To protect themselves today, enterprises must build stronger defenses and greater cyber resilience, and the most effective way to do this is through extensive SOC team readiness. SOC team readiness is established by turning security professionals into a frontline-ready, battle-hardened cyber defense team.

The frontline ready, battle-hardened SOC cyber security team is composed of cybersecurity professionals capable of responding both reactively to known risks and proactively to unknown risks. It is composed of a cybersecurity workforce that can develop and evolve to be able to quickly and expertly respond to cyber security threats that are also developing and evolving. It is composed of a workforce capable of designing, establishing, implementing, and maintaining defensive and offensive cyber strategies, and armed with the knowledge and experience necessary to address the cybersecurity challenges they will inevitably encounter.

And they will inevitably encounter them: According to Palo Alto Networks, the “general consensus among industry experts is that an organization facing a cybersecurity breach or attack is not a matter of if, but rather when.”

Building SOC Team Readiness

So just how do you build SOC team readiness? What types of skills must your cybersecurity workforce possess? What knowledge do they need to acquire? We briefly break it down for you here:

  1. A solid, up-to-date foundation in cybersecurity theory, tools, and attacker tactics.
  2. In-depth understanding of the cyber security incident response life cycle for optimal triaging and response strategy.
  3. Extensive knowledge regarding which cybersecurity tools to use (e.g., Check Point, Splunk, Palo Alto, Wireshark, etc.) and when and how to use them.  
  4. Advanced detection, analysis, investigation, and remediation skills to ensure highest-level operational readiness when responding to real-world threats.
  5. Tested experience in handling advanced attacker behaviors such as ping sweeps, lateral movement, data exfiltration, and others so your team’s first exposure to an attack is NOT when your organization is under attack.
  6. Alignment with industry best practices as outlined by key industry frameworks such as NIST, NICE, CREST, MITRE ATT&CK, etc.
  7. Soft skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, team management, and communication skills that can facilitate and promote security practices across diverse audiences.

The Threat Landscape Shows No Signs of Abating

The urgent need for SOC team readiness has never been greater. The threat landscape is evolving at a breakneck pace, organizations are being attacked constantly, and the cost of these attacks is rising exponentially. According to the IBM data breach report, 2021 had the highest average cost of data breach in 17 years: “Data breach costs rose from USD 3.86 million to USD 4.24 million”. And beyond the immediate financial and legal damage caused by these attacks is reputational damage. The Deloitte Consumer Review reports that 73% of consumers said they would seriously consider not using a company again if it failed to keep their data safe or lost their personal data.

SOC team readiness

The Cybersecurity Labor Crisis Is Real 

Of course, fueling the fire is the labor crisis in cybersecurity – a crisis that is just getting worse: A recent report by Forbes stated that the cybersecurity workforce gap is over 4 million globally and nearly 500,000 in the U.S. Across industries, there is both a lack of structured processes for implementing established cybersecurity best practices as well as a lack of skilled experts with a clear, up-to-date understanding of how to identify, assess, mitigate, and apply those processes to respond to threats and vulnerabilities.

At the end of the day, organizations need not just the security tools and processes in place, but also the people who can problem solve and troubleshoot and decide what to investigate, the tools to use, and how to use them.

A critical component of the cyber-defense mechanism

The ability to address cyber risk and sustain cyber resilience requires an SOC team that is prepared and optimized. An SOC team without the full range of cyber skills will be ill-prepared to combat sophisticated cyber-attacks. Enterprises need cybersecurity professionals that possess foundational cybersecurity skills and knowledge, at an individual and team level, as well as hands-on incident response experience that can be applied when the company is compromised. And there is no question whether your company will be compromised. The only question is whether your organization has created that critical component of the cyber-defense mechanism: a frontline ready, battle-hardened SOC team.

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