Understanding the Differences Between SOC and SIEM

September 17, 2022

By Welmar Benedicto


Businesses are embracing the use of cyber security solutions to prevent an attack. Many security professionals have been confused by the acronyms and different types of software that are available to help prevent attacks. Experts tend to refer to these solutions as either Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) or Security Operations Center (SOC). When you’re trying to decide whether to use an SOC or SIEM for your company, it can be difficult to understand the differences between the two.

Here are some of the key differences between them:

What Do SOC and SIEM Mean?


One of the most common misconceptions is that SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) and SOC (Security Operations Center) are the same thing. In reality, these two solutions are very different from one another, and each has its own set of pros and cons.

A Security Operations Center (SOC) is a team or facility that monitors and protects an organization’s IT infrastructure. Its job is to find both known and unknown threats to a company’s infrastructure and respond accordingly. You can either run your own SOC, or you can leverage an SOC as-a-service from providers specialized in cyber security.

SIEM stands for Security Information and Event Management System, a software package which uses multiple tools to provide information required to help the business’s security teams detect security threats, manage events of security effectively, and reduce risks to the organization’s IT infrastructure.

What Are the Key Differences Between SOC and SIEM?


Security Operations Center solutions are often used to monitor security systems, networks, and applications. SOCs are typically used for monitoring and detection of attacks that are already underway, while SIEMs tend to focus on identifying potential attacks before they become actual threats.

SOCs are typically used by large organizations with a dedicated team of experts who will be managing the system on a day-to-day basis. The goal of an SOC is to take in events from multiple sources (e.g., firewalls, intrusion detection systems) and analyze them to identify potential threats before they become actual attacks on your network.

Security Information and Event Management Systems are designed for smaller companies that don’t have the budget for an entire team of SOC experts but still want some level of protection against cyber threats like malware attacks or ransomware infections. They collect data from various sources (e.g., firewalls, IDS/IPS systems), analyze those events based on predetermined rulesets or policies that you’ve set up beforehand.

SIEM is a product that is commonly used in conjunction with SOC solutions. SIEM solutions can often be purchased separately from SOC solutions to monitor systems. SIEMs tend to be more customizable than SOCs, allowing you to tailor them to your specific needs.

What Are the Benefits of Each System?


Today, security and operations advocate for having a SIEM solution to track, manage and alert multiple IT environment data sources. Benefits of using this system include:

  • The ability to monitor and track malicious activity on your network.
  • The ability to identify abnormal behavior.
  • The ability to detect and respond to threats in real-time.

The goal of SOC is to oversee the security policies that you have implemented on your network. In other words, the main task of a SOC is to monitor how well these policies comply with the existing threats. SOC should have full visibility into all systems and applications on the network, including those that are hosted in the cloud. It should also have access to logs from firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), anti-virus (AV) software, and other security devices.

SOCs are typically more effective for handling incidents, but SIEMs are better for analyzing threats. If you’re looking for a system that can help you react to an attack, then a SOC is the way to go. If you want to prevent attacks before they happen, then an SIEM might be a better option.

Each system has its own pros and cons; it comes down to the organization’s needs. If a security professional spends time truly understanding both, they can make an informed decision on which is better for their organization. The SIEM and SOC are two different entities that work in synergy together to keep an organization informed of the cyber threats it faces on a 24/7 basis. If you’re looking for a way to help protect your organization from threats, consider using both solutions together to get the most out of each one’s respective strengths while minimizing any weakness they may have.

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