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By Jayne Hallock

Companies cannot afford extended network downtime, any more than they can afford cybercriminal activity targeting systems running the business or their information assets. Unfortunately, enterprise security and performance teams rarely operate as holistically as the forces they’re fighting against. 

As more senior leadership teams and boards of directors take an active interest in IT security and data protection, the differences between the purpose and value of a network operations security center (NOC) versus that of a security operations center (SOC) may not be immediately clear. That’s a problem, because if either the NOC or the SOC are insufficiently funded or managed incorrectly, the security risks to enterprise security as a whole escalates dramatically.

NOC vs SOC

No one would dispute the need for a NOC, which traditionally monitors and remedies any threats to system availability or performance. The SOC, which ensures information assets are not stolen, lost or damaged, is equally important.

Given the different skill sets, range of threats and metrics that drive the operations of a SOC vs. a NOC, however, some organizations have found it difficult to have both teams act as a united front against cybercriminal activity. That’s because many of the systems and applications in the NOC weren’t designed to integrate directly with the SOC, and vice-versa. That means the two teams are often operating independently from one another, giving hackers ample opportunity to benefit from delays in communication.

Building a Unified Management Framework

Good IT security leadership is not just about choosing and deploying the right technology but creating a management framework that allows both NOC and SOC teams to be successful in their separate mandates, while joining forces as necessary to provide defense-in-depth.

Here are just 3 ways to start getting such a framework off the ground:

Identify Common Risk Factors: NOC teams may be relentlessly focused on performance issues that could lead to downtime, while those in the SOC are keeping watch for potential breaches that put customer data and operations at risk.. The one thing those two areas share in common is the need for reliable access control. That’s why identity management-as-a-service (IDaaS) tools may be the best way to ensure only the right people can log onto admin areas of systems monitored by the NOC, for example, or files and applications that typically fall under the SOC team’s purview.

Share Information And Search For Insight: Improved security means not only responding to threats and attacks as they occur, but using tools such as security incident and event management (SIEM) to log and correlate the intelligence needed to avoid and mitigate problems before they happen. SIEM tools detect patterns in high-volume IT events that can inform actions in the SOC and integrate with NOC tools to provide greater visibility and analytics across functions. In other words, data can be distilled into a series of alerts, which are then triaged for action by the appropriate teams.

Create An IT Security ‘Fire Drill’: Most organizations have an emergency plan for when someone discovers smoke coming through a closed office door. The same thing should happen at the IT security level, where the roles, responsibilities, reporting timeframes and other details are mapped out across those working in both the NOC and the SOC. An incident response plan lets CISOs and their teams respond more quickly and contain potential damage to the network and information assets in the most efficient way possible.

As a trusted advisor serving as the “glue” between the NOC and the SOC, Simeio offers Identity Management as a Service with its Identity Intelligence Center. Simeio addresses some of the most difficult IAM challenges in multi-vendor environments by treating identity as the new perimeter — and closing the gap between NOCs and SOCs so that the two teams work better together.