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Building on Success: A Replicable Security Operations Center August 23, 2023

by Eric Wesley

On more than one occasion our Security Operations Center (SOC) teams have been told that the Electrosoft-managed SOC is among the most advanced in the federal agencies they serve. They are often viewed as the most competent SOCs, especially in agencies that operate separate SOCs in each of its component organizations. Thus, when it comes to implementing new technologies and processes, government officials often look to us first to implement these innovations, knowing that our staff has the experience and expertise to integrate new ways of doing things ‒ and take them to the next level.

Cybersecurity is an Electrosoft core competency. For years, we’ve built upon this capability in order to lead the field. And, the SOCs we staff and manage attest to our expertise.

Over time we have developed an SOC model that is replicable, regardless of the size or mission of the federal agency served. This model incorporates expected features and perhaps some unexpected ones as well. Most important, it is a dynamic model in which we apply new lessons learned each day in our journey toward maximum optimization.

Over time we have developed an SOC model that is replicable, regardless of the size or mission of the federal agency served.

Why Is Our Model So Successful?

Our company culture permeates the fabric of all our operations, even remote ones like SOCs. We put quality, integrity, and customer service at the center of everything we do. We seek out the most talented individuals to join our staff, introduce and reinforce our culture at every juncture, offer training opportunities that further staff competence both as individuals and employees, and afford employees every chance to succeed. We reward them at every juncture for excellence in job performance knowing that their success is our success. Our CPARS ratings, consistently achieving composite ratings of 4 or higher on a 5-point scale, speak to the positive impact of our culture.

We recognize, as Gartner pointed out in Predicts 2023: Cybersecurity Industry Focuses on the Human Deal, that cybersecurity is a high-stress field. As our Information Systems Security Officers (ISSOs) and security analysts perform their duties, it's a lot of pressure knowing that failure could be just one incident report away. While bad actors only have to find and leverage a single vulnerability, our ISSOs or security analysts must identify and mitigate a multitude of security risks across an increasingly complex IT environment while dealing with evolving threats.

Thus, work-life balance for our SOC teams is a priority. At work, we staff each shift with the right complement of individuals who are capable of handling virtually any situation alone yet who operate at an even higher level as a team. We regularly hold team-building events to build on this sense of solidarity. We offer enviable benefits and encourage staff to take full advantage of Employee Assistance Programs, paid time off, and more.

What Factors Drive Success?

Our culture energizes SOC operations, but other tangible factors help drive success including:

  • Staffing our SOCs with people conversant in the latest technologies and eager to stay on the leading edge of emerging technologies such as CrowdStrike®, Sentinel One®, Splunk, Cribl Migration, Adonis, and ServiceNow® SOAR to name a few.
  • Understanding the precise mix of expertise that enables a SOC team to surpass customer expectations, building confidence in their capability not just to perform as expected but also succeed at challenges outside the norm.
  • Developing and using Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for every process. In high-risk situations it is imperative to act decisively and comprehensively. SOPs provide the rigor needed for every event.
  • Adhering to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency's Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program that, among other tools, leverages dashboards as an integral feature. When a "hot" vulnerability occurs, our technology gives chief information security officers and SOC managers the capability to easily create and track that issue via a separate dashboard panel.
  • Leveraging the latest in automation whether it be an automated phishing reporting mechanism or automated bot scanning. When dealing with massive amounts of data, having the capability to identify and evaluate significant data in the optimal format is critical.

Our culture energizes SOC operations, but other tangible factors help drive our success.

Of course, just like Gestalt theory espouses, the whole of our SOC operations is far more than the sum of its parts. Success is not formulaic but reflective of nuance borne of experience. As a company we are uniquely positioned to stand up, staff, and operate a highly competent SOC that expertly meets the cybersecurity needs of federal agencies, regardless of their missions, locations, or current operations.

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