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The Five Types of Environments Soc as a Service Should Secure and How To Ensure They Are Complete

This guest blog was contributed by Erik Holmes, CEO, Cyber Guards

Erik Holmes, CEO, Cyber Guards

Threat actors are not selective about the size or type of companies they target; they seek out any opportunity they can find.

Many companies fail to monitor their digital environment effectively, which means they often only become aware of breaches when the attack becomes blatantly obvious, like a ransomware note and system lockout or a financial impact such as redirecting wire transfers. This makes it incredibly easy for threat actors to succeed and highlights the urgent need for proactive security measures.

For businesses without dedicated cybersecurity personnel or medium-sized enterprises seeking round-the-clock protection and expertise to detect, respond to, and recover from attacks, SOC-as-a-Service (SOC as a Service) offers an affordable, scalable solution.

SOC as a Service provides continuous monitoring, detection, and response capabilities of every aspect of a digital environment, helping to identify and address threats as they evolve. However, not all SOC as a Service programs are equal, and many providers offer incomplete solutions.

SOC as a Service should cover five critical areas to ensure comprehensive protection:

1. Identity: Preventing unauthorized access to accounts is paramount. This involves closely monitoring user activity, especially concerning login activity.


         Here are some of the things we watch for:


         - Account Creation and Deletion

         - Privilege Escalation

         - Login Anomalies

         - Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) Bypass Attempts

         - Access Violations

         - Account Reconciliation

         - Suspicious Behavior Patterns

         - User Role Changes

         - Session Hijacking Attempts

         - Use of Expired or Revoked Credentials


2. Cloud: With the increasing reliance on cloud-based applications and infrastructure, it's crucial to monitor and secure data flows to prevent breaches.


         Here are some things to monitor:


         - Misconfigurations or Deviations from best practices and security standards

         - Network access control lists

         - Storage permissions

         - Accidental exposure of data

         - Cloud Service APIs

         - User Activity and Access

         - Data Breaches and Leakage

         - Cloud Infrastructure and Services

         - Network Traffic and Anomalies

         - Cloud Application Access


3. On-premise: The SOC will be monitoring for activities that deviate from the norm, which could indicate a security incident.


         Here are some of the things we’re on the lookout for:


         - Malware and Ransomware

         - Intrusion Attempts

         - Data Exfiltration

         - Insider Threats

         - Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)

         - Configuration Changes

         - Log Anomalies

         - Compliance Issues

         - Network Traffic Anomalies



         4. Endpoints: Workstations, servers, and laptops serve as gateways to the internet and require continuous monitoring to detect and respond to malicious activity promptly.


         Here are some of the things we’re detecting:


         - Malware and Ransomware

         - Intrusion Attempts

         - Data Exfiltration

         - Insider Threats

         - Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)

         - Configuration Changes

         - Log Anomalies

         - Compliance Issues


5. Email traffic and Collaboration Apps: Given the limitations of traditional security tools, it's vital to monitor email traffic and collaboration applications directly for suspicious activity and respond swiftly to threats.


         Here are some things that we’re looking for:


         - Phishing Attempts

         - Spam and Malware Distribution

         - Data Leakage

         - Account Compromise

         - Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)

         - Insider Threats

         - Business Email Compromise (BEC)

         - Compliance Violations

         - Behavioral Analysis

In addition to covering these five critical areas, the effectiveness of a SOC as a Service program should be measured by how efficiently it handles alerts, how they hunt for threats, and how they collaborate with their clients.

Establishing a transparent relationship with the SOC as a Service provider ensures clear communication about monitoring activities, findings, and remediation efforts. Monthly reports that leave internal teams deciphering the information are insufficient; instead, businesses need proactive support and a human conversation akin to roadside assistance, ensuring smooth operation even when faced with cybersecurity "potholes."


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