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Taking a data-driven approach to SOC operations

by Helen J. Wolf
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Today’s escalating threat landscape means that security operations teams face many challenges. This can make it challenging for them to keep up with the sheer volume of threats, tactics, and techniques that malicious parties often employ.

If you look at recent statistics on ransomware attacks, it’s easy to see that cybercrime has increased, with a record number of threats of increasing severity occurring year on year. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, ransomware is expected to attack a business, consumer, or device every 2 seconds by 2031 and every 11 seconds by 2021. The global ransomware cost will likely increase from $20 billion in 2021 to $265 billion by 2031.

Taking a data-driven approach to SOC operations

SOC teams are drowning in data

SOC teams are under pressure to detect security events and respond quickly, which is hard to do when they’re drowning in data. As the number of devices, elements, and data sources increases, so does the number of tasks associated with turning that data into something useful for the teams. Add to that the introduction of many new cloud environments, especially with the ‘new normal’ hybrid and remote workforce, generating a dizzying array of event data.

Inevitably, security analysts will tire of the number of alerts as they face a growing backlog of investigation tickets to be resolved. As a result, ‘real’ warnings can easily be missed.

In addition, a lack of powerful technology integration tools used for incident detection and investigation can also be a barrier for security analysts. Many security technologies don’t work together or integrate well or easily, and sometimes they can’t integrate at all. This can cause SOC teams to struggle to align data sets and coordinate detection and response across technologies.

A lack of resources exacerbates the problem.

SOC teams often lack resources and skilled, experienced analysts who know how to detect and respond to security incidents. So far, the 2021 SANS SOC survey identified the lack of qualified personnel as the biggest barrier to full SOC use. Add to that a real lack of unity across teams, with most SOC teams relying on a partnership with IT operations and other developer teams across the company. However, these teams often work in silos with little mutual integration and collaboration, hindering or limiting detection and response to incidents at best.

Due to the key challenges outlined above, namely lack of resources, limited collaboration and integration with other IT teams, lack of technology integration, and the sheer data overload of alerts and other notifications, the task of the security operations and threat intelligence teams are becoming increasingly difficult. On the one hand, they need all this data to understand better what to look for and how best to prioritize. On the other hand, the sheer volume of data that many tools and processes now absorb and produce is overwhelming for teams already burdened with many other security tasks.

A more unified and centralized approach

This is where a comprehensive detection and response (XDR) solution helps, as it aggregates data across different security technologies to provide a more unified, centralized, and consolidated system. These systems take data from various sources, normalize it (including removing duplicate data), and correlate it to inform security stories.

This helps facilitate and prioritize threats for investigation and targeted detection, integration, and response. It translates data for research and answers and exports it to other tools and services for recovery. For example, it integrates with SIEM, NDR, EDR, SOAR, and sandbox tools; This enables organizations to tailor risk scoring and reporting so that the company can accurately highlight the areas they most want to analyze.

Once the data is ingested, the platform builds a threat library with various threat details, including adversaries, indicators of compromise (IoCs), attack patterns, malware, vulnerabilities, documented incidents, campaigns, and more.

Taking a data-driven approach

In today’s escalating threat environment, security is high on the C-suite agenda, where executives demand that SOC teams respond quickly and neutralize threats to the business. Therefore, companies that want to organize data about security risks and become more productive with better and more efficient insights into the SOC teams should use a comprehensive detection and response solution. The only way to deal with this is through automation, which makes it easier for the SOC team to aggregate a wide variety of data into a single location for analysis and correlation.

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