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Exploration of security operations center as a service

Understanding SOC as a Service: A Concise Guide

January 3, 2024

In an era dominated by ever-evolving cyber threats, organizations constantly struggle with fortifying their digital defenses. Enter SOCaaS: Security Operations Center as a Service. This modern approach to cybersecurity offers a third-party mechanism that allows businesses, regardless of their size, to monitor, detect, and swiftly respond to cyber threats. In doing so, it alleviates the need for companies to establish an in-house SOC team, thereby promising efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and a dynamic response mechanism. This article delves into the intricacies of SOCaaS, its place in the cyber security landscape, its advantages, and considerations to ponder before onboarding a SOCaaS provider.

What is SOC as a service (SOCaaS)?

SOC as a Service, or SOCaaS, is a subscription-based cybersecurity service that provides companies with cyber expert resources to monitor, analyze, and respond to cybersecurity threats and incidents. Managed security as a service allows organizations to outsource their security operations to a third party, often a managed security service provider (MSSP) or a security vendor, without the necessity of establishing and maintaining an internal SOC team.

SOC has been integral in active monitoring and defense against cyber-attacks. Over time, they have evolved to offer managed security services, allowing organizations of varying sizes to contract out their security concerns. This evolution paved the way for the SOC on a subscription basis, making comprehensive security provisions more accessible to businesses of all sizes.

In the dynamic landscape of modern cybersecurity, SOCaaS streamlines security operations, offering a synergy of human expertise and cutting-edge automated systems. It efficiently detects and addresses threats, bolstering an organization's security framework without the intricate process and cost of managing a full-scale, business-owned SOC.

How does SOC as a Service work?

SOC as a Service works by outsourcing a company's cybersecurity monitoring and threat detection to a specialized offsite team that provides continuous surveillance and rapid incident response.

Key Components of SOCaaS:

  • Security Monitoring: Continuous oversight over network and security events.
  • Managed Detection and Response (MDR): A blend of threat detection with rapid response mechanisms.
  • Endpoint Security: Ensuring the security of end-user devices like computers and mobiles.
  • Threat Intelligence: An ongoing process of collecting and analyzing information on emerging threats.
  • Advanced Security Tools: Utilization of sophisticated cybersecurity tools and technologies for monitoring and analysis.
  • Expertise and Resources: Access to specialized security expertise and resources that may not be available in-house

What are the Features of SOCaaS?

The features offered by a security operations center as a service

Real-time Monitoring and Alerting:

Real-time threat monitoring and alerting ensure continuous surveillance of an organization's digital assets, providing instant alerts to security teams upon detection of potential threats.

Threat Intelligence and Analysis:

A proactive approach where data about the prevailing cyber threat landscape is collected; this collected data informs security analysts about new vulnerabilities, ensuring that the organization remains one step ahead of potential threats.

Automated Incident Response:

A well-defined incident response process that includes incident identification, containment, eradication, recovery, and lessons learned. Rapid response to minimize the impact of security incidents.

Compliance and Reporting Tools:

In a world where regulatory compliance is paramount, SOC services ensure that the organization aligns with industry-specific security standards. Moreover, it offers detailed reports on incidents, breaches, and the actions taken in response.

Integration with Existing Security Infrastructures:

SOC as a service offers seamless integration with existing security infrastructures, enhancing and optimizing current systems with strategic recommendations for overall security improvement.

When considering a SOCaaS vendor, it's vital for organizations to assess the vendor's capabilities and how seamlessly they can integrate with current protective measures.

Which Cyber Threats are Monitored by SOCaaS?

SOCaaS monitors for a range of cyber threats including Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), zero-day vulnerabilities, malware, ransomware, insider threats, and any unusual network activities that could indicate a security breach.

  1. Zero-Day Vulnerabilities: Proactively identifying and responding to previously unknown security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers before the vendor has issued a fix.
  1. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs): Detecting sophisticated, prolonged cyberattacks where attackers infiltrate a network to steal data over an extended period without being detected.
  1. Malware and Ransomware Attacks: Identifying and responding to various forms of malicious software, including viruses, worms, trojan horses, and ransomware that can damage or encrypt data for ransom.
  1. Phishing Attempts: Detecting fraudulent communications designed to deceive individuals into divulging sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details.
  1. Network Intrusions: Monitoring unauthorized accesses or breaches in the network, including attempts to bypass network security measures.
  1. Insider Threats: Identifying potentially harmful actions by individuals within the organization, which might compromise the organization's security or data integrity.
  1. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks: Recognizing and mitigating DDoS attacks aimed at overwhelming and incapacitating the organization's online services

Why do Organizations Need Managed Security Services?

Organizations need managed SOC services from MSSPs to access specialized expertise, advanced technologies, and round-the-clock monitoring, which are crucial for effective and proactive cyber threat detection and response.

The challenge of in-house security operations

  • Building and maintaining an Internal SOC can be a significant challenge, requiring specialized equipment, a dedicated security team, and continuous training.
  • Outsourcing to a SOCaaS supplier can ease this burden, providing expert-level security monitoring without the need for substantial in-house resources.

Cost and efficiency considerations

  • A SOC as a service model can be more cost-effective in the long run than building and operating an on-premises SOC. Organizations can leverage top-tier security provisions on a subscription basis without bearing the high initial costs of setting up a full-service SOC.
  • Managed Security Service Providers typically have advanced tools and cyber experts to ensure rapid threat detection and incident response which enhances the efficiency of the security posture.

Addressing the cybersecurity skills gap.

  • The cybersecurity field faces a significant skills gap, with many organizations struggling to hire and retain top-tier security experts.
  • Security operations solutions bridge this gap, offering organizations access to a team of seasoned security analysts and experts without hiring and staff retention challenges.

Why a Managed SOC is Important?

The benefits of a third party SOC provider over owned SOC

Continuous protection in a changing threat environment

  • With the ever-evolving nature of cyber security threats, managed SOC services /Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) ensure round-the-clock protection, adapting to the latest threat intelligence and cyber attack tactics.

Expertise and specialization

  • MSSPs bring a wealth of expertise to the table, with dedicated teams of security specialists trained to detect, analyze, and respond to the most intricate threats.
  • Specialization in areas like threat hunting, advanced surveillance, and remediation ensures that threats are not only pinpointed but are also dealt with efficiently.

Scalability and flexibility of managed solutions

  • As businesses grow, so do their security needs. MSSP solutions easily scale, providing the flexibility to adjust to changing security requirements without significant internal resource adjustments.

What are the Benefits of SOC as a Service (SOCaaS)?

  1. Enhanced Detection and Response Efficiency: SOCaaS provides rapid identification and mitigation of cyber threats, thanks to dedicated analysts specializing in cyber threat response. The specialization leads to quicker, more effective action against threats, reducing the time between detection and remediation, which is crucial in minimizing potential damage.
  1. Expert Security Knowledge: With SOCaaS, organizations gain access to a pool of security experts skilled in various areas, including endpoint containment and malware analysis. The access ensures that a wide range of cyber threats can be managed with the latest expertise and techniques, offering a comprehensive security solution.
  1. Security Program Maturation: Adopting SOCaaS can significantly accelerate the maturity of a company's security program. This service addresses daily threats, allowing businesses to evolve their security strategies continuously. It's particularly beneficial for organizations lacking a strategic in-house plan for security talent acquisition.
  1. Cost Effectiveness: Implementing SOCaaS substantially reduces the costs associated with recruiting, investing in technology, and mitigating staff turnover risks compared to building an in-house SOC. This economic advantage makes SOCaaS an attractive option for many organizations.
  1. Strategic Security Focus: Outsourcing daily security operations to a SOCaaS provider enables organizations to focus on overarching strategic security concerns. The reallocation of focus streamlines resource distribution, enhancing long-term security planning and bolstering other vital business functions.

SOCaaS vs. creating your own SOC.

Differences between choosing SOC as a service and setting up your own SOC

Initial setup and maintenance costs

  • Setting up an in-house SOC entails significant costs – from infrastructure to hiring and training personnel. In contrast, opting for a SOCaaS model eliminates these upfront expenses, with a predictable subscription-based pricing model.

In-house vs. outsourced expertise

  • While an organization's SOC requires continuous training of the security personnel to keep pace with the evolving threat landscape, SOCaaS contractors specialize in staying ahead, offering organizations access to top-tier security expertise without the challenges of constant internal training and skill upgrades.

Response time and efficiency comparison

  • SOCaaS suppliers typically boast advanced tools, specialized teams, and established processes, ensuring rapid intrusion detection and mitigation
  • If an organization's SOC is short of resources, it may struggle to match the same level of efficiency and speed.

What to Look for in a SOCaaS Provider?

The following attributes are what should be considered-

Credentials and industry certifications

  • Seek SOC providers with recognized industry certifications, showcasing their expertise in cybersecurity operations and best practices.
  • Accreditation in security information and event management (SIEM), managed detection and response (MDR), and other relevant fields is a testament to the provider's commitment to high-quality services.

Track record and client testimonials

  • A proven track record is essential. Examine previous client engagements, case studies, and success stories.
  • Client testimonials offer firsthand insights into the reliability, responsiveness, and overall performance of the SOCaaS firm.

Customization and scalability options

  • As businesses expand and threats change, the capacity to scale and tailor protective measures becomes crucial.
  • A SOCaaS contractor should offer tailored safety services that cater to an organization's unique needs while allowing for scalability as the enterprise expands or the threat landscape changes.

What are the Challenges of SOC as a Service?

Hurdles faced by SOC as a service provider

While a SOC-as-a-Service offering brings numerous advantages, entrusting security to an external provider is not without its complexities. Organizations choosing managed SOC services often face certain challenges, such as:

  1. Onboarding Complexities: Integrating a managed SOC within an existing system can be time-consuming and expose organizations to risks during the transition. Configuring and deploying the provider's security solutions within the customer's environment presents operational challenges.
  2. Sensitive Data Handling: SOCaaS requires sharing substantial amounts of sensitive data with the service provider. This handover can complicate data security and risk management, potentially exposing vulnerabilities.
  3. Data Storage and Security Risks: External storage of threat data and analysis may cause data leak and loss. The processing of most data outside an organization's perimeter limits the ability to store and analyze extensive historical data, posing a threat to data security.
  4. Cost Implications of Data Access: Obtaining detailed log data from SOCaaS providers can lead to considerable expenses. This cost is attached to creating and maintaining log files and alert data on the provider's infrastructure, contributing to increased operational costs.
  5. Lack of Customization and Dedicated Support: SOCaaS often lacks the customization required for unique organizational needs. This one-size-fits-all approach can lead to inefficiencies and a disconnect in meeting specific security requirements.
  6. Insufficient Understanding of Specific Business Needs: Service providers handling various clients may not understand each organization's distinct business processes and requirements, potentially resulting in unaddressed security vulnerabilities.
  7. Regulatory and Compliance Challenges: Navigating the complex regulatory landscape with a third-party provider can complicate compliance efforts. Trusting an external provider to meet compliance requirements adds another layer of complexity.

Eventus SOCaaS

Eventus' Security Operations Center as a Service (SOCaaS) provides businesses with an efficient and scalable solution to manage their cybersecurity needs. We offer access to a team of security experts who continuously monitor and analyze their network for any signs of suspicious activity. This proactive approach helps in the early detection of potential threats and ensures rapid response and mitigation, minimizing the impact of any security incidents. With Eventus, businesses can enhance their security posture, allowing them to focus on growth and innovation with the assurance of a secure digital environment.

 

Tejas Shah
16+ years working with established Cyber Security services (MSSP), SOC Management ,Lead Customer discussions with thought Leadership , Different SIEM technologies, Leverage Threat Intel and Threat Hunting procedures, Cyber Security frameworks like MITRE and CIS Control.
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