Security Enterprise Services / Trends Column


The Global Security Operations Center is not new, but its value is becoming widely recognized as a necessity to support business goals and operations.


“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King.”

–Desiderius Erasmus

As we head to Palo Alto for our second West Coast Security 500 Conference, I was reminded of the program development meetings we held and how several CSOs mentioned their interest, passion, enthusiasm and challenges with either an existing or planned GSOC. The Global Security Operations Center is not new, but its value is becoming widely recognized as a necessity to support business goals and operations. As a result, organizational leadership is showing increased interest and investment in them.  Enterprises that currently have a GSOC understand that their full potential is still in the future. But the current state of the art creates great organizational value by identifying threats and reducing risk.

Successful enterprise risk and security management is focused on gathering information, analyzing it and managing it effectively to prevent an event from happening or responding to one that has. Having an enterprise-wide picture of your organization to enable business operations is the first step in effective risk management. And the ROI on GSOCs combines that effectiveness with efficiency.

Global Security Operations Centers, at their best, offer unprecedented enterprise situational awareness to identify threats and related vulnerabilities. They enable effective communication and mitigation against risk before a security event occurs. One powerful example is the Operations Center at the new World Trade Center. But before all that value can flow across your organization, you have to have a plan to build, maintain and manage your GSOC. Or, create an RFP to utilize an existing vendor that offers GSOC services.

Perhaps the greatest challenge is the planning itself or developing the concept of operations (CONOPS) identifying what your GSOC will or will not do. Similarly, outsourcing requires the same discipline as you develop an RFP. Identifying and responding to risks as a vision is simple, but it’s not easy.

An initial challenge that organizations often face in the process is identifying weaknesses in their current enterprise risk management program. Automation typically identifies weaknesses in business processes and leads to a backward step: Reengineering those processes prior to automation is valuable.

An equal challenge of the GSOC technology plan is to replicate human activity. Surveillance systems that process information in the same manner as the human eye and brain are utilized. Similarly, access control solutions that identify the person and their credentials/permissions for entry are not only being applied at the local entrance, but administered across the global enterprise on one platform, from one database across the network.

As noted, identifying what the GSOC will and will not support across the enterprise is critical. For example, workforce protection applications are well-suited for GSOCs and include both proprietary (access and ID) solutions integrated with applications typically provided by third parties, such as intelligence on weather, political/social unrest and travel advisories to offer a seamless, enterprise-wide solution.

GSOCs deliver significant value protecting physical assets including infrastructure and facilities. Centralization at the GSOC enables consistent and appropriate planned mitigation and response regardless of the event or location. All stakeholders receive the same service levels enterprise-wide. All facilities have a commensurate level of protection. Incident reporting and response create an immediate, global feedback loop for identifying operational improvements. And the redundancy between centers provides resilience through real-time communications and load balancing. This consistency and constancy of risk and security management leads to reduced operational costs, reduced incidents and as a result, reduced insurance and/or recovery costs. Microsoft estimated immediate savings of more than $4.4 million dollars in just its European region in three years due to its GSOC investment.

Brian Tuskan, Senior Director of Microsoft Global Security Operations, will be a speaker at the Palo Alto Security 500 Conference on May 16. He notes, “Our three Global Security Operations Centers allow us to see how events around the world are impacting our 700-plus Microsoft locations and to display the critical information we need to assess situations much faster.”

What is your organization’s GSOC strategy or experience? Drop me a note or join us in Palo Alto.  


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