In the past four years, cyberattacks have more thandoubled. Cybercriminals are leveraging emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) to facilitate more sophisticated attacks. Geopolitical tumult has increasedcyber risk. Couple these factors with a near-ubiquitous desire for businesses to expand their operations, and it’s easy to understand the need for scaling Security Operations Center (SOC) operations.

However, scaling SOC operations is no mean feat, especially considering the current threat, economic, and business landscapes. There are many challenges that SOC managers, CISOs, and SOC staff must overcome to scale their operations effectively. Here’s how to overcome them.

Staff Shortages

The entire cybersecurity industry faces a problem: staff shortages. Recent research suggests thatfour out of five companies either have fewer than five security analysts or don’t have enough analysts to run their SOCs. Even with some of the tools we’ll cover later in this article, scaling SOCs requires an increased workforce. Overcoming this problem is crucial to effectively scaling SOC operations.

One way to overcome staff shortages is to switch to a remote working environment. Doing so will significantly increase your hiring options—both because you have far greater geographical reach and because the most in-demand SOC staff will often leverage their market value and only apply for remote jobs.

False Positive Churn

Many SOC tools, including SIEMs and EDRs, can generate false positives if misconfigured. False positives typically arise from tools interpreting legitimate administrative actions as suspicious or malicious or scripts running on the information system performing legitimate actions like malicious ones. False positives can significantly increase SOC analyst workloads and act as a barrier to scaling operations.

Configuring tools correctly is the most crucial measure to minimize false positive churn. However, analysts can employ other techniques to mitigate this issue. For example, large language models (LLMs) can increasingly differentiate between false and legitimate alerts. While this technique doesn’t reduce false positives, it does reduce the effort necessary to investigate them.

Employee Burnout

Working in a SOC is rewarding but can be intensely stressful. So much so, in fact, that research from 2022 found that71% of organizations ranked SOC staffer pain at 6 through 9 out of 10. There are soft solutions to employee burnout—recognizing hard work, offering initiatives to help manage work-life balance, and strong leadership, for example—but organizations can also manage this problem by employing the right tools.

Purchasing effective tools and technologies can transform SOC job satisfaction and motivation. It’s crucial to do your due diligence when purchasing cybersecurity solutions, prioritizing those that minimize false positives, effectively prioritizing alerts, and automating menial tasks.

Skills Shortages

Another huge problem when scaling SOCs is a shortage of skilled staff. Technology is advancing at an alarming rate, and cybersecurity professionals need help to keep up. One way to address this problem is to nurture internal talent, either offering or paying for upskilling programs for existing staff. As you introduce new technologies into your SOC, you must ensure your staff can use them effectively.

Alert Overload

Many of the most valuable SOC tools, such as Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) platforms, produce an enormous number of alerts. While this is, technically, a good thing, alert overload can easily overwhelm SOC staff and act as a barrier to scaling operations. To overcome this problem, SOC staff must strictly adhere toalert tuning best practices. For example, it’s crucial to:

  • Understand your alert universe, determine what’s consuming your team’s time and effort, and weigh that against your detection accuracy.
  • Prioritize tuning actions based on alert analysis.
  • Investigate individual alerts composing a data point to deepen your understanding of the issue.
  • Set requirements around what detections must look like in the SOC to be reviewed by the team.

Keeping these best practices in mind will significantly improve and streamline your ability to respond to alerts and facilitate scaling up.

Budget Limitations

Budget constraints seriously limit a SOC’s ability to scale. Organizational budgets are tight, but it’s crucial to prove to board members and decision-makers that cybersecurity is an important – if not essential – investment. CISOs must work closely with other C-suite staff and demonstrate the need for increased security budgets when scaling a SOC and the business. Focus on return on investment (ROI) and explain the necessary tools and technologies in a way that non-cybersecurity staff can understand.

Failure to Automate

Automating SOC tasks is an effective solution to many of the problems listed in this article. For example, LLMs can interpret complex alerts and support the investigative planning process for more junior analysts, meaning senior staff can spend more time on more complicated tasks.


All in all, SOC scaling is a necessary evil. To deal with increasing attack rates, expanding attack surfaces, and attack sophistication, many SOCs will need to scale their operations in the coming years. It’s crucial to take a measured approach to SOC scale-up, considering staff needs, available technologies and tools, and budget constraints. Communicate with stakeholders through your scale-up journey, keep the above advice in mind, and it should be smooth sailing.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire.