Reducing Noise in Security Operations Centers

For so many of us, the picture in our minds when we discuss security operations centers or command centers is the photo of numerous operators with multiple screens, a massive video wall and a chaotic response happening in real-time. The reality for the majority of businesses is a bit different; however, there is still an element of chaos in many SOCs that can give rise to confusion and misinformation. 

Fortune-level enterprises face even more challenges when developing a plan to mitigate risk across the organization. One example is the growth factor. Acquisitions and the addition of new facilities, and incorporating various security programs under a singular umbrella, pose a challenge for security leaders as they try to bring various components, hardware and software together to formulate an appropriate response. The majority of systems don’t “talk” to each other, which results in a level of difficulty for operators in a centralized SOC in achieving a streamlined workflow. The “noise” from these disparate systems can become problematic and limit appropriate response, as well as increase the amount of time it takes to respond to and resolve incoming alerts. 

A great example of this is when an access control system delivers a “Forced Door” alert. When an operator receives an alert of this happening, in many cases, that operator has to go in to look at the time stamp of the Door Forced within the access control solution, then access the video system and search for the door that a specific camera is fixed on. Then they have to pull up the video manually in many cases to see who forced open the door and gather all the details of the incident. While there are some systems that integrate these two functions together, in the case of a centralized SOC with numerous locations and various solutions installed, there is a broader need for alignment between systems.

So what’s the answer?

It’s crucial to identify a way to pull all of this relevant data into a central location to automate the workflows and reduce the noise within the SOC. While there are solutions, like the dreaded PSIMs of the world, that exist, they’re often priced outside of what small to medium-sized businesses can afford when they’re looking to invest in security solutions. Add in the need for these organizations to also monitor the health of their security technology, and affordability goes out the window. What’s truly necessary is a one-stop shop to protect and use the data being collected from numerous security and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors across an organization. 

At the core, combining incoming video data, access control alerts and system health monitoring can change the way organizations approach risk. Add in additional oversight functionality, such as traveler awareness, weather data, cyber monitoring, social media monitoring, building IoT sensors and global intelligence, and you have a way to truly address the overall safety of your organization from a centralized location. Add in the fact that this kind of solution could take only days — as opposed to months or even years — to stand up, and you have the ability to effectively approach overall security operations. 

The ROI for reducing noise across the SOC is also crucial. Think about the costs of guarding and employing on-site oversight. While many organizations would still require in-person presence for their organization, the ability to go through more alerts and consume information faster can help make these guards more effective in addressing incidents and more proactive in identifying potential risks. A solution that would also be built on an open API saves an organization money and reduces TCO by being able to leverage existing hardware. 

Security leaders must look at their roles in two ways: tactical in addressing incoming incidents effectively and strategic in positioning themselves as a tool for better business operations. As more organizations become metrics-driven — even in the realm of security — reducing the noise of an SOC and streamlining workflows will go a long way in making the case for proving the efficacy of the CSO’s department. Gaining results doesn’t have to cost the company a lot of money; but the money spent does need to be invested in the right solutions. 

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