Banks’ IT departments are at risk of burning out, given the constant pressure to comply with industry standards while preventing emerging cybersecurity threats.

Risk management solutions are in high demand within the financial industry, as the need for continuous network monitoring has only grown. If this sounds more like your current reality than a distant memory, a security operation center (SOC) could be the ideal cybersecurity solution that your bank needs.

What is a SOC?
Gartner defines a security operations center as “a team, often operating in shifts 24/7, and a facility dedicated to and organized to prevent, detect, assess and respond to cybersecurity threats and incidents, and to fulfill and assess regulatory compliance.”

SOCs are responsible for monitoring and analyzing activity on networks, servers, and more. The service center is consistently looking for abnormal activity, indicating a potential breach, security incident, or malicious activity in your network. SOCs also detect harmful attempts to compromise your network and assist with the incident response lifecycle, allowing your bank’s IT team to respond more efficiently and work towards preventing security threats altogether. The goal is simple: get the job done quickly and accurately.

The key to deciding whether to move forward with external SOC support is the ability to deliver all of your enterprise network traffic, laptops, desktops, firewalls, VPNs, routers, switches and application security application detections to your SOC for their review and analysis. Paying a SOC service to watch your firewall traffic isn’t comprehensive enough and will give you a false sense of security. This is why you should consider buying a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) platform that will ingest all of your data, making it easier for your SOC to protect your network.

What to look for in a SOC?
Searching for an ideal security operations center is not an easy task. There can be delays due to limited knowledge about key features. Below is a list of some primary features your bank should require in a SOC service:

  • Network Monitoring: The service should continuously monitor your network traffic and detect potential intrusions. You should also receive real-time alerts for any anomalous or malicious activity.
  • Incident Response: The incident response lifecycle starts with the initial detection and containment, then continues to the eradication phase, and finally returns to normal business operations.
  • Account Privilege: Privilege analysis of every account, system and group provides a financial institution’s staff with knowledge of exactly who can access the most sensitive data.
  • Compliance Reporting: Compliance reporting tools should include PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry), NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), and HIPAA. The FFIEC’s Cyber Assessment Tool (CAT) should be directly integrated into the service as well.
  • 360u00b0 View of Network: A SOC service should have the capability to monitor and defend networks on-premise, in the cloud continuously, and across the globe.

According to an Information Security Buzz article, the key to maximizing features like those listed above is to “integrate the data flowing among all the tools. This gives your entire security operations team a filtered view into what the information means.” The more perspectives that analytics can produce from data flow, the higher the value of that analysis. While all SOCs are different, they have critical components that will make or break the success of your bank’s cybersecurity team.

Why prioritize your network’s security?
Cybercriminals are becoming more creative and methodical with their attacks, especially now that remote work is the new normal. The occurrences and threat potentials of data breaches and cyberattacks are at an all-time high, and Security Ventures projects cybercrime damage to total $6 trillion by 2021.

It’s unrealistic to expect your bank’s IT department to quickly and efficiently monitor and solve every problem as demand increases. Your team should feel like they can do their job without continuously worrying about capacity concerns. By implementing a SOC service into your cybersecurity roadmap, your organization can expand its security capabilities, without breaking the bank, for years to come.


Krystal Rennie