SOC vs. SIEM: What’s the Difference and Does Your Business Need Them?
As cybersecurity becomes more and more critical for every type and size of business, understanding what is happening on their networks is essential. Businesses need the ability to monitor network traffic, network appliances, and cybersecurity technology to ensure that their corporate data is protected from cybercriminals. Two different strategies businesses can implement to stay on top of monitoring their network environment are a Security Operations Center (SOC) and a Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM) platform. These two tools work together to help businesses prevent data breaches and alert them to potential threats and cyberattacks. Today’s blog will discuss these two strategies, their fundamental differences, and why implementing them can be beneficial to any business.
What is a SOC (Security Operations Center)?
Let’s start by discussing a security operations center (SOC). A SOC’s primary responsibility is to protect an organization against various cyber threats, and a SOC focuses specifically on network security rather than network performance and utilization. To perform this job, a SOC consists of different analysts who monitor a business’s network and investigate any potential security threats. With round-the-clock monitoring, these analysts can detect cyberattacks when they are happening and take immediate steps to remediate the threat. Many data centers and large enterprise environments utilize SOCs for network security.
Standard Functions Performed by a SOC:
- 24/7 monitoring across the entire network
- Preventative maintenance and deployment of cybersecurity appliances
- Threat response when a cyber-event is happening
- Containment and eradication of discovered threats
- Root-cause analysis after a cyber-incident
- Assessment and management of compliance for various regulations
What is a SIEM (Security Incident and Event Management)?
So, now that we have a basic understanding of a SOC and what it does, what is a SIEM? A SIEM is a collection of cybersecurity tools used to monitor network traffic and resources. It essentially aggregates a ton of different security information in a centralized dashboard that displays alerts and suspicious network activity. Analysts use SIEMs to keep track of the overall cybersecurity landscape of a business.
Some critical information that SIEMs include are:
- Log aggregation from multiple sources
- Threat intelligence
- Event correlation and organization for easier analysis
- Advanced analytics visualization
- Customizable dashboards for analytics
- Threat hunting features to find currently compromised resources
- Forensics tools for investigation after a cyber-incident
How do SOCs and SIEMs work together?
SOCs and SIEMs go hand in hand because a SIEM is an invaluable tool that helps SOC analysts monitor and perform essential cybersecurity tasks. To keep a network safe, SOC analysts need many different tools. But, these tools can’t all be scattered and hard to access for analysts to perform their roles effectively. And because networks and security architectures are so complex, SOC analysts may be receiving tens or hundreds of thousands of security alerts in a single day from many different tools and resources. To keep all this straight and effectively handle threats, they need to make vast amounts of information easily visible to detect, prevent, and remediate the long list of potential threats that businesses face.
So, SOC analysts use SIEM platforms to analyze network traffic and events quickly and efficiently. A SIEM allows a SOC employee to quickly determine if a threat compromises a business’s network so that they can quickly contain it. A SIEM helps take the burden off of a SOC by making the employee’s jobs easier and more effective, and SOC analysts can better focus their efforts on serious threats and attacks.
Should Your Business Be Utilizing SOCs and SIEMs?
So, SOCs and SIEMs are two tools that can work together to help businesses effectively monitor their cybersecurity status. But, as good as all that sounds, it obviously has a cost. So is it worth it for every business to invest in a SOC, SIEM, or both?
Typically, only substantial organizations can afford to deploy fully staffed SOCs with access to a robust SIEM. But that doesn’t mean these two tools are out of the question for other, smaller organizations. Many other businesses have received the benefits of these cybersecurity tools through outsourcing. Organizations can outsource SOC functions, SIEM management, or both, which allows them to build a more robust security profile than they would be able to afford if they tried to do everything internally.
If a company chooses to outsource SOC functions, it allows a third party to view and react to its internal network to monitor its security environment. An organization can also outsource SIEM functions but keep an internal SOC. The outsourced SIEM will be used internally but be managed, maintained, and monitored by a third party.
Outsourcing either one of these components will help a business increase its cybersecurity profile, but outsourcing them both together can often be a more seamless and effective solution. When a company outsources only one component, two different organizations must work together, which can sometimes be complex or inefficient. But by outsourcing them together, an organization doesn’t have to worry about potential communication issues, time lags, or unbalanced expertise and experience. So often, this is an excellent choice for business.
In the end, SOCs and SIEMs are great tools that can help any business up their cybersecurity game. The two components work together, and even small businesses can access these tools through outsourcing.