|Security Operations Center: Building, Operating, and Maintaining your SOC|
|author||Joseph Muniz, Gary McIntyre, Nadhem AlFardan|
|summary||Indispensable guide for those designing and deploying a SOC|
The authors have done a great job in covering every phase and many details required to build out a SOC. After going through the book, some readers will likely reconsider deploying an internal SOC given the difficulties and challenges involved. This is especially true since SOC design and deployment is something not many people have experience with.
The book is written for an organization that is serious about building an enterprise SOC. The authors spend much of the book focusing on the myriad requirements for creation of a SOC. They constantly reiterate about details that need to be determined before moving forward.
Chapter 4 on SOC strategy is important as the way in which a firm determines their strategy will affect every aspect of the outcome. The authors wisely note that an inadequate or inaccurate SOC strategy, and the ensuing capabilities assessment exercises would produce a SOC strategy that does not properly address the actual requirements of the organization.
Ultimately, failing to adequately plan and design is a guarantee for SOC failure. That in turn will affect and impact deployment timelines, budgets and cause frustration, dissatisfaction and friction between the different teams involved in the SOC program.
The author's expertise is evident in every chapter, and their real-world expertise quite obvious in chapter 5 on facilities, which is an area often neglected in SOC design. The significant issue is that if the facility in which the SOC team operates out of does meet certain baseline requirements, the SOC effectiveness will be significantly and often detrimentally impacted. The chapter details many overlooked topics such as: acoustics, lighting, ergonomics, and more.
Staffing a SOC is another challenge, and the book dedicates chapter 8 to that. The SOC is only as good as the people inside it, and the SOC staff requires a blend of skills. If the organization wants their SOC to operate 24x7, it will obviously require a lot more manpower of these hard to find SOC analysts.
Another helpful aspect is found in chapter 10 which has a number of checklists you can use to verify that all the required pieces are in place prior to a go live data, or be able to identify area that many not be completed as expected.
With Muniz and AlFardan being Cisco employees and this being a Cisco Press title, the book has a strong emphasis towards Cisco hardware and software. Nonetheless, the book is still quite useful even for those who won't be using Cisco products.
Building a SOC is an arduous process which takes a huge amount of planning and of work. This work must be executed by people from different teams and departments, all working together. Based on these challenges, far too many SOC deployments fail. But for anyone who is serious about building out a SOC, this book should be a part of that effort.
The reason far too many, perhaps most SOC deployments fail is that firms makes the mistake of obsessing on the hardware and software, without adequately considering the security operations functions. The authors make it eminently clear that such an approach won't work, and provide you with the expert guidance to obviate that.
For anyone considering building a SOC, or wants to understand all of the details involved in building one, Security Operations Center: Building, Operating, and Maintaining your SOC, is an absolute must read.
Reviewed by Ben Rothke.
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