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Exabeam 2019 State of SOC Report: Security Operations Center Research Findings

Security operations center (SOC) staffing represents a major problem for many global organizations, according to the "2019 State of the SOC Report" from security information and event management (SIEM) solutions provider Exabeam.

Key findings from the Exabeam report include:

  • 65 percent of IT professionals are placing increased emphasis on soft skills, particularly personal and social skills, when they search for SOC talent.
  • 35 percent want more funding for staffing.
  • 33 percent said they believe their SOC is understaffed.
  • Workplace benefits (44 percent) were the top reason why SOC employees are easy to retain, followed by high wages (43 percent) and creating a good/challenging environment (42 percent).
  • Heavy competition (46 percent) was the top reason why SOC employees are difficult to retain, followed by limited advancement opportunities internally (31 percent), poor working hours (23 percent) and freelancing (23 percent).

Hard skills like threat hunting and data loss prevention also are becoming increasingly important in SOCs, the Exabeam report showed.

Keeping Up with Security Alerts Is Top Technology Pain Point

SOC personnel cited keeping up with security alerts as their top technology pain point, the Exabeam report revealed. Furthermore, SOC personnel named the following technologies as their top choices in 2019:

  • Advanced Network and Cloud Monitoring (39 percent).
  • Big Data Security Analytics (39 percent).
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM) (39 percent).
  • Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) (38 percent).
  • Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs) (29 percent).

Technology was the most frequently cited for insufficient funding among SOC personnel, the Exabeam report indicated. Also, SOC personnel named modern technology, staffing and automation as "most needed" for future investments in the SOC.

Dan Kobialka

Dan Kobialka is senior contributing editor, MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E. He covers IT security, IT service provider business strategies and partner programs. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State University. In his free time, Dan enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football.