A security operations center (SOC) is a vital tool used by organizations of all types and sizes. A well-designed SOC can prove invaluable, with resources and intel that support multiple departments. More than just an incident response center, a SOC functions as a necessary support for the entire organization.
It can seem daunting to create an environment that’s so vital, especially when the details can prove to be complex. At Constant, we aim to make the complex simple. The best way to create a SOC is one step at a time. Here’s how:
Step 1: Evaluate current capabilities and future goals
Whether you’re building a new SOC or updating an existing one, it’s important to evaluate your current security capabilities and compare that with where you want your functionality to be. What are your existing capabilities with monitoring, detection, response, and recovery? What business objectives do you hope to achieve with your new SOC, and how will those tie in with the daily function of the room? Your answers to these questions will help you more clearly define what you want out of your SOC project and how best to get there.
Step 2: Produce detailed plans before construction begins
Meticulously planning before construction begins helps ensure a seamless installation and ensures your SOC works precisely as you need it to. As you begin to outline your plans for your SOC, ask yourself questions such as:
- What will the staffing situation look like?
- Will there need to be 24/7 coverage in the SOC?
- How many people will need to be within the SOC at one time?
- What sources will you need to display on the video wall?
- What equipment needs to be stored at operator workstations?
- How many consoles will you need? Will they be sit-stand or fixed heights?
- Do you plan to include a collaboration space within the SOC? If so, where?
- Is your SOC a standalone hub, or does it need capability to communicate with other SOCs at separate site locations?
- Are there any other potential use cases for the space such as tours?
Asking yourself these questions in addition to construction basics such as the dimensions of the room will help you better define your exact design and construction needs. If you clearly define your mission and goals as well as the details of how you plan to carry them out, your SOC project is set up for success.
Step 3: Involve experts for design and integration
There are multiple, complex elements that need to be considered in a SOC design, especially if you are updating an already existing space.
Video walls must be integrated to work with workstations as well as other communication infrastructure. The final room design needs to incorporate all the technology integration from hardware and software to electrical, storage space, and cable management. Legacy systems often need to be incorporated into the solution, while cutting edge technology is needed to move operations forward. An expert AV integrator will consider all these elements and work alongside architects, electricians, general contractors, and other vendors to ensure your SOC is equipped with everything it needs to achieve your goals 24/7.
The earlier you get expert partners involved in your project, the better. If you can secure your major players before construction or installation begins, it will help your project go smoothly. The project managers and designers at Constant interface with your team before ever stepping on site to make sure that our work flows seamlessly with theirs. By having thorough conversations at the outset, we can determine an informed route forward for sourcing, cabling, and everything else for your video wall integration and console furniture setup.
Step 4. Create your incident response plan
Setting the right processes and procedures for daily operations and critical incidents is an integral part of creating a SOC. If your team does not already have an incident response plan, they should create a detailed system for responding to the types of incidents that may come up. Though critical incidents are each unique and can’t fully be predicted, it helps to have set guidelines of tried and tested methods to follow, ensuring response moves as smoothly as possible. A basic incident response plan can be adapted to various scenarios your SOC may encounter.
As you create your plan, you should also outline which teams need to be notified or involved in the various incidents you may expect to occur. Which circumstances will require extra security personnel in the field? Which will need to involve PR and legal teams? Defining your basic strategies and workflows before your SOC goes live ensures that it will work exactly as you need it to in a moment of crisis.
Step 5: Train your team to use the SOC
Having a thoroughly trained team ensures that your operators will be fully prepared for any incident that may arise and fosters a sense of pride in taking ownership of the solution.Your SOC operators should be trained not only in the in-house procedures for incident response, but also in how to use the equipment and technology in the SOC to its fullest potential.
As part of our integration offerings and control system programming, Constant provides on-site training to key members of your team. Before training begins, the programming department at Constant breaks down the various types of training that will need to be offered depending on the intended audiences. These audiences include the managers who need to know what the room is capable of, end users who will operate it day to day, those who will use the system only occasionally, and an individual to take ownership of the system and serve as the on-site channel to reach Constant should any support issues arise.
Constant trains only a few users at a time to ensure that everyone receives the attention needed to understand the details of the system. This also allows us to host training over multiple sessions that accommodate different shift schedules or use cases.
Step 6: Maintain and evolve your SOC solution
Once construction and installation have been completed and all relevant parties have been trained, your SOC is ready for use. This doesn’t mean the process of creating your SOC is over, however; an ops center is a constantly evolving environment, not a “set it and forget it” solution. Your SOC will require consistent review to ensure it’s running as optimally as possible. Your response models, roles, and number of staff should be regularly evaluated to determine if improvements can be made. Often, mission critical centers such as SOCs change organically as the years go on and optimizations continue to develop.
It’s also important to ensure ongoing maintenance of your command center. Although it is optimally designed for consistent use, it’s best to prepare for the unforeseen; running 24/7 may pose some challenges. At Constant, we offer customized service level agreements to meet your needs and budget. Each agreement defines the elements of service covered such as turnaround time and which devices are covered. We also have a Support Operations Center at our headquarters where our service team can track and respond to requests.
Once 5-7 years have passed since your SOC’s implementation, it’s time to consider swapping out some key features to ensure it still performs at optimal levels. We can help you determine what updates may be needed based on technology, staffing, and operational goals. Whether it’s changes to the audiovisual system, swapping out consoles, or an entire re-imagining of the space to accommodate growth, Constant can help you with it all.
Creating a SOC that works with Constant
Constant’s project managers work with you from concept through completion, determining the best solution for the challenges posed by your use case and unique requirements. We walk you through a design process that includes a needs analysis, conceptual layouts, and detailed AV drawings. Once the design details are approved, Constant assists in the installation to ensure that the audiovisual system and console furniture we provide works exactly as designed. Make sure to include Constant in your steps to creating a SOC.
Whether you need a video wall system, technology furniture, or both, Constant is ready to help you get started. Contact us today for a design and budget consultation at no cost.
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Constant Technologies, Inc. provides AV integration for 24/7 video walls and custom operation center furniture. With 30+years experience we can work with sensitive environments in the public and private sectors. Constant designs and installs projects of all scopes and sizes around in the world. We also offer long-term service and support. We create solutions with the highest levels of security, aesthetics and functionality in mind.