Updated: May 21
Global IT spending is forecasted to reach $3.9 Trillion in 2020, and for good reason: 68% of business leaders feel that cybersecurity risks to their organization are increasing, which makes cyber a business priority for businesses across the globe.
The traditional approach to combat this threat taken by technology and information security officers has been to establish stringent processes and threat detection technologies within their dedicated Security Operations Centre (SOC).
Whilst acting as an active line of defence, the question must be asked – how effective is any SOC in being able to mitigate cyber risk and defend your stakeholders and infrastructure against real-world attacks and security breaches? How can confidence be given that the whole system will work as expected when put to the test?
Assessing any SOC's capabilities needs to take into account a wide-ranging spectrum of offensive security practices, including penetration tests, social engineering exploitation and red team engagements; all of which induce positive-pressure attacks on a SOC’s defences in order to discover vulnerabilities.
Bridging the ‘cyber risk’ gap left between ad-hoc pentests and red team engagements is critical if your SOC, engineering practices and organisations security posture are to be continually improved. Only constant, brutal cyber-attack from a trusted source can ensure this gap is exposed and remediation work undertaken to remain secure.
In this article, we'll discuss what a good SOC looks like; why ongoing stress tests are crucial to fostering a robust cybersecurity posture, and how you can evaluate and fortify your SOC's defensive capabilities.
Let's start by diving into the fundamentals:
What makes a good Security Operations Centre?
A SOC comprises an information security team that monitors and analyses an organization's security posture on a continual basis. The SOC is responsible for detecting, investigating, and defending the organization's systems against cybersecurity incidents using a combination of technological solutions and processes. A new term – Managed Detection and Response (MDR) - is also becoming synonymous with the role played by a SOC
Typically staffed by security analysts, engineers, and information security managers, the SOC aims to detect abnormal cyber activity within servers, networks, applications, endpoints, websites, and databases.
Ultimately, a SOC ensures that potential security events and incidents are identified, analysed, mitigated and investigated thoroughly.
As such, an effective SOC:
Promotes A Culture Of Enterprise Security
A security-focused culture is crucial to protecting an organization, its stakeholders, and its infrastructure. From executive management to sales, all departments across your organization rely on your SOC to provide and promote a secure environment within which they can effectively perform their job.
A good SOC understands the importance of maintaining and delivering robust and dynamically adjusted cybersecurity defences that facilitate work and cyber safety across the organization.
Ingests Data From Multiple Sources
The IoT market is expected to reach 75 billion connected devices by 2025, and associated systems across your organization's infrastructure are likely to continue to scale over this timeframe. Attacks on IoT devices tripled in the first half of 2019. Consequently, the use of IoT-targeting exploit tools has grown exponentially, and SOC are increasingly feeling the strain of securing and protecting data across organizations whose cyber-attack surfaces continue to grow.
Any IoT endpoint could be a target of a security attack with significant impact and reputational fall-out for affected organizations. An effective SOC employs the latest tools to ingest data from multiple sources and in several different formats and uses this information to form intelligence that rapidly identifies threats and serves to respond to potential breaches – whether via IoT endpoint or other attack vector.
Recognizes Patterns and Trends From Security Events In Real-Time
The correlation of collected data and security events is vital to forming situational intelligence that can lead to the protection of organizational systems via rapid threat identification. It has been reported that organizations today take approximately six months to detect a data breach, which gives attackers ample time to cause major damage to your infrastructure, exfiltrate data and cause reputational damage to your brand.
A strong SOC is capable of matching the data harvested from multiple security events in order to identify attack trends, adjust monitoring practices and block security breaches before they occur.
Invests In Research Into Emerging Threats
The cybersecurity landscape is continuously evolving, and threats are constantly appearing. The FBI reported a 300% increase in cyber crimes this year alone. This fact leaves SOC personnel with the challenge to get ahead of the latest threats via dedicated research.
Focused SOC personnel not only invest their time into researching and updating their knowledge on current cybercrime trends and patterns, but also proactively build counteractive measures to capture these threats and reduce their risk to their organization.
Thus, a good SOC fosters an environment of security research and development – where analysts embrace new challenges and actively seek out emerging threats.
According to the FBI IC3 2019 Internet Crime Report, over $3.5 billion was lost to attackers as the result of cybercrimes last year.
How can you identify and mitigate the cyber risks when you invest in and deploy your new Security Operations Centre?
Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) often assume that their SOC defences will ‘just work’ and that they will provide the visibility their organization needs to defend against external threat actors.
However, there's often a disconnect between what the SOC can monitor and the constantly refreshed risks of the techniques being employed by threat actors. As such, organizations should perform CONSTANT simulated cyber-attacks against their environment to help determine their SOC’s cyber blind spots.
Point-in-time pentests often flag trivial risks that not only waste your engineering and operations teams' precious time, but also expose your systems to new cyber threats in-between testing as teams scramble to close the risks identified.
Targeted stress tests – as driven by a trusted offensive cyber-attack partner such as CovertSwarm - not only help CTOs to identify blind spots within their SOC systems, but also allow an organization's people, processes, and technology to be better align to the most up-to-date cyber threat techniques.
What CovertSwarm Can Do for Your Business
CovertSwarm's analysts and cybersecurity professionals merge their first-hand field experience with in-depth knowledge of the cyberspace to attack your enterprise using the latest cyber and social exploit techniques.
Our service augments your SOC teams, with our Hives of analysts supporting your internal security efforts whilst giving you the edge you need to tackle genuine threats head-on. CovertSwarm’s timely 'Sting' reports detail genuine risks to your defence systems and chains of attack as well as provide guidance on how to improve your team's code quality, security and deployment processes.
Our approach is focused on continually enhancing your security posture through fully independent and constant external attack designed by leading members of the cyberspace who have the knowledge, empathy, and sophistication to support internal teams.
The CovertSwarm Solution includes:
· Continuous Red Team cyber offensives
· Mitigating the gap typically left between ad-hoc pentesting engagements
· Improved Digital Product quality
· Enhanced cyber incident response times Security practice challenges to your SOC
· Exposing Zero-Day vulnerabilities
· Dedicated cyber research and development into your libraries and code base
· Upgrading your approach to security with a view to it becoming a true competitive differentiator for your organization.
Do you want CovertSwarm to Rattle the Lock on your SOC? Get in touch today and let us help you fortify your enterprise and maximize the ROI from your product engineering teams.