5 Best Practices for Setting Up a Security Operations Center

Managing security is not solely about products and technologies. As a security leader in your company, it is important to consider numerous other factors when you decide to set up a Security Operations Center. A few of the things include - an understanding of the business plan and requirement, capability, and skill set of people who will be part of the Security Operations Center (SOC), individual and team responsibilities, budget, etc.

The Need for a Security Operations Center

The sad truth is that you cannot stop all hacks and attacks. The best and most advanced security systems deployed on every endpoint can still fail you at some point.

When such a situation arises, securing your enterprise's data and removal of the threat is the only thing important. Additionally, your objective is to ensure minimum dwell time for the threat in your servers and systems. This is possible only if you have a system in place that has constant monitoring. Moreover, you should know what to monitor.

Therefore, it is pretty obvious that many enterprises have established a Security Operations Center to precisely tackle this problem and be better prepared for a worst-case scenario.  A Security Operations Center is an important part of your cybersecurity team that evaluates, establishes and enforces security policies in your organization. They're also the ones who will respond in case of an incident.

Best Practices for Setting Up a Security Operations Center

Setting up an effective Security Operations Center can be daunting and difficult. Here are some best practices we've learned from some of the CIOs who've been able to do this well.

1. Understand what a Security Operations Center does

This might sound really basic but, trust me, many of us still make this mistake of not understanding what an SOC is supposed to do. A good Security Operations Center monitors all of your enterprise endpoints and the network, identifies potential security issues and incidents, and of course, handles them in a prompt and effective manner. Do not confuse them with the IT helpdesk. As a rule of thumb, the help desk is for employee-related IT issues while the Security Operations Center is more for the whole organization as a unit.

2. Set up the right infrastructure

A crucial part of a good Security Operations Center is the use of correct tools and products. Without these, your team will be literally helpless in case of a breach. In fact, they might not even know there was a breach. Make sure you evaluate and purchase the best tools and products based on what your organizational exposure and infrastructure looks like. Some populaly used products are:

• Endpoint Protection Systems
• Firewalls
Automated Application Security
• Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) Tools
• Asset Discovery Systems
• Data Monitoring Tools, and more.


3. Set up the right team

A good SOC needs a great team. You need individuals with different skill sets, including specialists for:

• Monitoring the system and managing alerts
• Incident manager to analyze each incident and propose action
• A threat hunter to discover possible incidents internally

All these skills require a lot of training and experience in things like intrusion detection, reverse engineering, the anatomy of a malware, etc. Ensure you have a budget not just to hire this team but also to ensure they continue to be well trained.

Oh, and since we are talking about hiring a team for a Security Operation Center, don't forget that you will need a dedicated manager for the SOC. SOCs can sometimes be very chaotic and require constant communication between numerous teams. Crisis management is a necessary skill for someone who will man this team.

4. Create an Incident Response System

An incident response team is extremely crucial to building a successful Security Operations Center. A good incident response team within the SOC can decide the best way to assign and manage the incidents detected and enact on a defined action plan. They can also help establish a repeatable workflow based on incidents detected. They are also an essential communication element between the business, legal and PR teams in case of an incident that requires an org-wide redressal.

The incident response team has to be as proactive as possible. They need to strictly follow a predefined response rulebook or help build the same based on experience.


5. Defend, defend, defend

Last, but definitely not the least, one of the primary objectives of a Security Operations Center is to be able to defend the perimeter. There have to be teams that focus on detection and teams that focus on prevention. The SOC team needs to gather as much information possible to help get better at this.

The more data and context the SOC collects, the more events per second and flows per interval analysts must manage. While this is true, the obvious observation is to keep false positives to a minimum so that analysts spend their time effectively.


Designing a SOC is way more complex than hiring a team and buying some tools. It has a lot to do with investing in the right things at the right time, look forward to identifying threats that might be in the near future, and align security strategy with the business needs.

Your Security Operations Center is the first line of defense for your enterprise organization. The better equipped they are, the better they can protect the organization.

 If you need some help planning your Security Operations Center.

                                                                     Contact Us

Published on Sep 17, 2019
Written by Prateek Panda


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