What is the difference between SIEM and SOC?

Today’s market for cyber defence solutions and services is vaster than ever before. The number and variety of cyber security products have grown to meet the demanding needs of the ever-changing cyber threat landscape. The market has grown so much in fact that it can almost be overwhelming for an organisation to firstly understand what defence they need in place to protect against today’s cyber threats, but also manage and maintain the many different solutions, covering different attack vectors in different platforms.

The resource issue is beginning to take its toll on security teams, especially smaller ones, where there are multiple solutions and services to manage. Plus, there is a known shortage of security experts in the UK, making it even more difficult for organisations to build and sustain a security team.

Response time is crucial in cyber security, so closing the gap between receiving an alert to getting the details and taking action is an incredibly important part of building a strong cyber security posture and protecting your organisation against cyber attacks.

SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) and SOC (Security Operations Centre) services consolidate the security stack and bring all threat monitoring, alerts and remediation into a centralised platform. The aim is to make managing logs, security alerts and remediations easier for security teams, reduce the stress on resource and make your cyber security incident response more efficient. SIEM and SOC services are both related to cybersecurity, but they have different functions and it's important to know what they are when you are looking to bolster your cyber security defences.

What is Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)?

A SIEM solution (Security Information and Event Management) is a type of software that helps organisations monitor and analyse their security-related data in real-time. It collects log data and security events from various sources, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and other security devices and applications, and then normalises and correlates this data to provide insights into potential security threats.
The main uses of SIEM are:

Threat detection and response: A SIEM helps organisations identify and respond to security threats by analysing security events in real-time and providing alerts when potential threats are detected.
Compliance management: A SIEM can help organisations comply with security regulations by collecting and analysing security-related data to ensure that security policies and standards are being met.
Forensic investigation: A SIEM can assist in forensic investigations by providing access to historical data and analysing the sequence of events leading up to a security incident.
Incident management: A SIEM can help organisations manage security incidents by providing a centralised view of security events and allowing security teams to coordinate their response.

What is a Security Operations Centre (SOC)?

A SOC is a similar facility that is responsible for monitoring, detecting and responding to security incidents and threats to an organisation's information systems and data.
The main purpose of a SOC is to provide continuous monitoring and analysis of security events in real-time to ensure that security incidents are detected and responded to quickly.

A SOC leverages a dedicated team of third-party security professionals to continuously act upon an organisation’s security alerts, either by providing remediation advice for the organisation to implement themselves or complete support by carrying out the work on behalf of the organisation.
The following are some of the uses of a SOC:
Proactive Threat Detection: A SOC uses advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities before they can cause damage.
Incident Response: The SOC team is responsible for investigating and responding to security incidents to minimise the impact of a breach or attack.
Risk Management: SOC teams assess and manage the risk of security threats by conducting regular audits and risk assessments.
Compliance: A SOC can help organisations comply with industry regulations and standards such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, and GDPR.
Threat Intelligence: The SOC team monitors external sources of threat intelligence to stay up-to-date on emerging threats and trends, allowing them to adjust their security protocols as needed.

What is the difference between SIEM and SOC services?

The core difference between a SIEM solution and a SOC is that a SOC takes the threat monitoring a step further by adding a team of security experts who are always on hand to respond to any security issues that crop up. A Security Operations Centre uses a SIEM solution for the threat monitoring, logs, forensics and analysis elements.

Benefits of using SIEM cyber security

  • Improves efficiency: Consolidates the security stack to reduce the number of security solutions required for adequate threat detection and response. 
  • Cost-effective: Saves costs in the long run. 
  • Reduces response time:  Time-to-response is lowered by keeping everything in one place 
  • Improved logs: A centralised location means that historical events and logs can be referenced more easily 
  • Enhanced visibility: A real-time view of activity across network and application usage and endpoint activity 
  • Suitable for in-house security teams: Where resource is sufficient to manage alerts and remediation.

Benefits of using SOC for cyber security

  • All around-the-clock protection: 24/7 detection and response coverage with a dedicated team of security professionals 
  • Improved resource: Adds third-party resources to your security team – great for any cyber security team but especially helpful for small to medium-sized organisations 
  • Early threat detection: Through proactive threat hunting, a SOC can eliminate security threats before they become a serious risk to your organisation 
  • Improved incident management: Adds an organised and structured approach to incident management, ensuring that all incidents are properly documented, investigated, and resolved 
  • Compliance: A SOC is essential to meet industry regulations and compliance requirements, such as HIPAA, PCI-DSS, or GDPR 
  • Peace of mind: A SOC provides peace of mind to the organisation's leadership and staff, knowing that there is a dedicated team watching over their security. 

Should I be using a SIEM or SOC solution to protect my organisation?

The decision to integrate a SIEM or SOC solution into your organisation really comes down to the resource you have at your disposal. As outlined above, a SIEM tool helps organisations collect and analyse security data, while a SOC adds a team responsible for managing security incidents and maintaining the security posture of an organisation.

The benefits of a managed SOC solution can significantly improve the security posture of organisations of all sizes, regardless of the size of their security teams or skillset. Plus, there are options at different levels and price points depending on the features your organisation requires.

Infosec Cloud provides a number of managed and self-managed SOC options if you are looking to consolidate your threat detection and response and add 24/7 coverage with a SOC team.