployed in any environment, scale and adapt as network requirements change, and operate at the 5G and beyond speeds that new networks and devices demand.
To begin, a proper platform solution must be based on a common operating system (OS), so that everything works in the same way. Its enterprise-class tools must meet the highest standards and be built with interoperability in mind. It must also be an open system that uses APIs and common standards to allow for easy integration of third-party solutions. It must also support a security-driven network strategy that allows networking and security solutions to work together as a unified solution.
Stringent application and network access control
Next, a SOC must keep track of every connected device and application in use. This necessitates the creation of a zero-trust access (ZTA) approach that not only authenticates devices, users and apps based on a range of criteria, but also limits their access to only the resources they require to perform their responsibilities. Also, zero-trust network access (ZTNA) should be added to ZTA so that users are explicitly authenticated every time they access an application. This is an effective technique for retaining visibility across all connected devices, and limiting access to important resources, even for remote workers.
An AIOps system
The ability to detect, investigate, and respond to threats as quickly as possible is another critical component of any effective SOC solution. An AIOps system can perform the work of dozens of analysts, sifting through mounds of complex data in order to spot an anomaly. A truly effective system can also conduct a thorough investigation of such events instead of delegating that task to human analysts, as most detection and response systems do. And the time spent on human intervention could mean the difference between a threat intervention and a recovery from an attack.
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The final phase is to create a system that will expand as the SOC’s activities mature. Growing out of a SOC system can be a painful and expensive process. It is far preferable to prepare for expansion from the start. Businesses can start with a common management and orchestration system to make it easier to distribute configurations and apply policies consistently across the network.
SIEM products can be chosen to collect data from numerous sources and interoperate with AI systems for increased analysis and response as SOC operations grow. Similarly, XDR systems should be chosen based on their capacity to use AI to not only detect and respond to threats, but also to complete that crucial middle step of investigation automatically. All of this should be able to be effortlessly incorporated into a SOAR system, allowing for a single network-wide view that accounts for every device and application.
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