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8 steps to tackle Security Operations Center fatigue  

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Stressed out Security Operations Center employees is a reality of the times we live in. Since March 2020 or the onset of the pandemic to be precise, SOC has turned out to be a buzzing beehive of activity and transitions.  

Here are the key reasons why Security Operation Centers have turned into stress central: 

  • New compliance mandates that have emerged in the last two years 
  • Unmanageable threat volume: hackers are tiring out Security Operations Center teams using waves of false or low-grade reconissance attacks as a strategy. This is to reduce their efficiency and to keep them tied while they open new surfaces for breaching networks  
  • Many Security Operations Center employees are unable to switch off from work due to constant alerts popping up 
  • SOC analysts are unable to take a break as there is no one to replace them 
  • Detection methods have not evolved to keep pace with the new threats leading to teams struggling to detect and address threats at the right time. Lack of adequate threat intelligence  
  • In some countries, because of regulatory requirements, Security Operations Center teams have been asked to do more audits and conduct more exercises adding to the workload  
  • SOC Analysts are having to collect and analyze more data to discover the stealthy footprint of threat actors  
  • Mismatch of funding. The funding priorities of Security Operations Center teams from a technology, risk management, and operations perspective have again not kept pace with the changes that are happening in the threat environment in cyberspace 
  • Because of high-stress levels, the average tenure of Security Operations Center analysts is coming down 

The result of all this has turned Security Operations Centers into Stressful Operations Centers. But it needn’t be so. With a few simple measures, SOC teams can get back on their feet, defeat stress, and focus more on beating cyber adversaries and sophisticated cyberattacks.  

Here are a few ways in which your business can beat Security Operations Center stress and improve your overall SecOps efficiency and output quality: 

  • Work with the relevant and contextual cyber threat intelligence to reduce and eliminate false positives and alerts.   
  • Gamify: at the very least some parts of the learning roadmap should involve gamification in some way to enable SOC teams to learn without getting stressed  
  • Along with output KPIs, start measuring the load on each SOC member. Explore ways to ease the load through greater automation  
  • Make their work more rewarding through incentives  
  • Any new compliance mandate or workflow or modification in processes should be implemeted with a proper roadmap so that the team has enough time to adapt and incorporate the new measures 
  • Give them mandatory time off to recuperate  
  • A SOC can be lean as far as processes go but it should always be populated by enough people with adequate skills. Mismatch of skills can add to SOC stress in a big way in addition to reduced utilization of capacity 
  • SOC leadership should step in and encourage, inspire and hear individual members of the team.  
  • Operate through playbooks that are easy to deploy and adhere to and gives clear guidance on how various situations and crisis can be managed   

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Prayukth K V has been actively involved in productizing and promoting cross eco-system collaboration in the emerging tech and cybersecurity domains for over a decade. A marketer by profession and a published author, he has also proposed and promoted critical infrastructure protection strategies that rely on in-depth threat research and deflection strategies to deceive hackers and malware. Having been at the frontlines of cyber securing infrastructure, Prayukth has seen cyberattacks and defense tactics at close quarters.

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