SOC vs. SIEM or Both

Value for your money is key to any business. But when it comes to security, should you choose between a SOC vs. a SIEM, or should you use both?


Cybersecurity is more critical than ever for businesses of all sizes. With the increasing number of cyberattacks, it’s essential to have a strong security posture to protect your data and systems. While there are many ways to safeguard your network, there is an ongoing debate over whether you need a standalone SIEM, a standalone SOC, or if you need both. This article will explore all scenarios of SOC vs. SIEM as well as our recommendations for your business.

What is a SOC?

A security operations center, or SOC, is a team of cybersecurity professionals responsible for detecting, responding to, and preventing security incidents. A SOC may be part of a larger organization, such as a company, government agency, or standalone unit. The size and composition of a SOC will vary depending on the organization’s needs. SOC teams include analysts, engineers, and investigators working together to monitor cyber threats and mitigate risks. SOCs use various tools and techniques to carry out their mission, including SIEM systems, threat intelligence platforms, and incident response protocols. By proactively identifying and responding to security threats, SOCs play a vital role in protecting organizations from data breaches and other cyberattacks. Here is some more information on the technical roles that make up a complete security operations center:


A SOC responder with Tier 1 support is responsible for providing initial response and triage for cybersecurity incidents. This includes identifying the type of incident, understanding the scope and impact, and determining the appropriate course of action. In many cases, the SOC responder can resolve the incident themselves. However, if the incident is more complex, they will escalate it to Tier 2 or 3 support.

SOC responders may also be responsible for administrative tasks such as creating user accounts, maintaining accurate documentation for future reference, and generating reports. They must also keep up to date on cybersecurity trends and threat intelligence to be better prepared for future incidents. In some cases, SOC responders may also provide training to end users on topics such as security awareness or incident response procedures.


Job responsibilities of a SOC Investigator with Tier 2 support may include but are not limited to monitoring SIEM tools, conducting investigations of alerts, and providing recommendations for remediation. They will also collaborate with other security team members, as well as IT and business units to ensure that incidents are properly resolved. In addition, the SOC Investigator with Tier 2 support will maintain knowledge of the current threat landscape and know how to properly utilize security tools while contributing to developing and maintaining security procedures and policies. They will also participate in training and awareness and will work closely with Tier 3 analysts to provide comprehensive analysis and response to incidents.

Advanced Analysts

A SOC Analyst with Tier 3 support is responsible for providing higher-level support to customers experiencing problems with their systems or networks. They will work closely with Tier 1 and 2 support teams to identify, diagnose, and resolve complex technical issues and provide training and mentorship to less experienced team members. They must also be excellent communicators, both written and verbal, to effectively collaborate with other support teams and non-technical staff.


A SOC Manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of a security operations center and Tier 4 support — the highest level of customer support. Tier 4 support staff are typically experienced technicians who can resolve complex issues that cannot be resolved by lower-level support staff and are knowledgeable about the organization’s products and services.

A SOC Manager works closely with other security teams, such as the incident response team, to coordinate efforts and ensure that incidents are handled appropriately. They also develop and implement security policies and procedures and ensure that the team has the necessary resources and training to perform its duties effectively.

Engineer or Architect

A SOC engineer is responsible for the design and implementation of security solutions. To effectively protect an organization’s network, a SOC engineer must have a strong understanding of network security principles. In addition, they must be able to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities and design solutions that can mitigate those risks. A SOC engineer must also communicate effectively with other organization members to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the network’s security posture. In addition, a SOC engineer must be able to respond rapidly to incidents to minimize the impact of any potential security breaches. Ultimately, a SOC engineer is responsible for ensuring that an organization’s network is safe from attack.

What Is a SIEM Solution?

A SIEM (security information and event management) solution is a software platform that provides organizations with visibility into their security posture and helps detect and respond to threats in real time. A SIEM aggregates log data from various sources, including network traffic, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems. This data is then analyzed and correlated to provide an overview of an organization’s security posture. They also typically include incident response and event management features, which help organizations respond quickly to security incidents. By providing visibility into an organization’s security posture and helping to detect and respond to threats in real time, SIEM software can play a vital role in protecting against cyberattacks.


SOCs and SIEMs are both used to help manage security within an organization. SOCs and SIEMs collect data from various sources, including network traffic, application logs, and user activity. This data is then analyzed to look for patterns indicating a security threat. In addition, both SOCs and SIEMs provide reporting capabilities that allow security analysts to investigate potential threats and take appropriate action.

While SOCs and SIEMs share many similarities, there are also some key differences. For example, SOCs are typically more focused on real-time threat detection and response, while SIEMs provide more comprehensive long-term visibility into an organization’s security posture. In addition, SOCs often make use of manual processes, while SIEMs rely on automation to a greater extent.

SOCs and SIEMs have specific purposes, and it is up to an organization to determine what is right for its needs and objectives.

SOC Only

Not all SOCs are created equal — as they don’t all utilize the same tools and provide similar expertise to their clients. In rare cases, a security operations center will choose not to use a security information and event management system. There are a few reasons why a SOC would opt out of using a SIEM:

  • A SOC may not be properly staffed or have the resources to invest in or manage the latest cybersecurity technologies.
  •  A SIEM can be complex and difficult to set up, requiring a dedicated team of experts to maintain it.
  • A SIEM requires a large amount of data to be collected and stored, which can be expensive.
  • Some SOCs prefer to use other tools that provide more flexibility and customization.

A security operations center may have incredibly well-versed personnel in the security world. Still, without the right tools, it can be difficult for these experts to offer the best possible protection against a cyberattack.

While a SIEM solution is typically straight out of SOC‘s best practice playbook to provide an additional layer of cybersecurity, it is important to note that some security operations centers are still able to upgrade your security poster without using a security incident and events management system.


Businesses use a SIEM solution without a SOC for a variety of reasons:

  • A SIEM can be more cost-effective than maintaining a full security operations center.
  • A SIEM can provide many of the same benefits as a SOC, such as early detection of threats, improved incident response times, and better visibility into the organization’s security posture.
  • An IT staff may not have the resources or expertise to staff a SOC.
  • Some businesses may simply feel that they do not need a SOC’s extra level of protection.

While there are benefits to having a SOC, it is not always necessary, especially if your organization operates in an industry with low cybersecurity standards.


A SIEM system provides real-time analysis of security alerts generated by your IT infrastructure. A SOC is a team of security experts responsible for investigating and responding to security incidents. While a SIEM can give you visibility into threats, a SOC can help you mitigate those threats. So why use both a SIEM and SOC together? Here are three clear reasons:

  • A SOC can offer expertise and guidance on how to best use SIEM data to address specific security needs. The operations center engineers can reference the information to better architect the organization’s future protective layers of cybersecurity.
  • A SIEM can generate a lot of false positives, which can quickly overwhelm a SOC that doesn’t have the manpower to investigate every alert.
  • Using a SIEM without a SOC is like having a fire alarm but no firefighters. Sure, the alarm will tell you there’s a problem, but it won’t do anything to actually put out the fire. A SOC can provide 24/7 security monitoring of SIEM data, which can be critical for quickly identifying and responding to potential threats.

By working together, a SIEM and SOC can provide you with the best possible protection against threats.

Choosing the Right IT Security Provider

It’s tough for us to admit, but it is conceivable that a company concerned with its security posture would choose not to pair a managed SIEM solution with a SOC. We may not recommend that path, but if an organization’s industry standards for cybersecurity are low, we can understand the urge to save money. It is a little less digestible (while there are rare instances) that a company active in protecting its assets would outsource its security to a managed SOC that doesn’t use a SIEM as one of its go-to tools. Yes, there are ways that providers cut corners to maximize profits. However, we can’t recommend partnering with an outsourced SOC that would opt to prune such an insightful piece of their overall security toolset.

It’s worth noting that many businesses access a managed SIEM or a managed SOC through a managed security service provider (MSSP) with an in-house SOC that uses a SIEM platform.

We suggest fully investing in your organization’s cybersecurity. The cybercrime rate will continue to rise, and your business isn’t worth risking. Do your research and interview reputable security providers that deliver value — meaning high-quality service and support for a reasonable cost to the business, not a subpar offering for a cheap price.

Our final advice: we highly recommend outsourcing your cybersecurity needs to a SOC provider that pairs their expertise with a SIEM solution. If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about the managed IT or managed security options at Meriplex, please contact us for more information.