As enterprises grow and adapt to changing attack surfaces, new services, new applications, emerging threats, the Security Operations Center (SOC) stands as the cornerstone of their security operations. However, a SOC’s effectiveness is not just reliant on having a team of analysts. It’s also dependent on equipping them with the right tools and technology at the right time.

In this blog we’ll dive into leveraging the right SOC tools to advance on your security journey, focusing on the key functions and the benefits they offer in managing your threat detection, investigation, and response (TDIR) workflows.

What are SOC Tools and Technology?

SOC tools and technologies refer to specialized software and hardware used within a SOC to enable security teams. While standard cybersecurity tools—such as antivirus software and firewalls—are essential in establishing the first line of defense with basic defense and monitoring capabilities, they alone are not sufficient in protecting organizations as they grow. SOC tools take it a step further, offering advanced analysis, integration, and response mechanisms to enable proactive, informed, and swift security responses.

Foundational SOC Tools

Foundational tools should not only provide the necessary visibility and control over the organization’s IT environment but also enhance the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the security team, enabling a more comprehensive approach to cybersecurity management. Below we’ve listed our recommended foundational SOC tools for any organization:

1. Security Information and Event Management (SIEM): A SIEM system aggregates and analyzes log data from an organization’s infrastructure, such as host systems, applications, and security devices like firewalls provide a comprehensive view of an organization’s information technology.

  • Why we recommend: SIEM solutions enhance the TDIR process with real-time insights to identify potential security incidents through event correlation. It provides automated alerts and reports for monitoring, compliance, and overall, SOC efficiency.

2. Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) Solution: EDR solutions continuously monitor endpoint devices to detect anomalous behavior indicating potential compromises. Upon detecting a threat, an EDR can immediately respond, for example, by isolating infected devices.

  • Why we recommend: EDR enhances the SOC’s visibility into endpoint-level activities, a critical aspect given that endpoints are often the initial targets of cyberattacks. This increased visibility allows SOC teams to detect and respond to threats more accurately and quickly.

3. Threat Intelligence Platform (TIPs): TIPs collect and aggregate threat intelligence on cyber threats from multiple sources. Its capabilities include digital risk management to monitor external digital channels for threats against an organization’s digital presence.

  • Why we recommend: They provide deep insights into methods of threat actors and the evolving threat landscape, helping SOCs refine security strategies continuously and ensure proactive protection of an organization’s digital assets.

4. Network Traffic Analysis (NTA) Tool: NTA tools scrutinize network traffic in real-time to identify and mitigate security threats as they emerge. By doing so, these tools can detect anomalies that deviate from normal operation patterns, enabling early detection of potential security incidents.

  • Why we recommend: NTA tools can detect anomalies that deviate from normal operation patterns, enabling early detection of potential security incidents and risks.

5. Phishing Analysis Tool: This tool detects and assesses phishing threats in the abuse mailbox by using algorithms to identify malicious content and links.

  • Why we recommend: A phishing analysis tool boosts email and web security by automating the abuse mailbox. This automation helps reduce analyst workload and error by preemptively blocking phishing attempts and alerting administrators to potential dangers.

6. Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs): CASBs are security policy enforcement points that sit between cloud service consumers and cloud service providers.

  • Why we recommend: CASBs enhance cloud security by enhancing visibility, enabling real-time monitoring and risk mitigation, ensuring compliance, and protecting data. This allows SOCs to uniformly manage security across both cloud and on-premises environments.

7. Vulnerability Management Tools: These are software systems that scan IT assets like networks, servers, and applications to detect security weaknesses.

  • Why we recommend: They provide proactive threat mitigation by identifying and remediating known vulnerabilities to prevent breaches.

8. Incident Management and Collaboration Platforms: These platforms facilitate the documentation, management, and resolution of cybersecurity incidents.

  • Why we recommend: They enhance communication and collaboration within the SOC team and across other departments, ensuring a coordinated response to incidents. 

9. Security Operations (SecOps) Platform: A security operations platform stands out by centralizing various tools, including standard cybersecurity tools and specialized SOC tools into one unified system.

  • Why we recommend: These platforms significantly improve operational efficiency and decision-making by providing a centralized view that streamlines the TDIR process. They also accelerate incident responses through automation, ultimately enhancing the security posture.

Advanced SOC Tools

As organizations progress in their security maturity journey, the transition from reactive to proactive security measures becomes essential. Advanced SOC tools not only respond to threats as they occur but also to anticipate and mitigate potential risks before they cause damage. These tools enhance detection capabilities, automate security responses, and provide deep insights into threat patterns. By implementing them, organizations can maintain a vigilant, proactive stance in their security operations, staying one step ahead of the adversaries. Below we’ve listed our recommended advanced SOC tools:

1. Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) Technology: This technology safely simulates cyber-attacks on an IT infrastructure, using adversary tactics to realistically assess vulnerabilities. This proactive method helps identify and rectify security weaknesses before they’re exploited by attackers.

  • Why we recommend: BAS technology offers a proactive method that identifies and rectifies security weaknesses before they’re exploited by attackers. It provides insights for better threat detection and response, while also supporting data-driven decisions for security investments and strategy improvements.

2. Deception Technology: This technology uses decoys to mimic IT assets, misleading attackers to protect actual assets.

  • Why we recommend: This technology boosts early threat detection and understanding of attack techniques, enabling proactive defenses. It also reduces false positives, helping SOCs concentrate on genuine threats.

3. Identity and Asset Management Tool: An Identity and Asset Management Tool controls user access and secures assets, automating user rights management.

  • Why we recommend: This tool provides clear visibility of access rights, aiding in rapid anomaly detection, and reducing unauthorized access risks.

4. Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) Solution: SOAR platforms automate responses to cyber incidents and orchestrate workflows among different security tools.

  • Why we recommend: They significantly reduce the time to respond to incidents and alleviate the workload on SOC staff by automating repetitive tasks.

How Do You Choose the Right SOC Tool?

When selecting the right SOC tools to enhance security operations, organizations must carefully evaluate a range of factors to ensure they’re not only addressing current security challenges but are also set up for future success. These considerations include:

  • Aligning their choice with the security needs and objectives of the SOC team and the wider organization.
  • Ensuring the tool can integrate seamlessly with their current IT infrastructure to facilitate smooth collaboration.
  • Choosing solutions that are scalable, supporting optionality, automation, and the processing of large data volumes.
  • Prioritizing tools with actionable metrics and detailed reporting, as these are essential for effective security management and improvement.

Enhance Your SOC with ReliaQuest GreyMatter

While acquiring new technology can improve security operations, it may be hard to manage as it can overwhelm your SOC team with alert noise and manual tool pivoting. The ReliaQuest GreyMatter security operations platform, built on an Open XDR architecture, addresses this by unifying your security tools using bidirectional APIs. This integration streamlines the TDIR process, effectively supporting your organization throughout the foundational stage of its security journey.

As you advance in your security maturity, ReliaQuest grows with you over time, allowing you to add new integrations as you expand your toolset. GreyMatter also provides various capabilities that help your organization shift from reactive to proactive, such as:

  • Threat Intelligence: It leverages threat intelligence from both open-source and proprietary feeds for a comprehensive view of potential threats. It contextualizes threat data, offering actionable intelligence to better manage emerging threats.
  • Digital Risk Management: Our Digital Risk Protection (DRP) tool monitors the open, deep, and dark web for organization-specific threats, ensuring a 360-degree view of network risks.
  • Phishing Analysis: The GreyMatter Phishing Analyzer streamlines abuse mailbox management by analyzing reported emails with machine learning, automatically eliminating malicious emails, and notifying the reporter.
  • Automation: GreyMatter simplifies the entire TDIR process by automating repetitive tasks, enabling streamlined operations with a single click.

With ReliaQuest GreyMatter, you enhance your security operations and ensure your organization is prepared to evolve and respond to changing attack surfaces, offering essential functionalities to advance your security journey.

Conclusion

The effectiveness of a SOC hinges on having the right blend of tools and technologies for your analyst along your security journey. Selecting the right SOC tools, considering factors like scalability and integration, is essential for building a robust security posture. Integrating a comprehensive security operations platform like ReliaQuest GreyMatter streamlines this journey, offering a unified, scalable solution that enhances threat detection, optimizes operational efficiency, and strengthens defenses.