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Building Operational Efficiency in Your SOC with Better Visibility

Feb 22 2022

As security operations leaders, we are burdened with a large responsibility. The expectation is that we can respond to alerts as soon as possible and be able to investigate immediately. It sounds simple, but in today’s cyber threat landscape we are faced with growing threat vectors and a sheer volume increase in overall alerts or notifications. Failure to respond quickly enough or investigate the right areas could result in huge impacts to the organizations we are responsible for. IDG reported that a majority of CIOs will focus on security this year and increase funding in this area, but what does that mean for security operations? Buy more tools? Get more alerts? Create more work for our overworked analysts and engineers?

We need to have a plan to build towards operational efficiency within the security operations center (SOC). More funding is always welcome, but spending it to show value is where we run into challenges. So, where do we start? I think this depends on the organization’s understanding of risk and where they stand with their risk acceptance today. We won’t know where all of our risks are, but we can get a better understanding through better visibility. The challenge here is that better visibility brings more identification of risk and a larger volume of alerts in the SOC.

If you have the ability to hire unlimited staff, this might not be a problem. Unfortunately, that is almost never an option. So we have to become more efficient with the limited resources we do have. We never want to close our eyes and pretend we didn’t see the risk. Just because you didn’t see it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. So as we continue to build in more data points and a better understanding of where our data assets are located, we need to look into automations to cut down on the expensive human time.

However, this brings another limitation for many organizations. Automations are difficult but becoming better. We can already build rules into individual toolsets, but what about across vendors? That can be done too, but now you have to start thinking outside the box of what a typical security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) tool can give you. Because inside each of your tools like EDR, SEG, SWG, CASB, etc are their own automations and AI/ML or UEBA features. Let’s try to leverage all of these cool capabilities from the best of breed vendors and tie them together to make real-time decisions.  

Imagine taking user behavior scoring from your email security provider and tying it to their risk of web browsing habits with DLP activities and going a step further to understand the security posture of their endpoint. Pulling this data together is quite powerful. As a security operations person, you can make a better-combined decision because you have a whole view of the user, their device, and their behavior across platforms. Don’t settle for being overwhelmed with alert fatigue. Don’t address it by closing your eyes. Embrace the visibility and find a way to tie it together to make real-time decisions.

At Netskope, I get to run our products and features as Customer Zero. Luckily we have an integration platform called Cloud Exchange, a powerful suite of integration modules from Netskope and strategic technology partners like Mimecast that make customers’ existing security infrastructure much more efficient at stopping cloud security threats. Cloud Exchange is free to Netskope customers to successfully enable cloud-based data and intelligence sharing across security and IT operations teams, helping those teams act faster and more effectively. Cloud Exchange today is comprised of four modules Cloud Log Shipper, Cloud Ticket Orchestrator, Cloud Threat Exchange, and Cloud Risk Exchange. Feel free to reach out to me to hear how this is working for my security operations team or check out the Netskope Cloud Exchange page for more information. Existing customers can get started here.

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Damian Chung
Damian Chung is a cybersecurity leader with over ten years of security experience focused in healthcare. As the Business Information Security Officer at Netskope, Damian is responsible for overseeing corporate security tools and processes and acts as the subject matter expert in the healthcare vertical. He also serves as an adjunct professor for the cybersecurity program at the University of Advancing Technologies in Tempe, AZ.

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