In a perfect world, Security Operations Centers (SOCs) would have unlimited budgets and always operate with best-of-breed tools and an army of topnotch security analysts and engineers. But that is not the case. SOCs have to rely on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure the effectiveness of their people, processes and technologies, as well as of their overall security operations, so that they could take performance enhancement measures and justify budget allocations from the powers-that-be.
In our previous post, we discussed the basics of KPIs of SOC. In this post, we discuss the importance of SOC KPIs from a SecOps and business standpoint, the challenges in obtaining these KPIs, and how you can leverage a Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) platform’s capabilities to improve not only how you measure these KPIs but also the values of these KPIs themselves.
There are two main reasons why you would want to measure SOC KPIs. First, it gives SOC teams a quantitative measurement on how their overall strategies as well as various individual elements of those operations are performing. KPIs give the basis from which to determine where adjustments need to be made to ensure goals are met.
Second, KPIs allow SOC to quantify the value of its efforts in a way that board of directors, C-level executives, and other key stakeholders can understand and appreciate. If the agreed KPIs show positive impact and continued progress, then there’s a good chance the SOC will get the budget allocation and other resources they require and deserve. In the case of an MSSP-operated SOC, favorable KPIs would lead to higher customer satisfaction and retention.
SOC KPIs can help SOC teams make informed decisions in streamlining their tactics and strategies as well as address any operational and technological gaps that may not be obvious in the absence of quantitative metrics.
For the overall business, SOC KPIs equip key decision makers with the needed information to make better decisions and allocate resources. Sound risk management always entails a healthy balance of an organization’s security budget, threats the organization is exposed to, its vulnerabilities, and the cost of acting on those threats and vulnerabilities. KPIs make it possible to find the right balance through a data-driven approach.
Every KPI is based on data coming from different sources. Let’s take these simple KPIs for example:
A single event can be detected by a number of tools, each of which could generate their own set of alerts. Depending on the size of the organization, the number of tools that generate data for these KPIs can range from 15 to 30 (or more). Each of these tools spew forth a torrent of alerts, events, and other relevant data, and so on.
That’s not all. Interspersed with valid information are false positives and other noisy data. These have to be filtered out. Also, as each incident or event can generate alerts from a number of tools, analysts often need to correlate and contextualize them before they can use them in a KPI report.
Remember, it’s not enough to generate KPIs. You need to ensure what you generate are reliable, quality KPIs for them to be useful in decision making. Yet, the sheer size of the data sets and the number of data data sources (i.e.,the various tools) can make data collection, filtering, analysis, and correlation, and ultimately, KPI reporting, a very complex and overwhelming process.
Since the Security, Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) platform, like SIRP, integrates with a wide range of security tools and then orchestrates and automates cyber security processes (along with those tools), it has all the required information to come up with the numbers for your KPIs.
By getting rid of false positives/negatives and coupling the process with prioritization and threat hunting, a SOAR platform effectively reduces noise and ensures only reliable and quality data ends up in KPI reports. The purpose of a KPI is to provide actionable information for decision making, so KPIs need to be trustworthy at all times. SOAR ensures that.
In addition, a SOAR platform, through its ML-enabled automation and orchestration capabilities and its comprehensive integration functionality, helps SOCs perform more effectively and efficiently. This could very well result in improved performance of the SOC and, in turn, better KPIs.
So, essentially, a SOAR
1) enhances the quality of data going into those KPI reports and
2) improves the KPI values themselves.
These 2 major benefits are among the reasons why the risk-based SOAR platforms like SIRP are increasingly becoming an integral piece of SOCs and decision making processes, globally.
The SIRP's no-code, risk-based SOAR platform delivers all these benefits. In addition, it also provides streamlined reporting, a world-class security scoring engine, and powerful case management and playbook modules. These capabilities empower organizations to optimize threat hunting, prioritize response at scale, and strengthen their security posture. To learn more about SIRP, arrange a personalized demo.