The SOC’s Role in Creating a Zero-Trust Enterprise

“Never trust, always verify,” is one of Zero Trust’s core principles. How can we know, though, that the policies we’re enacting and the trust decisions we’re making are the right ones? How can we ensure that such decisions are continually monitored and validated? Most threat protection technologies must decide whether to allow or prohibit user access, endpoint files, and a slew of other events and activities in real time. The Security Operations Center (SOC) functions on a separate level, relying on analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and human analysis to reevaluate past trusted judgments. The SOC’s primary purpose in establishing a Zero Trust enterprise is to provide an additional layer of verification to further reduce risk.

Simultaneously, many businesses are striving to update their approach to the SOC in response to an avalanche of warnings, crippling manual processes, and a scarcity of qualified employees. While the SOC is an important part of Zero Trust, companies should think about how to use new technologies like automation, analytics, and machine learning to improve SOC efficiency.


Why Is It Necessary to Have Zero Trust?

At its foundation, Zero Trust aims to eradicate implicit trust throughout the company by authenticating all digital transactions on a constant basis. Previous assumptions that everything inside an organization’s network could be implicitly trusted are challenged by Zero Trust. Due to a lack of security measures, individuals in the network – including external adversaries and malicious insiders – would be able to conduct internal network discovery, move laterally, and access or steal critical data. Many current assaults, like as ransomware that starts with a vulnerability exploit and then “lands and grows” within an enterprise, use these approaches extensively.

Projects and initiatives involving digital transformation, such as the increasing migration to the cloud and hybrid work, have highlighted the need to update old security models that depend mainly on network perimeter protection. Zero Trust offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reinvent security in a way that supports important projects like remote work and cloud migration while reducing the attack surface, closing security gaps, and meeting audit requirements.


Keys to Creating a Zero-Trust Business

An organization must first create a uniform security policy before beginning on a Zero Trust journey. Identifying key assets and building a Zero Trust architecture with stringent, least-access policies across people, applications, and infrastructure are common first steps.

However, Zero Trust is a never-ending process that requires constant adaptation and refinement as each organization’s business needs change and technology evolves. In any Zero Trust path, continuous monitoring should be a must. In order to widen visibility, monitoring must go beyond any particular security solution. As a result, the SOC’s involvement in the ongoing assessment and maintenance of any Zero Trust security posture is vital.


The SOC’s Role in Achieving Zero Trust

Continuous monitoring and continual improvements are crucial to mature any Zero Trust plan once firms have visibility into vital assets and have built rock solid Zero Trust policies.

The SOC plays a critical role. It helps security teams check their prior trust decisions by providing an ongoing audit mechanism for Zero Trust rules and actions. For example, to correctly identify users and enable access to apps, a company might use multi-factor authentication. The SecOps team can employ machine learning, behavioral analytics, and human insights to evaluate a user’s activities in order to discover insider abuse and minimize the harm by deactivating the user’s account. Organizations still require a SOC for threat detection, response, automation, and risk management, even if they have a mature Zero Trust system that secures people, applications, and workloads.


To reduce risk, remove implicit trust, and detect and stop assaults across the entire lifecycle, the SOC should be able to accomplish the following three duties.

🟪Threats Can Be Detected and Responded to From Anywhere in the Organization: SecOps teams want a robust and effective detection and response solution that is backed by proven and tested outcomes, whether they are detecting an external threat actor, a hostile insider, malware, or unsafe user behavior. SecOps analysts want a solution that can automatically integrate important data, profile user behavior, and properly recognize adversary strategies, techniques, and processes as the volume of security data collected grows (TTP). Instead of delivering a compartmentalized approach to triage and investigations, a detection and response tool should function across all data to remove blind spots and speed analysis.

🟪SecOps Tasks Should Be Orchestrated and Automated: Many security teams are responsible for dozens of security tools, innumerable operations, and thousands, if not tens of thousands, of alerts every day. They require a security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) platform to assist them in triaging and responding to incidents, as well as prioritizing and analyzing threats using threat information. A comprehensive SOAR platform that addresses all aspects of incident management should include out-of-the-box integrations of commonly used SOC tools, best practice playbooks to aid in workflow automation, and integrated case management and real-time collaboration to enable cross-team incident investigation.

🟪Assess and Secure the External Attack Surface: SecOps teams must first identify the assets they want to protect and avoid being attacked. A comprehensive awareness of one’s attack surface is a vital step in guiding any risk management function — you can’t protect what you can’t see. This involves detecting external visibility gaps, finding and prioritizing vulnerabilities, configuration issues, and critical data exposure, as well as locating unknown assets and shadow IT.

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