As the cyberthreat landscape evolves at a dizzying speed, the only way organizations can stay ahead of threat actors is by prioritizing their cybersecurity programs. They must also monitor and analyze their security posture on an ongoing basis to detect, prevent and respond to threats. Here’s where a Security Operations Center (SOC) plays a vital role.

SOC teams use numerous processes and tools to detect, analyze, respond to and investigate anomalous behaviour and cybersecurity incidents. 

But even knowing how important the SOC is, not all organizations can set up the team in-house; they may lack the resources, skills, budget . . . there are any number of reasons why this happens. Fortunately, they can still leverage all the benefits of a SOC – with a managed SOC (or SOC as a Service).

Managed SOC Meaning Unpacked

Managed SOC – also known as SOC as a Service – is a subscription-based service that enables organizations to “outsource” the SOC function to a vendor. Managed SOC providers are external cybersecurity experts who monitor the company’s IT network, devices, applications and data for known and evolving vulnerabilities, threats and risks. They can provide proactive threat detection, immediate incident or alert response, and incident remediation. There are two types of SOC as a Service:  a fully-managed SOC, or a co-managed SOC

Why Use a Managed SOC?

In the first nine months of 2020, data breaches exposed 36 billion records (Risk Based Security), with the average breach costing $3.86 million (IBM). Today, that cost has risen to $4.24 million (IBM). In this disquieting landscape, the role of a Security Operations Center cannot be overstated.

However, setting up the SOC in-house involves a significant investment in software, hardware and other infrastructure. It can also take a long time to build a team, obtain the necessary tools and licences, and configure the SOC. These can all be serious barriers, and can prevent the organization from strengthening its security posture.

With SOC as a Service, organizations can easily and cost-effectively eliminate these barriers.

Benefits of SOC As a Service

Technology Deployment and Management

Through the cloud-based/subscription-based Security as a Service, organizations can speed up SOC technology deployment. Since they don’t have to set up their own security tools or processes, the SOC deployment period is very short. Some managed SOC providers can start monitoring an organization’s environment in just a few weeks, providing proactive protection with minimal delays.

On-demand Access to Experts

Security as a Service provides on-demand cybersecurity experts who are skilled at threat monitoring, assessment, response and remediation support. They can immediately start monitoring the IT environment for potential cyber threats and risks for ongoing, reliable protection.

Security Event Prevention and Management

Security events could potentially have serious information security implications. To stay on top of them and ensure that they don’t lead to other problems, they must be continuously logged and evaluated. This is easier to do with a managed SOC.

Security Incident Prevention and Remediation

A security incident is a viable risk that can result in tangible damage, such as operational disruptions or data loss. A SOC as a Service provider can continuously review suspicious behaviours and alerts to prevent possible security incidents. They also remediate detected threats, either independently or by working with the client’s internal IT team.

Proactive Threat Protection

The best managed SOC providers work with numerous clients and can therefore leverage economies of scale. If their analysts identify a threat in one client’s IT ecosystem, they can roll out necessary updates to protect other clients as well.

Managed Detection and Response (MDR)

SOC as a Service is ideal for small/medium businesses looking for MDR capabilities. Managed SOC providers can offer managed threat hunting, incident snooping and triaging, malware analysis, and even post-incident recommendations to prevent future attacks.

Threat Intelligence Management

For comprehensive protection, threat information is not enough. This information must be enriched with the right context at the right time to make it actionable and effective. This is the meaning of threat intelligence. An external managed SOC team can collect and prioritize threat data and add the right context to create threat intelligence, gain a better understanding of real threats, and thus shore up defences.  

They can also effectively research and triage multiple alerts that come in from disparate data sources to improve alert response and reduce the “alert fatigue” that internal SOC teams often struggle with.

Managed SOC Pricing

The managed SOC model offers a clear cost advantage over traditional SOC. Many providers offer multiple package options, which usually include some fixed offerings with some possible customization.

An introductory package may include managed SOC for a certain time period (e.g. 8×5), as well as security processes and procedures, identity and security advisory, and research and development. A more advanced package will likely expand the SOC scope to include 24×7 emergency assistance. The most advanced packages usually provide full 24×7 coverage, as well as all the services included in the other two packages. Depending on the chosen package,  managed SOC pricing can range from $750/month to $50,000/month. 

Conclusion

The cyberthreat landscape is constantly evolving, and companies cannot afford to ignore the many threats nipping at their heels. A Security Operations Center enables them to keep these threats at bay, but many organizations are unable to utilize an in-house SOC.

Managed SOC provides an ideal solution for such organizations, offering ongoing monitoring, security experts and proactive security in a cost-effective, low-barrier avatar. With Security as a Service, organizations of all kinds and all stripes can detect, prevent and respond to threats with confidence.