Hewlett Packard Enterprise Report Reveals Trials and Errors of Security Operations


SOCs forgo security basics, leaving 82 percent of organizations below target maturity levels and vulnerable

PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwired - Jan 17, 2017) - Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) (NYSE:HPE) today published its fourth annual State of Security Operations Report 2017, which provides deep analysis on the effectiveness of organizations' security operations centers (SOCs), and best practices for mitigating risk in the evolving cybersecurity landscape. With increased pressure to rapidly innovate and align security initiatives with business goals, a SOC provides the foundation for how organizations protect their most sensitive assets, and detect and respond to threats. However, findings from this year's report show that the majority of SOCs are falling below target maturity levels, leaving organizations vulnerable in the event of an attack.

Published by HPE Security Intelligence and Operations Consulting (SIOC), the report examines nearly 140 SOCs in more than 180 assessments around the globe. Each SOC is measured on the HPE Security Operations Maturity Model (SOMM) scale that evaluates the people, processes, technology and business capabilities that comprise a security operations center. A SOC that is well-defined, subjectively evaluated and flexible is recommended for the modern enterprise to effectively monitor existing and emerging threats; however, 82 percent of SOCs are failing to meet this criteria and falling below the optimal maturity level.1While this is a 3 percent improvement year-over-year, the majority of organizations are still struggling with a lack of skilled resources, as well as implementing and documenting the most effective processes.

"This year's report showcases that while organizations are investing heavily in security capabilities, they often chase new processes and technologies, rather than looking at the bigger picture leaving them vulnerable to the sophistication and speed of today's attackers," said Matthew Shriner, Vice President, Security Professional Services, Hewlett Packard Enterprise. "Successful security operations centers are excelling by taking a balanced approach to cybersecurity that incorporates the right people, processes and technologies, as well as correctly leverages automation, analytics, real-time monitoring, and hybrid staffing models to develop a mature and repeatable cyber defense program."

Key Observations


  • SOCmaturity decreases with hunt-only programs. Theimplementation of hunt teams to search for unknown threats hasbecome a major trend in the security industry. While organizations thatadded hunt teams to their existing real-time monitoring capabilitiesincreased their maturity levels, programs that focused solely on huntteams had an adverse effect.1

  • Completeautomation is an unrealistic goal. A shortage of security talent remainsthe number one concern for security operations, making automation acritical component for any successful SOC. However, advanced threats stillrequire human investigation and risk assessments need human reasoning,making it imperative that organizations strike a balance betweenautomation and staffing.1

  • Focus andgoals are more important than size of organization. There is nolink between the size of a business and maturity of its cyber defensecenter. Instead, organizations that use security as a competitivedifferentiator, for market leadership, or to create alignment with theirindustry are better predictors of mature SOCs.1

  • Hybridsolutions and staffing models provide increased capabilities. Organizationsthat keep risk management in-house, and scale with external resources, suchas leveraging managed security services providers (MSSPs) for co-staffingor in-sourcing, can boost their maturity and address the skillsgap.1


Implications & Recommendations
As organizations continue to build and advance SOC deployments alongside the evolving adversary landscape, a solid foundation based on the right combination of people, processes and technology is essential. To help organizations achieve this balance, HPE recommends:


  • Masteringthe basics of risk identification, incident detection, and response, whichare the foundation to any effective security operations program, beforeleveraging new methodologies such as hunt teams.

  • Automatingtasks where possible, such as response automation, data collection, andcorrelation to help mitigate the skills gap, but also understanding theprocesses that require human interaction and staffing accordingly.

  • Periodicassessment of organizations' risk management, security and complianceobjectives to help define security strategy and resource allocation.

  • Organizationsthat need to augment their security capabilities, but are unable to addstaff should consider adopting a hybrid staffing or operational solutionstrategy that leverages both internal resources and outsourcing to a MSSP.


The methodology for assessments is based on HPE's Security Operations Maturity Model (SOMM), which focuses on multiple aspects of a successful and mature security intelligence and monitoring capability including people, process, technology, and business functions. The SOMM uses a five-point scale -- a score of "0" is given for a complete lack of capability while a "5" is given for a capability that is consistent, repeatable, documented, measured, tracked, and continually improved upon. The ideal composite maturity score for a modern enterprise is "3", while managed security service providers (MSSPs) should target a maturity level between "3" and "4". The reliable detection of malicious activity and threats to the organization, and a systematic approach to manage those threats are the most important success criteria for a mature cyber defense capability.

About HPE Security

HPE Security helps organizations detect and respond to cyber threats while safeguarding continuity and compliance to effectively mitigate risk and incident impact. Delivering an integrated suite of market-leading products, services, threat intelligence and security research, HPE Security helps customers proactively protect the interactions among users, applications and data, regardless of location or device. With a global network of security operations centers and more than 5,000 IT security experts, HPE Security empowers customers and partners to safely operate and innovate while keeping pace with the speed of today's idea economy. Find out more about HPE Security at https://www.hpe.com/us/en/solutions/security.

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About Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Hewlett Packard Enterprise is an industry leading technology company that enables customers to go further, faster. With the industry's most comprehensive portfolio, spanning the cloud to the data center to workplace applications, our technology and services help customers around the world make IT more efficient, more productive and more secure.

1"State of Security Operations Report 2017" HPE Security Intelligence and Operations Consulting (SIOC), January 2017.

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