Blame people for the SOC scalability challenge. On the other hand, don’t blame your people. It’s not their fault.

The security operations center (SOC) team is frequently overwhelmed, particularly the Tier 1 security analysts tasked with triage. As companies grow and add more technology — including the Internet of Things (IoT) — that means more alerts.

As the enterprise adds more sophisticated security tools, such as Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR), that means more alerts. And more complex alerts. You’re not going to see a blinking red light that says: “You’re being hacked.” Or if you do see such an alert, it’s not very helpful.

The problem is people, say experts at the 2018 RSA Conference, which wrapped up last week. Your SOC team — or teams — simply can’t scale fast enough to keep up with the ever-increasing demand. Let’s talk about the five biggest problems challenging SOC scalability.

Reason #1: You can’t afford to hire enough analysts

You certainly can’t afford to hire enough Tier 2 analysts who respond to real — or almost certainly real — incidents. According sites like Glassdoor and Indeed, be prepared to pay over $100,000 per year, per person.

Reason #2: You can’t even find enough analysts

We’ve created a growing demand for labor, and thus, we’ve created this labor shortage,” said Malcolm Harkins, chief security and trust officer of CylanceThere are huge numbers of open positions at all levels of information security, and that includes in-enterprise SOC team members. Sure, you could pay more, or do competitive recruiting, but go back to the previous point: You can’t afford that. Perhaps a managed security service provider can afford to keep raising salaries, because an MSSP can monetize that expense. An ordinary enterprise can’t, because security is an expense.

Reason #3: You can’t train the analysts

Even with the best security tools, analysts require constant training on threats and techniques — which is expensive to offer, especially for a smaller organization. And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as you get a group of triage specialists or incident responders trained up nicely, off they go for a better job.

Read more, including two more reasons, in my essay for SecurityNow, “It’s the People: 5 Reasons Why SOC Can’t Scale.”

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