A security operations center (SOC) is a centralized unit that deals with security issues on an organizational and technical level. A SOC within a building or facility is a central location from where staff supervises the site, using data processing technology.

Via AlienVault:

Originally, SOCs, or Security Operation Centers were designed to be a centralized operation center that served as a means to maintain visibility of your security posture. The idea was to reduce the cost of having to bring in numerous on-hand security engineers and analysts to respond to every single security incident. However, given today’s economy, building or maintain a SOC can have serious budgetary restrictions, especially for small and medium sized companies without large security spend.

A virtual SOC is a secure web-based tool that allows you to easily monitor the security of your systems in real-time. This centralized command and control center enables together control of security operations, a better view into the security posture of your organization, and a one-stop-shop for all your security monitoring and incident response needs, not to mention that it’ll help you pass those pesky audits as well. As you know, the old philosophy of defending the walls of an enterprise is dead; it’s pretty safe to assume that your organization will be compromised, and probably already has been. But, by using a virtual SOC, administrators can prioritize security events by focusing on the incidents that have the most impact to your business, using the latest threat intelligence to prioritize, respond and remediate.

In recent years, multiple SIEM tools have emerged that collect information about security-related events on the network, and then consolidate that information into a single monitoring screen. The challenge is that the first wave of SIEM vendors only focused on the logic or analysis layer – basically the event correlation engine, not on how to deploy or how to feed it. And without those two key success factors, SIEM becomes shelfware. Fortunately, the AlienVault Unified Security Management, or USM, platform provides complete security visibility, with all the essential security controls built in. Asset discovery, vulnerability assessment, threat detection, behavioral monitoring, and security intelligence. All you need to build your own virtual SOC.