NOC vs SOC: Understanding the Differences between a Network and a Security Operations Center

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NOC vs SOC
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NOC vs SOC: In this world of digitalization, where everything depends a lot on connectivity and networking, every business focuses on network management and security to ensure protection against cyber threats and malpractices. SOC and NOC are concepts that come into play when implementing a network security strategy.

NOCs and SOCs complement each other in most organizations to ensure smooth operations. While they are both responsible for identifying, analyzing, prioritizing, and resolving issues, they differ in several ways, particularly in the problems they cater to.

Below, we compare NOCs vs SOCs and analyze their differences to determine which is more suitable for businesses.

What is a Network Operations Center (NOC)?

NOC or Network Operations Center focuses primarily on networking-related incidents like down servers and network latency.

It provides an organization with technical support and is often the primary line of defense against downtime.

It is responsible for continuous supervision, monitoring, and maintenance of the network to improve the company’s IT performance and efficiency.

Here are the main functions performed by NOC:

  • Email management
  • Patch management
  • Endpoint management
  • Incident response
  • Backup and storage
  • Software installation

What are the challenges facing Network Operations Centres (NOCs)?

Because of the complexities involved with today’s networks and services, particularly with the adoption of cloud-based infrastructure and SaaS applications, network operations staff face numerous challenges not only in having a thorough understanding of the technology itself but also in maintaining streamlined communications access between all parties involved.

Some of the significant challenges faced by network operation centers are:

  • Lack of team collaboration/coordination
  • Because of the rapid speed of change in the cloud and dynamic resource orchestration, documentation for troubleshooting problems is frequently out of date.
  • Troubleshooting takes time since it frequently includes matching data across different devices and toolsets. It necessitates human methods to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.
  • Many divergent tools from many vendors are in use, which may need employees working with various technologies, low-level utilities, and Command Line Interfaces (CLI)
  • Problems develop and then vanish when all relevant information for troubleshooting is gathered.
  • Escalation to more senior personnel is usually necessary to examine fundamental reasons.

What is a Security Operations Center (SOC)?

SOC stands for Security Operations Center, and its role is mainly focused on data/information security. The SOC team comprises security analysts who identify security threats and take steps to resolve any identified issues that could affect the company.

RELATED: What is a Security Operations Center (SOC)?

It regularly monitors business websites, applications, networks, and other systems to analyze security. It responds quickly to incidents to keep the company’s IT infrastructure safe.

In short, SOC primarily performs operations related to cyber security.

Some of the primary tasks performed by SOC are:

  • Incident Response
  • Network Monitoring
  • Compliance Management
  • Alert Management
  • Activity Log Management

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Challenges facing Security Operations Centers (SOC)?

Security Operations Centers (SOCs) are in charge of safeguarding networks from cyber threats. SOCs analyze network traffic and look for unusual behavior. They also give threat and vulnerability information to incident response teams.

The primary issue of a SOC is to avoid becoming a bottleneck in the organization’s capacity to respond to crises.

To combat this threat, firms must invest in systems that enable them to identify and resolve any possible vulnerabilities swiftly. These network tools should be capable of automatically scanning all systems for known vulnerabilities and alerting administrators if any issues are discovered.

RELATED: Four Crucial Steps for Identifying Vulnerabilities in your Business

Identifying what risks exist is the first step in defending your company. This necessitates an awareness of where those dangers originate and why they are so hazardous. According to a recent Verizon analysis, more than half of all assaults were directed at certain sectors.

Comparing NOC vs SOC: Similarities and Differences

NOC and SOC are both focused on similar goals of keeping the network and IT infrastructure safe and protected. Both these teams make efforts to ensure that IT components in a company meet the needs and goals of the organization.

However, they vary significantly in their applications, and the differences are only apparent when you dive into the details.

Let us analyze the differences between NOC and SOC across some crucial areas of consideration.

Objectives

Both NOC and SOC have similar objectives on a broader level. However, the details of their objectives differ significantly.

A NOC focuses on the performance of a company’s IT infrastructure by monitoring the network and its endpoints for any issues and making changes to the network ecosystem.

On the other hand, the objective of a SOC is solely focused on security. Though it may perform network and endpoint monitoring, it looks for potential cybersecurity incidents, not performance issues.

SOC engineers will make network changes focusing on improving visibility and detecting, preventing, and addressing cyberattacks.

Applications

The most significant difference between NOC and SOC lies in the applications with which they work. Though both are responsible for handling incidents impacting an organization’s operations, the sources of these problems are quite different regarding adversaries handled by SOC and NOC analysts.

A NOC analyst is responsible for handling naturally-occurring incidents that affect network function. It can include everything from natural disasters to power outages and system failures. They ensure the organization can continue operating at its optimum efficiency in any situation.

A SOC analyst, on the other hand, has to deal with smart actors and protect the systems against human-driven disruptions. Their primary role is to identify and respond to cyberattacks that could harm the business or disrupt operations.

Required Skill Set

NOC and SOC teams generally possess similar skill sets. Both these analysts should be able to monitor network operations and identify and address any issues responsible for network performance problems or outages. However, NOC and SOC professionals put their skills to use in different ways and differ in focus areas.

NOC analysts typically use their skills to identify and resolve natural issues within the IT infrastructure. Moreover, their skill set is more focused on optimizing network endpoints and systems than SOC.

SOC analysts are in charge of protecting the company from cyber security threats and attacks. This demands the ability to understand the different types of attacks an organization can face and respond to infections designed by human beings.

Rather than network optimization, these analysts should possess skill sets focused on ensuring and strengthening the security and resiliency of corporate IT components.

NOC vs SOC: Which should your Business invest in?

It is impossible to choose between NOC and SOC because both work in their own ways to keep an organization’s network functioning optimally. None of the two is better; a business requires both to maintain its operations.

While a NOC is responsible for ensuring that network infrastructure can sustain operations, SOC aims to protect the organization against threats that could affect network security. NOC and SOC have complementary roles as they focus on protecting a business from different risks to performance and productivity.

Any company is likely to be faced with natural and human-driven incidents that could result in network and business disruptions. You require both these teams to address the challenges your infrastructure faces. Choosing one from NOC or SOC can leave the business vulnerable to one or the other type of threat.

The key is to consider a security strategy that deploys a broad mix of NOC and SOC for the highest standards of security, optimum protection, little to no downtime, and complete peace of mind.

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