Security Operations Centre (SOC) Best Practices: The Definitive Guide


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Creating a Security Operations Centre (SOC) is a crucial move for companies looking to strengthen their cyber security and protect their corporate assets.

But just having a SOC isn't enough to solve all security problems. What matters is following the SOC best practices.

According to Statista's report, the total market size for the Security Operations Centre is expected to reach $45 billion in 2024. This growth is fuelled by the demand for artificial intelligence and machine learning analytics and automation, along with the increasing necessity to monitor enterprise attack surfaces.

In this blog post, we are going to explain the importance of a SOC and share the best practices to ensure businesses use cybersecurity effectively. By adopting these methods, companies can be proactive in dealing with potential threats, not just reactive.

What is a SOC strategy?

A Security Operation Centre (SOC) strategy is a comprehensive approach to threat intelligence, incident detection, and response. It involves the implementation of processes, technologies, and practices aimed at fortifying an organisation's overall security posture against potential threats.

The Security Operations Centres serve as the central location of an organisation's cybersecurity infrastructure, where the SOC team and security analysts proactively monitor, analyse, and respond to security incidents in real-time.

Why Should Businesses have a Security Operations Centre?

Businesses should have a Security Operations Centre (SOC) because it serves as a dedicated hub for monitoring, detecting, and responding to potential security threats.

Here are some key reasons why having a SOC is crucial for businesses:

1. Proactive Threat Detection

A SOC allows businesses to detect security threats early on by continuously monitoring their networks, systems, and applications for suspicious activities performed by threat actors.

2. Rapid Incident Response

With a SOC in place, businesses can respond quickly to security incidents, minimising potential damage and downtime. SOC teams are trained to handle various types of cyberattacks and can take immediate action to contain and mitigate threats.

3. 24/7 Monitoring

Security threats can occur at any time, day, or night. A SOC provides round-the-clock monitoring and support, ensuring that businesses have constant protection against evolving threats.

4. Compliance Requirements

Many industries have regulatory requirements for cybersecurity, such as GDPR, HIPAA, or PCI DSS. A SOC helps businesses stay compliant by implementing the necessary security policies and providing documentation of SOC processes.

5. Risk Management

By analysing security data and trends, a SOC helps businesses identify potential risks and vulnerabilities in their IT infrastructure. This proactive approach allows organisations to address threats and security weaknesses before threat actors can exploit them.

6. Enhanced Customer Trust

Demonstrating a commitment to cybersecurity through the establishment of a SOC can enhance customer trust and confidence in the organisation's ability to protect sensitive data and maintain business continuity.


Best Practices for a Security Operation Centre (SOC)

Here are the 9 SOC best practices your business should consider for robust security:

1. Define Clear Objectives Aligned with Business Goals

Before setting up a SOC, the first best practice is to define clear objectives and goals aligned with your organisation's overall security strategy. Determine the scope of the SOC operations, the types of cyber risks it will address, and the expected outcomes.

According to the UK government, across all UK businesses, there were approximately 2.39 million instances of cybercrime and approximately 49,000 instances of fraud as a result of cybercrime in the last 12 months, emphasising the critical need for organisations to establish clear objectives and goals for their SOC.

With cybercrime costing UK businesses £21 billion annually, setting specific objectives aligned with the organisation's overall security strategy is paramount to effectively combat security threats.

2. Implement a Robust Technology Stack

Businesses should deploy technology tools to support SOC operations including SIEM (Security Information and Event Management), IDS/IPS (Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems), and endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions.

Also, the use of comprehensive threat intelligence and machine learning algorithms is essential to minimise the impact of a security incident.

In the UK, 46% of businesses identified at least one cybersecurity breach or attack in the last 12 months, according to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2023 conducted by the UK government.

Deploying a comprehensive suite of security tools and technologies, including security information and event management (SIEM), IDS/IPS, EDR solutions, artificial intelligence & machine learning algorithms, and comprehensive threat intelligence platforms, is crucial to strengthening the cybersecurity strategy of organisations and mitigating the risk of security threats.

3. Combine intelligent automation and human resources

While automation is valuable, human oversight remains indispensable in SOC operations. Security analysts provide critical context, insights, and decision-making capabilities that cannot be replicated by machines alone.

Also, human intervention ensures that security incidents are accurately assessed and appropriately addressed.

Building an effective SOC requires skilled security analysts with expertise in threat detection, incident response and security analysis.

You should hire or train security experts with relevant certifications such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) or Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).

The UK is facing a significant shortage of security professionals in 2023, and it was reported that 50% of all UK businesses have a skills gap in basic cybersecurity, as reported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

Furthermore, investing in hiring or training SOC teams with relevant certifications such as CISSP or CISM is essential to bridge this skills gap and build an effective SOC capable of defending against security attacks.

4. Establish Efficient SOC Processes and Workflows

Another SOC best practice is to define standardised SOC processes and workflows for incident detection, analysis, escalation, and response.

Businesses should document procedures for handling different types of security incidents to ensure consistency and efficiency in SOC operations.

Research by Verizon indicates that 50% of breaches featured social engineering attacks like phishing attacks, emphasising the importance of defining standardised SOC processes and workflows for incident detection, analysis, and response.

Documenting procedures for handling different types of security incidents ensures consistency and efficiency in SOC operations, reducing the time to detect emerging risks.

5. Continuous Monitoring and Proactive Threat-hunting

Another SOC best practice is to adopt a proactive approach to security by implementing continuous monitoring and threat-hunting capabilities within the SOC processes.

Also, businesses should regularly scan network traffic, security systems, endpoints and system logs for indicators of compromise (IOCs) and anomalous activities to identify potential threats.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) advises that organisations should adopt a proactive approach to security by implementing continuous monitoring and threat-hunting capabilities within their SOC.

With 32% of UK businesses experiencing cyber attacks or breaches at least once a week, regular scanning of network traffic, endpoint detection, and log data collected for IOCs and anomalous activities is essential to detect and mitigate threats before they escalate.

6. Collaboration and Information Sharing

Businesses should promote collaboration and information sharing among in-house SOC teams, other IT security teams, and external partners such as threat intelligence providers and industry peers.

Sharing insights and best practices can enhance threat detection and response capabilities.

According to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2023, 49% of businesses have sought information, advice, or guidance on cybersecurity in the last 12 months, highlighting the importance of fostering collaboration and information sharing among SOC team members and external partners.

Sharing insights and best practices can enhance threat detection and response capabilities, enabling organisations to stay ahead of evolving cyber threats.

7. Regular Training and Skills Development

Businesses should keep SOC personnel up to date with the latest cybersecurity threats, trends, and techniques through regular training and skills development programs.

Also, encourage continuous learning and certification attainment to maintain a high level of expertise within the team.

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2023 highlights that a mere fraction of businesses (18%) and charities (17%) have undertaken staff training initiatives to enhance SOC team structure within the last 12 months.

With cyber-attacks becoming increasingly sophisticated, keeping SOC personnel up to date with the latest cyber trends, threats, and various tools through regular training and skills development programs is essential to maintaining a high level of expertise within the team and effectively defending against cyber threats.

8. Incident Response Plan and Drills

Businesses should focus on developing a comprehensive incident response process outlining the steps to be taken in the event of a security incident.

Also, conduct regular tabletop exercises and simulation drills to test the effectiveness of the plan and ensure readiness to respond effectively to real-world incidents.

Research by Statista suggests that the average cost of a cyber attack for UK businesses is £1,100 per incident.

Developing a comprehensive incident response plan and conducting regular tabletop exercises and simulation drills to test the effectiveness of the plan are crucial steps in preparing SOC teams to respond effectively to real-world cyber incidents, minimising the financial and reputational damage to organisations.

9. Third-Party Services and Expertise

Leveraging third-party SOC services and expertise can augment an organisation's security capabilities.

Outsourcing certain SOC functions, such as threat intelligence analysis or incident response, to trusted partners can provide access to specialised skills and resources.

As per the report, 49% of businesses and 44% of charities report seeking information or guidance on cybersecurity from outside their organisation in the past year, most commonly from external cybersecurity professionals, IT consultants or IT service providers.


SOC Security Solutions with Aztech

At Aztech IT, we specialise in providing end-to-end security solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of your organisation.

Our SOC-as-a-Service offering combines security technologies, skilled security professionals & SOC analysts and proven SOC processes to deliver comprehensive security monitoring systems, threat detection, and incident management processes.

With Aztech IT's SOC services, you can:

  • Gain real-time visibility into your organisation's security posture.

  • Detect and respond to threats faster with advanced threat intelligence and analytics.

  • Reduce the risk of data breaches and minimise the impact of security incidents.

  • Ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and industry standards.

Partner with Aztech IT to enhance your cybersecurity defences and protect your organisation against evolving cyber threats.


In conclusion, establishing a Security Operations Centre is essential for businesses looking to effectively detect, respond to, and mitigate potential security threats.

By following these three most important SOC best practices such as defining clear objectives aligned with business goals, combining intelligent automation and human resources to respond to threats, and implementing a robust technology stack, organisations can build a proactive and resilient SOC to safeguard their digital assets.

At Aztech IT, we understand the importance of a SOC in today's threat landscape and offer comprehensive security solutions to help businesses establish and maintain a strong security posture.

Contact us today to learn more about our SOC-as-a-service offerings and how we can help protect your business from cyber threats by valuing these SOC best practices.


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