7 Steps to Building A Security Operations Center (SOC)

Gathering and analyzing information about potential and existing cyber threats to better understand the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) of adversaries is made significantly easier after building a security operations center. But, what is a SOC? Where can you learn how to build a security operations center? Let’s dig into all of this, and more, in greater detail.

From the fundamental principles of continuous monitoring and incident response to the integration of cutting-edge technologies and collaboration strategies, this blog explores the key elements that contribute to the creation of an effective SOC. Keep ready to learn industry experts’ insights required to fortify your organization’s cybersecurity posture and proactively navigate the dynamic threat landscape.

Most Organizations are Not Equipped to Staff a 24X7 SOC

Unfortunately, cyberattacks such as WannaCry and Petya/NotPetya are increasingly becoming the norm. Keeping up with the growing rate of cybersecurity threats may seem impossible when your business is lacking in-house security resources and staff — so, building an automated Security Operations Center is often the ideal solution.

While most companies aren’t completely lacking in the development of a cybersecurity framework, many organizations report that they are not equipped and/or cannot afford to staff a 24×7 in-house security operations center (SOC).

What does this mean? If you are without a functioning SOC, your organization could be at risk for major delays in detecting and responding to incidents. Threatening or anomalous events could go unmonitored and your business is at a far greater risk of falling victim to a cyberattack. Other consequences of not having a SOC include:

  • Your enterprise is not consistently monitored around the clock.
  • There are major delays in responding to incidents.
  • Potentially damaging security incidents may go completely unnoticed.
  • Job satisfaction is low due to the overwhelming workload and a high amount of manual work.

Do any of these pain points sound familiar? While these are common challenges, they are not sustainable. For organizations caught between the prohibitive cost of designing a formal SOC and the wholly inadequate protection from an informal SOC, there is a solution: Build a security operations center that automates as much work as possible so your skilled staff can focus on what is most important.

What is a Security Operations Center?

Before learning how to build a security operations center, it is crucial to first learn a bit more about an SOC. A security operations center is the central “hub” in which internal IT and cybersecurity teams within an organization participate in threat detection, analysis, and response. It is responsible for monitoring, detecting, responding to, and mitigating cybersecurity threats and incidents. The primary goal of a SOC is to ensure the security of an organization’s information systems and data.

An intelligent SOC enables security teams to:

  • Build an adaptive SIEM architecture
  • Leverage advanced security analytics
  • Explore integrated threat intelligence
  • Automate incident responses
  • Investigate and visualize threats and solutions

SOCs may vary in size and complexity depending on the organization’s size, industry, and specific security needs. They can be in-house, outsourced to third-party service providers, or operate as a combination of both. The SOC plays a crucial role in proactively defending against cyber threats and ensuring the resilience of an organization’s digital infrastructure.

How to Build a SOC to Detect and Respond to Threats Fast Without In-House Staff

With the help of security expert James Carder, previous LogRhythm CISO and VP of LogRhythm Labs, we’ve outlined how to build a SOC designed to fit your business’ unique needs. In just seven steps, Mr. Carder draws on his 20+ years of security and SOC implementation experience to compile and share what he’s learned when it comes to building a right-sized SOC.

The SlideShare below provides an in-depth guide to building the right SOC for your business, as well as considerations along the way. However, we’ve summarized our seven steps to designing and building a Security Operations Center below:

How to Build a Security Operations Center in 7 Steps

As you explore the process of how to build a SOC, you’ll learn to:

  1. Develop your security operations center strategy
  2. Design your SOC solution
  3. Create processes, procedures, and training
  4. Prepare your environment
  5. Implement your solution
  6. Deploy end-to-end use cases
  7. Maintain and evolve your solution

Explore the full SlideShare here.

SOC implementations can be expensive and their costs might be difficult to justify. However, the only effective way you need to be able to stay one step ahead of cybersecurity threats is with strong security automation architecture. Building a SOC, even with limited resources, is the answer to your security problem.

Why Building and Implementing a SOC is so Important

Aside from general increased vulnerability to cybersecurity attacks and their consequences, not having an efficient Security Operations Center workflow can make it near impossible to mitigate risks and implement solutions effectively.

How to Build a Security Operations Center with Limited Resources

Building a SOC is a huge endeavor that often causes management to balk at the price of implementation. The best way to ensure that any SOC investment is money well spent is to engage with a SIEM partner like LogRhythm. To provide additional guidance on how to build and budget for a SOC, check out our free white paper download, How to Build a Security Operations Center with Limited Resources

In this SOC white paper we outline additional aspects to building a SOC on a budget. You’ll learn:

  • How to fuse people, process, and technology to create a highly effective and efficient SOC—even with limited resources
  • What makes a SOC effective
  • Estimating SOC costs and savings
  • Cost comparisons of various SOC staffing models
  • Steps for building a SOC with limited resources

If you’re ready to get started with a SOC implementation today, give us a call at 1-866-384-0713 or contact us online.

Post originally published August 30, 2017 and updated February 2023.