What Is Security Operations?
Security operations refers to the people, processes, and technology that all work together to create and manage a security architecture for an organisation. Security operations can refer to the information security component of an IT department, an internal security operations center (SOC), or an externally run entity.
Security operations is meant to be a central hub of all security activity, processes, and events to prevent tool and department silos, in order to better protect an organisation.
Security Operations vs. SOC
While not always interchangeable, the term security operations often refers to a SOC, which can be internal or external. A SOC is the hub of all security operations, literally. It’s the room of people in front of computers working 24×7 to thwart cyber threats for an organisation, or multiple organisations if it is an external SOC.
A SOC combines the human element with technology, taking in telemetry from a variety of sources and making decisions based on that data. The SOC works both proactively and reactively, advancing the organisation’s security posture while also monitoring for, and acting upon, advanced threats or cyber attacks.
What Does Security Operations Entail?
The security operations team’s responsibility often follows the NIST Cybersecurity framework, consisting of:
More specifically, security operations perform data handling on all the telemetry, that enters an organisation and works to respond to current threats while improving an organisation’s security posture.
Data handling refers to both the technological tools that collects and reports the telemetry and the humans who sift through this data to detect and respond to threats, as well as make proactive changes to the security environments, such as ongoing vulnerability management. The response portion includes investigations into potential incidents as well as incident response.
Security Operations vs. Network Operations vs. Detection Tools
Security operations is the broader umbrella under which network operations —, along with detection tools, and members of the IT department —, reside.
Network operations are solely focused on whether or not network traffic is working. If traffic flowed through the firewall into the network, the network operations would be focused on if that traffic was able to go through the way it was supposed to and then on to its destination.
Think of network operations as the road engineer making sure the roadway is functioning properly as cars drive by. Security operations, however, would be concerned with whether that traffic, or its behavior, is unusual, and what analysis can be made from that behavior. It’s more concerned with the bigger picture, or how individual pieces fit together.
Detection tools, while each has its own use, are utilised by security operations to complete certain goals or manage certain aspects of the overall security environment.
Tools Security Operations Might Utilise
While humans are the heart of any security operations, tools play a major role as well. Common tools include (but are not limited to):
- Managed Detection and Response (MDR)
- Vulnerability management software
- Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)
- Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)
- Identity and Access Management software
- Cloud monitoring
Benefits of Utilising Security Operations
Whether it consists of an internal team or an external SOC, security should be at the forefront of any organization’s broader IT strategy. With organisations facing a 50% chance of a breach, it’s too costly to ignore security and security operations.
- Better identity and access management
- Faster responses to threats and incidents
- The stopping of potential threats before they become breaches
- Continually improved security posture
- A more unified approach to security
Arctic Wolf and Security Operations
Arctic Wolf employs a managed security operations approach that combines industry-leading technology (with machine learning) and the human element to offer a full security operations center for organisations.
The Arctic Wolf model, led by the Concierge Security® Team, consists of multiple solutions that helps an organization in a way that’s both proactive and reactive, saving organisations’ money, manpower, and time.
Arctic Wolf® Managed Detection and Response (MDR) offers the on-demand expertise of a SOC staffed by security experts, plus a significantly enhanced version of a SIEM. It’s a more holistic approach that improves your security posture.
Arctic Wolf® Managed Risk utilises the same SOC staff, as well as proactive tools to help organisations discover, assess, and harden their environment against digital risks.
Arctic Wolf® Incident Response utilises an elastic framework to help organisations remediate and restore operations faster, which is crucial in a modern threat landscape