SECURITY OPERATIONS CENTER: Definition, Types, Analyst, Salary & Framework

Security Operation Center and Analyst
Photo Credit : IBM

Data from the infrastructure, networks, cloud services, and devices of an organization are correlated by a security operations center (SOC). Managing a company’s overall security posture and providing situational awareness is the responsibility of a SOC, which is a cooperative group of information security specialists. Find out more about the analyst job at a security operations center. Security operations centers’ (SOCs’) defense strategy approaches are standardized by SOC frameworks. It aids in minimizing cybersecurity risks and steadily improving operations. 

Security Operation Center

The goals of SOC activities are to recognize, monitor, track, analyze, present, and respond to actual and potential threats to the company. The day-to-day management of a network’s and infrastructure security within an organization is the responsibility of a security operations center (SOC) team. Finding security incidents and threats, analyzing them, and then taking appropriate action are the SOC team’s main goals. 

An organization’s security practices, procedures, and response to security incidents are unified and coordinated by a SOC, which is the main advantage of running one in-house or outsourcing it. Improved security policies and preventative measures, quicker threat detection, and quicker, more effective, and more affordable responses to security threats are the typical outcomes of this. Additionally, a SOC can boost client confidence and streamline and strengthen an organization’s adherence to regional, national, and international privacy regulations.

Read Also: BUSINESS SECURITY SYSTEM: What It’s All About, Types and Cost

Security Operations Center (SOC) Jobs

#1. Incident Response Planning

The SOC is in charge of creating the organization’s incident response plan, which outlines activities, roles, and responsibilities in the case of a threat or incident as well as the metrics by which the effectiveness of any incident response will be assessed. 

#2. Staying Current

The SOC keeps abreast of the most recent security innovations and tools, as well as the most recent threat intelligence, which is news and details about cyberattacks and the hackers who carry them out that are gleaned from social media, business sources, and the dark web.

#3. Regular Testing

The SOC team conducts vulnerability assessments, in-depth evaluations that pinpoint each resource’s susceptibility to potential dangers and the corresponding costs. Additionally, it performs penetration tests that mimic particular attacks on additional systems. Based on the findings from these tests, the team corrects or enhances applications, security guidelines, best practices, and incident response plans.

#4. Routine Maintenance and Preparation

 The SOC performs preventive maintenance, such as applying software patches and upgrades and routinely updating firewalls, whitelists and blacklists, security policies, and procedures to maximize the efficiency of the security tools and measures in place. The SOC may also create system backups or assist in developing backup policies or procedures to ensure business continuity in the event of a data breach, ransomware attack, or other cybersecurity incidents.

#5. Threat Detection

The SOC team separates the signals from the noise, separating the indications of real cyber threats and hacker exploits from the false positives, before classifying the threats according to their seriousness. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a component of contemporary SIEM solutions that automates these procedures and gradually improves at identifying suspicious activity by “learning” from the data.

Functions Of A Security Operations Center

  • Management and Upkeep: Updates and patches for security tools are tracked down and handled.
  • Monitoring of event logs for infrastructure, systems, devices, and networks to look for unusual or suspicious activity.
  • Intelligence gathering, as well as the detection and prevention of potential threats and attacks.
  • Analysis and investigation of incidents: Finding the cause of an event or threat and determining how deeply it has infiltrated and damaged company systems.
  • Threat or attack response: Coordinating an approach to effectively handle and contain the threat or incident.
  • Recovering lost or stolen data, addressing vulnerabilities, updating alerting tools, and reevaluating procedures are all parts of recovery and remediation. 

An establishment used to centrally monitor, detect, look into, and react to cyberattacks and other security incidents is known as a Security Operations Center (SOC). A security operations center (SOC) may be a physical or virtual space that is run by either an internal security staff or a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP).

Types of a Security Operations Center

Most businesses discover that managing cybersecurity effectively requires much more than their traditional IT team is capable of. Organizations have a choice between building a SOC internally or contracting with a managed SOC provider to meet this expanding need.

#1. Dedicated or Self-Managed

This strategy makes use of an on-site facility and internal staff. A dedicated SOC, which is a centralized SOC, is made up of a team that is solely focused on security as well as infrastructure and procedures. According to the organization’s size, risk tolerance, and security needs, the size of a dedicated SOC varies. 

#2. Distributed SOC

A co-managed security operations center, also known as an MSSP, is run by an internal team member who is hired on a part-time or full-time basis to work alongside a managed security service provider.

#3. Managed SOC

This method involves MSSPs providing a company with all SOC services. Managed detection and response (MDR) partners are an additional category.

#4. Command SOC

With the help of this strategy, other security operations centers, which are typically devoted, can access threat information and security knowledge. It only participates in intelligence-related activities and procedures related to security. 

#5. Virtual SOC

This is a committed security team that isn’t based on a company’s property. It serves the same purpose as a physical SOC but with remote personnel. There is no dedicated infrastructure or a physical location for a virtual SOC (VSOC). It is a web-based portal constructed using decentralized security technologies, which enables teams working remotely to monitor events and address threats. 

#6. Co-managed SOC

The co-managed SOC model employs both external staff and on-site monitoring tools. Since it combines on-site and off-site components, this strategy is also sometimes referred to as a hybrid strategy. Co-management is a flexible option because these components may differ significantly between various organizations.

Benefits of a Security Operations Center

Following are the benefits of the security operations center

  • Enhanced procedures and response times for incidents.
  • Reductions in the MTTD (mean time to detect) gaps between the time of compromise and detection.
  • Analyzing and monitoring suspicious activity continuously collaboration and effective communication.
  • Combining hardware and software resources to create a more comprehensive security strategy.
  • Sensitive information is shared more freely by customers and employees.
  • Enhanced accountability and command over security operations.
  • A data chain of control is necessary if a business intends to pursue legal action against those accused of committing a cybercrime.

Security Operations Center Analyst

An essential part of responding to cybersecurity attacks is played by a security operations center analyst, or SOC analyst. A security operations center analyst is a crucial member of the modern security team that ensures business continuity for organizations that recognize the importance of preventing and responding to cyberattacks. 

A security operations center analyst is a tech expert in charge of spotting and stopping cyber-related attacks on corporate servers and computer systems. They develop and carry out protocols for dealing with threats and must put the necessary changes into place to stop such occurrences.

  • Analyzing a company’s infrastructure’s susceptibility to threats and other tasks is part of this work.
  • Keeping up with new developments in cybersecurity
  • Examining and recording potential threats and problems with information security
  • Evaluating new hardware and software for safety to reduce unnecessary risk
  • Creating formal recovery plans for disasters, ideally, before concerns arise. 

How Do I Qualify to Become a Security Operations Center Analyst?

The majority of employers anticipate SOC analysts to hold a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in computer science or computer engineering, as well as additional skills from real-world experience in networking or information technology roles. 

These skills include:

  •  Excellent communication skills 
  • Having a firm grasp of Linux, Windows, IDS, SIEM, CISSP, and Splunk
  • Thorough knowledge of information security
  • Possibility of defending networks by securing traffic and detecting suspicious activity
  • Understanding of testing for perpetration to identify the vulnerability of systems, networks, and applications
  • Stop and lessen the effects of security breaches
  • Gather, examine, and present security information for computer forensics
  • Reverse-engineering malware includes reading and identifying software program parameters.

SOC analysts frequently work as a team with other security personnel. An organization must consider the opinions of the security operations center analyst. Their suggestions can improve cybersecurity and reduce the risk of loss from security breaches and other occurrences.  

Security Operations Center Analyst Certification

SOC analysts frequently go through additional training and obtain a Certified security operations center Analyst (CSA) license to improve their skills, in addition to having a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, computer science, or a related field.

Additional pertinent certifications include:

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
  • Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator (CHFI)
  • EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA)
  • Licensed Penetration Tester (LPT)
  • CompTIA Security+
  • CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+)

Responsibility Of A Security Operations Analyst

Network and system surveillance within an organization. The job of a security operations center analyst is to keep an organization’s IT system under observation. This involves keeping an eye out for any anomalies that might point to a breach or attack using security systems, applications, and networks.

#1. Real-Time Threat Assessment, Identification, and Mitigation

The SOC analyst works closely with their team to determine what went wrong with the system and how to fix it after a threat is detected.

#2. Incident Response and Investigation

Before informing law enforcement authorities, if required, the SOC analyst will collaborate with the rest of the team to conduct additional research into the incident.

After thoroughly examining each incident, they will also report any fresh information learned about current cyber threats or network vulnerabilities to, if at all possible, prevent future incidents by immediately implementing updates. 

#3. Works in Collaboration With Other Team Members to Put Security Procedures, Solutions, and Best Practices Into Practice

For the business to continue operating safely and securely, SOC analysts work together with other team members to make sure the proper protocols are in place. This includes putting new systems into place and, as needed, updating the ones that are already in place.

#4. Keep Current with the Most Recent Security Threats

SOC analysts must stay current on the most recent cyber threats to the security of their organization, whether by learning about fresh phishing scams or keeping track of which bad actors are currently employing hacking tools. This information enables them to take swift action on any potential issues before they cause problems for your business.

Security Operation Center Analyst Salary

Security experts ensure that staff members receive the necessary training and follow all company rules and regulations.

These security analysts work together with the organization’s internal IT team and business administrators to discuss and document security issues as part of their duties. Security Analysts in the United States make an average of $88,570 annually. (Resource: Glassdoor).

Location, company, experience, education, and job title are just a few of the variables that can affect earning potential.

SOC Analysts Skills 

Although there may be changes in cyber trends, a SOC analyst still needs to have a lot of the same skills. Make sure SOC analysts have these abilities if you want to make the most of what they can offer your company.

  • Programming skills
  • Computer forensics
  • Ethical hacking
  • Reverse engineering
  • Risk management
  • Problem-solving
  • Critical thinking 
  • Effective communication 

Security Operations Center Framework

The SOC framework, which is outlined by the overarching architecture, details the components of the SOC and their interactions. It is essential to establish a Security Operations Center framework built on a system for monitoring and recording incidents.

A SOC framework is the overall architecture that details the components delivering SOC functionality and how they interact with one another. To put it another way, a SOC framework should be built upon a monitoring system that keeps track of and logs security events.

Core Principles of a SOC Framework

#1. Monitoring

 Monitoring activity is the most fundamental service that a functional security operations center framework can offer. Naturally, the purpose of such monitoring is to ascertain whether a breach has taken place or is currently in progress. However, cybersecurity experts must be aware of the situation to make that judgment. SIEM tools, behavioral threat analytics, and cloud access security brokers are a few examples of automated tools and technologies that can aid in monitoring. Although not always, these tools may make use of AI and machine learning technologies.

#2. Analysis

Analysis should be the next service a SOC offers. The purpose of the analysis is to determine whether an enterprise activity-based vulnerability or breach has occurred. SOC analysts examine the alarms and alerts sent by the monitoring system as part of the examination function to see if they match up with previously seen attack patterns or vulnerability exploits.

#3. Incident Response and Containment

The next service provided by the security operations center framework is an incident response; how this is done depends on the type, scope, and severity of the incident as well as whether the SOC is internal or whether the enterprise has a contract with an outsourced SOC provider that requires assistance beyond alert notification.

#4. Auditing and Logging

As mentioned, the SOC has an essential, but frequently disregarded, role to play in logging and auditing: to confirm compliance and to record the response to security incidents that may be used as part of a post-mortem analysis. Many SOC tools contain an astounding amount of timestamped documentation that compliance experts and cybersecurity analysts may find useful.

#5. Threat Hunting

SOC analysts still have other duties to complete even when systems are functioning normally, which means there aren’t any major incidents in the environment. They review threat intelligence services to monitor and evaluate external threats, and if they are third parties with multiple clients, they scan and analyze cross-client data to identify attack and vulnerability patterns. SOC providers, whether internal or external, can stay one step ahead of attackers by actively searching for threats. They can also take preventative measures if an attack does take place.

Finally, a well-designed security operations center framework should be capable of handling much more than just monitoring alarms and alerts. The SOC can help contain incidents if it is set up and managed correctly. Additionally, it can offer priceless insight into incident post-mortems and offer preventative security. 

Common SOC Frameworks

#1. NIST

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the United States publishes the NIST cybersecurity framework, which offers standards and guidelines for threat lifecycle management to assist organizations in developing security plans and optimizing key performance indicators. The following are the five NIST-recommended best practices:

  • Identify
  • Protect
  • Detect
  • Respond
  • Recover


Adversarial Tactics, Techniques, and Common Knowledge is the abbreviation for this phrase. This framework, developed by Mitre Corporation and published in 2013, is centered on analyzing adversarial behavior to develop responses and fresh defensive strategies. It helps with threat intelligence, threat detection and analysis, red teaming, and adversary emulation, as well as engineering and assessment.   

#3. Cyber Kill Chain

This framework, created by Lockheed Martin, is based on the military idea of organizing an attack in response to your adversary’s tactics and weak points. The kill chain serves as a basic archetype by basing its actions on those of a typical threat actor. Cyber Kill Chain is a staged strategy that includes the following steps:

  • Reconnaissance
  • Intrusion
  • Exploitation
  • Privilege Escalation
  • Lateral Movement
  • Obfuscation
  • Denial of Service
  • Exfiltration

#4. Unified Kill Chain

To offer a more thorough method of comprehending the adversary and ranking risks, this framework combines the MITRE ATT&CK and Cyber Kill Chain frameworks. It makes use of each framework’s strengths to help close common gaps. By adding 18 additional phases, this framework extends the attack chain.

What Does a Security Operations Center Do?

An organization’s ability to identify threats, respond to them, and prevent further harm is enhanced by a security operations center, which unifies and coordinates all cybersecurity technologies and operations.

What are a NOC and SOC? 

While Security Operations Centers (SOCs) are in charge of guarding the company against online threats, Network Operations Centers (NOCs) are in charge of maintaining a company’s computer system’s technical infrastructure.

Effective network performance is maintained by a network operations center (NOC), and threats and cyberattacks are identified, investigated, and dealt with by a security operations center (SOC).

What Is the Difference Between A SOC and a SIEM? 

The primary distinction between a SIEM and SOC is that the former gathers data from various sources and correlates it, whereas the latter gathers data from various sources and sends it to a SIEM. 

What Does NOC Mean in Security?

Network operations centers (NOCs) are centralized locations where computer, telecommunications, or satellite network systems are monitored and managed around the clock, every day of the week. In the event of network failures, it serves as the first line of defense.

What Are the Three Types Of SOC? 

  • Co-managed SOC
  • Virtual SOC
  • Dedicated SOC

What Are the TopSOC? 

  • Arctic Wolf Networks
  • Palo alto network
  • Netsurion
  • IBM


A security operations center, or SOC, is important because businesses are putting more emphasis on cybersecurity. The main entity in charge of defending against cyber threats to your business is your SOC. By bringing all cybersecurity operations and technologies under one roof, a security operations center enhances an organization’s capacity for threat detection, response, and prevention.

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