Young female SOC operator showing analytics in a presentation
  • Smart Alarm Management
Boosting SOC Service Quality and Operator Well-Being through Security Automation
Photo Roberta Vogel
Roberta Vogel
6 minutes read

Looking out for the well-being of your Security Operation Center (SOC) operators goes beyond just implementing mindfulness initiatives or wellness programs: It involves addressing the root cause of operator stress and burnout – the burden of managing alarms manually. Unsurprisingly, qualified employees willing to take on the often daunting task of managing up to 12,000 security alerts daily are hard to find

So, if you don't want your hard-won security talents to spend their valuable time on repetitive manual tasks or false positives, keep reading. In this article, we'll dive into the magic of security automation. ✨

Happy and healthy SOC operator in front of a control panel, smiling

The benefits of security automation

Security automation is rewriting the playbook for physical security operations and alarm management, especially within SOCs. Automating repetitive routine tasks and orchestrating workflows not only elevates the service quality but also nurtures the well-being of SOC operators. Let's take a look:

Major time and cost savings

With the current labor shortages in physical security, no one wants to waste time on meaningless tasks. But the reality is different: According to a recent study by Morning Consult, SOC operators spend nearly one-third (32%) of their day investigating incidents that don't actually pose a real threat. These false alarms waste valuable resources, time, and money needed to address real and significant threats.

Here is where security automation steps in: In reducing the time wasted on false positives and manual, repetitive work lies its biggest potential for SOCs seeking to make their security operations more efficient. By employing automation tools to gather and organize relevant information regarding a security incident, teams can shift their attention toward analyzing and responding to security incidents faster. Thereby, they reduce the need for extensive manual data collection, which consumes excessive amounts of time – and money.

Increased accuracy across security operations

Manual alarm management is prone to human error, which can result in alarms being overlooked or mishandled. As automated processes adhere to predefined rules and workflows, security automation helps SOC operators ensure consistent and accurate execution of security tasks, minimizing the risk of manual errors and omissions. That way, SOC teams can ensure consistent and reliable alarm management.

Boosting operator well-being

By streamlining processes and reducing false alarms, security automation can alleviate the mental strain and stress often associated with manual security operations. This, in turn, can improve mental health and job satisfaction among security operators through the following effects:

  • Reduced cognitive load: Automation takes over repetitive tasks, reducing the mental fatigue that comes with constantly monitoring alerts and performing routine tasks. Operators can focus on more complex and intellectually stimulating tasks, leading to improved job satisfaction.
  • Lower stress levels and frustration: Constantly responding to security alerts and incidents can be stressful – and frustrating when you end up spending time on alerts that aren't real. Automation can help filter out false positives and non-critical alerts, preventing operators from being inundated with unnecessary notifications. As automation can handle the initial stages of incident response, this leaves SOC operators with more time to plan and execute effective responses. This can reduce the stress associated with rapid decision-making under pressure.
  • Less anxiety through predictive analysis: By processing vast amounts of data and identifying potential threats or vulnerabilities, security automation can assist SOC teams in enhanced predictive analysis. This proactive approach can reduce the anxiety of constantly having to react to incidents and allows operators to take preventive actions. By automating tasks that can lead to burnout, such as constant alert monitoring, security automation lowers operators' burnout rates.
  • Improved work-life balance and job satisfaction: With automation handling routine tasks and providing continuous monitoring, operators can achieve a better work-life balance. Less on-call time after hours can improve mental well-being and job satisfaction. When operators can focus on more challenging and rewarding aspects of their roles, they will likely experience higher job satisfaction and greater job engagement, which can positively impact mental health.
  • Support for decision-making: Automation can provide operators with data-driven insights and recommendations, aiding in decision-making. Having data-backed guidance can reduce the stress associated with making critical security decisions in isolation.
  • Professional development: With more time available, security professionals can invest in continuous learning and skill development. This can boost their confidence and sense of accomplishment, contributing to better mental health.

Shot of a young businesswoman delivering a presentation to her colleagues in the boardroom of a modern office

Embracing security automation – What to look out for

When considering security automation solutions that help you deliver better service quality and improve your operators' well-being and job satisfaction, look for a platform with a smart built-in automation engine.

Here are some key factors to consider:

1. Ease of integration

Choose a solution that offers effortless integration with your existing security tools. It should provide pre-built integrations, workflow templates, or simple plug-and-play functionality, eliminating the need for manual work or coding. This ensures a seamless transition and saves you valuable time and effort.

2. Advanced automation capabilities

Opt for a platform that goes beyond basic automation. Look for features such as automated incident response, intelligent threat detection, and automated triage and analysis. These advanced capabilities empower your team to work smarter, respond faster, and reduce the risk of missing critical threats.

3. Reliability and trustworthiness

Select a solution that has a proven track record of reliability and trustworthiness. Look for reviews, testimonials, and industry recognition to evaluate the platform's performance and user satisfaction. Automation capabilities that support compliance requirements and generate detailed audit reports are great. Prioritize platforms that adhere to rigorous security standards to protect sensitive data and maintain operator confidence. Certifications should assure you your data is being handled securely.

4. Scalability

Consider your future needs and growth potential. Choose a scalable and adaptable solution to your evolving automation requirements. This ensures that the platform can grow with your organization, enabling you to expand your security capabilities without disruptions. Choosing a platform offering low-code or no-code automation options allows you to create and modify workflows without extensive programming skills in times of increased workloads. This flexibility enables your SOC teams to adapt to evolving threats without the need for extensive programming skills.

5. User-friendly interface

Look for a platform with an intuitive and user-friendly interface. It should be easy to navigate and understand, enabling your team to quickly adopt and leverage its features. A user-friendly interface reduces training time, increases operational efficiency, and makes work more fun.

6. Support and customer service

Ensure the solution comes with reliable customer support and responsive service. It's crucial to have access to assistance whenever you encounter issues or have questions. Prompt and knowledgeable support ensures a smooth experience and helps you maximize the solution's value.

Young SOC operator working in a clean office with modern monitors

The future of SOC operations: Automation and human expertise in harmony

Embracing security automation is not just a choice; it's the pathway to a brighter future for SOC operations.

As technology's horizons continue to broaden, security automation will play an increasingly pivotal role in ensuring the safety and security of assets and personnel in our dynamic world: It empowers security teams to work smarter, freeing up valuable time and resources to focus on critical threats and strategic decisions.

However, it's crucial to bear in mind that automation doesn't replace human judgment; it augments it. Conversations about how automation can increase productivity and reduce costs often accompany stories about how it will take jobs away from workers. Fast-paced environments like control rooms, where every second counts and attention are required 24/7, are one use-case where automation relieves more than it replaces. After all, it's the synergy between technology and humans where the real magic happens.

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